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Saints 22 Titans 17: Postgame Quotes

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Click through the jump to see what the Titans' players had to say about the tough loss (courtesy of Titans Online).

QB JAKE LOCKER

(on the final play of the game)

From where I was at, I didn’t see anybody that I had a good chance of getting it to and I thought I could make that guy miss. I just need to throw it away or give somebody a chance.

(on the injury suffered in the fourth quarter)

I am OK. I feel pretty good. It just kind of knocked the wind out of me. I just had to catch my breath.

(on the routes the receivers ran on the final play of the game)

We had two-man routes on both sides. We expected a little something different from them. They kind of got away from what they played the snap before. We just weren’t able to get our initial reads and that’s when I got outside the pocket and I either need to get rid of it or give somebody a chance to make a play in a game like that.

(on if he felt he could run it in on the final play)

I thought about it, but once I got outside the pocket there were a lot of guys there. It ended up that I didn’t throw it anyway, but like I said, I should have.

(on the decision to throw a deep pass to Damian Williams on third-and-one in the fourth quarter)

We had a route combination called and they came up and pressed him. He converted to a fade and we thought we had a chance to make a play. That was a bad throw. A little better throw and we score a touchdown and it might be a little different discussion right now.

(on if he felt he had the first down on the quarterback sneak in the fourth quarter)

It’s hard to tell. You’re focused on so many different things. At that point you’re just trying to get as far as you can in the pile and you’re looking at the sticks when they blow it dead. The hard part about that is that it is hard to challenge a spot on a play like that because there are guys on top of you. You can never tell where the ball really is. I felt we got a pretty good push and had a good opportunity to get the first down.

(on if he felt he received a bad spot on the quarterback sneak)

I’m not saying we got a bad spot. I’m just saying that when I looked over I thought that I had it. But, you are always going to believe that in my opinion.

(on being able to overcome injuries and adversity throughout the game)

The team competed today. I think that as hard as it is to take this loss, I think that it’s something that we as a football team can be proud of. We never gave up. We had a chance at the end of the game to win that football game against one of the best teams in the league. You can’t ask for anything more. I think I can speak for myself that I am proud of how everybody stepped up and played and competed until the end.

(on if things will change for him during the week if quarterback Matt Hasselbeck can’t play next week)

I think that is something that in the next couple of days we will have a better idea of how all that will work itself out. We’ll deal with it then.

(on the opportunity to get meaningful playing time in a big game)

It is fun. I think anytime you get the opportunity to go out and play – it’s why you’re here. To be able to go out and compete with the guys was fun.

(on if he said anything to the offensive line before the final drive)

There wasn’t a whole lot of discussion. That is a veteran group of offensive lineman. They understand. They have been in these situations many times. They understand what needs to be done to put us in the position that we were in at the end of the game. They did a great job all game and especially that drive allowing us time in the pocket to get the ball out and let guys make plays.

(on his rushing touchdown in the third quarter)

It was a run-pass option. They covered the routes pretty well and I thought we had an opportunity to get in the end zone. Jake Scott did a good job getting up and getting a block for me and it was just kind of playing football after that.

(on Nate Washington's performance despite his injury)

It’s just another guy that came out and really competed. He showed a lot of grit and a lot of toughness. As a teammate you respect that when a guy comes out and works through that. He was able to produce today, so that was great.

QB MATT HASSELBECK

(on how his calf is feeling)

I’m not in pain. It doesn’t hurt that much.

(on if he thinks his injury is a pulled muscle)

Probably just a strain. Hopefully it’s not that bad, we’re going to get an MRI on it in the morning and just see how bad it is.

(on how tough it is to lose a game like today’s and how can the team keep it from lingering)

I think we do a pretty good job of feeling bad about it for about 24 hours. We watch the film, we get graded, we get critiqued. You feel sick to your stomach when you watch the film and see what could have been and then you move on to the next opponent. For me personally, it was really disappointing and frustrating because I worked so hard to prepare for this game. I really felt good about our game plan and felt good about how to attack them. To be standing there on the sidelines for the whole second half was tough. On the good side, our defense played great and Jake (Locker) came in and did a nice job; he gave us a chance. It just would have been awesome to find a way to get a win there.

(on if he had a misstep when he hurt his calf)

It was a tipped ball and the ball went straight up. Those have been intercepted a couple of times this year, so I just tried to react real quick trying to get to it. I stepped back and I don’t know if it was just soft or what, I just felt something kind of pop. I thought it was my Achilles’, I was actually a little concerned. I’m happy that it’s nothing that serious.

