Head Coach Gary Kubiak** Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
WR Andre Johnson
FS Ed Reed
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on FS Ed Reed's status) "He was good. Probably took a little more than he did on this day last week. Continued improvement right there and we're probably working toward game day again. That's what I would say, but he actually practiced a little bit more than he did last week with the pads on."
(on if FS Ed Reed will likely be a game-time decision again) "I think so."
(on what he was looking for when he worked FS Ed Reed out before the game on Monday) "We really didn't work him out for the game this past week. We did him work him out, but, if we send a guy out there before a game and there's a decision to make by working him out, then we're just trying to put him through a few explosive movements and see how he holds up. Obviously, (General Manager) Rick (Smith's) out there with Kap (Head Athletic Trainer Geoff Kaplan). I'm busy doing other things and they come and give me their opinion about whether they think he's ready to go. We had kind of made that decision that morning on Ed, so we put him through an extensive workout that day. So that had nothing to do with whether he was going to be up or not."
(on if FS Ed Reed will start right away or if he'll be worked in when he's ready) "Yeah, that's where we're working. From a football standpoint, he's two weeks into it. He's really had two weeks, maybe a couple of extra days of football. He's right there going into his first preseason game this week so to speak in a lot of ways. I think the question right now is when is he ready for those first 25-30 plays? That's what we're trying to make a decision on, but he's making good progress. I just think we've got to keep going and keep preparing the way we're preparing and, when we get there, it will be a big plus."
(on if FS Shiloh Keo will start) "Yeah, Shiloh will start the game. If (FS) Ed (Reed) plays, like I said, it will be a percentage of the plays."
(on if FS Ed Reed would really come off the bench and play instead of being a starter) "It all depends what people are doing because, if we're playing somebody in nickel or what are we doing? There would obviously be a play count on him once this is ready to take place. And hopefully that's this week."
(on ILB Darryl Sharpton's status) "He's fine. He went through practice today with no problems and he's through with the protocol and he should be cleared this afternoon, ready to go."
(on Titans QB Jake Locker and how much you have to prepare for his mobility) "When plays break down, he can extend plays. I think what they've done, just looking, obviously we're all looking at one game, one regular season game, but they went and built their running game with a lot of their play-pass and boot in what they're doing. It's very quarterback friendly stuff. That's what you've got to do with a young player. You've got get his confidence going and help him out from that standpoint. I think they're doing a really good job at that, just looking at them offensively. What little bit I've looked at of them, I think they're doing a really good job from that standpoint. Last week was an indicator."
(on if there are any health issues with the team) "No, we're full at practice today. We're okay."
(on if DE J.J. Watt's quad issue is minor) "Yeah, coming out of the game, got a quad bruise. He was listed yesterday as limited. Yesterday was a jog through anyways. I think they were all limited yeste3rday."
(on TE Owen Daniels being listed on the injury report yesterday) "Same thing, just wear and tear. We're at that point with OD and it's been a couple of years, he's kind of the Andre's (WR Andre Johnson) workout deal. Owen's usually a two-day-a-week worker getting ready for the game. It's just normal."
(on if ILB Darryl Sharpton has passed the concussion protocol stages) "Coming out of practice today, he's fine. It was the last stage, so he will officially pass this evening some time."
(on how much is it FS Ed Reed's decision if he plays) "Well, I think we're having to listen to him a great deal because he's the one that has been through it, but I think we all get together. That's the way we've been doing it between Ed and I and Kap (Head Athletic Trainer Geoff Kaplan) and Ed's doctors and (General Manager) Rick (Smith). There's a lot of people involved in this process. For us, it was familiarizing ourselves with what he's been through before, but I think we're all a part of what's going on. When it's time to go, it'll be exciting, we'll be ready to go."
(on RBs Arian Foster and Ben Tate sharing carries and how they bond off the field) "They're very competitive, very professional in their work. They're always pushing each other on the field. That's what makes our team better."
