Titans LB Keith Bulluck on the Raiders

"When they want to throw those little short crossing routes we have to tackle them. We have to hit them, you know what I'm saying. No 40-year-old man, regardless, wants to take hits all day." ...The atmosphere at Oakland Coliseum, actually, I happen to like it personally. It's not intimidating to me. Whatever they want to do is, whatever. - Keith Bulluck on the Raiders

Q. When you look at that first game with the Raiders, what stands out, what did you guys learn from it and just what that means going into this game.

 

KEITH BULLUCK: I think definitely we can look at the game as a team, minus the score, we can take some good things from it. But at the same time, that was September. It's January now, you know what I'm saying? So that really has nothing to do with the game, a trip to the Super Bowl, a trip to the AFC Championship. Whatever happened in September happened in September. We are a totally different team right now.

 

Q. What did happen?

 

KEITH BULLUCK: You know, it's kind of hard when, you know, if you get out there and the score is already 21-0 before you get a chance to play on defense. I think we were out there one time and we were in a bad situation, trying to two-punt for touchdowns. We had break downs on defense. We were just a young team at the time.

Winning 11 out of our last 12, we're kind of hot right now.

 

Q. The Jets had a real problem getting to Rich Gannon, as many teams have. I know that you have a great pass rush, but given the size of the Raiders offensive line, how do you think your guys are going to be able to put the necessary pressure on Gannon to force the Raiders into mistakes?

 

KEITH BULLUCK: You know, we're just going to go play our game. We're going to be

doing what's been successful for this winning streak that we have had. We are not going to change up just because we're playing the Raiders. We look at them just like any other team. They are a good team, they have a lot of great players on their team, but at the same time we feel that we can match up and that we can play with them. It's

not like we are looking at the Raiders like, "Oh, my God, it's the Raiders." I don't think they know us. I don't think they know what this team has and what we really truly real exciting, real interesting Sunday.

 

Q. What problems does Gannon present that you guys are overly concerned with?

 

KEITH BULLUCK: I don't necessarily -- I don't know if there are any problems we are overly concerned with. We are concerned because they can score. They can move the ball very well and they can put up points at will, if you allow Rich Gannon to get into a rhythm. So we have to go through our defenses and come up with things that are going to confuse him. Maybe give him different looks that he has not seen before and just be good at what we do and execute.

 

Q. The Raiders are known for their short passing game. As linebackers, what's that going to mean to you guys?

 

KEITH BULLUCK: As linebackers it means that we are going to be very active. Hitting wide receivers, come across the middle, making tackles; eliminating their run after the catch is real big. Jerry Rice, Jerry Porter and Tim Brown, they are great at catching the ball and taking it upfield, as well as Charlie Garner. We have to be a good tackling team in this game. When they want to throw those little short crossing routes we have to tackle them. We have to hit them, you know what I'm saying. No 40-year-old man, regardless, wants to take hits all day. No 25-year-old man wants to take hits all day coming across the middle. If we can instill in them knowing that they are going to be tackled and hit in the fourth quarter when it's crunch time, maybe they will get short arms.

 

Q. Are you guys prepared for the kind of atmosphere that you are going to go into, and why do you think you guys might handle that well or better than other teams?

 

KEITH BULLUCK: It doesn't even matter. All of the different intangible things don't really

matter at this point. We know what we are playing for and we know what's at stake. We understand how far that we have come. We have endured and seen just about every type of football game that you can see this year. The atmosphere at Oakland Coliseum, actually, I happen to like it personally. It's not intimidating to me. Whatever they want to do is, whatever.

 

Q. Do you ever marvel at the punishment that Steve McNair is able to take?

KEITH BULLUCK: Yeah, it's pretty amazing. I think the guy deserves all the credit he gets and then some. He's a leader. He's the leader of our team. We know as a defense that this game falls on our shoulders and we don't worry about what Steve and Eddie and those guys are going to do because they have got it going. We just have to as a defense just give them the ball back. The more we give Steve the ball, the better opportunity we have for our ballclub to win.

Q. When you look at the Raiders offense on film, is there anyone that you've played that they compare to, or did they just have far too many weapons to compare them to anybody you've played this year?

KEITH BULLUCK: They are kind of like -- you can compare them to Pittsburgh. Actually, they have a great core of wide receivers. They have a quarterback that knows how to get all of the wide receivers the ball. They have a good running back and a pass game, and Pittsburgh uses their running back in the pass game. If anything, they have two different offenses, but at the same time they have similar personnel on the field.

Q. What do you think is the absolute most important thing that has to happen for you guys to win this game. A lot of people don't really compare the Titans offense with the Raiders because the Raiders have so many weapons, but what specifically do you think is the key to this game?

KEITH BULLUCK: He can really only speak from defense. We have to limit our turnovers on offense. That's the only thing I can say about the offense. Special teams has to play well. On defense, we have to control them. I don't know if they can necessarily be stopped because just of what they do, how their offense is run. I don't know if they can necessarily be stopped but we have to stop them somehow. We have to control them and we have to dictate to them what they have to do. They are not going to come out and be like they have this, this and this; we have to set the tone.

Q. When you look at the Raiders offense on film, is there anyone that you've played that they compare to, or did they just have far too many weapons to compare them to anybody you've played this year?

KEITH BULLUCK: They are kind of like -- you can compare them to Pittsburgh. Actually, they have a great core of wide receivers. They have a quarterback that knows how to get all of the wide receivers the ball. They have a good running back and a pass game, and Pittsburgh uses their running back in the pass game. If anything, they have two different offenses, but at the same time they have similar personnel on the field.


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