(on if coming back into today’s game leads him to believe he may be able to play next week)

Well, I talked to the doctors and they gave me a couple of different opinions; one doctor, many opinions. He was just laying out all of the different scenarios and we don’t really know anything until tomorrow after we get the results of the scan. But, because of the situation, we only had two quarterbacks dressed; I wasn’t able to ice it. The trainers did a bunch of things and did some more at halftime; taped it up, threw some Flexall, just whatever, and just said ‘hey just try to stay loose.’ It was either me or Daniel Graham going in, so based on the situation, I thought I could help the team more.

(on how much Jake Locker stepped up today)

I thought he did a great job, but nothing that he did really surprised me. He’s been doing that kind of stuff. He’s a good player, he has a bright future. I think the thing he did the best was just some protection things. One protection call in particular at the line of scrimmage was really nice and allowed us to have a big play. I was really happy for him for taking advantage of the chances he got. It just would have been awesome if we were able to finish it. Like I said, he’s doing a great job in improving and obviously he can run the ball too, which is nice.

(on how able he would have been to protect himself if Jake Locker had been seriously injured)

None, nothing. Actually, he did me a favor there by calling a blitz. They called an all-out blitz and I threw it hot, which they kind of did me a favor by doing that.

(on if there was anything Jake Locker could have done differently on the final play)

I don’t know. There’s like four plays in my mind that I’m going through, that if we did it differently we would have given ourselves a chance to win. There was a third-and-one, a fourth-and-one; there were two third downs and two fourth downs that really I think that’s what we’ll feel bad about tomorrow when we watch the film.

(on if it was hard to get going when the Saints were controlling the clock)

It was weird that way because part of what we were all talking about was winning time of possession, slowing the game down, and keeping their offense on the bench and that’s what they did to us. It was 3-0 at the end of the first quarter and we had like four plays or five plays. It was just kind of bizarre and we were still in it, it was 6-3. It was almost like they were doing what we wanted to do. They weren’t like the high power, explosive, score touchdown after touchdown deal like we thought. They are very good in all phases of the game. It would have been nice to come away with touchdowns, and like you said, we didn’t have that many opportunities and we didn’t do much with them. We went two-minute at the end, I think that was or first touchdown. We had two-minute and then Jake (Locker) ran the ball on the next play. We talked all week about how they like to come cover zero and we had a three-step drop on them. Jake hit Damien (Williams) and Damien made a nice run. There were opportunities, and again, when we watch the film we’ll see more opportunities like that where I wish we would have taken advantage of them

(on if he had any question about whether he would finish the game when he reentered for Jake Locker)

I think as a player you can’t worry about the other guy. I’ve been in situations where someone gets hurt and you’re kind of wondering about him and you’re not as focused on your job. Much like when Jake (Locker) went in, he couldn’t focus on me, he had to focus on what he was doing. He was with the doctors, so I was prepared to finish the game if necessary. He came back on, which was a good thing because he could do a lot more than I could have.

(on how disappointing it was not to be on the field for the final play)

Well just the whole second half, just sitting there on the sidelines. Again, I worked really hard this week trying to get ready for these guys. Gregg Williams is a good defensive coordinator and he’s tough to prepare for, but I did the work and was ready for it. It’s just really frustrating in a big game for our team, you almost feel like you let everybody down by not being able to be out there.

(on if he thinks the outcome would have been different if he was out there for the final play)

No, that would be a silly thing for me to say. But, the game would have been much, much different. There are things I could have done, but there are things that there are just no way I could have done. The way Jake (Locker) was running the ball, that was just not something I could do. It’s probably not something I could do healthy. I thought he did a great job and I thought the whole team battled hard. Even on the last stop that our defense had, Jurrell Casey almost came down with an interception on a running back in coverage. We had chances, we just didn’t make plays when we needed to.

(on Nate Washington’s maturity as a leader)

I think he’s been a real good, solid player and we always knew that. I think the leadership part is something that he’s really grabbed onto and taken a lot of pride in and there is no question that he’s the leader of that group. Even when Kenny (Britt) was here, he was the veteran guy in the group and kind of the leader that way. He’s having a great year, he’s having a great year; particularly on third-down, his stats are great on third-down. To come in and play the way he did without any practice, it was a big day for him.

RB CHRIS JOHNSON

(on whether today was frustrating)

I couldn’t really say it was really frustrating. I feel that’s how the game played out. We had to throw the ball more than we had to run it. It was frustrating that we took the loss or whatever, it was so close. We had numerous opportunities to get in the end zone and go up on the lead, but it just didn’t happen that way.

(on QB Jake Locker’s play off the bench)

Yeah, of course. I got my first glance of how Jake wants to run. He came in and did a good job when he was able to come in today and do a good job and make some plays with his arm and also with his feet.

(on QB Matt Hasselbeck re-entering the game after Locker got hit)

It was real big because we didn’t have a third quarterback, so if he wouldn’t have been able to come in, I don’t know really what we were going to be able to do. So it was good that he was able to come in and remain in the position.

