HEAD COACH BILL O'BRIEN
“OK, just a couple updates on the roster – T Seantrel Henderson and CB Kevin Johnson to IR and then we signed corner Shareece Wright, we promoted tackle Roderick Johnson, we signed three players to the practice squad: cornerback Breon Borders, wide receiver Malachi Dupre and tackle David Sharpe and we released from the practice defensive lineman Darius Kilgo. So, that’s kind of an update on the roster.”
What did you see in Titans Head Coach Mike Vrabel when you started working with him?
“Smart guy, leader, very hard worker, played in the league for a long time, knows the game. He’s got all the qualities of a head coach.”
What about coaching or playing under Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick gives you a bit of an edge to get another coaching job in the NFL?
“I don’t know. I think that none of us, not that I know of, have ever talked about that tree. I think when you’re with successful franchises, a lot of times you have a chance to move up, and that’s basically what that is. When you move on to different circumstances, it’s different. So, I think all of us have always tried to do the best we can and I don’t think it has anything to do with trees or anything like that. I think it’s just every situation’s different.”
What does it mean to get WR Will Fuller V back?
“Will’s a good route runner, smart player, good speed, does a lot for our offense.”
What did you see from your pass rush last week that can be improved upon?
“I just think it’s a progress league. It’s a race. It’s a progress league. It’s about getting better and we all, everybody, not just – you can stand up here and pick out individual players, individual coaches. Everybody in the whole league, really, is trying to improve from Week One to Week Two. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
What do you remember about the game against the Titans last year where your offense scored 57 points?
“I don’t remember much about that game. I think we’ve moved on. We’re into 2018.”
What does it mean to have WR Will Fuller V’s speed back in the lineup?
“It means a lot. Any time you have a guy that can run like that, it helps your offense.”
Is there a sort of risk/reward having a mobile quarterback since they can get hit while running?
“Yeah, I think you answered it. That’s basically what it is. You have to do a great job of teaching him relative to how you want him to play within the play that you’ve called, and then you’ve got to let him play. He’s very smart about how he plays. Yes, he did last week, like we saw, he got hit a few times, but he’s gained a lot of strength in the offseason. We have to do a better job of protecting him, he has to do a better job. So, again, like I said to the other question, it’s just all about trying to get better.”
What do you expect from QB Deshaun Watson after a game where he didn’t play as well as he would like?
“I think that’s a better question for him, but he’s in here today and he’s working hard and every game’s different. He’s like everybody else, just trying to really improve and get better, just like all of us are.”
With CB Kevin Johnson going to IR, is there a chance we’ll see S Kareem Jackson back to cornerback?
“I don’t know yet. I’m not sure.”
What did you like about CB Shareece Wright?
“Size, experience, he’s got a lot of snaps in the league, a good guy. All reports on him being a real good teammate. Glad we were able to get him.”
Can you talk about moving T Roderick Johnson up to the active roster?
“I thought he got better and better in the preseason. Athletic guy, great length, size-wise, and really good teammate. So, I think that was the best move for us to make.”
When Titans Head Coach Mike Vrabel was with you did he ever talk to you about becoming a head coach?
“I think when Mike was with me, he was very concentrated on doing the best job he could, coaching linebackers or being the defensive coordinator, coaching the defense. We didn’t have a lot of conversations about those types of things.”
How much are you seeing RB Lamar Miller display some of that burst he showed when you guys first signed him?
“Yeah, I thought he ran good. I thought he was decisive. We need to continue to try to build on that. I thought (Alfred) Blue ran well too. So, I think the running game was somewhat of a bright spot. But, obviously, every week’s a challenge. Tennessee’s got an excellent front. Jurrell Casey, (Brian) Orakpo, (Derrick) Morgan, Wesley Woodyard, Austin Johnson, DaQuan Jones – both those guys I coached at Penn State. So, they’ve got a real tough front, so it’s another challenge this week. But, I thought that those guys ran hard last week.”
Do you have the option to evaluate CB Kevin Johnson later to see if he can return this season? Is that something you would do?
“Sure. Sure, maybe.”
