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Steve McNair Conf. Call Transcript - 10/01/03

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**Q: Let me ask you this, you have, it's a broad question, but you've got a terrific defense. How much does your defense play into your success as an offensive captain, an offensive leader of that team?

SM:** It's contributed a lot, especially when you have a defense that is not committing turnovers, playing good deep position for us. Look at last week; we didn't have to go the distance but one place during the whole course of the game. We only had forty snaps, so those guys, even though the offense is sustaining a long drive, they are only getting three or no points out of it. With that being said, those guys are playing well, they are committing turnovers and also scoring on defense, and that helps on offense.

**Q: One of the things about when you say Titans, if you do word association, you would say 'tough,' physically tough team and it is on both sides of the ball. Is that just part of the philosophy that you guys have had under your coach?

SM:** Absolutely, since '95 when Jeff [Fisher] was introduced as the head football coach. He wanted to bring toughness to this team. I think he's been doing a great job of bringing guys in here for the last couple of years to replace guys that we lost. We consider this a tough team. We play hard. We play physical and that is just what this team is based on.

**Q: You beat teams up with your offense at times. Is that fair to say?

SM:** Absolutely. I think we want to be the team that we can go the distance, from 80 yards running the football. We all can throw the football and make big plays and strike it anyplace on the field, but we want to be that smash mouth offense. You go out there and run the football. You have the control offense the way you have the balance in run and pass.

**Q: It seems like almost yesterday you were drafted number one. It's been nine years now. Right now it seems you are about on stride as well as you have ever been in the first four games of the season. Seventy percent passes, eight touchdowns and one interception. Do you feel like you are really in the groove?

SM:** I think the other ten guys that are with me are playing well also, because those guys have contributed to me tremendously. The offensive line is giving me a lot of time to throw the football. My receivers have grown up and becoming some mature athletes. If you have those other two things working for you, the offensive line and your receiving, you can' t help but to succeed. Your stats go up and you have a good percentage. So I give all my success as a tribute to those guys because they work hard to get me the time and those guys in the receiving corps have to catch it.

**Q: I'm sure that everybody in the NFL plays with a few bumps and bruises, but it seems like you're always nursing some type of injury yet you always play. When was the last time you went into a game at 100 percent healthy?

SM:** Well actually the first game was the first in the last six years when I went in healthy. Unfortunately I got a little nick there, but that was the first time I had been healthy in about six years. But this is a physical game. You have to play this game with a lot of emotion and a lot of intensity. I'm a competitor, so I do whatever it takes to win, if it takes getting that extra yard. I'm a physical quarterback that goes out there and gets hit. When you do that through the course of a couple of weeks you tend to have nicks and bruises. It's just to me, if I have the mental aspect of the game to play with it.

**Q: When you came out of high school there weren't many colleges that wanted you to play quarterback. What were some of the others, what position would they have wanted to switch you to? Do you ever wonder what might have happened if you had done it?

SM:** I don't wonder about it. The decision I made, I'm going to live with it and I am going to stick by it regardless. It got me here so far, but I played cornerback in high school and all of the big colleges wanted me to go in as a defensive player. I think they wanted to move me to safety, but I didn't want to go into the intercollegiate level to play defense. I wanted to play quarterback. I browsed around and finally the school my brother went to a couple of years before me gave me an opportunity to play.

**Q: Would you have been a good solid corner, a hard-hitting, like the Titans kind of defensive player?

SM:** I think so. I think I have that mentality, a physical mentality, because I show it as a quarterback. I am quite sure if I had just that to worry about, I probably couple be.

**Q: They way your team responded to that loss you had that your coach got worked up over and he was very disappointed, then you came back last week spotting a team 10 points and coming back walking away…running away with it. It's a pretty good indication that you guys got the message, I guess.

SM:** Well yes. We went into Indianapolis…I don't think we went into it with the mind frame of they were a great team. They are a good team; they've got great weapons. But offensively, we didn't do what it takes, we had too many penalties that left us at second-and-20, third-and-15. When you do that, you cannot expect to win. Our defense has played well, but when you get Peyton Manning and all those guys extra opportunities to drive the football eventually they are going to break loose. Offensively, I think it was our fault, because we didn't control the ball. But at the same time you have to say, 'We've got to correct our mistakes.' It's all about correcting, so we've got it corrected and we've been doing good ever since.

**Q: When you start looking at this game Sunday, how much do you take into account the many key injuries the Patriots have? Do you try to exploit those areas? Do you try to keep out of your mind?

SM:** Regardless of whether they have guys hurt or not…this is the NFL, every body on every squad at this point in time are professionals. We are just going to stick with our game plan, we're not worried about who's replacing those guys. We just want to go out and execute our game plan, because we are all pros. We all know what to do and we do it. Regardless if they have starters out, and the other guys are starting, if not they wouldn't be there. We're just going to stick with our game plan and just let it happen.

**Q: Your game plan last year was very effective against the Patriots. You really beat them up, that was one of the games there that they really couldn't keep up with their opponent. Is that the way you viewed it? And how do you view it this year, what the potential would be?

SM:** We've just got to stick with our game plan. We've got to have the balanced attack offensively, passing and rushing. I think we just need to get both of them started early and keep on pounding them as the game goes on. I don't think the game plan from last year will tremendously change. We had a good game plan last year and it worked and hopefully it will work this year.

**Q: Every coach in the NFL, probably every player, says, 'We need to have a balanced attack. We want to run the ball and pass it equally.' But every team doesn't have a Steve McNair and Eddie George. How much does having a guy like George help you?

SM:** It helps me a lot, because every body has to account for Eddie. When you have guys that are trying to stack up their D-line and strangle with eight or nine guys in the box, you can explore different aspects of the passing game. I think people respect the running game regardless of how well it's going; he's opened up a lot of things in the passing games. With the young receivers we've got now, it's helping us mature and do good in the passing game. If guys want to stack up in the box, we'll pass it. If they don't, we'll run it. It's two against one at that point.
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