Head Coach Bill O'Brien**
(on OLB Jadeveon Clowney today) "I thought he was moving around well. Yeah, it was a lighter practice, just with a short week. We'll have a more physical practice tomorrow and we'll be able to tell better. I thought he was moving around good today."
(on if it is looking good for OLB Jadeveon Clowney to play this weekend) "Yeah, I would say it's getting better and better every day. Yep."
(on the challenges presented by the Titans) "Offensively, obviously (Jake) Locker has been injured, but when he's been in there, he's made a lot of plays for them. He's athletic. He's got a strong arm. He's played a lot of football in this league. When (Charlie) Whitehurst went in there, he's played well. It looks like he runs the offense the way Whiz (Ken Whisenhunt) wants it to be run. They have a very good offensive package. Coach Whisenhunt does a great job with that scheme and what they do. At tight end, Delanie Walker is one of the best in the league. They've got a really strong receiving corps. Their running back, even though there have been some injuries there, the guys that have played, the rookie (Bishop) Sankey, he's playing well for them. Their offensive line is big and athletic, so it's a challenge for us just like it is every week. Defensively, they're stout, they're tough, they're athletic. They play well as a defense together. They communicate well. It will be a big challenge for us on that side of the ball, like it is every week. Special teams wise, good kicker, good punter, guys that can return the ball. Punt returners, kick returners, so we've got to be on top of our game in that area too. It's the same every week: different schemes, different players, but every week is a big challenge and this is no different."
(on DT Jurrell Casey) "He's a hell of a football player. I would say up front that we better make sure that we know where he is on every play."
(on if their preparation changes depending on who will play quarterback this week for Tennessee) "I don't think so. We just try to look at what they've done with both quarterbacks. Some of it's different. Some of it's the same. Coach Whisenhunt, like I said, has a great background in offensive football here in this league. We can go back and look at times when he's been Pittsburgh, Arizona and obviously here in Tennessee and we just have to do a good job preparing for the scheme, not necessarily the individual player."
(on if he would consider OLB Jadeveon Clowney a game-time decision) "I probably would say that right now. I would say that, but I thought he moved around well today. Tomorrow will be a little bit more of a physical practice. Today was a lighter practice. We'll be able to tell better tomorrow."
(on if Tennessee's offense changes if it's Jake Locker or Charlie Whitehurst) "Sometimes. Some of it's the same."
(on if it takes more time preparing for the Titans with the possibility of two different quarterbacks playing) "I said to the team and our coaching staff today after practice that because of the short week, we all have to put in some extra time. That's the type of week it is. We played Monday night and everybody has to put in a little extra every day. For the players, maybe that means extra film study. Maybe that means studying (Jake) Locker, studying (Charlie) Whitehurst, in addition to taking care of their bodies and getting themselves ready to play the game. For the coaching staff, that just means we have to get in there and work as hard as we've been working all year until we get the gameplan nailed and the way we want it. We're on the right track right now."
(on how if he has used QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to discuss the Titans since he played there last season) "I would say that a lot of that is overrated. I think that he might be able to tell us something about individual players' skills and Jeff Adams too, our tackle that was there too. I would say for the most part, in my experience with that type of stuff, those things are pretty overrated."
(on reports that the Titans may be moving on from QB Jake Locker to QB Zach Mettenberger and how much that would change their preparation) "I really don't think it affects it too much. I think we would have to go back and make sure that we watched all of Mettenberger's snaps and what they did with him in the preseason and things like that, but I don't think it changes too much. I think at the end of the day, the Titans do what they do. They have a strong belief in certain things that they do. They're going to run the football. They're going to do a great job setting up taking shots down the field. They have a really good, I think, short to intermediate passing game. They're going to do what they do. Of course, a different quarterback's skill sets do come into play in certain things that they do. Locker is a good runner. He's an athletic guy back there, so we have to, like I was saying, put in some extra time on all of the quarterbacks.
(on how different a 4-4 record would be from a 3-5 record) "I think any time you win, especially in the way it's going right now, we've lost some close games. We've given up big leads and then had to come back from being a long way down. We've fought hard, like I said to you guys yesterday. This team is really fighting to stay in these games. We have to correct the details. Any time you win—winning cures everything. Winning, like I used to say this all the time being from Massachusetts and Cope Cod and stuff, winning is like salt water. It cures everything. It really does. There is nothing better than a win. So yeah, sure, I would say that 4-4 would be a lot better than 3-5, stating the obvious."
