Head coach Gary Kubiak and players spoke to the media during open locker room and after practice on Wednesday afternoon.
**Head coach Gary Kubiak
(on things happening quickly for QB Vince Young)** "Anytime a young quarterback steps in his first year and is able to start winning football games the way he has done, that is the toughest thing to do. I was with one of the greatest of all times and I watched what he went through as a rookie. This is a league that doesn't lend itself to rookies very much, so what he's been doing for his football team has been very impressive."
(on the threat Young poses to the defense) "All you have to do is look at last week. On third downs, he left the pocket seven or eight times and kept them on the field offensively. In this league, that is what you want your quarterback to do, you have to be able to keep us on the field and make some plays on third down and that's what he's been doing for his team. Probably even more impressive is that he's been doing some of those things late in games, to win games when it's at its toughest moments. He's been all around impressive, as they have been as a team."
(on the Titans' defense) "I think that is one of the reasons they have been playing so well the last five or six weeks because I think their defense is playing extremely well too. And getting (DT Albert) Haynesworth back, who is one of the best inside players in the game, presents a lot of problems for us. We did not face him last time, so we've got some issues to deal with up front. They have a back end that makes big plays. You throw the ball and Pacman (Jones) gets his hands on a ball and an interception or something and it may turn into points. They present a lot of problems for us and getting that big time player back for them has been a big help."
(on G Steve McKinney) "He was beat up in camp and he was not healthy. He did not practice much and as we got going, we felt like Fred (Weary) started to play very well. Through the course of the year when Steve did come in and play, he got nicked up again. I can't remember exactly what it was, but missed a little bit more time. And really, Fred just started to play well and Chester (Pitts) has had a good, solid year and been there ever week. Steve did play a little bit last week, but Steve is definitely not an afterthought, he is probably the future of this football team. He is very valuable from the fact that he can play center and he can play guard. But it's just worked out that way, but it has nothing to do with any other reason."
(on if it is still physical with McKinney) "No, he's fine right now. He could start tomorrow and play the whole game. I think he is as healthy as he's been, but I feel like Fred (Weary) has earned the right to be in there and Chester (Pitts) has earned the right to be in there and we want to take a hard look at (Drew) Hodgdon at center. Those are the reasons that has happened, no other reason."
(on what he wants to see from QB David Carr this week) "There is a big deal being made out of the game because of the situation and who we're playing. But it is one of 16 (games) and for our team to win he's got to do good things. I want him to let last week go and come back and find a way to help this team win this week."
(on how hard it is for Carr to let it go) "You better be able to do that if you're going to play quarterback in this league, because if things linger on for you and if you can't let a good one go and come back and do it the next week or let a bad one go and come back and do it again next week, the consistency of your career is going to be tough. I think he's done that this year, he's shown me that, he had a rough time last time we played these guys, but came back the next week and played a pretty good football game in New York and he needs to come back this week and do the same."
(on WR Jerome Mathis becoming more a part of the offense) "He got a few plays last week. I was concerned to work him in, but he looks better today, so I think you'll see him more and more on the field."
(on Carr's response the last few days) "He is fine. That is a tough thing to go through, that is tough really for the whole offense to go through what we went through last week. That is part of playing that position and playing in this league and the best thing you can do is get back on the field and we got back to work today."
(on RB Chris Taylor) "We have activated him already. We did that today. Derrick Lewis was released yesterday and Chris was activated. We hope to bring Derrick back to the practice squad."
(on the offensive line) "It will be the same. We did not protect well last week at all and those guys have to come back and play better. We did play pretty well in the running game and that was the difference late in the game. I think Drew (Hodgdon) did do some good things and he needs to continue to progress. Eric (Winston) did play against a great player and found out what it's all about. He's got to come back and play against another good one this week."
(on if RB Ron Dayne earned a start this week) "No, we'll keep doing what we're doing. Wali (Lundy) and Ronnie will play, and I hope to get Chris (Taylor) involved here at some point."
(on Taylor participating in kickoff returns) "He will definitely be a part of special teams. I don't think he'll return kicks, the guy back there made a pretty big play, so I think we'll stay with what we've got."
(on Dayne's performance) "I think he is as healthy as he's been. He wasn't healthy when he got here. It was a big week for Ronnie. We've got him and we've got Samkon (Gado) and we want to look at Chris (Taylor) and we've got Wali (Lundy). There are four guys right there, and in all honesty, that game was very big for Ronnie and he knew that and he rose to the occasion and said 'I can still do this and help this team win'. It was impressive."
DE Jason Babin
(on what Tennessee is doing well right now)"Really the biggest thing is that their quarterback is running on third down. Against Indianapolis he got them several conversions and they weren't short ones either, they were long ones."
(on what challenges a running quarterback present) "The obvious ones, containing him from running."
(on changes in the Titans offense from the first game) "They've worked on some of his tendencies that (Vince Young) had in college where he showed different things. You can tell that they've worked on those things from then until now."
