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Titans 34 Rams 13 Linkage: The Titans Can Win 8 Games Without Ever Throwing a Pass

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Terry McCormick's recap which includes the news that Nick Harper suffered a mild concussion on the first defensive play of the game.  Hopefully he won't miss much time so we don't have to watch Reynaldo out there chasing receivers.

The veteran defensive lineman are impressed with the play of rookie Jason Jones.

"Including my rookie year, I've never seen a rookie that far along," said Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, a seventh-year pro. "If he keeps working like he is, he's going to be really, really good."

That is pretty high praise there.  If the coach of this team was anyone other than Jeff Fisher I would say that Tony Brown should be worried about his starting job, but as we all learned by watching Lamont Thompson run out there game after game, Fisher doesn't unseat veterans very easily. 

Chris Johnson is fast and is going to be a stud.  He shows the vision and patience that you need to be a really good running back in this league.  I can't wait to see what he will do when they really unveil how they are going to use him in this offense.  Did you see Dinger's face when CJ broke that run? 

Let me say again that I love Lendale's attitude about having CJ on the team:

"I am so impressed. I am ecstatic. I am a fan of football as well as my teammates. How can you not like that?'' White said. "I see a guy that breaks off a 66-yard run and makes it look so easy. … I love it.

"I feel like they did the right thing by drafting him, and the 1-2 punch is definitely there. I am just excited to get this thing going. It's going to be fun.''

White, who had a good night himself with 6 carries for 36 yards, was one of the first people to congratulate CJ when he came off the field.

Titans postgame quotes after the jump.

HEAD COACH JEFF FISHER

(opening statements)

We pretty much did what we set out to do tonight. We put emphasis on the penalties, we wanted to keep the penalties down.  We had just the one penalty that hurt us right before half, basically we felt like it took points off the board but we did get the field goal. We kept the penalties down.

It appeared that for our first time out we tackled well on defense. And of course, it is obvious that we ran the football very well, offensively.

I thought Vince was in control. He showed what we can do. He recognized man coverage, he's going to take the ball off and run and he did.

The special teams group covered well and we had some decent returns. So, all in all, the work that we put in through camp has carried over into the first preseason game. But again it is just he first one and we have a lot of work yet to get ready for the opener.

 (on whether he felt that the Titans dominated over the Rams)

When you run the football and get chunks, first downs and score on long runs, it's a good feeling and you can control the game.  We controlled the game. We set out to first and foremost win the ballgame and you know we really controlled the game (because of) the defensive stand. The defense set the tempo, we had a defensive score and so we controlled the ballgame. But there will be a lot of mistakes that we're going to have to correct, subtle mistakes, I'm sure, in all three phases. We'll emphasize them and get back to work. We have a shortened week this week, we play Friday and so we move on.

(on Chris Johnson)

Their (the Rams) staff was talking about him after the practice sessions. I'm sure that was their worst nightmare. That's why he's here. It's nice to have that kind of talent as a weapon on offense. When you've got someone who can just go like he can.

(on whether he expected Johnson to have a big game)

I'd like to think that this isn't an isolated play.  I'd like to think we're going to see more of those out of him.

(on Jason Jones' performance as a rookie)

Yeah, we got contribution out of the entire draft class and we've said that all along, since draft day, we said that we'd get contribution. The only player that did not get to play was Cary Williams. But (Stanford) Keglar was making plays on defense and special teams. I thought William (Hayes) played well. It was good to see Craig (Stevens) in there and make a catch. Jason (Jones) did a nice job. He had a really solid week of practice. It appears that he is going to be able to help in the rotation up front at the tackle spot. It's early, but all signs indicate that there will be no drop off when we start rotating tackles. 

(on Ingle Martin's touchdown)

The old rules state that any part of the body - the goal line is extended - that (if) any part of the body and/or the ball goes over the pylon it's a touchdown. But the new rule says now that the ball must touch the pylon or go inside or over the pylon. And Carl (Cheffers, the Referee) didn't get a shot. He had two shots that he probably could have pieced together, but you can't, you have to have a definitive shot and he just didn't get the shot of the ball going over the pylon.

(on the first half)

I was pleased with the execution in the first half.  We didn't come out tonight to out-scheme anybody.  We just kept it basic, and for the most part, we executed.  We had some opportunities to catch some balls, and we have to make those catches.  I was pleased with the first group.  Any time you score on defense, you are doing some good things.  The real disappointing moment in the first half was when we had first and goal at the nine.  We ended up with first and goal at the 24.  That can't happen.  We left a touchdown on the field.  In the second half, we're going to play this game to win.  I am probably going to go with Kerry for one more series and then come out with Ingle.  We are going to see what he can do, and then we're going to play a lot of players.

QB VINCE YOUNG

(on what he thought of tonight's game)

Overall, pretty good.  We've still got some work to go.  That's what the preseason game is for so we can get back to drawing board and get back to work.  Overall, just for right now, I can say it's alright but we still continue to work.  We can't go off one game now.  From the defense, to the offense to the special teams, the physical play of our offensive and defensive lines is really good but overall we've got to keep working.  That's basically it.

