Titans-Jaguars Week: Monday Report

Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher answers questions about the upcoming game against the Jaguars.

How is Albert Haynesworth's health?

Fisher: "He has a chance to play this week. We're still evaluating him, but he has a chance to play. I don't know how much he'll practice in the middle part of the week, but we certainly haven't ruled him out at this point. "

How is Travis LaBoy's health?

Fisher: "I'll just say that everybody has a chance to play this week. We haven't ruled anybody out. We're going to take advantage of the next couple of days to evaluate everybody's situation."

What has been the main factors in the Titans success in the running game?

Fisher: "It's a team thing. What we try to do each week is put together a scheme that is complimented by formations and other things that give us the best chance to run the football. The staff's done a nice job with it and the players understand. We're making very few mistakes up front. The (offensive) line in particular does a nice job of adjusting to stunts and those types of things. The backs are hitting the holes. It's been a case over the last couple of weeks, where as I say, the short carries, the three-yard carries turn into five and six-yard carries – even 10-yard carries at the end of the game. That's been the case."

Does Chris Brown have a chance to play this week?

Fisher: "Yeah, I think he's got a good shot to play. He's been improving weekly since the injury. I would say he probably has a fairly good chance to get back on the practice field and we'll just determine how effective he is."

Will Chris Henry appeal his four-game suspension?

Fisher: "It's my understanding that he is considering an appeal. That's all the information I have right now."

What are the details of Henry's suspension?

Fisher: "Any time there is a mistake, an error in judgment, we discuss it and try to learn a lesson. I think he certainly regrets what he did, even though I don't think he thought he was doing anything wrong. That's about all I can say. It's a league matter. All I can say is, my understanding is that he is considering an appeal. "

What happened to Vince Young when he was hit and took a moment to get up?

Fisher: "He was hit, and returned to the game. He's fine. It wasn't an issue. He's taking a lot of hits. They forced another penalty and a time out, and he was able to bounce back. "

Are you worried about the offensive production of Young?

Fisher: "Not at all. I couldn't be more pleased with his attitude, his approach and his enthusiasm for playing this game, and what he does during the week, what he does during his off-days and the extra time he's putting in. Even though sometimes the numbers don't reflect it, he's improving. "

What about being patient with Young?

Fisher: "We're winning games. That's the bottom line – we're winning games. He is contributing an awful lot to those wins. If people want 400 or 500 yards passing out of our offense, they're going to have to wait. They're not going to get it. We're not there yet. Whether we ever get there, I don't know. But we're winning games. There are other ways to win games. "

How does Young's play compare to Steve McNair's play at the same point in McNair's career?

Fisher: "There are a lot of similarities. There are a lot of similarities between the teams, early. But keep in mind, Steve started in '97 and was involved in two 8-8 seasons. "

What is Brandon Jones' potential in his second week back from injury?

Fisher: "I would expect that Brandon will become more productive. The game is such that Brandon just didn't get many opportunities in the game. He did a nice job on the reverse. Vince was 12-for-17 at halftime and spreading the ball around with short passes, keeping the drives alive. We took a couple shots and they didn't work out. The defense made a good play on the tipped ball on [Young's] shot to Roydell (Williams). He thought he could probably squeeze that one in there and he didn't. [Carolina] made a good play. Back to Brandon, I think Brandon will put a second good week of practice together and should be more productive for us. "  

Comment on the large number of 15-yard penalties in the game, and how many would you dispute after watching film?

Fisher: "Most of them. That's just the way it is. I can see what [the officials] are seeing, but I'm still having discussions with them. There were a number of them that you just don't want to see called. I was told one thing on the field, and then you look at the tape and you see something different. This is not the start of something. It's not something that is going to continue week after week – those post-play penalties, the 15-yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. In many instances, in my opinion, they shouldn't have been called. So I don't see it as a lack of discipline on behalf of our team. "

Do you like cornerback Cortland Finnegan playing with an attitude?

Fisher: "There's something to be said for having a survivalist attitude out there, and that is what he does. It's him against the world. I can't say enough about his challenge yesterday. Steve Smith is a very, very good player. Cortland had a lot to do with Steve leaving the game with three catches for 15 yards. "

Will you question the penalty against Finnegan for his hit on Smith?

Fisher: "The rule says that if the quarterback is out the pocket, you can hit receivers down the field. That is what he did. "

Will the Titans be able to win games against tough opponents later in the season?

