Head Coach Bill O'Brien**
(opening statement) "Just on the injury front, I would say that Brandon Brooks would be closer to a game-time decision. I'd say Derek Newton will try to go tomorrow, so that'd be a day-to-day deal there. Akeem Dent, Benardrick McKinney, Cecil Shorts, those guys, and Kareem Jackson, those guys will be out for the game. Then J.J. (Watt) I believe is day-to-day but I believe he'll be able to play in the game. (Jadeveon) Clowney was back at practice. I think he feels better. With that, I'll open it to questions."
(on what he can do as a coach that he hasn't already tried) "Well you have to really look at what you're doing schematically, meeting-wise, how you're teaching things. Obviously there's, based on the last game, I'm not going to revisit it here today, but there's a lot of things that aren't working. We have to figure out how we can teach it better, what we can do differently, practice-wise, all those things."
(on how he keeps players' confidence up) "I'm around these guys, I'm not saying that I have the market cornered on reading their mindset and all that, but I believe we have a team that's confident in their own abilities and we've had two good days of practice, worked very hard in practice. The guys have had a lot of energy, they've been very attentive in meetings, so I think our team will be ready to go on Sunday."
(on if OLB Jadeveon Clowney seemed like he had good energy today) "Yeah, yes he did."
(on if OLB Jadeveon Clowney is more comfortable in a three-point stance than the two-point stance and if they plan to keep him there) "Yeah, I don't know. We look at both of those and I think it's similar. I think that we give him the choice in certain things, certain packages to be able to go from a two, go from a three, kind of give him the freedom on that. It's kind of what he's comfortable with, so I don't read too much into that."
(on their 3-4 defense often times looking like a 4-3) "Oh yeah, sometimes we're in a 3-4 where we're a true 3-4 where we're two-gapping, sometimes we're in a four-down front where we're one-gapping. We've studied all that and tried to come up with what we think is best."
(on something he knows the team has done well that they will continue to do well) "I think at times during the year there are many things that we've done well. I think there's times where we've run the ball very well. I think there's times where we've stopped the run well. I think there's times where we've been in the passing game, we've been very consistent. Clearly it hasn't been enough. I get that. I understand that. I think the biggest thing is that we have to start these games better. We've got to go out there and be ready to go right from the start. Part of that is my job. Part of that is the players' job. They have to start the game better. Most of these games we've played we haven't started very well, and I think a lot of it has to do with that. We have to be ready to go at the beginning of this game on Sunday."
(on if the slow starts are due to execution or play calling) "I mean, it depends on who we're playing. I'll tell you that. I don't think that we look – when we go back and look – maybe generally, conceptually we'll look at things we did, but overall it's who we're playing and how we think they're going to start the game, how does it match up, if we put this out there, what do we think they're going to do on both sides of the ball, those types of things. Then it determines whether it's a throw or a run or if it's a check with me type play. I don't know how much we look into that. It's more about the future and who we're playing on Sunday and what they're going to do."
(on if he feels like they've done a good job of keeping other teams off balance in play calling) "Obviously not, no. That's why we're 2-5."
(on if he sees the Titans defensive improvement this season being a sign of Assistant Head Coach / Defense Dick LeBeau) "Yeah, I mean Coach LeBeau obviously being there has brought some of what they did at Pittsburgh to Tennessee, but what you see is (Defensive Coordinator) Ray Horton and what he's been able to do in this league. Ray Horton is a very good defensive coordinator. They're playing very well on defense. It's a big, big challenge for us, but yeah, you see some things that Coach LeBeau would have brought from Pittsburgh."
(on how disruptive Tennessee's pass rushers are) "Yeah, they're pass rush is good. (Jurrell) Casey does a good job, (Brian) Orakpo, (Derrick) Morgan, I mean they move guys around like you said. They bring guys in as pass rushers. The kid from Iowa comes in and rushes on the inside. They've got good pass rushers. They've got a good scheme on third down where they show you a lot of different looks. We're going to have to have a real good day of communication and everybody being on the same page."
(on what the difference is with the special teams now and how they've improved from earlier this season) "I think that the guys are doing a better job. I think we've made some personnel changes on special teams that've helped us. We've got some guys on those teams that are playing well right now. I thought (Keith) Mumphery did a decent job. I thought some of our defensive guys went out there and covered kicks really well for us. Charles James obviously, that was a big personnel move for us as it relates to special teams, played well in the game. I think a lot of that has to do with the players and their ability to improve and do a better job."
Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel
(on how he would describe the first half of last week's game) "It's just hard to describe what happened, giving up the big plays to start the game, that early in the game, that many big plays and kind of the way they occurred. I don't ever recall being a part of that before. You have to try as best as you can to hold the guys together, keep them together and then try to make a little progress, small progress, small steps to try to get it back under control and then try to settle them down and try to play some decent defense. That was the difficult part."
