Head Coach Bill O’Brien
HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN
What did you think of the job your running game did yesterday?
“It wasn’t very good. We only rushed for 53 yards. We just have to figure out what corrections we need to make, figure out how we can get it better. Every week’s different. Every week’s different, the matchup’s different, the scheme is different. We got to do a better job running the ball.”
Do you think there’s a common thread to K Ka’imi Fairbairn’s missed field goals this season?
“I don’t know. I haven’t seen him yet today. I’ve watched it on tape. A lot of times it’s the plant foot, it’s maybe a little concern about the rush, the short-side rush, whatever it is. He’s a good kicker. I have a lot of faith in him. He had a bad day but he’ll be all right.”
Is there anything the Titans were doing specifically against your running game that was hard?
“They’ve got a good rush defense. I think they’re in the top five in the league in defense against the run. We had a couple that were decent that helped us, but overall it wasn’t good enough. So, give them credit, they did a good job stopping our run.”
Do you have any extra concern about your tight end situation with TE C.J. Fiedorowicz having another concussion?
“We’re going to have to look at it. These Monday meetings with you guys, it’s just too early to tell where we’re at. So, I can’t make any comments on anything that’s going on injury-wise because I really don’t know yet. All I have is the report from this morning where it’s really just basically a postgame report. So, I’ll be able to update you more on Wednesday.”
Is it even more impressive what QB Tom Savage was able to do without a running game that was able to balance that out?
“Tom (Savage) did a good job. He played a very gutsy, tough game. He hung in there, he kept coming back, he kept fighting. I thought guys made great plays for him. I thought the line for the most part pass protected well for him. There were some sacks but I don’t think they were all the line’s fault. I thought Tom did a real, real good job.”
Do you see G Jeff Allen at left tackle again?
“Oh, yeah. Yeah, I think that we’ll see where we are relative to injuries and all those things, but yeah. I could see him being our left tackle again.”
If all goes well this week, would you say that ILB Brian Cushing is on track to play on Sunday?
“I think it’s trending toward that, yeah. I think it’s trending toward that. We’ll kind of get back with him today and kind of see how last week went and then we’ll go from there.”
How can ILB Brian Cushing add value to the defense? Specifically, with all the injuries, can he be an impact player?
“Absolutely. His leadership, number one, his knowledge of our defense, his experience playing in our defense, his toughness. All of those things could definitely help our defense.”
Defensively, how did you feel about the run defense on Sunday?
“Look, I think there were three or four plays where we gave up almost 80 yards rushing. There were other plays where we gave up almost nothing. But, in those three or four plays where we gave up a lot of yards, those were big runs, they had some big runs. We did a good job against the passing game but we gave up almost 200 yards rushing. Some of that – a lot of that – was on the flip play at the end of the game where that was a good call by them and we’re in a four-minute type of defense trying to load the box and stop the run and they got us on the flip play. But, I thought our guys on defense played very hard and we just came up short.”
Will you watch film of 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo from when you guys met at training camp with the Patriots?
“Yeah, we’ll watch all the tape on Jimmy (Garoppolo) because he hasn’t played that much in San Francisco, so all the information that we can get relative to his time in New England, whether it was in games or in practices, certainly we’ll watch all of that.”
Can you remember a game with as many concussions or concussion-like symptoms as on Sunday?
“No. No. For me, calling plays and being a head coach, that game was a first for me where we lost that many players to injury during the game. I thought our guys battled and did a good job, we just came up short. We didn’t make enough plays in the end to win the game and Tennessee, give them credit, they made more plays. But, got a lot of pride in our guys and the way they fight, the way they battle. I know that’s not really the deal in pro football – pro football is about winning – but our guys fought through a lot of adversity yesterday and just came up short.”
Are there some development things like evaluating some young guys that you want to try to do?
“I think the big thing is winning. I think within winning you may, within the goal of winning, you may be able to do certain things, but at the end of the day, if it doesn’t point toward winning, you’re not doing it, if that makes sense. I think if you’re in a different level of football maybe you’re thinking of it in a different way, but at this level, it’s all about trying to figure out how to get a win.”
Yesterday, QB Tom Savage said that he is not coming out on his own, that he’s been down that road and he’s only going to come out if he has to come out. What are your thoughts on that?
“Like I said, Tom (Savage) has really improved. He had the one interception at the end there. Look, I’m sure he would love to have that throw back and I’d love to probably have that play call back, but it is what it is. I thought overall, I thought the guy played a really tough, gutsy game. That’s the type of guy he is. He’s been through a lot in his career and it was good to see him personally go out there and play like that because a lot of that is what we see every day in practice. So, now the key is he’s got to continue to do it and we need to win. That’s the key.”
QB Tom Savage said that even if he’s improving all he cares about is winning. Do you feel that QB Tom Savage took a step forward yesterday?
“Look, he has to say that. He’s not going to stand up here and talk about his own stats or anything like that, but anybody who watched that game, if you know anything about football, which I know you do, I would tell you that he played a very good football game. Was it the best football game any quarterback’s ever played? No, but he played a very tough game and made some big plays for us – scrambled to get Stephen Anderson a touchdown, scrambled on fourth-and-19 to throw it to Stephen Anderson again. We were 8-for-15 on third down, a lot of that has to do with him and his ability to keep a play alive and step up in the pocket and deliver a football accurately. He’s not going to stand up here and talk to you about stats, but I will. I’ll tell you that I think he took a big step yesterday.”