(on how much he's worried about the Titans pass rush) "Yeah, I think that's a strength of their defense. They can go get the quarterback. They banged (Steelers QB) Ben (Roethlisberger) around last week. They can go get there. I think they do an excellent job of getting after the quarterback and knocking people down. I think it gets back to us running the ball. We're going to have to run the ball more and better than we did last week. Obviously, there were reasons why we didn't run it more last week, but it will be very importan.t We made a bunch of third-and-longs last week, third-and-18, third-and-13, to keep the game alive. We can't put ourselves in that position this week."
(on if he ever got clarification about the special teams penalty against San Diego on Monday) "No, the only explanation I know if is the same one y'all got. It's whatever they had said. I haven't time to talk to (VP of Officiating) Dean (Blandino). I've got too many other things to worry about than that right now. I usually talk to him early in the week because there are some questions on some things, but I haven't had a chance right now."
(on what the emphasis will be for the defense this week given the slow start against San Diego) "Well, we better stop the run number one. This team can sit there and pound on you. They obviously have got one of the biggest big-play backs in football. That's a big point of emphasis right there. Getting (DE) Antonio (Smith) back is a plus and then we've got a quarterback that can move around, so that's the two big challenges."
(on if he's ever been tempted to run the two-minute offense more frequently with QB Matt Schaub earlier in games) "Yeah and we have. We do a lot of the muddle stuff and let Matt operate on the line of scrimmage with the muddle huddle if we want to pick up the tempo of the game or start the game. It's something that we can always do. You never know. It all depends. Obviously, the other night we had to go. We were down three scores with eight minutes left in the third quarter. We had to push the tempo and, once we started pushing the tempo, I think we felt good about it, so there's no reason to stop."
(on why QB Matt Schaub does so well in the two-minute offense) "I think number one because he's so smart. He can handle a lot of players on the line of scrimmage and get them right, so that's a big credit to him because that's part of the battle. Then, I just think he gets into a rhythm and gets comfortable with what he's doing. Obviously, if you're throwing the ball over and over again, the quarterback is a little bit more comfortable. I think his sharpness helps him handle that probably more than anything."
(on if FS Ed Reed is getting frustrated with not being able to return) "No, I don't see that. I think he's been really good. I stand right back there by him. Like at practice today, he took a lot of reps today. I see his confidence coming. I don't think so. I think he's been through this before and knows exactly where he's at. Like I said, it'll be exciting for us when it's time to go. I think we're very close."
(on what FS Ed Reed brings when he plays) "A ton of experience, playmaking ability. Last year, one of the places where we knew we could get better as a team was getting our hands on the ball, getting turnovers, making big plays. That's been his specialty in his career. If we can get after the quarterback and make him put it up and Ed's in center field, he's going to find a way to get to the ball. Just look forward to that happening."
(on if there's anything special about playing the first divisional game) "First off, they're always physical as I think this one's going to be extremely physical. I think Tennessee set the tone for what they are last week in the way they played that game. Very impressive on the road to play that way and go toe-to-toe with a team like Pittsburgh. And we want to play physical too. That's something that we pride ourselves on. We get together twice-a-year, it's always that way and we know we're going to have to play extremely well. Looking forward to it. We practiced well today. I liked the way we practiced today."
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
(on OLB Whitney Mercilus' performance on Monday given that he didn't play in the preseason) "Yeah, he's a smart kid. He's worked hard at it. I don't know that he's a coach on the field like some of the players, but he's worked hard at it. He played really fast in the game. I thought he was explosive, rushed the passer well, played the run really well. He looked like a real player in that game."
(on if it surprised him that OLB Whitney Mercilus played well in the game) "No, he practiced well. You think if he practiced well, that carries over to the game. That's what we preached and he had really practiced well."
(on if OLB Whitney Mercilus was fresh going into Monday's game) "Yeah, he was ready to go. He played well. I thought he had an outstanding game."
(on if when OLB Whitney Mercilus was drafted if he expect him to play the way he did on Monday) "Yeah, smart players get better. He needed to get stronger. He needed that. Now, he's got real strength. He's a strong player. He played real strong in the running game and then we knew he had the pass rush with the speed and the quickness, but he's got a power to his game too. That helped him play well."
(on Titans RB Chris Johnson) "He's the same explosive guy that he's been. He's a guy that you can see why he made 2,000 yards, because he's got that great explosion. He had a 58-yarder in preseason where nobody came close to catching him. Any time he gets a hole, he can break it all the way. There are just a handful of guys that can go all the way on one play from any part of the field and he's one of those guys."
