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Carson Palmer Press Conference


Q: You're wound up: CP:

I'm excited. Got a chance to get a win this week.

Q: When Albert Haynesworth is in there, how much does it change what the Titans can do?CP:

 They don't change a whole lot. They play their philosophy, which is playing extremely hard and being one of the better defenses in this league. They're trying to be the best, and they talk a lot about that. It's a very good defense, experienced at spots, young at some spots, but they're not going to change what they do, whether he's suited up or not. The change is him. I mean, he's virtually unblockable. He kind of does whatever he wants. It's like a man playing against boys. Few guys in the league at that position are as dominant as he is. So it's a huge task we have at hand. He's big, he's quick, he's fast, extremely strong. Especially coming from last week, we've got a lot to prove and a lot of improvements to make. There's no better test than coming into our home opener and playing against a defense as good as this one.

Q: Are the Titans similar to the Ravens defensively?CP:

Not at all. They do a number of different pressures, but as far as confusion and trying to line up in spots where guys are always moving. trying to get the offense to have communication issues, that's not their style. Their style is that everybody runs to the ball. They keep their line fresh by rotating them. They're coming hard every single play. But the way their defense runs to the ball is what's so impressive about them on film. You can complete a hitch on the left corner on the left side of the field, and the right corner is running 100 mph over there after the tackle is made, just to be there in case. Very physical, but athletic, too. I mean, Keith Bulluck's been around for a long time. He's one of the more athletic linebackers in the league. As far as comparing them to Baltimore, just different styles, but just as good.

Q: How much of the problems against the Ravens was a result of their schemes?CP:

There were a couple of instances where we got beat physically at the point of attack, but they had a really good scheme. They had a good plan coming in and threw us for a couple loops here and there. We made some adjustments, but just didn't make enough adjustments in time. It caught up to us, it put us in a situation where we had one chance to get it on fourth down and have a chance to tie it up and didn't do it. It just seemed like there wasn't enough time left on the clock. 

We felt like we could score, we just needed another opportunity. Not that we didn't have our fair share of opportunities, because we didn't take advantage of the game like we should. But they did a good job with their scheme and their adjustments. Every time we adjusted, they readjusted and did a good job that way. That's what happens when you're not as physical as you want to be and you don't do what you want to do up-front, and with your receivers and your quarterback.

It seems like a majority of the time, those games feel like the clock just ran out, like we didn't have enough time. That's why it's so important to take advantage of the possessions we get inside the opponent's 50, like the turnover early in the game.

Q: Is there time to fix the number problems dealing with the physical part of the game?CP:

 I think it's already fixed. We've all seen it on film. It's one of those film sessions where you just feel sick. You're healthy, but you feel sick to your stomach just watching it, watching opportunities that we let slip by. But we have a physical group coming in here. Like I said before, this is a great test for us. We got beat last week, and we have another physical group coming in for our home opener and we can completely change the feeling that we've had this week by being physical, running the ball, throwing the ball and getting a win.

Q: Rex Ryan (Titans defensive coordinator) said it was important to get you 'off your spot.' How do you counteract it?CP:

They (Ravens) did do a good job last week just getting pressure and getting guys in the backfield in the run game and the pass game. Passing-wise, I need to get my eyes from looking downfield for somebody to throw to, to just taking off. If there's one main thing I look at in that game: 1's not there, 2's not there, don't wait for 3, just go because there were some seams to run up in and some yards to be made in that area. Coach said it: They did a good job trying to get Terrell Suggs on running backs and getting Haloti Ngata in certain situations where he doesn't always have a guard or a center protecting him. I think everybody on our team is excited about the next opportunity to play the Ravens because they embarrassed us, and we have a chance to right that ship when they come into town.

Q: The last time the offense seemed to be working well was last year's game against Tennessee. Can you put your finger on what has happened to the offense since then?CP:

 There's not one thing. If there was one thing that was so visible, then it would have been changed. It's always a combination of things and that's why you practice. That's why we're here. Guys were here last night, guys were here early this morning. That's why you show up and prepare to find the edges, find the advantages. It's usually a combination of things, and we've got to improve all of them to get to where we want to be as an offense.

Q: You were around Matt Cassell while you were at USC; what's you impression of him?CP:

We were there for three years together. We roomed on the road and were roommates on campus, so I know him real well. I think he's going to do real well. I'm excited for him for the opportunity, but I'm also excited to see what that offense is like, because he's an athlete. A lot of people know he can throw the ball, but he can really run around and make things happen. And that offense hasn't had a quarterback like him in it. The most important thing for him, and I keep telling him, is to not try to be Tom Brady. Just be himself. If (option) one and two aren't there, take off and run, because he's fast, He's physical and he can get to edges.

That offense has gone into so many games where defenses just expect the ball to be thrown. I think he's going to do a great job of just being Matt and not being Tom and being the leader that Matt is. He needs to be the leader that Matt is. Those guys on the team know that he's wild and crazy, and loud and obnoxious. Just take that to the field because that's who he is, and he needs to play like himself. It's like the Aaron Rodgers situation, where he can't be somebody else.

