We have two players questionable. One is Chad Scott (thumb) and the other is Kendrell Bell (ankle). We've got four players that are probable: Hines Ward (quad), Kimo von Oelhoffen (calf), Chidi Iwuoma (knee) and Kendall Simmons (shoulder).
Do you have some plans on replacing Mike Logan in the dime?
Yeah, we do. We'll make some adjustments and go from there. I'd rather not get into details at this point for the obvious reasons. He was a good blitzer, a good cover guy. Certainly he was an integral part. We had made some adjustments earlier when he wasn't playing, so we'll head somewhat in that direction.
What's the problem with Chad?
He doesn't feel good about playing. It's his thumb.
Do you expect the momentum to carry over?
I don't think you ever come down. When you're in the playoffs, you don't have time. You can't get involved in any kind of emotional rollercoaster. Sure, games like that are dreams but we've got to ride this wave of emotion we're on right now. Right now is not a time to get caught up in it; just keep playing. That's what we're going to do.
What are the specifics of Logan's knee injury?
He had a lot of different cartilage, had a partial ligament, a micro fracture in the knee. Nothing that won't affect full rehab or full recovery by next year.
Has Chad made significant progress since the injury?
He's week-to-week, guys. I told you that last week. We were hopeful to have him last week. He wasn't there. We're hopeful to have him this week. If he'll be there, great. If not, we're moving on. It's simple. I mean I'm not going to get into specifics. It's his thumb. It's a broken thumb. It's a very sensitive situation. He's got to feel comfortable playing with it. If he's comfortable playing with it, he will play. If not, he won't.
Is this kind of like playing a division opponent?
Yes. There is familiarity and they physically beat us last time. They beat us at the line of scrimmage and they beat us in every phase you want to name. They manhandled us. There's no way to sugarcoat that.
Will you consider using the hurry-up offense?
Could you talk about Jevon Kearse?
He's such a presence on the field. He's a guy, as a rusher, you don't need to worry about blitzing because he creates that kind of disruption. Couple that with the noise factor and Kevin Carter on the other side and the tackles inside who keep rotating, I mean, this is a very physical group up front that they have. They've got a deep group that applies pressure all day long and they keep coming after you.
Can you recover in time to match that physical style?
You have to. It's like I said, we don't have any time to sit back and get caught up in anything we've done or to dwell in self-pity. This is the hand that's dealt us, it's the opportunity we have ahead of us and you have to seize it. And that's what we're going to do. We recognize that. For us to be handed a 6-day rest and another team an 8-day rest…I don't know where the justification comes from, but so be it. That's the hand that's dealt us and we're going to play it out.
Do you play better as an underdog?
I'm sure there are a lot of doubters out there; they've been there all year. So be it. I'm sure we've given them every right to say the things they've said. The bottom line is right now we're not going to apologize for winning; we're not going to apologize for where we are. We're going to take this opportunity we have ahead of us. It's a stiff challenge we're facing and we're going to give everything we've got. We're going to play hard for 60 minutes and where it leads us on Sunday, excuse me, on Saturday we'll find out.
Did you get an explanation from the league for giving you such a short week?
No. Don't want one.
Don't want one.
How do you explain that decision?
We're playing. That's the only thing that matters. We're playing. We have an opportunity to play Saturday. Seize it. We're not worrying about all the other things.
Does it present problems?
Ah, just one less day.
Do you get the feeling the league wants a New York team in the Super Bowl?
I don't know what they want. I just know what we want. Like I said, this is the path we've been presented and right now we've just got to concern ourselves with this football game, this Saturday, this football team we're playing, that's all we're worrying about.
When you added Tommy Maddox to your roster, did you ask about his leadership skills?
I didn't ask anyone about it. When Tommy was signed, again, it was just to upgrade the fourth quarterback position and that's the truth. Those things, you don't just impose yourself on people. Tommy's been here a couple of years. He's gotten to know the players. Certainly, the role one has when one's backing up is not going to have the impact the ones he has when he starts. And once you start you have to create credibility for yourself. You don't just automatically step in and say things, I don't care what your role is, as a coach or player, you have to have credibility and that comes over time.
