Coach Jeff Fisher was busy Monday trying to head off any potential questions about internal issues with the defense in the aftermath of Sunday’s 34-31 loss to the Houston Texans.
The Titans were shredded in the passing game for the second consecutive week, as Texans quarterback Matt Schaub threw for 357 yards and four touchdowns, as big plays like his 72-yard toss to Andre Johnson victimized a Tennessee secondary that sent three players to the Pro Bowl a year ago. On that touchdown, Pro Bowl safety MIchael Griffin was supposed to have deep coverage, but moved in on a play fake and Johnson raced past him wide open for Schaub to complete the TD pass.
After the game, cornerback Nick Harper, who was called for pass interference three times (two were declined) and said the Titans didn’t make the necessary adjustments to slow down Houston’s offense.
“We came in with a certain game plan in mind, and they had other things in mind. I guess their game plan was better than the one we had. [Expletive], it’s the NFL and if you don’t make adjustments, there’s no way you can win,” Harper said.
Harper said coverage issues plagued the Titans all day.
“It was mix-ups in coverages, busted coverages, and quarterbacks are going to find that open guy in busted coverages. There were some guys running Scott-free because we didn’t have people where they needed to be,” Harper said. “If we would have been where we should have been, then there is no way we would have had those deep balls, but like I said, [with] busted coverages, that’s what’s supposed to happen.”
Fisher said adjustments were made on the sidelines.
“When a player gets beat one-on-one, it has nothing to do with the game plan or the call. That’s not an issue,” Fisher said.
The coach chalked much of the talk up to the frustration of another three-point loss and an 0-2 start.
“Let me set the record straight here. When you’re a good football team, and you start off the season 0-2, there’s gonna be frustration. And the only way you get out of it is you avoid pointing fingers at anybody,” Fisher said. “Everybody accepts the blame and you move on. There were adjustments made on the sideline for each and everything that we saw. There was an adjustment made for that last big pass they made on the sideline. It was made. I heard it.
"The players alluding to the fact that we’re having trouble making adjustments, the players need to pay closer attention to what’s being said on the sideline. That’s just football. It happens week after week.”
Some of the blame was put on a pass rush that did not produce any sacks, but the Texans employed a number of three-step drops to try and avoid having Schaub hit so many times.
Asked if he was concerned about the pass rush, defensive end Jevon Kearse said, “Somewhat. We’re gonna do what we’re supposed to do up front, but if something breaks down on the back end, that’s not our fault,” defensive end Jevon Kearse said.
Nickelback Vincent Fuller said the secondary has to take responsibility for anytime the ball leaves the quarterback’s hands.
“If the ball is in the air, we put it on ourselves. Everybody knows that the best pass coverage is a pass rush, but if the ball goes in the air, as a secondary we’re responsible for making the plays,” Fuller said.