Other than the players you mentioned, what the challenges the Titans defense brings?
“The ones I brought up, plus Malcolm Butler and Adoree’ Jackson on the outside. Very good players, man-to-man players, good zone corners, they can do it all and then Logan Ryan at Star, very good. They’ve got (Kenny) Vaccaro and (Kevin) Byard at safety, very physical guys, interchangeable guys. So, they pose a big challenge to us offensively.”
What do you see in Titans FS Kevin Byard?
“He’s a good player, he’s an active player, very physical player, very smart player, instinctive, gets them lined up. He does a really good job.”
Can you talk about the special teams of the two teams?
“It’s a big matchup. They have two really good returners. Adoree’ Jackson’s one of the better punt returners in the league, and (Darius) Jennings returned a kickoff for a touchdown last week, very strong runner. They have good core special teams players in (Brynden) Trawick and (Daren) Bates and (Dane) Cruikshank. They’ve got good coverage players, they’ve got the guy (Brett) Kern, the punter, led the league last year in net punting. (Ryan) Succop, the kicker, is a veteran kicker, really good. So, it’s a big matchup for the game.”
Can you talk about the addition of Titans RB Dion Lewis?
“Yeah, good back, really, really quick and fast, physical when he needs to be, tough in the passing game, downhill runner in the running game. He did a good job for them last week.”
Do you have an update on DE Christian Covington?
Now that you’ve seen guys like Titans CB Malcolm Butler and Titans RB Dion Lewis last season with the Patriots, do you think it better prepares you going into this game?
“I mean, look, that’s what you have to go on, tape from the past and if you’ve played against them, plays that you’ve run against them that you’re familiar with that you see how they handle different things. So, sure. But, I would say that’s the basically the case every week.”
How much did it help T Martinas Rankin and T Julién Davenport to get that playing time at left and right tackle, respectively, last week?
“Yeah, I think any time you get playing time like that as a rookie – unfortunately because of what happened – it’s good. There’s no substitute for experience. I thought Martinas went in there, for his first game, got a long way to go, but I thought he held his own pretty well.”
QB DESHAUN WATSON
As a mobile quarterback, how much of an edge does it give you when the defense is off balance and they don’t know what you’re going to do?
“It just gives us, as an offense, another weapon, another tool for the defense to kind of be aware of, being able to move and try to extend plays with my legs, so I try to use that to my advantage and to help the offense get positive plays.”
How do you balance the upside of that with the downside of taking more hits once you become a runner?
“Yeah, for sure. But, I know that. I try to protect myself and get what I can. I get down and then whenever I can’t slide or dive forward and not take a hit, I try to protect myself whenever the contact is coming and just try to do what I can to stay healthy but also to get positive plays.”
DE J.J. Watt said no one player deserves credit for or blame for a game. What stood out to you on film that made you want to take blame for the loss? And what did you like?
“There was a lot of good things. We ran the ball very well, we took advantage of the short throws and doing the up-tempo stuff. But, just really in the redzone we got to capitalize in the redzone, get on the same page with the receivers. And, like J.J. said, it’s a team game, it’s a team sport, but for me as a quarterback, I want to be on the same page with the receivers all the time. We just misconnected on some throws and wasn’t on the same page. So, we’re going to correct that this week and move forward.”
How can you fix not being on the same page?
“Just extra film time and just different looks. Just being able to communicate while you’re just eating lunch or hanging out at the house, being able to try to see the same thing.”
After the game you mentioned you energy was low. Was that mental or physical?
“Whenever something bad happened or something didn’t go our way, just being able to pull everyone up, instead of everyone just kind of coming back to the bench and sitting down and not saying a word. Just being able to keep encouraging people and being able to put a smile on my face, have fun with the game. That was one thing that we didn’t do. We didn’t really have too much fun. We were too focused on the things that didn’t go our way instead of trying to find some positives. So, that’ll get corrected and be able to move forward from there.”
How quickly were you able to turn the page on this game and how excited are you to get back on the field and put the game behind you?