What has QB Tom Savage done this season to set himself for the future?
“Well I think he’s proven – look, I think there’s still games left here. I will say that. But I think he’s proven that he can play. He can play in this league, whether it was Arizona or the game yesterday or even the Baltimore game. I mean, if you really study the tape, the guy has done some really good things relative to playing quarterback in the National football League. For me, I see a lot of improvement and (he’s) a very coachable guy. Great guy to coach. Like, in all seriousness, he does care about the team. He really does not care about his own stats. All he cares about is winning. Great family guy, all those things. Maybe that’s what nobody cares about, they only care about winning, but I care about those things. I think he’s a great guy to coach. He’s been a lot of fun to coach and to watch improve and I think he’s really gotten better, no doubt about it.”
Can you talk about the development of TE Stephen Anderson?
“He played probably the best game he’s played since he’s been here. We have a lot of respect for Stephen. He’s a very intelligent player, he’s a smart player, he’s a tough guy. Undersized guy with some of the things that we do with him, but he made some big plays yesterday. He’s kind of a tweener player. He was a wide receiver at Cal and we projected him to be what we call an F tight end, and that’s kind of what he does for us. We ask him to do some things within the core of the offense, within the core of the front, blocking-wise and things like that. I mean, he does a lot of things other than the passing game and I thought he played a heck of a game yesterday.”
What did you think of the way RB Andre Ellington was able to go in and contribute as a receiver?
“We signed him as a back, we practiced him as a running back last week, but with where we were when we lost Bruce (Ellington) and then we lost Braxton (Miller), we had to make an adjustment if we wanted to stay in an 11-personnel grouping. Give John Perry (and) Charles London a lot of credit. Those guys on the sideline, we came up with a personnel grouping within the game. We said, ‘In this personnel grouping, you’re playing this position,’ and they kind of went through our core routes with them, taught them what to do and then out on the field, his teammates, Tom (Savage), Hop (DeAndre Hopkins), whoever was over there with him, helped him to know what to do and he actually did a decent job. So, I give all the credit to Dre Ellington for being able to do that, (to) have the temperament to be able to do that and not panic and just go out there and play, and then give credit to the guys around him. Look, again, we didn’t win, but I’m just telling you that’s a real testament to the guys around him.”
What did you make of the performance of WR Braxton Miller?
“He’s getting better and better. We just said that in our staff meeting. One of our more improved players. It’s just too bad. He took a hit on the sideline on what was a very good punt return by him up the sideline there, getting us some extra yards. Thought he did a good job in that area, fielding punts. And then he’s gotten better and better as a receiver. He’s made some big plays for us on tough routes, tough catches, yards after catch. It’s been really good to see his improvement. He was inactive for a few games this year and he really kind of took it to heart and really worked hard to get better on the practice field, so hopefully he’s not out for too long.”
What’s it been like to be close to winning games but not able to get over the hump?
“It’s football, you either win or you lose. We don’t sit there and go, ‘Oh, what are we going to do now?’ We think about, ‘How are we going to correct these things, what can we do better coaching-wise, what can we do better to help these guys, put them in better positions to help teach them, what can the players do better?’ It’s football. We don’t look at it as this big dramatic thing. We just know that we’ve been in some tough games and we haven’t come out on the winning end and we need to find a way to win a game. That’s really all it is for us. That’s what it is. We’re disappointed that we’re not where we want to be record-wise. We know the fans are disappointed. Can’t really do much about that. All we can do is come to work every day and try to figure out how to win a game.”
Do you get a sense of pride when QB Tom Savage performs well?
“Well, I feel good for him. I feel good for him. I think that he puts a lot of time into this thing. He prepares, he puts time into the meetings, he stays after practice, he shows up early in the mornings to put extra time in, he stays late to watch the practice tape on his own, not just with the coaches. So, hopefully he can keep it going. That’s the key to playing quarterback in this league, is consistency, always looking to improve and not take a step back. So, hopefully he can keep it going.”
How did C Greg Mancz do at guard?
“I thought he did a decent job. I thought his pass pro (protection) was good. I thought our run blocking could be a little bit better overall, but I thought he really did (a good job). I thought Jeff Allen did a decent job at left tackle. The false starts were not all his fault. We were in a couple different cadences there and I’ve got to do a better job of coaching that. I wouldn’t put that on Jeff Allen, those false starts. I thought Jeff played good. I thought Xavier (Su’a-Filo) probably played one of his better games. I thought Nick (Martin) did some good things on the inside, all of them in pass pro. Breno (Giacomini) plays a very tough, tough veteran leadership type game every week and I thought that Mancz had a solid day.”
Is that the offensive line you want to have going forward?
“Relative to where we are right now – we called Chad Slade up and we have Kendall Lamm there and the sixth and seventh guys. We still have Julién Davenport and Kyle Fuller that were inactive yesterday. We like them, two good, young players. So, we’ll see where that goes. I can’t say that that’ll be the line every week but I thought that those guys played well and I would anticipate that that’s probably the offensive line moving forward here for the next few weeks.”