Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams:
"Good week. Don't let that fall on deaf ears or get tired of it. There is a good group of young men here that I get a chance to help and we get a chance to help. No pushback. They come to work every single day. They are getting better in lots of different ways. I am going to have to go to a dentist and grind my teeth on some of the things that will happen every once and a while. The first touchdown last week was 10 guys played one thing and one guy played something else. It is just one of those things where it happens. A great kid, great player that played something wrong. They battled back, and to his credit, he battled back too. Had one gap-control thing – a short yardage play from a really good player that again, almost similar to the Baltimore situation where we had more than they could block, but it popped right where our guy had poor eye discipline. Those things happen. Give them credit again, there were an awful lot of good things that went on. I don't know if you guys do any timing things, but (Texans QB) Deshaun Watson had to throw the ball a full second faster than he has thrown the entire year just by our presence. Sometimes it went to his people. Sometimes it went to our people. We had legitimately two more opportunities where the ball hit us in the hands, and we have to catch those balls. (LB) Jamie Collins (Sr.) is taking a lot of static for the one that he dropped because he is such a prideful guy, and he is one of the guys of all the years that has some of the best hands I have ever seen from the receivers and everything. He catches the ball so well. That was a play that, could he have made that play, I don't know that they could have gotten him down on that side of the field because there wasn't anybody over there had he caught it.
"Onto the next one. The Titans, I was in that organization for 12 years. There is an awful lot of them – six coaches on that staff that have worked with me on various staffs before. One of those coaches (Titans assistant secondary coach Steve Jackson) played for me for nine years and then coached with me for seven years when he decided that he was going to go into coaching. Still a lot of people in that organization from equipment, strength, administration and training staff, a lot of people that I know. Pretty familiar with some of the players now. One of the things here, too, is it just shows you what our league has come to is I was there in 2013 so it hasn't been four seasons yet and there are only five players on that team that were there when I was there in 2013. It tells you how tough it is and how tough the business is. Especially when administration-type things come along, new personnel departments, new coaching staffs and all that kind of stuff, what happens in that situation. Looking forward to a good game to the next step with these guys. Just have to keep them plugging away. Have to keep them swinging. They have had a really good week. Today's practice was good. Really, I don't think since I have been here there has been a poor practice on our side of the ball. Give them credit for that."
On how well DB Jason McCourty is playing:
"He is playing really well. I don't know a whole lot about how this is ranked or whatever, but someone brought it to my attention a couple nights ago that in the Pro Football Focus stat he is the No. 1 corner in the National Football League. I didn't know that. He is playing pretty well for us. The No. 2 defensive end playing the run in the league is (DE) Emmanuel Ogbah. No. 2 defensive tackle playing the run in the league is (DL) Jamie Meder. No. 4 defensive tackle playing the run in the league is (DL) Danny Shelton. Blessed to have a chance to help those guys here. They are playing well in certain areas, and we have to get away from some of the play or two that get away from us."
On being tied for last in the NFL in touchdown passes allowed:
"One of the things in touchdown passes allowed, it shows a little bit of experience in those areas, it shows a little bit of indecisions in those areas and it shows that we are forcing everybody to pick the ball up and you are not going to get a chance to run it across with us. If you take a look at the attempts in those areas, especially in the areas of shot-producing plays or down in the red zone, people have said, 'Oh, can't run the ball against them.' We have to do a better job in the passing game. We spend an awful lot of time in the practice area. One of the things, too – I don't know how you would present this in an article or whatever – is that at every level that you increase or move up and play this game, and we are at the very top now, in the world, at this game, slow correct decisions are still wrong. They have been able to make decisions and go ahead and out-ability everybody else and your ability alone allows you to be better than the person you are playing against and you can get away with making slower decisions. At this level you can't. Ability is pretty well matched. There are a few guys in the league that are way better than everybody else, but there are not as many as everybody else thinks there are. Everybody can play. Everybody, especially some of the better quarterbacks and some of the and maybe better coached ones, understand that you have to pull that trigger faster. Those are some of the things that we have come a long way with since I have gotten here, but we still have a long ways to go. We have to be able to make the correct decision faster. I was hired to correct the fast wrong decisions. You hear that? Fast wrong decisions. A slow correct decision we can't tolerate. We can't tolerate those, and we have been close in several of those earned catches. For instance, the last touchdown the other day, we are in a double-coverage on that guy that Deshaun doesn't even see it, and we had a player that is getting ready to make the play on the ball and slips and goes to the ground. Jason McCourty is playing the leverage for that person to intercept it. Deshaun did everything we wanted him to do, and our guy falls down. There are those type of things – he didn't do it on purpose – but we just have to fight through those kind of things. We are getting a lot better. I have to not have a temper tantrum when those things happen on gameday because they didn't do it on purpose, but we can only take so much of that."