(on if RB Chris Johnson looks any different this year) "No, I saw the same last year. If he's got an opening, watch out. You just can't give him free reign."
(on bottling up RB Chris Johnson) That's what usually happens with any good backs. They're hard to bottle up all the time and they make a big play on you. That's what you've got to be aware of for any of the top backs."
(on if he was surprised at all about how well ILB Brian Cushing played in his first game back) "Surprised by Cush? No. Again, he practiced well. We thought he'd play well. He's been 100 percent, we felt like, movement-wise. We had practiced where he hit full speed and those kinds of things, so he wasn't shying off from anything. Mentally, he was fine. We expect a lot from him because he's a heck of a player."
(on what worked well for ILB Brian Cushing to make the interception against San Diego) "Well, his anticipation and part of it was because (OLB) Whitney (Mercilus) was free on the quarterback. The quarterback had to do something quick and I talked to (Chargers QB) Philip (Rivers) after the game and he said, 'I had to throw it quick because the guy was right on top of me.' We have Cush in the middle where he reads the quarterback well. The quarterback had to go right now because it was coming and he was looking that direction. He had to get rid of the ball to that side and Cush got a great jump on it. It was a great play by Cush, but it helped that we had a guy free on the quarterback and, instead of going back and then looking and throwing, he had somebody on him and had to throw it right now."
(on how much attention was paid to DE J.J. Watt in terms of double teams on Monday) "Quite a bit. Most of the game, this last game. They knew we didn't have one guy in there, so the center went most of the time to his side, not all of the time. But he still beat him. He still had four or five hits on the quarterback. (Chargers QB) Philip (Rivers) did a good job of getting rid of the ball, but later on they got rid of the ball quickly and we scored and they didn't complete many. He's one-for-one."
(on what he was thinking when the Chargers scored the first touchdown in the third quarter to make the score 28-7) "I stopped crying (joking) and I said, 'We've got to get going.' We didn't do a whole lot differently honestly. We played our combination of different things. What we did better was they didn't run the ball. We stuffed the running game better. I think we made some adjustments at halftime and I thought we played the run a lot better. So when they got on third down, they got on third-and-long. Their third-and-four and-fives and-threes like they were earlier in the game, you've got to get on them. You've got to play man-to-man. We were able to play some zone and off of them and allow our rush to get to them a little better when they had third-and-long and we were able to stop them. Although, we still came after them and made the plays. The last third-and-two was the same thing we had run earlier in the game and they had completed it, so we stopped them (that time)."
(on the play of FS Shiloh Keo) Keo played well. It's hard to say, well the secondary played really good when they had four touchdowns. We didn't play good enough on third downs at times. That last stretch, I haven't been around a team, this team here, that's played that well for that many series, especially with the pressure on them. We played good. Since I've been here, I've had some teams that have played really well, but I can't think of many times where they had five series and only 10 yards when you're down 28-7, and you're behind 28-14, and you're behind 28-21. Actually, we didn't score behind 28-21, there were a couple of series in there and then we scored on defense. Then they got the ball back again and we stopped them again. Under pressure, I don't know if I've seen any team play that well."
(on NT Earl Mitchell making a big play for the defense by running to make a tackle that forced a third down) "It's the same things we've seen from him all along. He's that kind of player. He's going to make plays up front and he really came on this season once he was the starter. Confidence wise, he came along. He can run and he does. He's after them every play. He did the same thing last year against Indy when we played here, on the goal line, it was about the 10-yard line they threw a slant pass and our corner missed the guy and it looked like it was going to the end zone. Earl tackled him on the one (yard line). The next play, we caused a fumble and got the ball. Earl has made those kinds of plays before."
(on if he's looking forward to using FS Ed Reed in his defense) "Yeah, anytime you add a player of his caliber, you'd like to but it hasn't happened yet. Ed changes what you do, certainly. It changes what you let him do basically within your defense. He'll have more freedom to do more things once he gets playing but we haven't seen that yet."
(on if he thinks FS Ed Reed will play on Sunday) "I don't know yet. I don't know."
