Titans-Falcons Week: Tuesday Report
Coach Jeff Fisher  (AP Photo/David Duprey)
Posted Oct 2, 2007

Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher talks about the upcoming game with the Atlanta Falcons Sunday.

What is the status of punter Craig Hentrich’s back injury?


“All I can tell you right now is that he punted this morning. It will be day-to-day. He had a number of kicks, and he is feeling better.”

Will you keep punter Josh Miller on the roster to be safe?


“We’ll keep Josh until we make a decision that we think Craig can play.”

Is it challenging to come back from a bye week?


“No. We’re going to use tomorrow as a bonus day. We’ll emphasize timing, tempo, those kinds of things, and then we’ll start on Atlanta. We have a very talented upcoming opponent that played very well yesterday. That will certainly get [the players’] attention. I have no concern. We’ll be healthy, so that’s good. As I said, Craig would probably have been the only one that would have been questionable going into a game last weekend, so it will be good to get everyone on the practice field.”

Will tight end Casey Cramer be back this week and how tough it will be to make deactivations?


“We’ve been deactivating at least seven, in the first game, seven healthy players. It will be a hard decision, but that is a good problem to have. The final two or three decisions will all be special teams related.”

Why hasn’t tight end Ben Troupe made more of an impact?


“I think it’s just a matter of we’ve only played three weeks, the way the offense has gone, the emphasis on the run game, and the fact that he was hurt and missed quite a bit of camp. He only played in the final preseason game. It’s not because, as some people speculated, that he’s not in our plans or he can’t do it. It’s just that we’ve only played three games and he hasn’t had the opportunity. We’ll continue to work him in, and I would expect that hopefully in the next few weeks we’ll talk about how well he is playing.”

How do go about maintaining a winning record after a bye week?


“It’s pretty simple. Just do everything you possibly can to win the next game. That’s all we do. Then if you win it, then our record is better than it was the last few years. These guys, I keep saying, they like to work. They like to practice. They think they can win. They accept challenges. With that being said, you go out and do the best you can and try to win the next game.”

Why do the Titans score so much in the fourth quarter of games this Season?


“Well, there are a lot of reasons for it. One reason is we’re running the football, winning the time of possession, and the defense is fresh. If you keep your defense fresh into the fourth quarter, then you can have a lead and you can protect it. The most important thing is to keep your defense fresh. We’re healthy and we’re rotating, so we have fresh guys in the lineup. When you’re fresh and fast and physical, that gives you a chance to keep points off the board. I’d like to see us play a little better in the other quarters, give up fewer points and score more points. There are some things that we can build upon that are good. Our third-down efficiency, for example, is pretty good. I mean, it is unrealistic that you would stay at 40 percent or wherever we are throughout the year, but you strive to try to do that. So there are some things that we’re doing well. Overall, we’re not being fair to them as a staff unless we try to improve in every area, and that would reflect in the statistics.”

Is the Titans’ run game as good as statistics and rankings suggest?


“I think we can still run the ball better. I think we took close to 30 yards off the board, in rushing yards, last Monday night with the snap that got away from Vince, with the reverse, and then with the kneel-downs. You add 30 yards to that, and you’ve got a pretty good game. At least you’re consistent. You have to be careful about taking a number and dividing it by the number of games you’ve played and then say, ‘Hey, this is where you are.’ That’s the case on defense as well. Some teams get up and they’re defending the lead, and so there is a lot of yardage that takes place at the end of the game. It’s not necessarily a measurement of how you are. You’re giving up yards to protect against the score. I think there is one thing you look at, and that is the number of wins.”

What areas need improvement for the Titans?


“One thing that’s important is that we’re leaving some points off the board. When you get down in the plus territory, when you get down inside the 10 yard line or the five yard line, you need to get [touchdowns] rather than [field goals]. It’s okay in a winning effort if you don’t, but you still need to take advantage of your opportunities down there. And that’s probably one of the hardest things to do in the league, once you get down there, is to get the ball in the end zone. Especially if you’ve been there a few times. Some teams you’ll see will make a big play and they’ll get inside the 10 yard line and then two plays later, they’ll score. But when you’re driving the football methodically in long-play drives and your drive includes a three or four play drive inside the 20 yard line, it’s difficult to get in. That’s an area where we need to improve.”

What have you seen from the Atlanta Falcons so far this season?


“Their offensive output has improved every week. They’re a disciplined team – their penalties are down. There are some glaring penalties, obviously, from a couple weeks ago. They are a disciplined team, they run the football very well. (Joey) Harrington is managing the offense very, very well. He’s making very good decisions. He’s got a talented group with a Pro Bowl tight end (Alge Crumpler), (Michael) Jenkins outside and (Roddy) White outside, and the way the line is playing, and Warrick (Dunn). They’re a very talented group, offensively. They don’t just line up in a couple formations. They use all kinds of personnel groupings and [Harrington] is moving the football. Defensively, they’re disciplined and they run. They’ve got good team speed. This is a good team. This is a team that will be in contention at the end.”

What have you thought of Atlanta’s run game?


“They’re multiple in their run game. They’ll line up and pound you , spread you out and run it. They do a real nice job – they’re very creative. They do a nice job of creating situations where they can run. So that’s going to make it difficult on us this week.”

Is Atlanta’s run game similar to Tennessee’s?


“We’ll do some similar things. They like to spread people out, move people around and do different things. They use the two backs.”

What are the factors in Vince Young’s improved completion percentage from last season to this season?


“It’s his improvement and one would expect people to improve from year one to year two. The work during his off-season has also helped.”

Are you surprised about how teams have panned out so far across the NFL?


“I think we have to be really careful not to jump to conclusions. It’s only been four weeks. In our case, it’s been three games. Things turn, things happen, things change. An injury here, a rough start here and there can make a difference. But you can’t judge a team based on where everybody is right now. I think you saw that from our standpoint last year. Everybody counted us out completely and we found a way to stay alive. We showed improvement. So I think you have to be careful. Things are going to turn around. There are too many teams that are too talented that are going to turn around over the next few weeks and get started.”

Have you reminded your players not to get too high on their 2-1 start just yet?


“Again, I keep saying it over and over again. Guess what we’re thinking about this week? Win the next game. That’s all that matters. Where you have your challenges are when, in my opinion during the course of a season, you start getting close to becoming a playoff team based on the number of wins. That’s where it becomes difficult to keep focused or when you start getting to the point when you may be eliminated. Those are the two areas where it’s most challenging to keep a team focused. Aside from that, you just play. That’s what we’re going to do is just play.”

Has Falcons QB Joey Harrington been a victim of bad circumstances during his career?


“Sometimes for the guys, a change of address will be good for them. A scheme may be different. The unique situation with this, I think with Joey and what they’re doing offensively, is that it takes time to get to know players. It will take a year or so to get to know a quarterback. What you’ve seen here this year, including Joey and in several other places, is that quarterbacks are being very productive in the offense. You have a fit right now with him and this offense in my opinion. That’s going to help him. I can’t really tell you what happened in the past. We played them and they had injuries. But they’re very efficient and productive.”

What went into the decision to pick up MLB Ryan Fowler this year?


“What we had seen when he got to play in a supporting role, a backup role or as a starter on defense in preseason games, but also on special teams [was a factor]. We were unanimous. That would include (General Manager) Mike (Reinfeldt), myself, (defensive coordinator) Jim (Schwartz), (linebackers coach) Dave (McGinnis) and (Director of Pro Scouting) Lake (Dawson). We felt like this was going to be a good fit for us.”

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