On if Houston's first TD last week was a result of miscommunication:
"More importantly, sometimes it is a missed thought process because we are hand signaling, too. You can see guys hand signaling. The guy who missed it, he is signaling something else. In coaching, the big part of coaching is training people's eyes. If I get them to look right, they have a better chance of doing right. When you look at the wrong things, you have a chance of doing at the wrong things. At that point in time, the one person thinks he is making the call, but he is not. We have a middle linebacker that makes that call. He played it beautifully if he was playing that coverage, but we weren't in that coverage."
On if those mistakes have happened too often:
"No, it really has only happened twice. Both of them have been touchdowns – two different guys."
On counting on keeping Titans QB Marcus Mariota in the pocket:
"We will see how healthy he is. We have played some very mobile quarterbacks. Marcus is extremely mobile. He is very well coached. (Titans Head Coach) Mike Mularkey and that staff do a really good job, and Mike and I have gone against each other in lots of different places. I understand how he goes about coaching those people, and I think he has adapted some of the things he has always done other places to fit the skillset of Marcus. DeShone (Kizer) can run, too. How many times has he run on us? When we are playing those kinds of guys, we are pretty well versed on making those decisions and trying to make them do what we want them to do, but he is very dangerous when he is out there. I hope his hamstring is hurting a lot (laughter)."
On if he expects McCourty to play:
"Don't know yet. We will see."
On media not understanding the analytics of Pro Football Focus:
"I don't either (laughter). I don't."
On if he places stock into Pro Football Focus:
"I don't because I don't understand it. If I understood it more, it was just somebody came by and said it. If I understood it more, maybe that might be one of my projects this offseason. Last year, it is funny – I don't know if I told you this before, but back in the spring in the offseason I worked the guys to death in the offseason. Last year, we had 174 projects in the offseason before they ever got a chance to go home on vacation, getting a new staff acclimated and all that kind of stuff, but that might be on my list of projects to better understand it. I have some people that do. My son (linebackers coach Blake Williams) is unbelievable. He was in the analytics department in the league office, and he is off the charts with all of that stuff. The people in this building have been stunned that somebody is that well-versed with all of those things."
On analytics could help evaluate players:
"I'm always looking for that. Seriously, I have a goal every single day that I don't walk off the field without learning something new. I have a goal in life that I don't lay my head on my pillow at night if there is one other thing that I can do to be productive. I am always looking for different ways, and if we don't adapt… The game has changed so much. They are bringing some of the things that are running rampant in college and high school football into the league, and it is not real effective unless you don't know what to do then it is. Some of the owners don't like paying quarterbacks that get injured doing some of the things they do in college and in high school because everybody can play at this level. I have to stay on top of all of those things. I have to be able to change. I have to be able to understand if there is something else that can help us, yes."
On DL Myles Garrett's performance in his second game:
"Played well. He played dominant in a lot of phases. You are going to see him play more this week. It was the next step. I was holding my breath that it wasn't going to set him back. It hasn't set him back. He has had a very good week of practice. We are turning him loose."