When you look at this football team, with guys like Tommy and Wayne, Hines, Lee, Jason, Joey, Kimo, Dewayne – I just think about all these guys. They play and they say what they feel. I like that. I like to have a team where players feel comfortable to stand up and say what they feel. I don't ever want to let them feel inhibited in any way of not doing that. Certainly, there are times and places for it. I'd like to think I'm still going to have the last word, but I would like to think that people feel comfortable, on this team, that you can say what you feel and how you think and that people will cover you no matter what and how it may come out.
And I think that's the kind of team we've become. There's a lot of strong fiber that's been built over time. It's not just something that's happened shortly. It's been built through tough times, good times. It's time-tested. That's when you have a strong football team. So where we are today is no question a result of where we've been this year. Where that takes us, I think, remains to be seen.
Is leadership in a quarterback less important now?
It had to be there, but leadership isn't something you can teach. You've got to be yourself. It's got to come naturally. It's got to be genuine. It's not something you can manufacture. Some people are better at it than others. Some people can lead with their actions. Some people can say things that inspire people. There are so many different ways of doing it and at the same time it's got to be natural and some people are better at it than others. In some people it's a greater strength. Not that you have to be a leader to be good, but some people have those qualities that others don't.
How different will Tennessee's offense be?
I cannot imagine them not – I mean they spread us out last time if you remember – so I can't imagine them deviating too far from it, based on the success they had, based on the success that Cleveland had last week; so I still think they're going to try to run the football. Of course, I thought Cleveland was going to try to run the football, too. They've got a good running back, a good offensive line, but there's no question they're going to spread it out. And we thought Cleveland was going to spread it out. There was no surprise there. They executed. We had a few communication breakdowns but they executed better than we did.
Have they shown the spread against other teams?
Why didn't you blitz Cleveland more?
When we blitzed them there was a touchdown. Do you remember that?
Was Hank Poteat in a different position and why was he confused?
He was not in a different position and we just had a breakdown in communication.
Brent Alexander said he messed it up. Is that right?
Brent was communicating a personnel grouping and Hank interpreted that as a defense. That's what happened.
Why weren't the officials calling the delays on the Browns?
I don't know. Someone asked earlier about the touchdown. I don't know.
Which official was responsible for that?
I'm not sure. I don't want to indict the wrong person.
So you'll indict them all?
No. They're all guilty by association (laughs).
Coach, what's your defensive game plan?
We've got to mix it up. Steve McNair's a good quarterback. He's a big guy, hard to bring down. Last time we blitzed him some, dropped some. He scrambled a couple times. We dropped; we blitzed. We missed some tackles the last time, too. We didn't tackle very well in that football game. That's the one thing I do remember. We've got to eliminate the big plays. I'm sure they're going to test us on the outside as a lot of people have and they probably will. We'll have to stop the running game and try to contain McNair.
Have you ever been in a situation where a game ends on a blown call and what's your recourse?
You try to get the officials. When they run off the field, you're done. They're the last chance you got. I'm sure Jim tried to talk to the officials. I'm not sure. I didn't see the film following him. But you've got to get to the referee somehow, get to the referee. When he runs off the field, you're done. There's nothing you can do. That's the guy. The guy with the white hat.
Didn't they bring Miami and New England back onto a field about 45 minutes after everyone left?
Am I supposed to remember the specifics of that play?
Say this would happen Saturday. What could you do?
As a coach, I don't know if you have one. In that game, I believe someone from the league was watching at the time and they told them. All I know is that when a referee leaves the field, you're done.
Do you carry a rulebook on the sideline?
