(On how the bye week went)

“I’ll tell you on Sunday afternoon. I think it went well. I think we knew it was productive for us. As most coaches will probably say, we were pretty beat up the last two, three weeks with our guys, so I think it came at a good time to get a good break, mentally and physically away from the game. We had a tough one. We played guys in your division and didn’t fare so well with San Francisco and Seattle – two good teams and so I think we needed the break. I think we’re refreshed and we need to, like the Rams too, this is a big game for both of us.”


(On what it was like coaching with Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher)

“I would say I really enjoyed it. Jeff gave me – I was kind of like how he did it, I was transitioning from being a player to other opportunities. He got the job in Houston and gave me the opportunity to get involved coaching offensive line. And then we moved to Nashville and had a lot of success together, and we had a lot of great years. A lot of good things happened and we felt for a really long period of time we were as good as anyone in football for a lot of years. Won a lot of football games, so he was great to work for. We had a very good relationship that way, and so he was helpful when this whole thing happened and this job became available. He was very helpful in that, helping me, kind of have the opportunity to get in this position.”


(On if he and Fisher stay in contact with each other)

“Yeah, we do. Not during the season, not as much. I think it’s just so busy once you get into the routine of a season. Touch base every so often, but more during the offseason when we see each other at the – when you go to the usual up at the combine, get a chance to spend time up there in the owners’ meetings and things like that. He has some family, I think his daughter’s still back here in Nashville, so during the offseason he ends up coming back here for some visits. So, I get a chance to see him then, too.”


(On replacing Fisher as head coach)

“Yeah, he was very successful, and like I said, he took the team to the Super Bowl, so he did a lot of great things. So, yeah, I think being here and knowing how he did it was helpful for me and having a good feel of everything. So, that is difficult but I thought I transitioned fine, and I think it worked out well for me going forward in that I was here and people were familiar with me. That made it a little bit easier coming in and I learned from Jeff. I saw a lot of things he did as he learned his head coach. I watched him grow up as a head coach when he came into it and how good he got as the years went on.”


(On if the passing of Owner Bud Adams was tough on the team)

“It did. During the off week of all things, Monday, that was very sad news for us, as an organization. I’ve been with Bud as a player, a coach, and a head coach now for over 30 years, which is very unique probably in this league being with the same team like that. We had a very good relationship. So, yeah, I think it was just having to talk to him when the season ended – the plans, the excitement for him wanting to make all the changes we made and bring in players and spend money on free agency and do whatever it took to win this year and going forward. That’s what made it sad. Hopefully when this year ends, it’ll be something that he’d be very proud of as we move forward in the season. But, yeah, the funeral was a great opportunity to enjoy his life and hear a lot of great stories about all the things he had done and accomplished and making the league what it is today from merging the AFL and the NFL and just a lot of great stories of his involvement in that back in the (19)60’s.”


(On how Defensive Senior Assistant Gregg Williams fits in on the defense)

“It’s gone well. It just was a good fit. He’s like family, I think, to this organization, but to me, from being in Houston back in, I think in (19)90 when he got started as a coach and then he was with us on the staff with me and Jeff (Fisher) when we moved to Nashville, he was a coordinator. The familiarity made sense for me, and then also the fact that he and Jerry Gray, the D-coordinator, had worked together so many times at three different locations that it was just a real easy fit that way. He just brought a lot of energy to the staff, he brought that expertise he has, not just as an assistant but really for all the other assistants. Not just with Jerry Gray, but with all the DBs, the defensive back coaches, D-line, linebackers – he’s coached all those positions and special teams, so he’s a wealth of knowledge. A lot of knowledge and a lot of help and he’s been very helpful to me as a head coach. He’s been in that position, too, so when you can add a guy like him to your staff, I think it’s just a big plus and he’s been very helpful. He’s got that great demeanor. The players really respond to him, I think, I a real positive way with confidence and he’s helped portray that here.”


(On if they were interested in re-signing TE Jared Cook)

“Yeah we were. We tried to talk with him, I think, before the season ended, but it became obvious, that as most players are going to do, they’re going to wait. That’s why we struck for free agency back in the day. It gives these players an opportunity to find out what the market is for them as players. We would have loved to have him back – young player, great size, everything you want in a player. He was with us four years and you hate to lose guy you draft like that. You develop them. You like to see them finish with you because we felt these years – the fifth the year, the sixth year, the seventh year – that’s when you’re really coming into your abilities. It was hard to see him go and yeah we tried to have him here, but the business got in the way. We’ve lost a few guys to the Rams.”