On if the team looks at a matchup like Garrett will face against Titans T Taylor Lewan:
"Sure, we look at all of the matchups. It could be guard, center, tackle and all of those things, but that is why Myles is here, about those kinds of matchups. Myles has a pretty good matchup every day in practice in (OL) Joe Thomas. To his credit, if you go research and talk to him, ask Myles if he is afraid – Myles wants to be better than any of us in this room want him to be. It is more important to him than it is to me, you or anybody else. I look forward to that battle. I really do for the next step. He has come and has shared a couple of questions to me this week where he has asked some things to me about that matchup, and I just kind of shook my head inside thinking, 'He asked me two questions that we out there that a veteran possibly would not have figured out by then.' That is how smart the young man is and how much he studies the game and studies the matchups and stuff himself. It is one thing to have a pretty good coach in (defensive line coach) Clyde Simmons, who has been pretty successful with 125 sacks of his own in the league, but Myles has spent a lot of time on his own, too. I'm anxious to see if Myles will beat (Rams DT) Aaron Donald in personal study. I had Aaron Donald and he drove us all bananas because he would mess with all of our computers at our desk and all of our video things because if you stepped away from your desk or stepped away from your station, he was on it studying himself. At night, he would be there later than coaches studying it himself. If Myles gets to be that way, look out."
On DL Emmanuel Ogbah's performance, and where he can improve:
"He has made tremendous improvement. He is playing very, very well. He has had some really dominant games. The one thing that I talk to him most about once he got fit into how we were going to play him differently than how it was played a year ago was not being afraid to make a mistake and getting away from perfection or being robotic. He has played very well, and he is playing very strong. He is a lot more powerful than I think any of the evaluators here thought. To his credit, he has played very powerful at the left defensive end position. The difference in that left and right end position is most offenses are right handed. Most offenses usually run the ball to the ride side more. Some of them don't, but most of them do. That power position is important in how we play the run front, and he has done very well."
Running backs coach/run game coordinator Kirby Wilson:
On if it felt good to get the running game going against Houston:
"Yeah, we saw some improvement so that was very encouraging and brought a smile to our guys' faces to see that. They are looking forward to building upon that this weekend."
On improvements in the running game:
"The execution across the board. In the run game, all it takes is for one person to miss an assignment or not correctly step on a particular combination block and then you have a minus play. Same thing goes for the running back. You misread or misplace the ball, and you don't have an efficient run. All it takes is one member not to do his job at a high level and you don't get the results you want."
On if it is tougher to run the ball in the red zone:
"Yeah, most definitely. A lot of different coverages occur down in that area. Each coordinator is a little bit different in the red zone than he is out into the field. You know what is coming, but at the same time, you don't know because they can change things up on the snap. You can prepare for a certain run fit all week long and then that Sunday it is totally different. It is a lot harder. The safeties are a lot closer to the football. It makes it a little bit more difficult for receivers to get that secondary second-level block."
On the key to having more success running the ball in the red zone:
"You have to have a good runner that can run through those extra defenders down in that red zone if that is the question that you ask, because you are going to a lot of times have a free hitter in the hole that a receiver can't get down in a position to block him so you have to have a runner who has some physicality to him and the ability to run through tackles at that point."
On Titans DT Jurrell Casey's strengths:
"Quickness. Explosive. Playmaker. Great anticipation. It is like he seems to know your snap count. He seems to know the blocking combination that is coming, and he has an uncanny ability of making plays behind the line of scrimmage. The guy is phenomenal. He has been doing this for a long time now. You think he has to slow down and he doesn't. He just keeps going. He is having a great season, and I know they are extremely happy with his production. We are hoping to put some bodies on him this weekend and slow him down."
On the Titans run defense:
"They are well coached obviously with (defensive coordinator) Coach (Dick) LeBeau in charge there. They do a real good job of scheming what you like to do as an offense and trying to take away your strengths and making you either go to your secondary plays that you want to run or make you one dimensional. They have done a good job to date. You see improvement in each week that you put a game film in. You have seen them improve defensively."
On the importance of RBs picking up LeBeau's designed blitzes:
"It has never changed and this week will be no different. If you have a jersey on, there is a pretty good chance you are going to get to blitz one time or another from that defense so we are prepared. They have a great scheme. We have seen just about everything that they can run. We know there will be something that we haven't seen, but we like to think that our rules will hold up, and as long as our players have great attention to detail within their assignments, that we will have a great chance of success."