(on if he called an all-out blitz on the play where ILB Brian Cushing intercepted the pass and returned it for a touchdown) "It wasn't an all-out blitz. We don't all-out blitz. It was a zone blitz. It was actually the same one they ran the first play against us. It's kind of interesting that when both teams ran that same zone dog or zone blitz, we threw the pass to the other side and the back knocked it and they caught it. I just thought it was interesting that they run the same things we run because we put them in when we were there."
(on Titans QB Jake Locker) "He's a great athlete. He's one of those young quarterbacks that are very athletic. He's got a strong arm. They are waiting for him to come on, certainly. Sometimes it takes a little time for those guys, but he's won one game for them this year and that's what it takes. He can make a play with his arm, but he can also make a play running with it and you have to be conscious of that all the time."
(on the Titans addressing the offensive line as a way to try and slow down DE J.J. Watt) "They can do what they want to do, certainly. Everybody has their own team and can do what they want to do. I think any team in your division that has won the division, you try to beat them first. You try to get personnel or whatever it is, to try and match up with them. J.J. is hard to stop, no matter who they have. San Diego's line was a lot better than it was a year ago for them. I think they did a good job there."
WR Andre Johnson
(on what RB Ben Tate brings to the offense given that he splits carries with RB Arian Foster) "I always thought Ben was a great player for us. Last season, he just battled through some injuries and he's just seizing his opportunity. I think this situation we have at running back is great."
(on how good it is for the team to have both RBs Arian Foster and Ben Tate at peak performance) "It's great. One guy goes out and the other guy can come in and step in right where the other guy left off. I'm just glad that we're able to have two backs that can (start). Ben can go anywhere else and be a starter, I think, in this league. It's great to have two backs that can be starters."
(on facing old teammate Titans S Bernard Pollard and the big hits he lays on receivers) "I've played against him before. He's a good player. He's a physical player. At the same time, you've still got to go out and play the game. I'll be going against him a lot and I'll be looking forward to the challenge."
(on if FS Ed Reed or the team is more tired about being asked if he will play) "I don't know. I don't really get asked that much. I think more of the defensive guys have to deal with that than the other offensive guys. I don't know. When he's ready, he'll be out there. He's practicing and stuff. The thing about it, when you deal with injuries like that, you have to feel comfortable. You don't want to go out there and do anything to hurt your team. He's being smart with it and, when he's ready, he'll be out there."
(on being the focus of many defenses and moving around a lot against San Diego) "I'm moving around. That helps. Just staying in one spot, they know where you're going to be all of the time. I think when you're able to move around and be in different positions, it makes the defense think a little bit."
FS Ed Reed
(on SS Danieal Manning's walker birthday present to him yesterday) "Man, it was awesome. It was awesome. It actually brought me back to college when I had to go in and spend some time at an elderly home. Yeah, they wrote an article about it, honestly. It brought me back to that time because, when you turn 35 and you have a birthday, it makes your reflect, just reflecting. I thought about it last night and those guys are a class act here. I've said that from day one. They took me with open arms. For them to give me a cake and a present like that goes to show you. It's a dip machine. We do dips in the DB (defensive backs) room on it now because it raises up. It's a dip machine. We work out on it."
(on his status for this weekend given that Head Coach Gary Kubiak said he's probably a game-time decision) "Probably so. It's been like that the whole time. Coach knows my heart. I've been telling you guys, I wanted to play last week, but I understand my role too and try to encourage the guys, motivate the guys. That's why we just came from watching film and talking over stuff. I'm trying to pass knowledge as much as possible about the game, so we can be successful as a defense and as a secondary. I'm preparing always to play. Like I said, it's day-to-day, game-to-game. We'll see how it goes. Work went good today. Worked out well. Did some scout team reps, even played nickel a little bit to get some other movement around. Feeling much better than I felt last week, so we'll see how it goes."
(on if the soreness is all gone now) "It's still in there a tad bit. I still break up a little scar tissue. I know last time I talked to you guys weeks back, that was the one thing that was my concern about getting that out. Once I got that out, I felt like I would be ready to go and it's still there."