(on how you get better defensive play back so quick) "All of these guys, they understand football. They know that you got to take good angles, they know that you got to break down to tackle, they know that you have to wrap up to tackle and so you go back and try to keep reinforcing that and try to get more people to the ball. Then sometimes if a guy misses a tackle, there is somebody else there to help him, so one guy missing a tackle or making a play that he's not happy with kind of gets covered up because there are other guys who are around and they are able to make the play. Last week, we quite didn't have that. One guy missed the tackle and then the guy is in the end zone. Sometimes, it's a function of coverage, a couple of times it's a function of angle and not breaking down and those kind of things. You have to try to get it back and that's one thing about this business is that as long as you have games to play, you've got something to talk to those guys about getting ready to play the next game. That's what we have tried to focus on. We have corrected the mistakes and showed them the mistakes and tried to focus on getting guys to the ball and all of that, but then you get to the next game and you'll see what kind of progress you have made as far as that goes. Hopefully, we have made enough progress to win a game."
(on if OLB Jadeveon Clowney played his best game last week) "Well, probably this year as far as stats go. But like I tell you, he is still a rookie and he still makes some rookie mistakes because he doesn't have enough playing experience, but I think that as he gains playing experience, we will see him perform better and be able to get more sacks, more tackles, because he will put himself in better position overall."
(on having OLB Jadeveon Clowney playing down on the line) "That's what he played in college and so a lot of times when you get onto the field, you revert back to what you know because a lot of times defensive guys are reactive guys. We will continue to mix it with him, but if he can make impact plays, then we will put him in position to make impact plays."
(on the difference in preparation for Titans QB Marcus Mariota compared to QB Zach Mettenberger) "Mariota is a guy that has great running ability and that is one of the things that you have to be concerned about there, because if you let him outside the pocket, he'll turn it into a 20-yard gain himself. You have to keep him in the pocket and then I think that he is still learning that offense and that system and he is a guy who goes through his progressions that they have taught him, so he spreads the ball around a little bit. Mettenberger has a big strong arm and he wants to use his arm. Not that Mariota doesn't have an arm, but Mettenberger wants to use his arm because he has a big strong arm. I think that's the main difference between the two."
(on what's happening that is turning a routine play into longer plays) "Well, we were just mentioning that there are several things a lot of times that happens. Guys take poor angles sometimes, we don't get enough guys around the football and sometimes it is left to one guy to make a play and if that guy makes a mistake, then it turns into a big run. We have been concentrating on trying to get more guys off blocks so that one guy is not left on that island and has to do it all by himself."
(on how much does missing CB Kareem Jackson hurt the team) "You always want your veteran players with experience to be there to help you, but you know, this is a team sport and it's hard to rely on one guy. You have to rely on the team and everybody has to do their part to help and try to get it better and get it fixed so you can make plays and win the game."
(on the play of FS Rahim Moore and NT Vince Wilfork and if he trusts Moore on an island as a single-high safety) "The single-high safety, when the ball gets to him, he is one of those guys who is on that island that you have to be able to make some plays. We are trying to keep the ball from getting to him on the island because the island he is on is a pretty big island. At the line of scrimmage, the island is a little bit smaller island because you have more guys around that can help. We are trying not to let the ball get to that big island. If the ball gets to the big island, he has to make the play and if he doesn't, then what happens is you get some bad results."
(on what OLB Jadeveon Clowney is doing best) "Using his instincts, his frame, he has a tall frame and that impacts the quarterback. I think he has deceptive strength with blockers who are trying to block him. He has some quickness to slip a block and so all of those things he uses in the game."
(on if they plan to give more 4-3 looks or stick with the 3-4) "Well we're a 3-4 base, but we have some multiplicity within the scheme and so what we try to do is try to do what we think is best and try to put players in a position to make plays. If (Jadeveon) Clowney continues to be a playmaker, then we're going to put him in position and give him the opportunity to make more plays."
(on if linebackers not getting to their landmarks was an issue last week) "I don't know that that was totally an issue there. I think it was more angles, players not taking proper angles because a 13-yard pass turns into a 50-something-yard touchdown, so if you take good angles, you should be able to make a tackle before that becomes a touchdown. We weren't doing some of those things in the game."
RB Alfred Blue
(on if he feels ready to be the main ball carrier again) "Yeah, I mean I feel like I've always been taught next man up so you've got to be ready to go."
(on if he has a different mindset now that he's the starting back) "No, I mean I approach practice with the mindset of going out there and executing the plays with the best of my ability. That's the mindset I'm having going into the game."
(on if his previous success will help him going forward) "It helps a lot, knowing that you've been there before, so you go in there more confident and you have a better mindset approaching the game."
(on having the possibility of earning a chance to be the long-term starter for this team) "Yeah, I mean but you've got to take it one game at a time. Right now I'm focusing on the Titans."
(on this being a great opportunity) "It is a great opportunity."
(on what he feels like makes him most suited to be the primary running back) "I think I'm very versatile. I can do a lot of things. I'm a big back with speed and power. I think the coaches can use me in a lot of different ways versus different guys."
(on if he feels like he gets into a rhythm when he gets more carries) "Yeah, I mean, that's with any back. You give them the ball enough times, eventually they're going to get into the flow of the game and they're going to make great runs."