On the offense's operation in practice with QB DeShone Kizer back with the first team:
"It has been good. He has come back refreshed being able to see things differently this time as opposed to playing. He was able to sit back and sort of look like a coach and observe things last week, and I think that helps you anytime you have that opportunity to sit out and watch some things. He came back with a different attitude, and he has been real sharp. Guys have kind of rallied around him, and everyone is looking forward to helping him play better by doing our job at a high level."
On if the team still has the same confidence in Kizer:
"I haven't seen a difference in terms of is it more or less, but I know everyone is excited to help him because they know they have to. They have to make plays and everyone has to play better and execute better to help him. He is the young guy, the new guy, and it is important that we all step our games up in terms of execution of our assignments."
Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor:
"Tennessee Titans, as I say every week, they are a good unit, but I will back it up even more this week. They have (Titans CB) Adoree Jackson as their returner, kick and punt returner. He is seventh in the league as a punt returner. He has great speed – 4.38 speed. He can go around the perimeter, but he also goes vertical. He kind of reminds you a little bit of a young (Steelers WR) Antonio Brown so to speak from the standpoint of that he can hit all field zones. You have to do a great job in the coverage area with him. Their kicker Ryan Succop is having an outstanding year. He has made 51 consecutive kicks under 50 yards. The punter (Titans P Brett Kern) is playing at the highest level that he has been playing at in a long time. He is second in the league in gross and in net punt. Then, in the offseason they went out and got three veteran special teams players. They are kind of the guys that are the straw that stirs the drink so to speak. (Titans WR) Eric Weems, who has been a Pro Bowler. They went out and got (Titans LB) Daren Bates, a really good linebacker who is physical and runs extremely well. They got (Titans S) Brynden Trawick, who used to play for Baltimore, but he is a safety that runs well. When you study them, they have all of the tricks of the trade so to speak. It has been fun to study them, but at the same time, you know what you are getting yourself into. It will be a great challenge for our guys, and we are looking forward to that challenge."
On if he would say anything to a K like Succop who has made 51 consecutive kicks or not bring it to his attention:
"I would ask you guys to ask them the question (laughter). No, I would not say anything to him. He has done really well there. Obviously, before that, he was in Kansas City and was very successful there. He is a proven guy, a 31-year old player that has done a nice job."
On K Zane Gonzalez bouncing back last week:
"I was proud of the way he responded. That was good for him going back home. I know we talked about that. I thought he kicked off really well. Then he had his opportunity to make his field goal, and he did. Then his extra points, those were good. The balls were struck nicely, good rotation and where he hit it, he gave us a really good opportunity to get the onside kick. I thought he had a good bounce-back game, but now we will come back to the friendly confines of the outdoor stadium, and I expect him to do well."
On the difficulty losing special teams leaders like LBs Tank Carder and Dominique Alexander:
"There is always going to be change. I know the coaching cliché is 'next man up,' but I'm starting to see more signs of us improving in our area. I was really proud of our guys. We said going into the game, one of the things for us, we wanted to make two big plays. We had a couple of punts inside the five, we tackled them on the 13-yard line on kickoff coverage. (DB Jabrill) Peppers had the 17-yard punt return to set us up on the 27-yard line. Unfortunately, we had the penalty on the next big return, but I see us trending in the right direction. It is Week 6 and really now going into Week 7, and when you do have change, it does take a little while for it to kind of manifest itself. I'm starting to see our guys getting better. I saw that last week. A lot of people won't talk about it, for example on Peppers' first punt return, (DB Briean) Boddy-Calhoun and (DB) Michael Jordan are doubling the gunner. I have seen guys get doubled and they wash them across the field, but for the first time in my career, they took the gunner from the right side, moved him over to the left side and moved him back 10 yards and put him in the end zone. What that told me was when we are talking about playing more physically and more tenacious, no one talks about it, but the players do and we have watched it. We are saying, 'Guys, that is our standard. That is what you are chasing.' I can see them doing that. Now, with that being said, as I mentioned earlier, when you face a Weems, a Bates and a Trawick, I mean these are different types of players that you are going to face. I'm excited to see their development and where they are right now going against some crafty veterans. We have to bring our A game to give ourselves an opportunity."
