Titans-Raiders Week: Monday Report

Titans-Raiders Week: Monday Report

Titans Coach Jeff Fisher talks about the game against Houston and the upcoming game against the Oakland Raiders.

Opening Remarks

Fisher: "I've been in the National Football League for a number of years now and I don't think I've ever had as much difficulty as I have had last night or this morning up to this point trying to put my arms around this thing to try and describe what happened. The one thing I do know is we won. But it was certainly, as they say, a tale of two games – not two halves. To me it was as if we played two games. Going back and looking at the first half, it was one of the more dominating efforts out of a defense that I've ever been associated with. We had a run game on offense that was effective and efficient against seven and eight-man fronts. We go into halftime, and the thing we emphasized the entire time inside and even on the sideline was to break it open. Let's get a stop, let's get points, and let's put this thing away. Two series later, we picked up 10 points and we were up 32-7. So we kind of battled back and forth through the third quarter, and then it all started kind of unraveling, if you will. A lot of things had to happen for the Texans, and each and every thing happened for them. They made a lot of tremendous plays. Things had to fall perfectly for them to get back and to get that lead. Of course, we had to allow a lot of things to happen. All we really needed was one play, one play in particular somewhere along the lines and we would not have ended up trailing. We just didn't get that play. It could have been a call here or a play there, but it just didn't happen. Needless to say, I was very, very proud of the focus. Nobody panicked. Then we got the big plays out of Kerry (Collins) and Roydell (Williams) to win the ballgame.

There are some obvious concerns, and we'll get them corrected. Certainly the plays that we allowed over the top, we can play better there. As I said yesterday, what a tremendous effort by Rob (Bironas). That would also include (long snapper) Kenny (Amato) and (holder) Craig (Hentrich). I need to point out, also, that there were two other situations in the game – Bo Scaife's fumble and the drive right after they muffed the punt – where if we wouldn't have taken a delay and ended up punting it, [Bironas] could have kicked 10 field goals in this game. Ten field goals gets you 30 points, and 30 points wins you most ballgames. Who cares about red-zone efficiency. (laughs)

Anyway, we've got a lot to correct. This is the first time we've felt like we had a 24-hour rule in effect. That usually comes after losses. The staff has done a nice job putting things in perspective, taking responsibility for a lot of things, so we all contributed to the things that happened in the fourth quarter, and we're going to move on. "

What is the status of the team injuries currently?

Fisher: "I have one really significant injury from the ballgame, and that is Ahmard Hall. He had a successful surgery this morning (on his fractured forearm). I indicated yesterday that it may be season-ending, and it is not, which is god news. The doctor was very pleased with the results. We may have him available to play for us once again after about four weeks. "

When did Ahmard Hall's injury take place?

Fisher: "It took place on the first onside kick. "

What was the frustration of missing the onside kick?

Fisher: "Well, [the Texans] were offsides on the second one and that was not called. We had some things, and I'll go into detail about it. Donnie Nickey has a specific responsibility on the onside return team and he went down (with an injury). So then we moved Ahmard Hall up for Donnie. Then Ahmard went down, and we moved Quinton Ganther up. So a lot of things behind the scenes happened there. In [Ganther's] defense, because of all the different scenarios that take place on onside kicks now, because you have to keep four (players) to one side, there are a lot of different things you have to work out. [Ganther] just was not in position. We actually could have handled the play a little better, and we didn't. It was a perfect kick. The kick was designed to come down at the 10-yard restraining line and designed to be timed up to be at the same time the cover team got there. They just hoped for explosion, collision and a loose ball. They were fortunate to recover it. "

What did you think about Albert Haynesworth's roughing the passer penalty?

Fisher: "I saw it on the Jumbotron and I didn't think it was a penalty. Again when you're dealing with quarterbacks and you're dealing with contact, [the officials] are going to err on the side of caution. The league needs to protect the quarterbacks, but it was not a foul. But so be it. "

Does Haynesworth's past conduct makes him more susceptible to that call?

Fisher: "That has nothing to do with who the player is. When the decision is made to throw the flag, it all happens so fast, with any official on the field for that matter. But specifically, the referee has no idea who is hitting the quarterback. "

Have you been pleased with Haynesworth's calm reaction to these types of calls?

Fisher: "He's playing as hard and as good as he has played. He understands there is going to be a (questionable) call here or there, and just keep playing. You can't dwell on it. Just move on. I talked to him when he came off. I said, ‘That was a clean hit,' and he goes, ‘I didn't hit him helmet-to-helmet. "

Did Safety Calvin Lowry make a coverage mistake on Houston's go-ahead touchdown?

Fisher: "We had contact and we lost Chris (Hope). Chris would have been in position, but Chris stumbled. We lost Chris and Calvin was overlapping. He was playing the ball. I think where he made a mistake is he took his eye off just to check the receiver rather than just go play the ball as an overlap player. So when he took his eye off the ball momentarily, he lost perspective on where the receiver was. "

How do you think the team has done with the red-zone efficiency?

Fisher: "In years past, and it's no different this year, we have a goal that talks about touchdown-to-field goal ratios. That's always a two-and-a-half to almost three-to-one (ratio) is where we want to finish at the end of the season. Right now we're 12-16 or 17, so we're behind that. We've got to get that thing switched around. "

What has been happening with the red-zone offense?

Fisher: "First off, two of the [field goals] will come off the board because of the kicks before the half and the end of the game (as time expired). We had another opportunity, we call a reverse, and it was a great call. They happened to run a corner blitz. The odds of that happening are slim. But it happened and we took a six-yard loss and couldn't convert a third-and-16, so we ended up kicking a field goal. There are some things that we are doing to ourselves and there are some things the defense is doing. Another example – we had the defense in one of the long drives and the defense was tired. We had a receiver breaking open over the middle and Kerry (Collins) tracked him well, cut the call loose and the defensive lineman didn't rush. He stood there and knocked it down. We would have had a big play inside the 10-yard-line. So it's there. The opportunities are there. We're just not taking advantage of it. But we're not panicking. We're going to continue to work on it. "

Do you feel positive about red-zone improvement?