(on if he pays attention to what's going on with the Titans with the reports of the quarterback situation and who is getting practice reps) "I think we have to be aware. As a coaching staff, we have to be aware. I don't think in teaching our gameplan to our players, we have to make sure that within our gameplan that, 'Hey look, if this is the guy that's playing quarterback, it may be more of this. If it's him, it may be more of that. Let's make sure we study the cutup the right way,' things like that. We spend time really, especially this week, worrying about ourselves and taking care of our own jobs and making sure that all of us understand our roles in the game. We're trying to be as well-prepared as we can for the Tennessee Titans because they're a big challenge, but we've got to get a lot of our own things corrected too."
(on what he has seen from WR DeVier Posey) "I felt like he had a good practice week last week. I really did. I think what happens is on gameday, when you're putting your 46-man roster together, a lot of things come into play: the other team's scheme, maybe we need some more DBs that we need receivers or defensive linemen come into play our special teams definitely come into play. How many linebackers do we want to bring to the game? I think Pose has really worked very hard this year. He'll continue to work hard. He's a good teammate. He's a good guy and I believe, eventually, guys like that that keep working hard, they get their shot. That's what I said yesterday. I believe that, eventually, if he keeps working and improving, he'll get his shot."
Quarterbacks Coach George Godsey
(on the most important thing he wants to see from QB Ryan Fitzpatrick) "To be efficient on offense. On normal downs, making the right decisions, going through his progressions in the passing game. On third down, finding a way to move the chains. He did a good job to start the game last week with the run-check. When we get the ball in the red zone, let's score touchdowns. We can't settle for field goals. That's kind of what we're looking for at the position."
(on if Ryan Fitzpatrick is missing reads and Fitzpatrick saying he should find Andre Johnson more) "When the pass is called, we have a designed read for Ryan (Fitzpatrick) to go through and sometimes if he jumps to a certain side too quickly because of what he sees in the coverage instead of going through just his normal process off seeing the safety, seeing the front and just working the progression like it's installed, I think that's what he's talking about. We're going to try to get the ball to the open guy. He's done a decent job as far as completion percentage has gone. But like I said, it's more of the critical situations, a third down, making sure he's not jumping to conclusions off of maybe what he saw on tape. 'This is this play at this particular time.' He can go through his progression at that point."
(on Ryan Mallett's progression) "As a backup quarterback, you don't get the reps that you'd like just with the (No. 1) unit, per se. So that's where the mental part has come in. To Ryan's (Mallett) credit, he's been here quite a bit on his time, putting the mental work that needs to be in at the position. Then it's when he gets those reps on the show team to make sure that he's going through the proper reads from a quarterback standpoint. He's going to get some reps with the unit, like he does each week. It's just a matter of making the most out of those."
(on what he says to Ryan Fitzpatrick on what to do when what he expects isn't there, like on the interception against Pittsburgh) "That's the challenge at the position. A lot of stuff happens post-snap and it's all based quick decision-making. Unfortunately at that point, we didn't make the right decision. When things happen like that, the best thing sometimes to do is take it and run, like he's done a good job of. I think when he gets that situation again, we don't need to force a ball in that situation or just play second down and move on. The thing with that is that there's no 10-point play, or there's no 14-point play and I think that's the big thing to understand at that position that you've just got to chop wood and take it play-by-play and hopefully that next play, the big play is there for us on the next down."
(on what it was like going from a 13-0 lead to a 24-13 deficit against Pittsburgh) "It's part of the game and you hope it's not on your end. It happened. Like I said, our job is to regroup. There's still another half to play and our guys battled but like we talked about, it was a little too much, too soon right there at the end of the half."
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
(on the importance of scoring touchdowns over field goals) "That's a big deal. With touchdowns, 21-0 sounds and it is a lot better than 13-0 obviously. When we have those opportunities when we get it down there, we have to be able to score touchdowns. Everybody in the league is trying to do that. We just have got to focus on the things that we can control. We had some plays out there that we missed on that we just need to execute better. We had the first start last week. We just have to continue work on being efficient and effective the whole game long."
(on the quarterback receiving more criticism than they deserve) "It's definitely the way that it goes. I think, as a quarterback and especially as a guy that really started at the bottom and has kind of worked my way in in every situation I've been in, I've faced and heard a lot of that. It's just always important, the message that I send to other guys—guys that I've played with or guys that I've talked to—is the confidence that you have in yourself. You've got to have confidence. You've got to believe and you've got to go out there and play. Ignore the noise and ignore everything that goes on outside and have confidence in who they are why you are in the situation you're in. Just continue to go out there and work hard and make plays."