Q: You said you are confident that the problems from Sunday's game are fixed, but how can a fix be physical?CP:

 I think part of when you get beat physically is that a lot of it is fundamentals. Whether it's not stepping the right way or stepping too late and getting pushed back, I think that's one of the biggest parts of it. It's not that we're not physically strong enough to push people around, because we are, and that's who we are as an offense. It just comes down to communication issues when the crowd is loud and when there are guys moving around all over the place and you're a step late Terrell Suggs is going to take advantage of that. 

The issue isn't that we're not strong enough or tough enough to do it. It just comes down to fundamentals and basics, and we just need to get back to that. I'm not worried about it. I'm not stressing, I'm not thinking at all that we're not maybe where we need to be or we're not the team we should be right now, because I know what we can do, and we know what we can do as a unit. It just comes down to we got beat, and maybe that opens up our eyes a little bit to some of the fundamentals that we need to get back to. I think some of that already started today, and it will continue into this week and into this game.

Q: Isn't that what you guys said in the preseason? CP:

We cycle back, yeah. Just because you fixed it once doesn't mean you can't fix it again, I guess. Every team has issues and problems. It's easy to go into a game plan and think that you can push people around, but when it comes down to it, you have to do it, you have to practice it. That's what we're getting back to this week, starting from the ground up. I know Coach (Paul) Alexander is all over the offensive line, the running backs coaches are all over the running backs, and my quarterbacks coach is all over me about technique and foot placement. Whether you're a left guard or a quarterback, Chad or T.J. or whoever it is, it gets back to being perfect in every stage of your game, whether it's fundamentals or making a point in protection or picking up a guy in protection.

Q: You, Chad and T.J. didn't seem to be on the same page. It looked that you weren't talking a lot. Is that situation getting better?CP:

I don't remember too many specific instances when we were on the wrong page, I'm not sure what you mean by that. I talk to those guys constantly during games, especially in no-huddle situations where I can't see the leverages of guys, and I'm trying to figure out how they're being played—inside leverage, outside leverage, press off—whatever the situation may be. But from my point of view, I don't think we've been off or on the wrong page. We just need to get better.

Q: What makes you so confident?CP:

I just have confidence - in myself and the guys around me. Also, too, I know nobody wants to hear it, but it's week one. Not that there's an excuse or that it's OK, I just know how long this football season is. I know that the ones that really matter are the ones late. You want to be playing your best football then. We've played our best football a lot early in this organization. We've played our best football early in the season and then worn down at the end. Hopefully, we're going to get better as the season goes on. The teams that get better in December and the teams that play well in December. Those are the teams that people remember.

Q: How tough is it at the QB position to handle the criticism from the fans, like in the Vince Young situation?CP:

I just think it comes down to personality. I don't know Vince real well and I don't know his personality, but I think some people handle it and some people can't put up with it or can't deal with it. Fortunately, I went through a lot of that at SC, and being in Los Angeles, if you don't win the national championship every year, they're going to be booing. I got used to that early, and how quickly that can change. But I think for a guy like Vince, who has never really been through that, it's going to be difficult and he's going to go through his growing pains. He'll see how to handle it, see how to react to it, change how he reacts to it or just kind of adapt to the situation and move on. 

I think if you're always worried about it —not that that's the way Vince is—but if you're a guy who is always worried about what people are saying about you, it's going to be tough. It's going to eat at you and get at you. But you need to experience it and figure it out and learn to roll with it. Or you can put your middle finger up and go that route—always fight it —but I think that's the worst thing to do. You have to move on and not worry about what people outside of your organization or team are saying.

Q: Do you make an effort to have an even keel personality?CP:

I'm not sure. I don't feel like you're hating me right now. I know a lot of people outside are hating me, but I feel pretty comfortable in the room. I try to stay even-keeled, whether it's third-and-18 and we're down by 21 points, it's third-and-three and we're going in for the game-winning touchdown, or we're up 21 points, I try to be calm, cool and collected. Because you're the guy that's calling the plays, and 10 other sets of eyes are staring at you. They're waiting to hear what they're supposed to do. If you don't have it, you have to at least look like you know what you're doing and look like you're cool. I guess I've accomplished at least looking like I know what I'm doing.

Q: How many bets do you have going for the USC-Ohio State game?CP:

It's been tough to find a bet. (Paul) Daugherty didn't show up today. He's the only bet I made. We don't have any Ohio State guys on the team. Mike Vrabel won't call me and place a bet. There's a number of guys I know who don't want to mess with a bet. No matter what the spread is, people are worried.

Q: How about a bet with Mike Brown?CP:

I'm not going to make a bet with him. I'm going to pass on that one.

Q: You said that the team has broken down the film; are you guys going back to the fundamentals?CP:

We broke down every play of the game. We came in the day after the game and went through why we made which errors and how to improve them. And like I said, it wasn't that we weren't strong enough to physically to move people. We're strong enough, it's just that we were a split-second late, a step the wrong way. Our head's not in the right place, our shoulder isn't turned the right way, whatever the situation is, we looked at it all and we saw where we got beat, why we got beat and how not to get beat.
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