Capers quotes (10/18)

(Opening statements) "Yesterday's game was really another positive step for our football team. I think it takes a real special focus to go on the road and win in the NFL. Our last two road trips involved going to Arrowhead Stadium and The Coliseum. I think they're two of the toughest places in the league to go in and play. Those teams have had excellent home winning records. The fans really get into the game. They are loud, noisy and disruptive places to play. We felt it was going to be very important going into the game yesterday that we start hot, based off the fact the week before we had gotten down 14-0 at halftime and 21-0 before we started our comeback in the Viking game. I like the way our team started. We went out and took the opening kickoff 73 yards down the field. We didn't score the touchdown but we did kick a field goal. Our defense came out and we went interception, interception and three-and-out (on Houston's first three defensive stands). In the first quarter we controlled the time of possession; ten-and-a-half minutes to four-and-a-half minutes, which I felt was critical. When you start like that, it takes the fans out of the game. I think for much of the game, we managed to take the fans out of the game. We knew yesterday would be a physical game, basically because of Tennessee's philosophy. They believe in running the ball on offense and stopping the run on defense. They are a team that came into game yesterday leading the NFL in time of possession with over 34 minutes in time of possession, which was a minute better than any other team. I liked the fact that we were able to go into Tennessee and win the time of possession battle. We had the ball for about 32:30 to their 27:30. Part of that was the fact that we ran the ball 32 times, and many times for not a lot of yardage. We had 32 runs for 98 yards and they had 18 runs for 68. That does not include the quarterbacks (rushing). We did run the ball over 30 times and we did a good job of stopping their run game, which had been the staple of their offense and we were able to make big plays in our passing game, we averaged 8.8 yards per pass. One of the key points in the game was that we didn't give up any big pass plays, when you compare that to a year ago when we were up there and gave up a number of big pass plays. They only averaged 4.9 yards per pass. When you do that and you get the four takeaways, and you only turn the ball over twice, and you're plus-two in the takeaway-giveaway, it's a winning combination.

"To me, the most significant difference in our football team from the first two games to the last four games, when you think back to the San Diego and Detroit games, we turned the ball over seven times and we only had one takeaway. We were minus-six after two games. In the last four games, we've turned the ball over four times and we've gotten 10 takeaways. We are plus-six (in the last four games). Finally, we've climbed back to even. I think our team knows the importance of taking care of the ball and taking the ball away. It was very evident in the game yesterday.

"I thought our special teams continued to do a good job. I thought Kris Brown has been very consistent. He was yesterday, with a 21-yard and a 50-yard field goal. I thought his kickoff into the end zone late in the game was a big factor. We ended up winning the drive-start battle, 27-yard line and 21-yard line. We had a plus-six-yard advantage there. I think our kickoff coverage has been good and Kris has a lot to do with that with the kicks. We need to improve in our kickoff return. It's not where we want it. We didn't have any special teams penalties, which is always big, we didn't allow any big plays and we made a couple big plays. We forced them to start on the one-yard line and the two-yard line with drives, that's always critical, with an outstanding punt and then when they fumbled a kickoff.

"On offense, I like the consistency we're developing, in terms of making big plays. David, again, completed over 60 percent of his passes. His quarterback rating was 92.8. Probably the biggest difference in our offense right now, compared to the first two years, was the first year we had 18 big pass plays and the second year we had 19 big pass plays in 16 games. After six games this season we have 18 big plays. We have the same number of big pass plays this season that we did for the whole first season and one less than all of last season. To me, that is significant. It's a fact that our team is maturing, we're throwing the ball up the field better and our receivers are doing a good job, as you saw yesterday. We continue to make big plays and the big thing is that they are spread out. Corey Bradford opened up early with a 47-yarder over the top and you saw Jabar Gaffney come back with a 30-yarder and Andre Johnson with a 29-yarder. Anytime you can average 8.8 yards per pass, that gives you a good chance.

"We continue to be decent on third and fourth down. We were 46 percent there. I thought we played well during crunch time. I think our team has been good in the fourth quarter, through the season. We had to go out and we went nine plays and 65 yards for the touchdown to put the score at 20-10. At that point and time, when it's 13-10, it's anyone's football game. It was nice to have that 10-point lead after that.

"We have to protect the ball. We threw an interception with the ball on the 36-yard line and we had a fumble at the 50-yard line. Their only touchdown came after one of our turnovers, down to the 32-yard line after the fumble. We have to continue to work on our running game. We only averaged 2.6 per rush. We have to work to get that up. In our short-yardage, there was the one third-and-one situation that we didn't convert and you'd like to always be able to convert those. We were sitting down there, in field-goal range, and we had to kick the field goal. We only had one penalty on offense, which was very positive. It was the second play, where we had a false start. After that we didn't have a penalty the rest of the game. As a team we only had four penalties.

"Defensively, every week we have certain areas we emphasize. I'll say this, we played well in all the areas that we emphasized going into this game, starting with taking the ball away. We had four interceptions. If you get four interceptions in a game and you're plus-two, it goes a long way toward helping you win the football game. We talked about controlling the run game. Chris Brown had a tremendous start in the first five games and they were averaging about 150 yards per game. They had 18 rushing attempts by their backs for 68 yards. McNair ran the ball four times for 33. We talked about not giving up big plays. In the four times we played this team prior to this last game, we did a real good job the first time against them in not giving up big plays, last year up there we gave up a number of big plays and we were out of the game before it got to the second quarter. We did our best job in getting off the field on third and fourth down. We talked about controlling and disrupting their pass game. Our quarterback rating was 92.8, theirs was 30.6, and that comes from the interceptions and not giving up big plays. I thought our defense took a real step yesterday.

"It's nice to have the bye week this week. It gives us a chance to get some guys healthy and step back and look at ourselves and what we've done the first six games before we have the next division game against Jacksonville on Battle Red Day. Developing as a team, and into a winning team is a process. It's not an easy process. It's one that you hope you're always going like this. Sometimes you have to take a step back before you take a step forward. I compare our situation to climbing a ladder, you have to take it one step at a time. I thought yesterday was a real positive step. Being able to go on the road, win a division game, be 1-0 in the division, 3-3 going into the bye week, we can go back and take a good look at ourselves before we have Jacksonville come in here for another big division game.

"As far as the injury situation, we'll hold 12 players out of practice tomorrow. Our schedule this week is that we're going to practice tomorrow and Wednesday. I made a deal with our team that if we won this game, I would give them an extra day off. They opted out of the Thursday practice by winning the game yesterday. Tomorrow we'll have Corey Bradford, David Carr, Domanick Davis, Glenn Earl, Andre Johnson, Steve McKinney, Moran Norris, Jamie Sharper, Jason Simmons, Todd Wade, Zach Weigert and Kaillee Wong hold out of practice tomorrow. I do believe that if we were playing this week, a large majority of these guys would be available. Right now, if we had to play this week, Corey Bradford would be a question mark. He's getting an MRI today on his groin. Glenn Earl is improving, I'm not sure quite where he is yet. He'll do some running tomorrow. Jason Simmons is seeing Dr. Muntz today, with a concussion. Todd Wade is doing much better but will not be ready to practice either one of these next two days. On defense we have four guys (injured), on offense we have eight guys.

"That's why the bye week comes at a good time. It gives us a chance to get a number of these guys healthy and ready to go for a good full week of practice next week."

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