(on if he can hear the noise or criticism) "At this point, it really doesn't affect me to be honest. I've, at this point, done a lot of different things, but I take a lot of pride and criticize myself harder than anybody else does. I think that in itself is what helps me through it too, being your harshest critic and knowing that there are things that I need to continue to work on. There are some things that we've done that have been pretty good, so it's eliminating the bad plays having more of the good plays."
(on the keys to beating the Texans last season) "It was such a different, last year were two completely different teams to what we have going this year, especially being at the end of the year with everything that happened here. Even in Tennessee, the stuff that we were going through, it's hard to even think about. I know you're not asking to compare the games, but I wouldn't even touch on it because it's two completely different teams, different systems, different coaches."
(on preparing for DE J.J. Watt last season) "J.J., we said he's the best player in football in terms of how disruptive he is, in terms of the amount of plays he makes, whether it be in the running game or passing game. You not only have to know where he is on every play, but you have to account for him with a couple of different players on every play."
(on the kind of game DE J.J. Watt had against the Titans last year) "I don't remember. I'm sure he hit me a few times and swatted a few of my balls down, but I don't remember off the top of my head what kind of game he had."
(on what QB Jake Locker does well and where he sees him going) "Jake is a very instinctive player. One of the toughest guys I've been around. Unfortunately, he's had to deal with a lot of different significant injuries and bumps and bruises. In terms of toughness, I don't know if I've met a tougher guy. I really enjoyed watching him play last year when he was healthy, just in terms of going out there and being able to play fast and use some of his instincts and run when he could. He throws the ball real well. Jake is a close friend of mine, a great competitor. I think that's the biggest thing when you think of Jake. He's going to compete his tail off. We'll see if he's out there or not, but it will be fun getting to see him on Sunday."
(on what it was like seeing QB Jake Locker battling injuries and an up and down start to his career) "It's not easy to have the patience to come back from that stuff. It's not easy mentally, in terms of wanting to be out there and not being able to play. All that stuff is hard. It's something that a lot of guys have to go through. Unfortunately, he's had to go through that multiple times. In terms of the mental toughness and the physical toughness, you won't meet somebody that has better attributes at that than he does."
(on DT Jurrell Casey and the differences between this year and last year) "He's a very disruptive guy. A lot of his stuff is quickness. He's got great technique and moves. If he gets the edge on you, you have a hard time blocking him. They have allowed him to do a lot of similar things he's done in the past, not necessarily a true 3-4 with the way they're running it, but a guy that we'll have to pay attention to on every play because of how disruptive he is. It shows up time and time again. I remember getting there and everybody talked about him and then actually getting to see him play on a Sunday, he's a pretty special player and obviously was rewarded with the contract this year because of it."
(on if the Titans have any advantage from knowing him so well from his time there last year) "It's almost the same thing as it was with Buffalo, sitting there watching the tape, I'm very familiar with most of their players on defense. There are a lot of the same faces from last year and they're very familiar with me. Again, I don't know if there is an edge one way or another just because I have a good feel for a lot of those guys just as I'm sure they have a good feel for me. I know (Jason) McCourty knows some of my tricks and Griff (Michael Griffin) and a guy like George Wilson, who we played together for five years. They will certainly know me and my tendencies and things, so it will be an interesting thing to watch."
(on if will be allowed to do more with the gameplan this week with his familiarity with the Titans) "It's hard to say. I've got a lot on my plate on every play in terms of getting us in the right play, whether it's a run or pass, if it's the third down stuff or the red zone stuff, which we don't get to later on in the week. Standing here on Wednesday, every week is just as important as the next in terms of what they're going to throw at me and all the different things mentally and the game physically that I have to do."
(on if this game relates to the game against Buffalo due to the familiarity) "Yeah, it is. There are a lot of reasons for that, but it certainly aren't as many stirrings of emotions going on than were going on when we were going to play Buffalo."
(on if we should then not expect another intense pregame speech) "Probably not. If it is, it will be behind closed doors probably."
(on how important it is to get to 4-4 and not be 3-5 after Sunday) "We've got to get back on track here in terms of winning some games. You look at every game and all of a sudden it comes down to 3-4 plays, mistakes by us, great plays by them, whatever it is that's the NFL for you. We've been on the bad end of it for the last few weeks here and we've got to turn that around."