Fisher: "I'm not concerned about it. I know we're going to get better, and we're going to keep working at it. It's not what we want it to be. But the Panthers were leading their division yesterday, and they had won four games on the road. They were a quality team, and we beat them with good special teams, a run game and an outstanding defensive effort. We didn't feel, the way the game was going, that we needed to throw the ball every down to make big plays down the field. We were controlling the clock and controlling field position and our defense was carrying us. Our offense is going to improve. I'm not concerned about it. I see improvement from the players. I see better understanding of the scheme. We're just not getting explosive plays to flip the field right now. "

How important was the decisive 86-yard drive in the second half?

Fisher: "Our opening drive was significant for us because we hadn't scored a touchdown in the opening drive. The drive that we had yesterday, the six-and-a-half minute, 16 play drive, went something like 80 yards. That was a significant drive for us. It ate up time. It extended the score significantly and for all intents and purposes ended the game. "

Did you encourage Young to run more yesterday?

Fisher: "No. In his vision he also had an open receiver for a touchdown. What happens is [people say] ‘Why did he run when he had a receiver open for a touchdown' kind of thing. It's that deal. We're not encouraging him to run any more than he has been. We have plays designed for him to run. Some of them he has checked out of and some of them he pulled down and ran. We called a run in the second to last drive. He picked up five or six yards for us. The way the defenses are playing us right now, they are concerned about his running, especially this particular team that elected to spy him on third down because they were concerned about him running. And yet, they took a chance in some coverage and we recognized the coverage. Despite the fact that there was a spy, he ran for a key first down for us. Again, I think he is making good decisions. "

Are you concerned about Ben Troupe's dropped passes?

Fisher: "Ben Troupe has had two opportunities in the last two weeks, and he hasn't made the catch. I'm not concerned about it. Ben has made a lot of plays for us in the past, and we're going to keep him in our plans. "

What have you thought about the play of your defense?

Fisher: "The scheme is different because obviously the scheme changes based on our personnel. They have a really good understanding of the scheme. They are not making mistakes. We had one error yesterday, and those types of things happen when they can't hear and the crowd is so good that they can't hear. When that happens, you're going to have a communication error here or there. We have to reduce our package at home. Even with a reduced package, we are still winning convincingly and putting together some dominating efforts. It all starts up front with our guys. I like the attitude. Whether your defense is ranked 32 nd or ranked second and you have a chance for a shutout, that is an accomplishment. It's hard to do at this level. Yes they were a little disappointed, but you go for it again the next week. As far as comparing the defense to others, this defense has a similar personality to the '99 defense. It's very, very aggressive. It also is feeding off the way we play, staying fresh because of the time of possession and because of the run game. I think our run game obviously does a lot of things for us. For the most part, it is really helping the defense because it is keeping them off the field. One of the things I need to point out about our defense is that we have turned the football over 19 times this year, and our defense has not given up a single touchdown after a turnover. After the first half of the season, they are to be commended for that. That is not a stat you like to brag about because you turn the ball over too much, but when it happens, to be able to keep winning you have to overcome those things. That is what they have done. "

Do people automatically dismiss the Titans, being in the same division with the Colts?

Fisher: "Well, the Colts up until yesterday were undefeated so you can understand the thought process. Our goal every year is to win the division and you have to win a lot of games to win the division. Our goal right now is to be 7-2 and win the next game. "

What about potentially being 7-1 rather than 6-2?

Fisher: "We're realistic right now. You can spin it however you want to spin it. You can say we are two or three plays away from being 8-0. You can say we are three or four plays away from being 2-6. We're winning games, and that is all that matters right now. As I said, I believe this team is improving. We are improving, and that is something that is very important this time of the year. "

Do you know what to expect at quarterback from the Jaguars?

Fisher: "I haven't really gotten into that yet. We will. I haven't even had a chance to look at their game yesterday. I know that there were some injuries, and they had some off the field issues and had a hard day. They had a hard weekend. I know [Jaguars head coach] Jack [Del Rio], and Jack will have them ready to play this week. "

What are your thoughts on the offensive line's success against eight and nine-man defensive fronts?

Fisher: " [The offensive linemen] have all been together. We've been basically injury free. They are working together. They communicate well. They are meshing well with the tight ends. We have an instinctive runner (LenDale White) right now that is falling forward and pushing piles. You need a first down at the end of the game to kneel on it, so you get the first down at the end of the game and you kneel on it. And there were a lot of people on the line of scrimmage, and that was a stout defense. We moved the pile and got the play. I don't think there is a happier moment for an offensive lineman than that one, to get the first down to be able to kneel on it against a defensive front like that."

Transcript courtesy of the Tennessee Titans

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