**QB David Carr
(on his feelings after last week's game) "Yeah, I just want to get another game. Any time you're not productive, you're trying to help your team win. It was exciting to win a game and the plane ride home was sweet, but yeah, you want to feel like you helped a little bit." **
(on his feelings in the second half of the Oakland game)"Yeah, but at the same time, you've got to understand what our strength was that day and we started to run the football well and they didn't seem like they wanted to stop it. The offensive linemen definitely were having fun pounding on those guys, so I was all for it and it won us a football game, so I'm happy."
(on if he was surprised at the team's struggles in the passing game last week)"Yeah, but at the same time, we realized that it was going to be a tough task. They're not ranked number one in pass defense for no reason; they were shutting some people down. They gave it to the Steelers early on in the season and they ended up turning it over one too many times and lost the football game there. About halfway through the game, I realized it was going to be one of those football games, and good enough for us, our running game kind of came through and our defense came through and we got a win."
(on whether the Texans are looking for payback against the Titans) "You always want to win a game every time you play, regardless of who it's against, but we feel like we've played these guys multiple times in the past. We feel like we've won our share, they've won their share, but we can win. There's no reason why we can't go out there and win a football game on Sunday, but they're thinking the same thing. That's why you play."
(on the talk of this week's game being Vince Young vs. David Carr) "If Vince plays defense, then we could say that; if I played defensive end, then maybe, but I'm looking at (LB) Keith Bulluck and I'm looking at (DT) Robaire Smith, and they've got (DT) Albert Haynesworth back. Those guys are the guys that we've got to worry about on defense. So until one of us plays on the field at the same time (as the other), then you've got a story."
(on how much DT Albert Haynesworth changes the Titans defense) "He's a good player. He can disrupt. He's always been that way; he's a guy that can just anchor down right there at that three technique and move people around and give you some fits, so he can single-handedly stop the run also, so we've got to be aware of that. They've got a good defense playing with some confidence, so we've got a good test."
(on the talk about Titans QB Vince Young coming home to Houston this weekend)"You've got to realize what's going on. The guy is coming home to where he played high school football, and it'd be the same thing if I was going home, too. I can understand that. I went out to the Raider game and everyone said it was going to be a terrible crowd, and I had people cheering for me when I walked out there, and that's probably never happened to an opposing quarterback. It's just one of those deals where it's going to happen, so you've just got to go out and play a football game, really."
(on whether it will bother him if the crowd cheers for Young)"There's going to be a lot of number 10 jerseys in the stands, and they're probably not going to be (Texans QB) Bradlee Van Pelt, so it's going to be cool. We're just going to go play a game."* *
(on what Tennessee has done well in their recent winning streak)"They've been playing some guys that are in the playoff hunt. What those teams have done, too, and obviously Tennessee has taken advantage of it, but those teams have kind of self-destructed. That's kind of the thing that we have to get away from. We weren't able to get the Raiders to do that, but they did that to us where they turned it over more times than we did and we ended up winning that game. It's going to be the same thing as when we went up there. I turned the ball over too many times and they ended up getting a lead that we couldn't come back from, so that's how it is every week. We just have to find a way to go out and play our game and we're good enough to win."* *
(on how the Texans can get the passing game going again)"Honestly, obviously I don't want to go out there and throw for thirty-something yards again, but I want to win more than anything else. If it means that we've got to go out there and run the football like we did on Sunday, I'll take it, honestly. Yeah, you want to go out there and be productive, and you've got guys in the passing game that want to be productive as well. (WR) Andre (Johnson) wants to get his catches and (WR) Eric (Moulds) and those guys want to help our team, so we're going to do everything we can."* *
(on if it's easier said than done to forget last week's performance)"Yeah, it is, but you've got to do it. If I've learned anything, it's that if you hang on to a game too long, you've got another team coming up in six or seven days that are ready to take you out again, so you've got to worry about this defense more than my feelings."
(on Tennessee's defense being better than their statistics would indicate)"They're opportunistic. They find a way to get that ball out. That's what they've done these last couple of games to be able to climb back like that. Their defense has found a way to get some turnovers, their special teams has put them in some great positions, and they've taken advantage of it on offense, so we just can't give them many of those plays and we're good enough to win."
(on how he's gotten through the criticism he's faced recently)"Just in these last couple of days, it makes you appreciate the friends and the family that you've got that are around you when sometimes you take that for granted. I know that Thanksgiving's already passed, but I've got some real good friends on this team and I've got some family members that really care, and just some friends and family members just around this country that are definitely pulling for me. You don't really find out when you win a couple of games and you do well; you find out when you have a tough one even though we won, so it's been good."* *
(on whether last Sunday was the lowest point of his career)"It's hard for me to say it was the lowest because we won, but it was tough for me because I didn't feel like obviously we didn't produce enough in the passing game to win. But there have been some low points where we have lost some games and it's been a while to get over that, but winning this game and seeing the smiles on the rest of my teammates' faces, that'll light you up pretty quick."**
SS Glenn Earl**
(on QB Vince Young) "You can tell he's getting more comfortable, having a lot more fun. He's celebrating after making plays."