“We did that after Monday. We watched the film, corrected the mistakes and after we watch the film, we put that in the past. It was a game that we can learn from it and move on and focus on Tennessee this week. That’s the beauty of this game. If you can come out healthy and be able to prepare for the next week, you have another opportunity, new improvements to be able to correct the mistakes that you made the week before and just move forward and try to get a win.”
What do you remember about the last time you played Tennessee when you and the offense put up 57 points?
“We were just all on the same page, just clicking, doing what Coach (Bill) O’Brien and the staff put together a great game plan and we just went out there and had fun. We did everything that we prepared throughout for and we just followed what the coaching staff – seeing the film, we followed what we saw in the film and trusted our instincts and trusted our preparation. We just went out there and left it all on the field.”
What do you remember after the last Tennessee game when you set the franchise-record of 57 points?
“It was a fun game. It was a fun week and really just celebrated that night and then Monday we turned the page for the next opponent.”
What have you noticed about WR Will Fuller V this season compared to last?
“Just his body, his mind, the way he thinks about the game, is just totally different. You can tell that he’s improved, as everyone else on the offense and everyone else on the team. He’s a sponge. He’s just trying to find ways to get better and improve his game and use his ability and his skills to take his game to another level.”
What does it do to the offense to have WR Will Fuller V on the field?
“That’s another weapon for us to be able to attack the defense in all types of ways. It’s a weapon that the defenses have to really worry about and just kind of focus on. So, it’s always good to have many weapons because it puts stress and pressure on their defense.”
You mentioned you were dealing with cramps on Sunday. How did that affect your play?
“I just caught a cramp the last couple drives. I rolled my ankle and just got spatted up, but I’m fine. It wasn’t really dehydration or anything, I just caught a cramp on that last throw and after that I got an IV and just moved forward. I’ve been fine the last two days and going to continue to prepare and make sure I’m good on Sunday.”
DE J.J. WATT
What are your thoughts on Titans QB Marcus Mariota and the kind of quarterback he is?
“He can do both things. He can run, he can throw. He can challenge you on the ground, he can drop back and throw it, so you have to obviously be alert and do your job and make sure everybody knows what they’re doing.”
What did you think of your performance in Week 1 when you watch the tape?
“I think we talked about it a bit after the game. I think the second half was definitely a lot better than the first for myself, individually, and probably for the defense as a whole. I think we just want to build off of that, whatever it was, knocking rust off in the first half or just getting back up to speed in a full game, but definitely started to feel more like myself in the second half. So, I want to continue to build off of that, start quicker in this game and then just – the last two years have been what they’ve been. Just working back into it, getting back up to full speed and feeling good out there.”
What did you notice about what S Tyrann Mathieu contributed during Week 1?
“He brought an interception, he brought a fumble recovery. He did a good job out there. He makes plays. That’s what he does. He makes plays. He’s been known for that his whole career. We’re very happy to have him. We’re very happy to have him on our side. If he can bring two turnovers per game, that’d be pretty nice.”
What do you make of the matchup against Titans Head Coach Mike Vrabel given his familiarity with the roster?
“He’s a smart guy. He has experience. He knows what he’s doing. I’m sure that he’ll have some wrinkles and things that he’ll want to use. We obviously know a little bit about him as well, so it’ll be a good game. It’ll be a tough game and a good matchup. It’s a division opponent early in the year and it’s obviously a big game.”
How do you handle a situation where the referees aren’t calling holding? Do you say something to referees?
“Death, taxes and not calling holding. That’s just what it is. I just go on and live my life because that’s just kind of the way it goes. I got a little heated last game about one of them, but it is what it is. You get used to it. You try to send in the tape, you try and do what you can, but that’s football. They’re going to hold you, they’re going to double-team you, they’re going to chip you. I’m used to it. I’ve been in the league eight years and I’ve seen just about every way people try to stop you. You just have to continue to fight.”
At what point did you think Titans Head Coach Mike Vrabel had what it took to be a head coach?
“I think he’s a smart guy. He’s been around the league a long time. He obviously played at a very high level and he has experience, he has knowledge. I think a lot of people probably saw it for a while.”