On if DB Michael Jordan is one of the young players who has improved that he referenced:
"He is getting better. I told him when we were getting on the plane, I said, 'Boy, Michael, I apologize. Maybe I'm asleep at the wheel, but every time I put you in there you just kind of keep making a play for me.' I said, 'You don't have to say anything' because he doesn't say anything. I said, 'But I'm listening.' He is getting better, and I'm excited for him."
On if WR Bryce Treggs returning kickoffs was a result of Peppers playing a lot of defense:
"Yes, it was. He was playing a lot of defense, and then there was one time that he needed to get fixed up real quick. We just had a quick intermix right there."
On how Peppers' toe injury affects the return game:
"We will see where he is. I don't think it will affect us. Next guy up if that is the case."
On P Britton Colquitt's performance and his season flying under the radar:
"He flies under the radar. He gives us a chance. He is having, very quietly – he is playing well. He is playing real well. He has so many different kicks that he can go to that things don't fluster him. That is a huge positive. I think it has been a positive for Zane also kind of having a crafty guy in there holding and saying, 'OK, you missed that one. Here you go. Come on back to this one,' or 'Hey, perfect. I knew that was going in.' Those are all things that he brings to the table very quietly. We talk about each game we want to win the net punt. Right now, I want to say we are 4-2 in that area. Obviously, we didn't get the first game because of the block because that kills his net, but he almost won it even with that. He is punting at a high level. He will have to punt again at a high level, we always tell him. I tell him, 'You are one of our best players so I'm going to ask you to do things that maybe I don't ask other players to do' because I have that much confidence in him. We will need him to play well this weekend."
On special messages to returners about Titans P Brett Kern:
"He has always been a really good directional punter – a Toledo Rocket, actually – but he is putting it right next to the sideline. In the past, he has always been – most directional punters you say if you can get it between the numbers and below, that is a nice area for us and we can pin it down there, but he is going right next to the sideline. In fact, teams are only averaging 6 yards per return against him. When you look at his hit chart, everybody always says, 'Well, you are facing a good returner. Why don't you just kick it out of bounds?' If you could kick it out of bounds every time, I'm sure a lot of people would and that is easier said than done, but what he has done a great job of this year, he is putting it right next to the sideline. There have been multiple returns where I see guys catch the ball and their momentum takes them right out of bounds. Obviously, that is a return for 0 yards. He is that close. When you face guys like that – I think there is supposed to be 10-20 mph winds I think for Sunday so I am excited about that – if you get an opportunity, you have to take advantage of it. You just never know when that opportunity is going to come. He hasn't given a lot of guys [opportunities]. When they played Seattle, (Seahawks WR Tyler) Lockett, he pinned him right down in there, and he has done a great job all year. We have to be ready."
On the difficulty for a K or P to be that precise:
"It develops over time. It really does. It is walking a line. For example, in pregame with (Texans P Shane) Lechler there, obviously, he has been a really good one – I told you he has changed his game to be a directional guy – as he was warming up, it almost looked like he was throwing the ball out of bounds. I said to him, 'Lechler, holy smokes, how are you doing that?' He goes, 'Oh, I'm just playing a little catch right now,' and he had a ball guy down there. He was essentially playing catch with him and just putting it there. It is about finding your line because if you put it too far over too fast, then it is up to the official where they are going to mark the football. It is those guys that still get the net and get it out of bounds. That is a hard deal, but it takes place over time."
On the precision of onside kicks and if it can be known exactly where a kick is going with certain Ks:
"You do get tips on guys, and we keep a video library on guys and add to it as they go. Onside kicks are something that I always tell our kickers, 'Hey, why don't you go over there and practice a little bit?' I think sometimes when you say, 'I'm not going to watch you,' and then they can be creative and they can do whatever they want. Sometimes when a coach is eyeing, 'Oh, I don't want to screw it up in front of Coach.' So I will say, 'Hey, here are our kicks. What do you like? Boom. Why don't you go over there and get some more? When you say, 'Hey, I think it is ready to go, come on over and we will take a look at it,' but those develop over time also."