(on it being two weeks since his injections and if it really helped) "Yes, at this point, I think it's kind of subsided. I still kind of felt it a little yesterday and two weeks was Monday. It was four shots versus one and it was in a place that's really sensitive I would guess. I think it helped because I did feel better today, much better, moved around today. This week, just did a whole lot of work."
(on if he's okay with playing maybe 25-30 snaps at first when he's ready to play) "I would have to be. I know me as a player, once you're playing and you're out there, you want to play. At the same time, it's about being smart. If that's the way Coach (Gary Kubiak) feels, I would go with it and I'm cool with that. I'm sure he would ask me how I feel before h does it or what not. I'm the ultimate team player, so if that's what it takes for us to be successful, working me back in and getting in a rhythm, then I'm cool with it."
(on being fired up on the sidelines on Monday and if it was hard watching) "No, I've been there before. It's different when you're on the sideline, you get to see it a little bit more. I'm a player and a coach at heart too. I understood my role. I was still part of the team and still had to make sure I encouraged those guys. I let them know what I saw on the sideline and communicated with them what was working, what I thought was working as a secondary-wise, and what we should be doing from a disguise standpoint. We gave (QB Philip) Rivers a lot of different looks in the second half and we thought we confused him a little bit and it helped us out to be successful. I understood my role."
(on working with FS Shiloh Keo on and off the field) "that's what it takes to be a successful team. You've got to be unselfish and I pray to be unselfish. That was something that (General Manager) Rick Smith talked to me about when he was recruiting me to come here. Like I said, these are my boys. They're really took me with open arms. It wouldn't be any different if I was anywhere else. Guys in Baltimore would tell you you're supposed to pass that knowledge. You're supposed to pass it. I couldn't put it any other way, you're supposed to give that knowledge away."
(on the 2013 version of Titans RB Chris Johnson) "He's still a game-breaker. You've got to have eyes on him, hands on him at all times. If you don't, you see what can happen. He's a guy that still can make those 80-yard, 90-yard runs. I have a lot of respect for Chris from playing against him. I know we do as a team as well. We've got to always account for where he's at."
(on watching the defense in the first game and if he saw what he wanted to see) "I was so excited just watching these guys and watching them get after the ball, and encouraging them on the sideline. I don't know if you all got it, but I was on the oxygen tank a couple of times. I was screaming. My voice is coming back to me. I usually get oxygen when I'm playing, but when you're on the sideline and you're encouraging guys, running up and down the sideline, doing work on offense and encouraging the guys on offense and defense, it's a little bit of a toll on you. It's part of it. I understand my role when I'm on the sideline like that. I understand my player. When you're a player that's in the game, it's totally different."
(on ILB Brian Cushing describing the comeback on Monday as a good team trying to be great and if he sees that) "That's what intrigued me about coming here. I thought that was the case. I felt like we battled for a long time when I was on the other side going against the guys and knowing (WR) Andre (Johnson) and being in constant communication with him. I knew that this city, this team wanted a championship and that's what it's about. This process right now going through the season is about being good and becoming great at the end of it. You've got to get better every week. You've got to get better every quarter, every half, like we did. That was a huge step. Now, we've got to build on it."
(on whether he or his teammates are more tired of answering the question if he's going to play) "Probably my teammates. Probably my teammates because they just want to focus and take of themselves. I know they're ready for me to play, but, at the same, they've been through this before. Players understand players and the process. Like they've told me, 'Make sure you're good to go the long haul.' I want to be ready for it, but you can't plan an injury. I just pray that nothing happens when I do come back."
(on how it will feel when he finally puts the Texans uniform on) "I can't. I can tell you that, when we played the first preseason game here, I wanted to play. Me and (RB) Arian (Foster) we were talking about it. It's just a different feel when it's in the city that you represent. Like I said, I wanted to play last week. I want to play this week. It's just a matter of time. When it happens, I'll be very excited. Trust me. And if it comes in front of the home crowd, really excited."
(on facing an interesting crowd in Baltimore next week) "Definitely."
(on what he thought about ILB Brian Cushing's interception last week) "Awesome read. Great interception. For him to pick the ball like that, catch it and then get into the end zone and everybody's blocking, that was an awesome interception. Now, you've got to build on it because he set a mark for himself. Now, you've got to catch another one now."