NT D.J. Reader said you may have gone too far when you said he probably had more sacks last Sunday than he did in his NFL and collegiate career.
“I might have. I think he said he had 10 one year or maybe 10 in his career at Clemson. He’s a hell of a player. I’ve said all along, he’s the best nose guard in the league. For a nose guard to be able to go out there and get two sacks in a game like that, first game of the year, that’s not even his main job and he’s doing it really, really well. I love him as a guy, I love him as a teammate and a player, and I look forward to seeing what he can accomplish as we move forward, like I said, especially if they’re going to try to take away the edges with double teams and chips, D.J.’s going to get more and more opportunities, so hopefully he can continue to take advantage.”
Did NT D.J. Reader thank you for tripping Patriots QB Tom Brady on his second sack?
“We’ve had a few discussions about it. I’m not going to say my (hand) was on his ankle at the same time or before or anything, but we’ll see.”
Was getting the first game out of the way a weight off your shoulders?
“I think it’s nice to know that you can go out there and play 70 plays on turf. You just don’t know how it’s going to hold up for a whole game. That’s about as rough of a situation as you can put it through: 70 plays, on turf field, tough battle like that. Felt fine the whole game. Never thought about it once. I’m very pleased with how it turned out and like I said, with the second half, I started to really begin to find my groove as a player again. I just want to build off of that, but I think there’s definitely some encouraging things there that I want to continue to grow and build off of.”
Did you come out of last Sunday’s game more encouraged that you can be the player you were a few years ago?
“I’ve never lost that feeling. I don’t think that I’ve ever questioned that besides maybe the first couple of months after a surgery where you really question your whole life. I’ve never questioned what I can accomplish, but like I’ve said, it always comes down to going out there and doing it and proving it. I just have to continue to work and grow. It may not come in the first game, but as long as I continue to do what I need to do and practice the way I need to practice, everything will take care of itself.”
After Sunday’s game, QB Deshaun Watson blamed himself for the loss. What are your thoughts on that?
“I think there’s a lot of things that we all could have done a lot better in the game. There’s no one person in any football game that can take all of the blame or all the credit for winning. It’s a team game. It’s the ultimate team game. There’s 11 guys on both sides of the ball. I think we all just need to do our job, go out there and be the players we know how to be. But, like I said, it’s a team game and nobody ever deserves all of the blame and nobody ever deserves all of the credit. We know who Deshaun is and we know what he can be and what he’s capable of. I’m very excited to have him as my quarterback.”
Did you ever sense anything special about the rivalry between the Texans and Titans?
“The biggest difference is that they have a throwback uniform that I wish we had. That’s about it. It’s a division rivalry. There’s history there, but I don’t know. I know that there’s a lot of history there but it doesn’t come up as much – it’s not the same – but if they ever want to try to work out a deal where we could get those Oilers uniforms back, I’d take them.”
Do you have any recollection of watching Houston Oilers QB Warren Moon play?
“We didn’t get a lot of Oilers games on TV up in Wisconsin. No, but I know all about him. Especially when I got down here early on, I wanted to learn a lot. I learned about the “Luv Ya Blue” years, I learned about Earl Campbell and Bum (Phillips). I got a chance to meet Bum (Phillips) when he was with us. It’s a great era, and we want to bring that type of excitement and that type of energy to this city and then take it one step further, obviously.”
How would you describe Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel’s coaching style?
“He’s very honest. One thing I love about RAC is he’s always going to tell you the truth, whether it’s your own game and he’s trying to tell you if you need to improve this or work on that, or it’s him as a coach. He’ll be perfectly honest with you and tell you what he thought about his performance and if he thought he could do better, however it may work. He’s also extremely passionate. He loves the game, he loves his players, he cares about you. That’s my favorite thing about RAC, is that you can tell how much it means to him and how much he cares about you. He has an unbelievable amount of knowledge. When you put all of those things together, you have an incredible coach. A guy that you want to play for, a guy that you go out there every day and you can’t wait to work for and put yourself on the line because you know that he cares about you and he would do the same for you.”