There wasn't an offsetting penalty. They know the rule. They didn't call pass interference. They never called pass interference. It was a judgment call. That's not even a reviewable play. Everybody knows you can't end on off-setting penalties, but they didn't call pass interference, because the guy thought it was an ineligible receiver. I'm just going by what I heard on TV.
How do you deal with these league apologies?
You try to make sure the players are aware of the rules. That's the only thing you can do with the feedback from the league, and that's what we're all trying to do is make sure we all understand the interpretations of certain plays, making sure we all understand the rules as we think we know them. We send in plays to ask for interpretations so that we can give the feedback to the player. … Something like that, though, you have no recourse you have. I think it's very stand-up-ish of the league to admit it. For Mike Pereira to stand up and say, "Listen we missed it." Hey, they missed it. We all make mistakes and sometimes an official misses a call. There's nothing wrong with admitting you're wrong at times.
Does it make you feel any better that it happened against a New York team?
Oh, get off that New York thing. I don't know.
Before a field goal attempt like that, are your guys aware of the circumstances?
Yeah, we talk about why we kick on second down, if the ball is blocked. It's discussed. That's why you kick on second or third down. … You can't spike it or throw it into the ground. What he could've done is even on the knee, throw it out to the wing, at his feet.
Do you realize the end could be near any week?
First we're going to play. We're going to play. You do three things right now – you play, you adjust to the game, and you believe. Never stop believing. If you do that, I don't know how it's going to end. All you can do is play. Play, adjust, believe.
Did being out-physicaled add to the bad taste in your mouth from the last meeting?
Yeah. I like to think we are that type of football team. It's going to be a physical football game. There's no question.
Does being banged up make it more difficult on a short week?
It is and that's why the decision was made to give them off today. Preparation-wise, you move everything up a day, but given the emotions of last week's game, and it was a physical game. It's been a long year. During the Christmas week I gave them a day off. We'll do the same thing this week. Work Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and play Saturday. I thought it was the right thing to do. I'm not sure what we would've gotten done today, tempo-wise. I want quality not quantity at practice this time of year.
Could you tell us more about Chidi Iwuoma?
I was talking to him a couple weeks ago and I said, "I can't wait to see you in camp." He's been here and he's worked hard in practice. We haven't had a chance to see him in the game playing in the secondary, but in practice he's been in a couple packages we've had the past weeks. His role may expand now. He's been battling this knee contusion off and on the last six or seven weeks. I know he's a good football player. He plays hard and he throws his 170 pounds around [on special teams]. He plays as big as anybody else in this league.
Is there any psychological rehab needed for Tommy Maddox before going back to Nashville?
No. I think he's fine. Whatever he was able to psychologically overcome in the Houston game, he had to psychologically overcome for his play the next week. He's physically fine. He really is. Going back there, I don't think there'll be any concerns. Again, we're facing a good football team and all that matters right now is our execution.
People left early on Sunday but could you talk about how this town lives and dies with what you guys do?
Of all the things we've done, to be able to bring 11 home playoff games here since I've been here is great. There might have been some people that left, but the people who were there made up for it because it was loud. And it was energized. And it was great. To experience that game at home, I don't think we win that game on the road. There was an energy that we pulled from that stadium the other day and that's what makes this place a very special place to play. We have great fans. They have a passion for football. They identify with their team. And I feel blessed to be able to coach in a town where football is, without a doubt, number one.
Do you feel the media turned on you?
No. I don't think they turned on us. It's the scrutiny. You're under such a microscope anymore. Everything is analyzed and over-analyzed with all the shows in place. We knew that going in and the biggest thing wasn't to overreact at the first sign of adversity, and high expectations can create overreactions so the most important thing was to make sure no one got caught up in any of it. Just play the game, do it for 16 weeks.
Would you consider using a WR as a DB in an emergency?
Yeah. I don't know if I'd have Plax bump and run anyone. We have some guys who've been out there. We'll use whatever we have to use at this point. This is last game, potentially, of the season so there's no holding back. Whatever we have out there, we're going to play.