(On how he handles going up against a team and a coaching staff that he’s familiar with)

“It’s probably the same as (Head Coach) Jeff (Fisher). I think if Jeff was coming here it’d be much more going on with it because of him coaching here. I’m sure the same way he’s handling it. It’s a game we both need to win. A lot of these players – unfortunately the league changes so much – a lot of these guys weren’t here when Jeff coached. We’ve had quite a turnover in the last couple years, so you don’t have as much as you would think that way. But like you said, it’s the coaches. A lot of the coaches are familiar with each other, along with the players. So, it definitely adds to the excitement of the game and the challenge of the game. We’re all competitive and we want to win for a lot of reasons, but I think ultimately it comes down to the players on the field on Sunday not us and hopefully directing our guys in the right manner. It’ll be fun, bragging rights hopefully for the offseason.”


(On QB Jake Locker improving throughout the year)

“He really has. Now that this became his team this year, the first offseason where he knew he was going to be the quarterback going into the season, had a great offseason, great preseason. Just continued to get better and I thought as the season was going on – Week 3, Week 4 – really played well. We start off 3-1. He played his two best games back-to-back with San Diego and the Jets. Didn’t have a turnover in three games and we’re 3-1. We were looking good, and then he gets hurt in that Jet game and sat two weeks. That was hard, hard for the team. Just like the Rams losing (QB Sam) Bradford. That’s hard to lose your quarterback. There’s a lot. You don’t realize how much that affects, not just on the field but in the locker room and game day and just so many things that it’s hard to fix immediately. There’s good backups in the league. Obviously, Clemens will do a good job and Fitzpatrick had a win for us. Those guys are there, but it’s not the same. It definitely affected us for two games. Really getting him back last week…the advantage of getting him back last week for the 49ers was he played well. He threw well, but at least he got all the injury stuff behind him. He’s got his confidence back. We just had our bye week, so now going into our second half of the season he should be ready go. He needs to stay healthy. I think if he does that he’ll have a great run here.”


(On RB Chris Johnson’s performance this season)

“Fortunately, some of those games early he ran the ball well against Houston and San Diego and the Pittsburgh game. But then, the last couple we’ve played some good defenses which took that away from us. He only got 10 carries for a couple of those games, which made it hard to post any numbers. This isn’t a week that you’re going to right either because I think the Rams the last couple weeks have played really well on defense. The defense is really playing well and getting after the quarterback. They shut Seattle pretty much completely down. That’s a good running team. So, it’s not like, ‘Oh, good we’re playing the Rams. We’re going to get right here.’ It’s going to be a heck of a challenge the way they play defense and it’s something I’ve seen with Jeff’s defense. I’ve practiced against them for years, so I know how well they play, how hard they play, and how good they play. We went to the Super Bowl with it, with a pretty darn good defense. I know how they know that they do a great job in that end. So, it’s going to be a challenge to get ‘CJ’ going this weekend, but we need to if we’re going to have a chance to win.”


(On the keys to his improving Tennessee defense)

“We added some people. Leadership was a big part of that. (S) Bernard Pollard, adding (S) George Wilson, adding (DE) Ropati (Pitoitua) and (DT) Sammie Hill, (LB) Moise Fokou – we added four or five veteran-type guys that really came in in free agency and made a difference because we were very young on defense. I think now that we have some leadership that communicate well, now the younger guys – your (LB) Akeem Ayers and your (LB) Zach Brown and (DT) Jurrell Casey and (S Michael) Griffin – are playing so much better because they’re much more confident. They have a great feel for what they’re doing and really that’s a big difference. You can see the byline which is a lot different on our defense than it was a year ago and they’re playing that way. So, I think it was we got the right pieces to the puzzle that we were missing last year with that leadership and it’s really gone a long way.”


(On if the Rams look more like a Jeff Fisher team after recently putting more emphasis on the run game)

“Yeah it did. I thought (RB Zac) Stacy ran really well. They rushed for close 200 or whatever they ran for last week against a very good defense. Yeah, I think that’s exactly what he wants, especially when your quarterback gets hurt, your starting quarterback. You want to help them and the best way to help them is to be able to run the football and keep your defense off the field with time of possession and those types of things like they did against Seattle. I think Seattle had 45 plays or something. That’s what’s amazing. That, obviously they didn’t win, when you can do that that’s ingredients for nine out of 10 times you’re going to win the football game when you accomplish what they did on Monday night. I’m sure they’ll stick with that because, like I said, you’re going to win a lot more than you lose when you can control the ball like that and run the football as well as they did. They just didn’t convert in the red zone. You see how important that is. Settling for field goals, it just comes back to haunt you. But, they did a lot of great things in that game and that’s what we expect to see this weekend.”


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