It's exciting, the home opener here against the Titans, a big day for the city and our fans and our football team. They're a very physical football team up front. They did a nice job of limiting Jacksonville in their runs and didn't give up an explosive play. They did a nice job in covering on the perimeter. Offensively, they were very effective in running the ball. Chris Johnson can really cut. He and LenDale (White) are a nice combination. Playing with Kerry Collins will make it a little different, but the guy is experienced. He's been in a Super Bowl game and has had success in the NFL. And the special teams are a well-coached group. It's a great challenge, and a good one for us to have right now at this point, seeing how in some of these areas we didn't play as well as we need to.
Q: Kerry Collins is a different style than Vince Young:ML:
Yeah, he has a different style. I'm sure there will still be some things, movement-wise. They can do what they want. It's their ability to call the plays. But I'm sure things will be slightly different. It's hard to know at the point of the second game of the year. You don't know where their focus has been this entire offseason. We'll see how it unfolds on Sunday.
Q: Do you see your offense improving its rhythm and timing?ML:
Yeah, we need to improve in those areas, and Sunday is a nice time to do it.
Q: How imperative is winning at home?ML:
It's very important, extremely important, to win at home. They don't count any more, but it's extremely important to win at home.
Q: Chris Johnson has Willie Parker speed:ML:
He's got good speed. It's just what we saw on tape when we evaluated him coming out in the draft. He's done a nice job. The game doesn't seem to have gotten too big for him. He's been in there right away, and playing good football. They're doing things to get the ball in his hands in an open field. So we've got to be really conscious of that and make sure we keep good leverages and run to the ball and get good fits.
Q: Will you be down to three corners?ML:
I think we'll be fine. I think we'll have five corners (able to play).
Q: Chinedum Ndukwe and Pat Sims returned to practice. A good feeling?ML:
Yes, but I can only put 45 guys out there on game day. I think we have a chance to have 51 healthy players at some point this week. But somewhere in that number, somebody's going to sit out. Everybody just assumes because the guy comes back, he is going to have an opportunity to play. But he's got to displace somebody. We've got a long way to go. I'll make that determination through the week."
Q: Any advice for fans on the ledge after the loss at Baltimore?ML:
Do what you've got to do. That's what the focus is. If you're a fan, then be a fan. You get to determine that.
Q: The head coach also has to be a psychologist; how do you motivate these players after such a tough loss?ML:
We just lost one game. Unfortunately for them, 16 teams lost a game this week. All you do is get back up and go. We lost one football game. Every time you go out here in the NFL, there's an opportunity to lose. If you don't play well enough, then you lose. That's what you get for it. You learn from it. You pull back together. You get back to work. You correct the things that need to be corrected. You try to do things more positively. The things that are positive, you keep trying to build upon and then you get ready, and you look at the opponent and see where we ailed this week.
We've got to overcome some injuries like we talked about, and so does everybody else. And as you get going, you just get back to work. You don't sit there and worry about it. Last week, it's gone. You don't get anything back from it. You learned a lesson. You got hit in the mouth and you didn't win the football game. We sat there in the fourth quarter, waiting to make a play. To make one offensive play, one offensive touchdown and we can win the game. We couldn't do it. So this week, let's score some points and let's win the football game. Plain and simple. That's what it comes down to.
We did a lot of good things, but not well enough where we could score points. And that's what counts. We had opportunities. We had third and one, we had fourth and one, we had field position. We had chances on defense to stop them, and we didn't get it done. We had chances in the kicking game to make bigger plays. We didn't get it done. We did a lot of good things. We downed some balls inside the 20, we tackled well on kickoff team, we punted the football as well as we have for a while We covered the punts, other than the one they hit us in the back at the point of attack. But lessons learned. You've got to come back and you've got to play.
It goes right back to those simple points, and you get it done. Somebody made the statement about cliches. Well, that's what it is. It's not a cliche. It's simple things. Simple facts. That's what you do. You go back to work and get better at the things you've got to get better at. This week will present new challenges, and that's what this is all about."
Q: How much different are they with Albert Haynesworth?ML:
Well, he's a fine player. I don't know if they're different. I don't think the guy that played behind him would say they're different. But Albert's a good player, and they've got the guy beside him playing well right now, Brown. They're doing a nice job. They've got good outside rushers. They roll their line through, like I said in here Monday. They do a good job. Keith Bulluck's a fine leader for them, too, the linebacker.
Q: You said the most disappointing thing last week was the fourth quarter:ML:
The fourth quarter, when they're four-out-of-five converting third downs and we don't, that's a big difference. When you allow them to keep the ball the last six minutes and ground up the yardage, 130 yards in rushing yardage, then that's ridiculous. That leaves you with a sour taste, leaves you as a coach feeling violated.
Q: You're facing a similar offense this week:ML:
They're a good running football team, very physical, know how to get after it. That's why I said it's a good thing to have on deck. You're in a slump, you want to go get that next one.
Q: Did your defense run out of gas in the fourth quarter?ML:
I don't think we ran out of gas. Our guys are skinny, as conditioned as they can be. Maybe there wasn't much meat left on the bone at times, but I don't think we ran out of gas. I think you've got to get to that point where you just do your job and not try to do more than your job, because you think what you do is going to help stop the drive, and then you end up creating a soft spot, and the guy falls for an extra three or four yards, and that three-yard gain ends up being six or seven. I think that was more the case than anything, and then they kept moving the chains. That makes a big difference -- being sound and disciplined in the heat of battle when you're facing adversity.
Q: How is Dexter Jackson?ML:
Dexter Jackson has an injured thumb.
Q: Talk about Antwan Odom's play:ML:
It was good to get him out there last week, to get him some snaps and get rolling. Obviously the first time out there (after being injured in preseason), you really get your conditioning checked out, because you've got the anxiousness and everything. It just burns. So that was good for him. I think this week, we'll get more snaps out of him. We'll see where we are health-wise. Whether he'll start, I don't know. Last week we started Frostee (Rucker). We'll see what we do this week, based on how we are at the end of the week. But it was good for Antwan to get going. We saw some things that showed why we brought him in here. He was able to show he can rush the passer, and that's a good thing. We'll see this week where we stand on him, lean on him a little more.
Q: He said he had to work on his conditioning.ML:
Yeah, that's a big part. You haven't played any football, any games, and you're out there on a day like that. You're going to get taxed early. We were able to split the snaps pretty well.
Q: Will Odom stay on a 'pitch count' this week?ML:
We'll see. I think the best thing is to see where we are, as our health goes, through the end of the week, and then make some determination about who we'll run out there. Obviously it's an important game for him. He's playing against his old buddies, his old teammates, so that's big.
Q: That puts a lot of pressure on Frostee:ML:
I try to keep a lot of pressure on Frostee. That's important.
Q: What did you think of Frostee's play last week?ML:
I thought Frostee played his best football that he's played here. I was very pleased when I watched the tape, and I hope he can continue to build upon that. That was good for him. He's been on scholarship for two years now (out with injuries), so it was good for him to get out there and have some production and make some plays. His technique was certainly as good as it's been. He has to be more consistent with it at all times, but I really thought he was a factor against the run. He's got to keep playing. The more you play, the better you get at some of those things. He hasn't had a lot of snaps here because of his injuries and his conditioning and some other things that he's had to overcome.
Q: But Frostee has another injury this week:ML:
Well, we'll see. He's nursing a sore foot right now. He wasn't able to work today, but hopefully he'll be able to work tomorrow on the field. We had a couple guys -- David Jones watched today, too. I said Dexter (Jackson) and Herana-Daze Jones. Did I miss one? I think there were five guys ... Kyle Cook was sick.