TitansTexans Week: Monday Report

Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher talks about the loss to the Bengals and the upcoming game against the Texans.

What is the status of team injuries?

Fisher: "Chris Hope left the ballgame and we're doing tests. I don't have any information as far as that's concerned. The tests will probably last for a number of days and we'll have some results we can share with you. Kyle Vanden Bosch left the game. His tests did come back. He's going to be okay – he's a little sore. I doubt he'll practice much this week, but I think he'll be up and available to play in the ballgame. Vince (Young) has a mild ankle sprain, which shouldn't set him back much from practice. Ahmard Hall will be cleared to go this week, hopefully. Albert (Haynesworth) is getting closer. He made significant progress last week. We were tempted (to activate him) but it didn't make sense. Hopefully we'll be able to get him back on the field this week. Travis (LaBoy) should return to the practice field. Benji Olson's status has not changed."

Is Chris Hope being tested for a concussion?

Fisher: "Yeah, he'll probably see a neurologist and just check him out."

Did Hope's muscle spasms continue once he left the field?

Fisher: "No, he walked off on his own power. It cleared up a little bit and I spoke to him after the ballgame. He didn't remember much. He's showing concussion symptoms but he doesn't have any issues. He came home with us last night and is actually feeling a little better today."

How is the team trying to find a way to win?

Fisher: "We've looked hard at everything. Obviously the numbers are distinctly different from the first eight weeks to the last three. What's interesting is we're not doing anything different. Our offense, our defense, our special teams, our play selection, our play calling have been really matched the first eight weeks. We just are struggling in some areas where we have to continue to improve. We're struggling in the red zone, struggling to score touchdowns. Defensively, in an area that was good and was a strength, has now become an area of concern, and that's red-zone defense and third down efficiency. The numbers aren't good the last three weeks in any area, probably because we've fallen behind and we've had to change our approach. We have to continue to work on those areas – third downs, plus territory, return game and special teams. We showed some really good things, some signs of life. We showed that we were capable of doing some good things on the field the first eight weeks. Those signs are still there. We haven't changed. We're just going to continue to work on them. I think we're at a point right now where we have to improve. We have to be able to put this, whatever it is, behind us and go out and score points, have fun and enjoy the game, make plays and find a way to win."

Has the mindset changed?

Fisher: "I think if you look at five games or four games, or you look at this week and who you play in the future, I think you'll do yourself a disservice. I think you just come back to work on Wednesday as we talked about and get in the gameplan, do your best to familiarize yourself with a familiar opponent, and try to get ready for the ballgame."

How are you helping the players to ignore what's being said about them?

Fisher: "We do not pay attention to much of anything outside the building."

Was yesterday just a bad day?

Fisher: "I was able to show them that, yes. I believe they saw it. I think the first half could have been significantly different had a few things happened. It wasn't necessarily what the Bengals were doing, despite the fact that Carson (Palmer) had a real good day. It was more about some things that we did that we haven't done before, or that we had done correctly that we did incorrectly yesterday."

Why did you kick a field goal instead of trying for a touchdown just before the half?

Fisher: "We did have receivers in the end zone. We didn't throw the ball towards the end zone. But we had people open in the end zone."

What contributed to the problems in the red zone, specifically when Vince Young was sacked?

Fisher: "We were hot. The strongside linebacker blitzed and we had basically three places to go with the ball. Vince didn't see him creep and he stayed to the weak side. He got hit and we got sacked. That's something that's going to happen to a young quarterback. But there are opportunities there. We didn't get the linebacker blocked appropriately by one of our offensive players, and we had a receiver open in the end zone. Those are things, not necessarily that they did, but what we did. So it's all technical football stuff. We've been through it, we've seen it and they understand it. "

Has the team lacked momentum because of falling behind early?

Fisher: "I think we're 4-0 when we've scored on the first drive and 1-3 or something like that when we haven't, or when we've given up points, rather. We need to score on the first drive. But that doesn't mean to say that if we give up points on the first drive this week that we have no chance to win, either. But it does help when you put a drive together on the opening drive and get points. "

What about dictating the game with a scripted gameplan?

Fisher: "Again, we had plays in our first 12 or first 15 (scripted plays) that did work. We just didn't get to them until the end of the second quarter. We couldn't get off the field defensively."

What are the problems with the running game?

Fisher: "It's the carries. It's the number of carries. If you look at the number of carries over the last three weeks, our running backs are carrying the ball 14-and-a-half times a game. That's not enough, and it's because we've fallen behind. We're still equipped to run it, we've just fallen behind and opened the thing up and started throwing to try to play catch-up."

What happened on Keith Bulluck's facemask penalty?

Fisher: "Any time you get around the facemask, you're going to get called for it. We don't like the big penalties, but sometimes they happen. I was not pleased with LenDale (White)'s (personal foul) penalty on the sideline. He has to learn from that. We can't afford to have those kinds of things happen. That would have given us a first-and-goal on the two-and-a-half and we would have had at least one shot at the end zone."

What about LenDale White's personal foul penalty?

Fisher: "He's not the first; I'd hope to think he's the last. But those kinds of things happen. You get hit late out of bounds and somebody says something to you, and you try to get away with something, you just can't. You just have to walk away."

Are you satisfied with the play of the wide receivers, or would you like to see changes?

Fisher: "As I said when we discussed Mike (Williams)' situation last week, we're going to stay on course with that. We're going to teach him the offense, get him involved and you will quite likely see him on the practice field this week. If he picks things up and he's productive, there's a chance he could be active this week."

How did new acquisition Chris Barclay do on kick returns?

Fisher: "He hit the holes and he did about what we expected him to do. He caught the ball, he secured the ball and ran with good vision. The second kickoff return, which was his first of the game was a good return."

Do you plan to integrate Barclay into the offense more?

Fisher: "He provides somewhat of a changeup. There may be a spot for him."

How much of the defensive struggles can be attributed to the absence of Albert Haynesworth?

Fisher: "It's third downs. It's all interrelated. The odds of getting a defensive stop on third-and-one or two are significantly lower than they are getting a stop on third-and-seven to 10. We've had our share of third-and-ones, twos and threes. With Albert on the field, maybe those third-and-shorts may have been third-and-seven and you might get off the field there. So it's hard to quantify. But I might be able to answer the question in a different fashion after he returns. We'll see what happens."

Has the team's attitude been the same during the three losses?

Fisher: "They're working hard. They're doing the extra little things. We just have to work through it. There are things here that are being checked and challenged right now. If you've got a good team, you pull through it. I trust them. I have confidence in them. I believe they're a good team. We just have to play a little better in certain areas."

Have you emphasized reducing the turnovers?

Fisher: "That's always an issue. But you don't want players playing with the concern of dropping the football or fumbling the ball, those kinds of things. You just want them to go out and play. We've encouraged that. The physical-type mistakes that take place on the practice field, you correct them. You don't overreact to them. You correct them, because they're not doing it on purpose."

What is Vince Young's mental state?

Fisher: "He does not like losing. His mental state has not changed. He doesn't like losing, but he bounces back. He'll bounce back this week."

What does the Houston Texans having WR Andre Johnson back in their lineup mean?

Fisher: "He does a lot for their offense. I think he was [active] just a couple of games and had four or five touchdown receptions early in the season before he got hurt. So he and Matt Schaub clearly were on the same page earlier in the season. I haven't had a chance to look at the last couple of games yet, but he's definitely one of the top receivers in the game."

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