(on the team's dominance being a surprise)

Just from how practice looked, we're a physical football team.  That's one of biggest things that Coach Fisher stresses to us a lot - is to always be physical, don't take nothing from no one.  (If) we're going to win, win physical.  If we lose, we're gonna lose physical.  One of our leaders of the team, (Kyle) Vanden Bosch stressed us a whole lot.  When guys come into our house, man, to dominate the game.  That's pretty much what guys took from tonight.

(on if two series was enough for him tonight)

All I can do is go out there and play.  Whenever Coach says come out or whenever Coach says keep going, that's how I've got to keep myself in the game.  Even though I was not in the game, I was still paying attention to what they were calling for Kerry (Collins) and Ingle (Martin).  I was still in the game, definitely paying attention a whole lot.

(on seeing a defense like the Rams and receiving the green light to take off and run)

It depends on going through my reads, definitely, first and if I see an opening use my legs to make a play down field.  But some of the different things they were doing - they were trying to play different zones and some different switches.  Me and the coaches were still trying to come up with an answer for what they were trying to run in the coverage to confuse us a little bit but at the same time if you stay within your offense and go through your reads and things like that you should be alright.  So that's basically what I did - just stayed with my reads and give me and an opportunity to use my legs and run and that's what I did. 

(on the effect of the run game)

First of all, I'd definitely start off with the offensive line.  Definitely.  Coach Munch(ak) he does a great job with those guys up front.  He gets them guys prepared and the physical play of the guys, they are truly, truly physical and the backs that we have are very, very talented as well.  When they get their creases and they get their one-on-ones where guys try to make their tackles, they have to win that and that's what they showed tonight.  From one of the leaders, I really felt like they did a great job running the ball, especially Q(uinton Ganther).  My man Q ran the ball pretty good tonight. 

(on why the team likes Ganther so much)

Q has been through a whole lot.  He wants a chance.  He wants to play.  He works so hard at practice and it shows up on the football field.  He's just a good guy period.  Everybody loves him.  His daughter is one of the brightest girls I've ever met in my life at her age.  Things like that and then just him off the field, he's a great guy.  On the field, when he comes to practice, when he's on that practice squad and he's running ball for our defense, he's really running that ball to give Coach Fisher a look at him a whole lot so he did that tonight.  I'm definitely proud of him tonight, just like the team is.  We're definitely proud of him.

(on Coach Heimerdinger)

Just to have a coordinator on the field with you at all times is a pretty good deal because when it comes to the sideline, he asks the questions to know what you see.  Basically he wants to know what you saw.  He takes it back from there and he gets your game plan together for the next series.  That was a new one for me but at the same time, that was pretty good.  On one of the plays, I saw one of the guys mess up on a route just to see how mad he got on the sideline.  I thought we were going to get a penalty but he kept it cool.

(on the starting offense's performance)

I think we played real well out there.  We were physical up front, and everyone took care of their assignments.  We lined up and identified our keys and did what we were supposed to do.  It was a good start.

(on how he feels he played)

I went through all my reads.  Coach Dinger liked where my eyes were.  I recognized the blitz and got the ball out.

(on seeing some of the team's new weapons on offense for the first time)

First I have to give credit to my offensive line.  I love those guys.  They were physical and set the tone.  LenDale did his thing, too, and was powerful.  As for the new guys, Alge is such a great target.  He knows how to get in and out of his routes, and obviously he knows how to catch the ball.  Chris Johnson has another level of speed, and he's going to help us. 

RB CHRIS JOHNSON

(on his first NFL experience)

It was a good experience. Once I got that first hit out of the way it was just back to playing some regular football.

(on his first NFL touchdown run)

It was just really reading my progressions and the offensive line doing a good job of getting me some daylight.

(on his thoughts following the score)

I just thinking that I'm finally in the NFL and that I just want to keep having runs like that.

(on what the teammates said when he got back to the sideline)

They were just proud of me and just telling me awesome job and letting me know how good it is to help this team to get farther in the playoffs and hopefully get to the Super Bowl.

(on when did you know you were gone)

Once I made the cut and saw daylight.

(on expectations coming in)

I just wanted to come in here and see how well I could do in my first NFL game and just have a good game and let the whole organization know that the Titans didn't make a mistake on making me a first round pick.

RB LENDALE WHITE

(on the offense's first drive)

When we were down in the red zone, we had shots to punch it in, but we didn't.  On the fourth and two play, I take credit for that. I should have found a way to get another two yards. Overall, it was a good day.

(on the younger players performance)

Our young guys stepped up and did what they had to do. Chris Johnson is fast. When I see him split the safeties and take it to the house like that, I can see why they drafted him in the first round and how he can help our team. (Quinton's performance) speaks for itself.

