No bull from Bulluck

"I know they're struggling similar to us. They are maybe a little worse considering that they can't get their first-round draft pick going, but it's a tough league." -- Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck

Q: How are you guys making it through this season?

Bulluck:
We're making it, because we know that we're getting better each time we take the field.

Q: At this point, what kind of approach do you guys take for the final six games?

Bulluck:
The approach we take is to win these last six games. Regardless of your record, as a football player you can't just go out there and go through the motions. You can get hurt, embarrass yourself and you can also lose your job. We have a lot of pride and we're one of the younger teams in the NFL. We go out there to fight every week so that the opposing teams know that we're for real regardless of our record.

Q: Is there an understanding amongst the players that when you have salary cap issues that there will be a season like this?

Bulluck:
It's probably not an understanding with this team, because we're very young. A lot of the things that are going on are new to a lot of players. Actually all the talk of people saying that we're rebuilding was new to me. I believe that you always have to compete regardless of what your roster looks like on paper or during the preseason. I think now the realization of rebuilding is sitting in. That's fine, it's welcomed, but we have six more games left and we're going to give 106 percent in each.

Q: Is the lack of experience the reason why you guys haven't seemed to be able to put together a four full quarters of strong play?

Bulluck:
I don't know what the cause is, but that's definitely a problem that we've had. It's a matter of becoming consistent, minimizing mistakes, executing almost to perfection and playing with an attitude that we can't be beat. Those are the things that will have to be learned with this team. Each week we learn a new lesson. We're not going out there and repeating mistakes. A mistake that we made a week prior, we're not going out there and making the same one in the next week.

Q: With so many young faces on this team, has your role as a veteran changed?

Bulluck:
It's changed a little bit. We have to look out for our first-rounder Adam "Pac Man" Jones, and some of the second-year guys are still trying to find their way. We're a tight-knit crew. Our defense is kind of like being at college again. We hang out and stick together. We definitely believe in one another and what's going on around here. My role has been more or less someone who keeps everything intact on the defensive side of the ball. I make sure that people don't lose their confidence and I make sure that they know that we're going to play good ball.

Q: Speaking of Pac Man Jones how is he fitting in with you and in the locker room?

Bulluck:
He's cool. He's a young kid who's having fun and enjoying life. He's going to be a hell of a football player once he grasps a lot of the concepts of the team and concepts of how opposing teams will try to attack him. He's really in tune with his football, but he had a late start with the late training camp and it's kind of hard to get on track. He's coming along and he's starting to do a real good job in the kickoff game.

Q: Is it hard to keep him in control when he makes a good play, but then gets a penalty for taunting?

Bulluck:
That's not my job to keep a player in control, because you have to have control of yourself. It's kind of frustrating when he makes a good play and then comes back a couple of plays later to make a stupid one. But the kid just turned 22 a month and a half ago, so he has a lot to learn. Once he gets the little things out the way he'll be alright.

Q: How is your coach dealing with the youth in these last couple of years?

Bulluck:
It definitely has to be tough on him. He's been through his times where he's had the 7-9, 8-8 and 6-10 records. Then he gets his team to being one of the top teams in the league that's winning AFC championships and making Super Bowl appearances. Now he sees his team in a familiar position that he hasn't been accustomed to for at least seven years now. He has to stay strong for his team and he's doing a good job of not showing his frustrations. If he's human he definitely has to be frustrated.

Q: Nationally there's talk that he may not be back next year, is that something that the players have discussed?

Bulluck:
No. I've never heard of that.

Q: When you look at the 49ers offense does it make it difficult for you to know what they're going to run since they've had so many changes at QB?

Bulluck:
Our coaches game plan no matter what. As a player I don't care who the quarterback is. At this point it's football. The offense is not going to change that much regardless of who the quarterback, running back or receiver is. We just have to practice what they've been doing for the last 10 to 11 weeks.

Q: Speaking of changes in quarterbacks, how much do you pay attention to who will be the quarterback of the opposing team that you play?

Bulluck:
I've paid more attention in the past. With us being in the position that we are as a team and the 49ers being in the position that they are, everybody is just interested in going out and getting a win.

Q: With the 49ers opening up the offense in last week's game, does that present more of a challenge for you guys defensively?

Bulluck:
No I don't think so, because at the second half that's what Jacksonville did to us. They wanted to spread the offense out a little bit. Defensively we'll be prepared for that. We have a lot of guys anxious to get out there and play. Regardless of what they do, we'll definitely be prepared.

Q: What were your impressions of Maurice Hicks from last week's game?

Bulluck:
He broke a few runs. He looks as if he's anxious to cut it back right away whereas Barlow will pound it in there. Gore is hurt, but he's definitely been impressive. I like the way that he's running the ball in his rookie year. Hicks is definitely a scatty back who wants to use his speed and cutback ability to get to the outside and make long runs.

Q: Your defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is well known for his statistical work, but does that make it down to the players meetings?

Bulluck:
He definitely brings it back to the meetings. I look at it during the meetings, but once I'm on the field, I'm not thinking about it being third-and-three with the offense having a 45 percent chance of running the ball. I'm out there playing my odds that I've developed for myself throughout the course of preparation week.

Q: Have you bought into it more since you've been there?

Bulluck:
I don't think it's anything to buy into, I just think of it as a way that he breaks down offensive tendency. I don't think it's something that he expects his players to buy into. I study a certain way and (Titans linebacker) Peter Sirmon studies a certain way. We share different tips, but it's not like he's trying to get me to study like him or I'm trying to get him to study like me. It just depends on the certain way that a person goes about it.

Q: Did you think that (Schwartz) had a good chance of becoming the 49ers head coach during the offseason?

Bulluck:
I didn't know anything about that. It must've flown under the radar.

Q: This is your first time playing the 49ers in your career, so do you know much about them coming into this week?

Bulluck:
I do but I'm more of a defensive guy. I see the 49ers defense on film from time to time and I like watching Julian Peterson. We came out in the draft together and we were on the Senior Bowl squad together. I know they're struggling similar to us. They are maybe a little worse considering that they can't get their first-round draft pick going, but it's a tough league. I think he'll be alright. They didn't draft him in the first round for nothing. They have a young squad. Brandon Lloyd keeps making tremendous catches and with them playing playoff teams close, that definitely gives them confidence.

Q: Both of you guys are 2-8 teams, but you're at home, so is this a game that you guys expect to win?

Bulluck:
We definitely expect to win this one. Like you said we're both two 2-8 teams, but we definitely expect to win this one.


Niners Digest Top Stories