(on defending a running quarterback) "If you watch the previous games, they've had a lot of success with him taking off running on third down and as a defense you're always trying to get off (the field ) on third down and he's making a lot of plays with his feet. A lot of times, the challenge is to stay in coverage and not come off the receivers too quick. He's a weapon; he's like a running back back there."
(on comparing Young to another player) "I guess Randall Cunningham. He's a long strider, big guy, he's a good player."
**WR Andre Johnson
(on improving the offense this week)** "We just have to go out and make plays. That's pretty much the bottom line. Just go out and make plays and not turn the ball over or make mistakes to set us back. If you do that then you'll go out and win games."
(on whether the pass game could dominate this week over the run) "I think it's possible, but you just don't want to have what happened last week to ever happen again."
(on how frustrating it was last week to run the ball on almost every play) "It gets frustrating because you are a wide receiver, you want them to throw the ball. But that's what was working good for us so you just have to go out and do what you can do on the run plays to help spring the running back."
(on attacking Tennessee's defense) "There are plays to be made. If you look at the film you see other teams make plays on them. Like I said, we just need to go out and try to play a perfect game and that is not going to happen, but you want to go out and make plays and not do things to put yourself in bad situations. They've been playing good football and when teams have lost games against them, they've put themselves in bad situations so you try to get yourself out of those situations."
(on whether this is a big game for QB David Carr) "Me as a player, if I was in that situation, that's something you can't let bother you. You can't control what other people say, you just have to go out and play for your team. You can't worry about what people say. That's something I don't worry about. I just go out and play and let my play take care of what people say about me. I think David will take that approach."
(on having just one catch last week) "It's frustrating, but you have a new week now. You just have to come out and prepare and not have the things happen that happened last week. We are working and we're going to try and come out and have a big performance on Sunday."
WR Eric Moulds
(on whether it feels like the team is really coming off a win) "A win is a win in this league so it feels like a win and you're happy to get a win so it's a plus for us. At the same time, last week is last week and we have to move on. This is going to be a fun game to play in with all of the different circumstances of the game. But at the same time we have to take care of our business and not worry about what the other team is doing."
(on bouncing back in the pass game) "We didn't have a good showing offensively as a group passing the football so you get an opportunity this week to go out and show what you can do."
(on how QB David Carr is handling this week) "I think he has to go out and play his game. He can't get caught up in this is Vince Young versus David Carr and this and that. He's just got to go out and play well. We didn't have a good showing last week and like I said before we have an opportunity now to go out and show what we can do. I know Andre (Johnson) and myself are up for the challenge and we just have to go out there and play."
(on Titans' corners) "When you get pressure with your front four, that makes your secondary a lot better. I think that's what's happening, they put so much pressure on your quarterback, he's having to make throws he normally wouldn't. Those guys are just making play. Normally you have corners that can't plays on the ball and can't catch, but these guys can catch the ball and make plays. That's what they're doing."
DE Antwan Peek
(on Titans QB Vince Young)"As he matures and becomes a more mature quarterback, he will be that guy that's scary, but for right now, he's still a young guy and he's still learning, and we as a defense and as a team have to take advantage of that youngness in him."* *
(on what he's seen of Young's progress since the first time the two teams played this year)"A little bit; it looked like they almost hired the Texas coach with the things that they've got him doing back there, but that's good on their part. They're giving him the opportunity to do things more for himself and create things like he did down at Texas, and like I said, we have to stop him from doing that."**
LB DeMeco Ryans**
(on his performance last week at Oakland)"It was great stats and it was by far one of the most complete games I've ever played since I've been playing football; one of my best games ever, I want to say."
(on how much film he watches each week)"I don't know. It's hard to say. It depends, I watch film after practice for about an hour every day and at home Friday nights I pretty much watch film a lot. It varies. I don't know exactly how many hours."* *
(on what he's seen in Titans QB Vince Young on film)"We're going to have to stop him from beating us with his feet and running. He does a great job on third down of getting the first down by running and making a couple of guys miss and keeping the drive alive with his feet. It's been a big problem for a lot of teams that have been playing against him. You get them in third and short and you think he's going to drop back and throw the ball, but everyone's covered and he takes it down and runs for the first down. It's going to be pretty tough for us."
(on QB Vince Young's status) "I don't think he's getting too much hype. The guy is a special talent. Right now his poise out there an his play-making ability is getting him over the hump. He deserves all the credit he's getting."
(on Young's improvement from the first game) "They are using his legs a lot more, especially on third down. When they need a play to stay on the field, he's going out there and making plays with his legs, that's the biggest difference we've seen."