Fisher: "Yeah, there were several drives where I felt like, and the staff felt like, we should have run it more than we threw it. We had 11 runs and 11 pass attempts once we got inside the 20. So we got balance there. But there were a couple instances where I thought we could have run it and been more efficient. "

Was it harder for Collins to make accurate throws at the end of the game after being hit hard throughout the game?

Fisher: "He took a couple (hard hits) but the throws he made in that drive were exceptional. Justin (Gage) should have made that catch, and he didn't. He bobbled it. That was an exceptional throw. Then you all saw the last one. That was quite a throw and catch. "

Did Running Back Chris Henry do enough in this game to earn a permanent spot on the 45-man active roster on gamedays?

Fisher: "He's still working. Hopefully we'll get Chris Brown back. We think he'll have a chance to come back this week. Chris Henry did what we thought he was going to do. He came in there, gave us a chance of pace, he was explosive and caught the ball well. He's doing exactly what we thought he'd to, and that's good to see. It reassures us that we have that much more depth at the position. "

Will the running back decision be made from week-to-week?

Fisher: "If Chris (Brown) can get healthy, then Chris will come back up and we'll continue to go with [Brown] and LenDale (White). "

Has Kicker Rob Bironas grown as a player?

Fisher: "Yeah, he has. One of the things I think that was overshadowed yesterday because of the field goals were the kickoffs. The touchbacks were huge. He was kicking the ball off very consistently with good hangtime. He has done a fine job. He struggled a little bit in the Monday night game with some technique things. We got it straightened up, and he has been very efficient".

Was Michael Griffin's special-teams performance overshadowed?

Fisher: "Yes. There are a lot of good things that are overshadowed because of the fourth quarter, and that is one in particular. To be credited for six special-teams tackles in a game is exceptional, five on kickoffs and one on a punt. That is quite an effort. "

Was QB Vince Young disappointed about sitting out the game?

Fisher: "He wanted to play, but he knew the injury was going to be such that it would be touch-and-go throughout the week. It worked out. It was a very clear-cut decision we had to make. Now we have also moved forward and said, ‘Okay, you've healed up to the point where you can go, so we expect you to take all the reps on Wednesday on the practice field and we'll put this behind you. "

Is Young's quadriceps still being treated?

Fisher: "He's still treating it with various forms of treatment. "

What did you think about Nick Harper's performance?

Fisher: "The secondary, with the exception of the fourth quarter, I think has done a really good job of recognizing things and anticipating things. Nick's first [interception] was a really good play. The second [interception] in particular, Nick was the first to credit (defensive coordinator) Jim (Schwartz) because it was a perfect call. He recognized some things, and Jim put him in position to where he had a bluff and we knew the slant was coming out. Nick stepped in front and made the play. "  

Did Young benefit from watching the game rather than playing?

Fisher: "That is hard to say. Vince has been improving weekly. He has improved significantly over last year through the offseason. The best way to continue the improvement process is to play. In this particular case, he did (benefit). There were a couple of times in the game where he made suggestions to me. He was into it. He got every call. He knew he was a play away from going in. He was the first to congratulate Kerry. "

Is Young "out of the woods" with regards to his injury?

Fisher: "Well, we'll be wise about it. We'll get him back on the practice field and work him into it. I think two weeks will be sufficient from a healing standpoint where he won't re-injure it. "

What is Brandon Jones' injury status?

Fisher: "I think Brandon has a chance (to play) this week. He's going to run tomorrow. He did some running over the weekend and didn't have any problems or any swelling. So he has a chance. "

What did you think about the holding penalties on special teams?

Fisher: "In fair-catch situations, when the ball is caught, even if the catch is not complete but once the fair catch signal goes up and the ball is caught, [referees] are not supposed to call holding, especially that far away from the play. I saw the ball caught. Chris (Davis) did a nice job fielding the ball – I saw it caught. I saw the player go down, and then the flag came out. It was a little inconsistent, but of course that is just a part of the game. "

Will Davis or safety Donnie Nickey miss any practice time?

Fisher: "We'll have to wait and see. "

What will it be like having three home games in a row coming up?

Fisher: "There are four teams this year that had four out of their first six games on the road. Two of those teams, Minnesota is 2-4 and the other team is Miami (0-7). The third team would be the Carolina Panthers at 4-2. I think to come off this stretch to where we've won on the road. We're 3-1 on the road. It speaks volumes of this young team. We knew it was going to be a tough stretch, and we look forward to the home stand here. We certainly have quite a challenge on our hands this week. [The Oakland Raiders] are one of the top-rated teams running the football. I think they're third or fourth in the league. It's kind of one of those things where something has got to budge here this weekend. "

How tough is it to do the things Collins did in the game?

Fisher: " [The Texans'] defense has done a nice job, against quarterbacks in particular. He studied well and was prepared. He knew exactly what he was going to get. There were a couple of things he got on third down that they hadn't shown, but he made the adjustment and made a couple of nice throws. He was prepared, and that's why he's here. He's got a wealth of experience. He's a competitor, and he has still got the arm. He sees well and makes good decisions. "

What do you think about Roydell Williams' progress?

Fisher: "It was good to see him make those plays, especially a play like that at the end of the game. The other catch was a great throw and catch too. He's practicing well. He understands. He's communicating well with the quarterbacks, and that is something he has always done well. He understands what is expected of him and how important it is to get where he needs to be."

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