(on the Titans run defense) "They're very good up front. 99, (Jurrell) Casey, we've got to get a hat on him. (Brian) Orakpo, we've got to get a hat on the big guys up front. If we can do that, then we can get to the next level."
OLB Jadeveon Clowney
(on how big of a deal it was to get his first sack last week) "That wasn't a big deal. We were down 41 to nothing, man. I'm just like, 'This is the worse time to get a sack in this situation' but I was happy about it."
(on Head Coach Bill O'Brien saying he's almost like a rookie and if he feels that way) "Yeah, I still think so at times. I was telling the guys that I still feel like a rookie at times because I've never played this many games in a season in the NFL yet, so being out there now eight games in, it feels great. I still got a lot of games left to play."
(on if it's frustrating to miss practice) "Yeah, it's always frustrating when you're missing and you're missing a lot of time. It's very frustrating. I try to be here all the time and be attentive all the time and be a part of the team. But when you're sick, it doesn't help that."
(on why the Texans have given up big plays) "Just got to make tackles. We've got to tackle more. A lot of missed tackles going on. We all got to rally to the ball and gang tackle. Everybody's got to get to the ball, not just one guy."
(on his progress) "I feel like I'm getting better and better each week that I keep playing. I'm just going to keep striving to get better and better each week."
(on if he is more comfortable in a three-point stance) "I don't care. I just line up how I feel at the time and go."
(on what he needs to work on) "My hands a lot more. I say the same thing every time you ask me that. I've got to keep working on my hands and learn to use my hands a lot better than I have been."
(on what he was dealing with and how he feels today) "I have no clue, man. Just a normal cold, I guess. But I'm feeling a lot better than I did yesterday."
(on the Titans offense) "They got a one-two punch in the running game. They got a fast guy and they got a power back. They've got good, core tight end guys. We've got to set the edge on those guys, funnel the ball back inside, and make tackles."
(on Titans QB Marcus Mariota) "He can run. We've got to contain him, keep him in the pocket. We know he can run. He came from Oregon. He's a pretty fast quarterback. We've got to try and keep him the pocket and make him beat us there."
(on the Titans offensive line) "They're alright. I think their tight ends help them out a lot. They stay in to help them out a lot and they do a lot of chipping I've seen. Like I said, we've just got to get after them, after their guys up front, and do what we can do. Try to put our DBs in a good situation to help cover them long, keep the quarterback in the pocket, and make him make bad decisions."
(on getting national attention in college after his play against Michigan and Titans T Taylor Lewan) "No, I think it was before that."
(on Titans T Taylor Lewan) "He's a good guy. I think he's one of the best offensive lineman they got. He's very active and moves pretty good to be a tackle. We've just got to work, get after him and work him."
(on if Titans T Taylor Lewan is feisty) "Yeah, he's very feisty. That's football, man. It's football. In between those lines, you go at anybody. After the game and before the game, you can talk to them and do all that."
(on becoming a father) "It's going good except for at night time. No, it's wonderful. Good experience for me. Just watching him grow every day is the thing I get to enjoy the most out of the whole thing."
(on if the baby has gained some weight) "They took him to the doctor the other day. I can't remember what he was. I didn't go."
(on if the baby sleeps well) "In the day time, he sleeps all day. He's up all night. He's got his days and nights mixed up right now. We're trying to change that."
(on what kind of sleeper he is) "I'm all night. Nine o'clock, 10 o'clock, I'm asleep."
ILB Brian Cushing
(on Rodney Harrison saying some players "loafed" on some plays against Miami) "I don't really believe that. I know one play in particular he's talking about, obviously could have played a lot harder, thought he was out of bounds, that's why I was in that situation in the first place or else I would have run a lot harder to the ball. That's a player I respect a lot. I hear his opinion, but I definitely don't think I'm a player that loafs. I play every play of every game. I'm the last guy probably to loaf or come out of a game ever."
(on if it bothers him that people are saying that about him) "No, it doesn't bother me. Everyone's got an opinion. Everyone's got an opinion and when you're losing, everyone's going to say some stuff. I'm going to play the way I play and that's relentless and 100 percent all the time. It doesn't bother me. It doesn't motivate me either because I know how I play and nothing is going to motivate me at this point in my career besides playing the way I do and that's 100 percent all the time."
(on which play it was that he thought the player was going out of bounds agaisnt Miami) "It was the long touchdown, the long run after the catch. Obviously I was frustrated with myself and the result of the play. Knowing what I know now, I obviously would have gone after the play a lot harder."
(on OLB Jadeveon Clowney saying Cushing has been the most helpful to him in his development) "Really just share my experience with him. I've played for a good amount of time now. I've been through a lot of things and a lot of similar situations in which he's been in. Anything I can share with him, I have and I know it's a big transition too. Really he was a defensive end in college and now he comes into a linebacker in the NFL. Definitely a big transition and like I said, anything I can do or say to help him, I will."
(on how he thinks OLB Jadeveon Clowney is progressing) "Good, good. I think he's had little injuries here and there this year, but when he's out there, he helps us tremendously. He's a good football player and he's definitely a force, definitely a player that offenses need to know where he is at all times and can help us big time."