(on what changed to allow the great offensive start in Pittsburgh) "The biggest thing, the first third down, making a play on the first third down and getting the conversion, kind of getting us going and allowing us to get into some of our tempo stuff. The guys up front did a great job. Arian (Foster) ran the ball well. I think it was really that first third down that was obviously the key to that drive in terms of allowing us to get a little bit of momentum."
(on the first third down having been a hurdle for this team to get over) "This whole game is about adversity and mental toughness. The questions continue about fast starts. Then we get off to a fast start and struggle in the middle part of the game, so there are a lot of different things that we need to do to grow as a team. We're going to be able to face those adverse situations and face them with mental toughness and we'll continue to get better."
(on Bill O'Brien saying WR Andre Johnson was not as effective early in the game as usual due to some bad reads and what he saw that) "My job is to get the ball to our playmakers. I didn't get it to Andre nearly enough early. It's just one of those deals. I have got to continue, as I progress, to continue to get better and continue to throw the ball to the right guy and making sure that everybody is on the same page with that."
(on if there were things about the Steelers defense that led them away from WR Andre Johnson offensively) "Sometimes. All the plays are different, but some of them I'm having to go away from him because of certain things they're doing. Other times, I probably should be able to get the ball to Andre a little bit more."
WR Andre Johnson
(on different feelings between this year and last year and experiencing close losses) "I'm not worried about last year. All you can do is focus on what's going on right now. The biggest thing is just winning the game Sunday."
(on how frustrating the close losses are the last few weeks) "It's frustrating because you don't like losing. I don't think anybody likes losing. A quick way to fix it is to win. We can't do anything about what's happened in the past. All we can do is move forward with Sunday and try to get a win on Sunday."
(on Ryan Fitzpatrick saying he needs to find him more in the passing game) "When you don't win, I think everybody needs to look at themselves and see what they can do better. We all need to pick our play up as a team, fix the mistakes that we're making and do what we need to do to win. I think you just can't dwell on one person. Of course, head coaches and quarterbacks are going to get the bulk of the criticism just because of the position they're in. I think we all as a group have to pick our play up. Not just one or two guys."
(on if he still thinks the Texans are still a good football team) "Yeah, I think we are still a good football team. We just haven't put it all together. I think that's probably the most frustrating thing because you see the potential. It's just putting it all together."
(on if fumbles are a result of players 'pressing' and trying to do more) "I don't think it's pressing. I think guys are just trying to make something happen. That's part of the game. We just have to do a better job of protecting the ball. That's something that you don't like to see happen but (it) happens. For us it's happened at crucial times and it has cost us games. It's just something we have to eliminate. But I wouldn't call it pressing. I think guys are just trying to make a play for the team, help the team win."
(on what he can do to help get the ball thrown to him when he's open) "Just communication. That's just something that we always try to do. I think communication helps the team play better. It helps us execute better as an offense. (Ryan Fitzpatrick) has a tough job. He has to make sure everybody is lined up in the right place. The quarterback has a lot of things he has to do, too. Nobody's perfect. I make mistakes also. You just have to communicate with him and let him know what you're seeing and stuff like that. It will all work out."
(on if he was caught off guard by the last three losses after a strong start to the season) "We just have had things happen that have caused us to lose. It's not a secret. I came in after the Indy game and I felt like that fumble that I had, I mean it just swung the whole momentum of the game. Being down by that many points and then coming back and gaining the momentum of the game and going down to probably take a lead and then have something like that happen, it just changes the whole momentum of the game. The things that have happened to us have cost us those games. We have to fix the things that have caused us to lose."
(on how hard it is to stay encouraged) "I've been through a lot here. Like I've said before, I've seen the worst of the worst. I don't think it will get any worse. I don't think anybody around here is feeling down or feeling like 'Oh, here we go again,' or none of that. I think the games that we have lost have been things we've done, not something that the other team has done. It's self-inflicted wounds. You just have to fix it."
CB Johnathan Joseph
(on if it's easier said than done to move on from bad games) "Yeah and no. That's part of the job. That's the way the NFL works. We don't have time to harp on last week. We've got to move forward. We have a chance to go out this week and get another win. (We're) going to work toward a win. That's our job."