(on his performance)

I think Jeff (Fisher) was trying to check my conditioning. I sucked it up and did what I had to do. Our offensive line is amazing. They cleared up some holes and all you have to do is run through them. Ahmard (Hall) is probably the best fullback in the NFL. I know he's the best fullback in the NFL. He goes in and plays his heart out every play. It was a fun to go out there and play for a quarter. I had four or five carries. It's not a bad day's work. We are going to build off of this and hopefully carry the momentum from the preseason to the regular season.

(on Alge Crumpler's blocking)

He's a seasoned veteran. He does what he has to do to get the job done. You can tell he's been around the block a couple of times. It doesn't hurt to have a guy like that out there helping you out in the run game.

TE ALGE CRUMPLER

(on the first offensive play)

My biggest job was to get Vince on the edge, but they brought one more than we could handle, so I was the outlet. It was a good play. I was able to get to the sideline and get the first down. When I got back to the huddle, I could feel the energy and I thought that we were going to have a good drive. We did have a great drive, but it just ended on a fourth down. Overall, I thought it was a great drive.

(on the progress of Vince Young)

I have seen daily progress. I have seen some things he has done exceptionally well. The best part about it was when we were able to work with St. Louis during the week. We were able to compete really well. Our defense gives us the tempo we need on a daily basis to go out and compete with anybody. We felt like we practiced well. We did some things well and were able to show up when we came out on the field.

LB KEITH BULLUCK

(On the defensive performance tonight)

We had a good defensive performance the first three series, I think everybody showed up tonight. I think everybody was excited to get out there. We had the three practices against them, so we made sure we didn't go out there and get manhandled tonight. Defensively, I think we did decently.

(On the interception that he returned for a touchdown)

I think I got that interception because the secondary played the route perfect because we knew which route was coming. And then the pressure of the front four made him throw to his third look before his third look was ready and I just made the play. So I give the credit to the secondary and the D-line, all I did was catch the ball.

(On whether the reports of the Rams dominating them in practice was bulletin board material)

I guess they searched on one of the blogs and it was circulating that the Rams put it to us in practice. So that didn't sit well with a bunch of us.

(on how he feels the first-team defense performed)

We did all right out there tonight.  We let them off the hook a few times.  That's stuff we need to fix.  We did just all right tonight. 

(on his interception for a touchdown)

I have to give a lot of credit to the secondary on that play.  They had great coverage, and the quarterback had to go to his third option.  The ball was tipped, and I was able to pick it off and score. 

 DE JEVON KEARSE

It felt good when they introduced me last when they introduced the defense.  The applause that I got was like ‘OK, I'm back at home now'.    I feel pretty good.  I had two injury years that had me down the whole season, so this is actually my eighth year, even though it's my tenth in the league, so it's still a matter of showing guys I still have it. 

(on Titans preseason)

It was a good day for the offense.  The defense had a little more incentive to get them the ball back and watch to se if they would break another big one.

If you're going to dominate a team it all starts up front.   Obviously, playing at home you want to defend your home turf and even though they were 3-13 last year you can't take a team like that for granted.

DT ALBERT HAYNESWORTH

(on the progress of Titans rookie LE Jason Jones)

Jason looked good.  I've been here going on my seventh year, and including my rookie year, I've never seen a rookie that far along.  If he keeps working the way he does, he's going to be really, really good. We all know he can play football, but it's really a thinking game... and he's not letting it bother him. He's been flashing all camp, and I think he's really going to help us this year.

(on Titans defense)

I thought we looked pretty good.  We're working hard trying to establish ourselves as one of the top three defenses in the league and that's what we're going after.  We're going to make mistakes just still getting back into it, but we'll be alright come Jacksonville. 

DT TONY BROWN 

(on the defense in preseason)

Every time you line up between those lines, it's a real game.  Even though it's a preseason, and that's what they call it, you still have to put the football down, run and throw it.  It was just fun and exciting tonight.

We showed some good things out there tonight.  It's been a good week of practice out there with those guys (Rams).  They were competing hard, but we just wanted to make a statement, leading off from last year showing that we are still a dominate defense.  No matter who comes into our home, we are going to defend it.

S VINCENT FULLER

(on the defense getting things started)

We talked about starting our identity today. That was the big thing. Everybody had a couple of bad plays. I'm sure there were a couple of plays, myself included, that some of the people on the defense would like to take back. But the thing that I thought we saw was that we played with speed and that we tried to make plays on the football field.

RB QUINTON GANTHER

(on his first touchdown run)

Well it was third and one, so my thing was I wanted to get that one yard. So I was pushing it in there. When it's short yardage you want to come downhill and get the tough yard. So when I did that everyone sucked in and I just took it on to the outside. The linebacker was just sitting there and he thought that I was down.

(on the team's depth)

This is a great all-around team from start to finish. We don't have any weak links on this team so it's going to be hard to make a 53-man roster with what we have in this locker room.