Fisher: "You're Not Going to Fool Peyton"

Titans head coach Jeff Fisher talked about his rookie quarterback, the challenges of playing against Peyton Manning, the acquisition of former Colts linebacker David Thornton and much more during his media conference call this week.

(on the Titans' status right now)
"We didn't start our season thinking we would be off to this start. But we can't change what's happened. All we're doing is moving on. I'm proud of the players and the way they've handled a difficult situation, a difficult start. They're highly motivated. They work hard, they practice hard and they're doing everything we can ask of them, except making those kinds of difference-making plays on Sunday. And that's something that we all know you can't press. You just have to keep working at it and keep improving as a team. So, personality-wise, locker room, all of those kinds of things, they're fine, they're sound, they're healthy. It's just the 0-4 start that's troubling to everybody. They've not accepted losing. They believe that we have a chance as time moves on to become once again a pretty good football team."

(on how difficult it is to remain good for a long period of time)
"It's not an easy thing. You have to be able to, No.1, be able to hang on to your key players. We obviously weren't able to do that, so you move on. We have a young group of players now on this team, the young quarterback included, that we feel have a chance to replace the core group that we've lost. So, it is difficult to stay tough, and that's why I think the Colts have done such a great job doing that over the last few years."

(on if it is inevitable to take two steps back when lose your core players)
"I can't say everybody, because it certainly has not happened to the Colts. But I think if you look around the league, you've seen it happen. What's impressive is how teams can bounce right back. I think the Ravens are a great example of that. They went through a difficult time, got young in a hurry, used the cap wisely, made adjustments, rebuilt that team and now they're a contender again. So, to me, what the challenge is, at some point it's going to happen if you're not careful. And when it does happen, the question begs, ‘How soon can you get back?' That's where we are right now. We are trying to get back as quickly as we can."

(on if the Titans made the effort to take it as far as they could with their group of players with Steve McNair and Eddie George)
"That was the case, yes. We, in 1999, 2000, even 2003, we hung on as long as we could, and probably stretched ourselves out a little thin to try to make one more run at it, even in '04. And then of course in '04, we were victimized with injuries and it fell apart. So, then in '05 we started the process."

(on if you have an injury during that run, it really cripples you)
"It does. Injuries are the one thing that we can't control, that you can't project. I think we get to the point now where if you don't take the approach, ‘What are we going to do when we get hurt' rather than ‘What are we going to do if we get hurt,' then you're going to have a difficult time. So, the developing backups and those type of players are kinds of players that you need in your system. I think that process is very, very important."

(on if he regrets the Titans' approach or if that's they way he would still do it)
"I believe that we made a good run. We didn't get to where we wanted to get to, but we had a good run, we had opportunities. I think there were some things that happened out of our control in 2004, but here we stand and I feel like we've taken the right steps. I don't know as far as regrets, we've been given no other choice. You can look and say that Steve (McNair) is in Baltimore 4-0 and we're bringing on a young quarterback, that was our own choice. So no, I don't think anybody has any regrets from the standpoint of trying to keep things together as long as we possibly could."

(on QB-Vince Young)
"He really has come on. He's been really fun to work with and fun to watch and improve. Obviously, his improvement from the rookie minicamp through last Monday was the reason that we decided to go with Vince. And he's only going to continue to improve. He's creative, he's fun to watch, he's very, very talented, and I think he has just a terrific future ahead of him."

(on using a different approach with Vince Young than he did with Steve McNair)
"We learned that we handled Steve correctly. It worked out. I think what you have to do is understand that everybody is different. There's a different set of qualities. I've sat here recently, the difference between Steve and Vince is not necessarily the two of them, but it's the coordinator. And that's the reason Vince is playing, because Coach Chow's offense is I think much more conducive to playing early, just because of the format. When I'm asked to compare Steve to Vince, it's difficult to compare because the situations are so different. As far as potential and upside, no doubt Vince has the potential to do the same things that Steve has done."

(on the Colts' defense being a tough challenge for Vince Young)
"Every week is going to be a challenge for him. Last week against the Cowboys was certainly a challenge, and playing the Colts defense at Indy is always a challenge, a challenge for the best quarterbacks in the league right now. So, he's going to accept it and work hard this week. He's looking forward to playing. Obviously, he has a great deal of respect for Peyton (Manning) and what Peyton's done. I know he's kind of anxious to see Peyton in person, but he also is going to keep things in perspective with the most important thing being his preparation, his production this Sunday."

(on the Colts' third-down conversion percentage)
"It's off the charts right now. Obviously, it's another reason that they're currently undefeated. They're just going out, playing and executing. One of the things that's always been difficult is to get them into third down, because that's when you get your chance. Now that they've really improved that part of their offense, that's only going to make them that much better."

(on if the Colts' third-down conversion success puts more pressure on the defense to take more chances or change the gameplan)
"From a taking chances standpoint, you're not going to fool Peyton (Manning). That's just a reality, you just don't fool him anymore. Years ago, once or twice a game, you may catch him off guard, but you just don't fool him anymore and that's the reason. He's going to put them in position to make the play. So, from the taking chances standpoint, you can pressure him, but he's going to make the adjustments that are going to beat your pressure. You can sit back and give him time, and if you give him time, he's going to take advantage of the time to make the accurate throw that's going to keep the drive alive."

(on LB-David Thornton)
"David's done great. I got a chance to speak with (Colts President) Bill Polian because of our association on the Competition Committee and I'll never forget Bill's comments about Dave. He said in all of his years that it's hard to find a better person than Dave, and that's the truth. His work ethic and his commitment, the smile on his face…he does not like the record right now. There's no question about that. He's doing everything he can to show some of the younger players what it takes to prepare during the week and how you have to approach things. But he's just been a terrific acquisition."

(on if it helps having LB-David Thornton since he lined up against Peyton Manning in practice for four years)
"I think all of that is overrated. (David) obviously has respect for what (Peyton) has done and he's watched him week after week after week. It's overrated. Let's face it. The Colts' offense is probably one of the simplest offenses in the National Football League. All they do is just execute. So you can have a pretty good idea of what they're doing and still not stop them. What Dave can do best for his new teammates is convince them that you need to carry a level of respect into this game and you have to play them a certain way. But from a standpoint of helping us and his teammates with Xs and Os, I think that's overrated."


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