(on what stands out about Tennessee's offense) "Their skill guys. Obviously they've got some speed at the skill (positions), some playmakers (at) the tight end position and the running back. Throw in (Dexter) McCluster, another versatile guy. So they've got some weapons on offense. Obviously, we don't know who their starting quarterback is going to be but they've got guys, they've both stepped in and played well."
(on if it changes anything having with Charlie Whitehurst or Jake Locker starting at quarterback) "A little. I think Jake Locker is a little more mobile than (Charlie) Whitehurst, but at the same time, they're both capable quarterbacks."
(on how to keep losing one-score games from becoming a habit) "Just go out and learn from it. Like I said earlier, obviously you can't put yourself in bad situations throughout the game. It comes down to four or five plays every game that you'd like to have back, that can change some of those situations. For us it's about minimizing those plays and coming out on top."
(on if it's frustrating to be going through some of the same type of losses as last year) "I wouldn't say it's frustrating, but at the same time, when you're that close, you'd like to get something out of it from all the hard work that you put in throughout the week. But that's the way the NFL works. You can't take it away from your opponent. They work the same way you work. We just have to do our job and come out with a win."
WR Keshawn Martin
(on if it has been communicated to him that he'll have an expanded role) "You never know. You just have to keep working and practice and when your number is called, be ready for it."
(on how he feels like he's done in practice and in games when he's gotten opportunities) "I feel like I've been doing pretty good. Practice-wise, I try to go hard every day and just try to get the best out of practice."
(on if he feels like the offense needs to be a little more consistent) "With offense, you need consistency. We've been doing a good job, at some points not as good. We're just going to keep rolling and just keep trying to find that consistency and just keep playing."
DE J.J. Watt
(on if he's concerned about a trend forming after losing three games in a row by seven or less this year and nine by seven or less in 2013) "Losing is a bad trend. I said it after the game, you give away points, you're not going to have too much success. We need to make sure we get all that figured out."
(on if what the Texans need to figure out is mental or physical) "It's both. I mean, it's concentration. It's discipline. We need to do a better job in all three phases."
(on if he's confident the team can get it figured out this season) "Yeah. I like the way that we work. I like the way that we fight. And I said it after the game and I mean it, we do a good job of fighting back. (I'm) just getting real sick of saying that we do a good job of fighting back. So if we put ourselves in good position and we don't just hand away points like we've been doing, we'll be just fine."
(on if he feels a real sense of urgency in the locker room) "Yeah, I mean we want to win. Every single week you play the game of football you have a sense of urgency. I don't think I've ever been part of a week where there wasn't urgency. If I am, I think that'll be the day that I probably should hang it up but I don't see that day coming for a long, long time."
(on if there is anything new this year that he has to adjust to, as far as how teams play him) "There are always things, yeah. Everybody has their own version of throwing something at me and that's fine, whether it's double-teams, triple-teams, chips, extra guys, slides. You name it, I've seen it and that's fine. That's part of the challenge. I've always enjoyed it. If you're going to send two or three guys at me, there are 10 other guys on the defense you have to worry about. That also doesn't guarantee that you're going to slow me down. That's part of my favorite (thing), is the challenge of knowing that they're trying to stop me and going out there and trying to find a way to beat it."
(on OLB Whitney Mercilus' play lately) "I think he's done a great job. Obviously, two sacks in the game. One of them was a forced fumble. That's big. He's done a great job of going out there and taking advantage of being a starter."
(on how the preparation differs depending on if Jake Locker or Charlie Whitehurst starts for Tennessee) "They're both good quarterbacks. Partially is preparing: you look at the scheme overall and some of the things they do. (Jake) Locker is a heck of an athlete so he can do a little bit more running around and stuff like that. But to be a quarterback in the National Football League, you have to be pretty good to start with. You just prepare for them both and be ready for anything."
(on what OLB Jadeveon Clowney does behind the scenes to get ready) "You have to ask him that."
(on if OLB Jadeveon Clowney is not around him much) "He's been in the training room trying to get back out there. You have to ask him."
(on if he's eager to see what OLB Jadeveon Clowney can do) "I play with the 11 they put on the field. Obviously, I want our whole team to be healthy. Hopefully he's healthy and can get back out there and help us and contribute to the team."
(on what makes Tennessee QB Jake Locker dangerous) "I mean, he can move around very well. He's quick, he's agile. He can hurt you with his feet, which obviously when the quarterback can do that, you have to make sure you're very disciplined in your rush lanes. You have to make sure you keep him in the pocket. So I think that's the challenge with him."