(on whether he could have made the first down when Hasselbeck re-entered game)

Yeah, I was just trying to make a move, make a big play, really. I wasn’t paying too much attention to the (inaudible). I was just trying to make a play and get in the end zone.

(on the tough loss)

It was real tough. A lot of people counted us out and didn’t think we’d be able to play this game like this, but we all knew in the locker room that we could beat this team, that we could play with those teams like that, like the (New Orleans) Saints and things like that. So having the opportunity to beat them and stuff like that and not able to capitalize, that’s the most frustrating.

(on whether the team had two calls after second-and-one carry)

No, we just had one call. It was a drop play or whatever. I’m not sure; that’s just what they called.

DE DAVE BALL

(on the Titans’ loss)

We should have won it, but shoulda, coulda, woulda, you know. We’ve got three (games) in a row. Three conference games in a row and I ‘m looking forward to them, because I think our team showed a lot of heart today. A lot of heart. I don’t think at the beginning of the year we could have come back like we did. But it showed a lot of toughness. Jake (Locker) and Nate Washington, everybody. A lot of players stepped up today through injuries and whatever. This was like a heartbreaker, but only if you let it. We’ve got three (games) left. We had five seconds left on the five-yard line, and whatever. It’s gone. We’ve got three people (teams) we know, and we have to crank up the dial.

(what the Titans defense showed today)

We can go toe-to-toe with anybody. For the most part, we held our own versus them. I think we out-played them in my opinion, except for those two (touchdown) plays. Those two kind of big play touchdown passes. We were holding them to field goals. I think we did a really good job today. It’s just something to build on.

S MICHAEL GRIFFIN

(on the Titans effort today)

We knew they were going to get yards. Drew (Brees) knows how to dissect a defense. He was finding open guys and getting the ball to whoever, but we were keeping him out of the end zone. That first quarter, it seemed like we were out there forever, the majority of the first quarter. We hung in there and still had a chance right here at the end. Five seconds left and one play. I believe that it’s 50-50 if we run that over again we’ll score that touchdown we needed. Unfortunately, we ran out of time.

We were very confident. We knew we weren’t going to be able to keep them off of the scoreboard. The main purpose was to go out there and keep them from scoring a lot of points. Hold them to field goals, which we did. That second half, they managed to get two touchdowns and kind of put us in a bad situation. If we could just erase one of those touchdowns, right now we’d be standing here with smiles on our faces and be cheering on. We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy push-over game. But like (Coach) Munch said, these are games that when you go to the playoffs, these are the type of games you are going to play. It’s not an easy walk in the park. To make it to the playoffs, you have to win games like these throughout the regular season.

(on where Titans go from here)

We had some positive things out there. Something we can build on. It’s a game we have to put behind us. We have three divisional games coming up that are must wins, regardless of what the situation is. We have to go out there and put this game behind us. Start tomorrow and watch film, correct our mistakes and get ready for next week when we go to Indianapolis.

DE JASON JONES

(on the game ending)

It came down to the last five seconds, and I was on the sideline. I knew we were going to win. I knew it. But that’s how things happen. We probably would have shocked the world with that. That’s what happens like that sometimes. Twice in a row at the end our defense made big plays. It comes down to the last, on who makes more plays, and their defense made the last play.

DT KARL KLUG

(on his two sacks today)

It’s a good feeling to help out the team to get in that situation (a sack), but without the win, it really doesn’t mean anything. On the first one, definitely, I’d say our secondary had everything to do with that one. He (Saints QB Drew Brees) had the ball for like 10 seconds or whatever it was. So you have to give all the credit to the secondary on both of the sacks I got, since he had nowhere to throw. But going into it, if we had told ourselves that we were going to hold them to 22 points, we would have been pretty happy with that, considering their offense. But we came up short despite our defensive efforts.

CB CORTLAND FINNEGAN

(on Titans defensive effort)

It was a good thing. We just wanted their offense to have to earn some stuff. And you know they got a big play late, because we botched the coverage there. It’s always tough when you look back on film against a really good offense. You wish you could have made some plays. But we didn’t. Credit them for being the New Orleans Saints.

(on being proud of the way Titans fought back)

I don’t know if proud is the word on how we came back. The fact is we go out there and try to win every Sunday. The fans can be proud of us for making a comeback, but we expect to win around here and if we don’t, it’s hard on us. We want to know why we didn’t win. So proud is not the word we are looking for. We want to win football games. We have three games left and we’ll take them one at a time. You win and take care of business. You know 10-6 looks good, but you have to get them one at a time. You know we go to Indy next week, and have three division games, so you know, we’ll look forward to that.