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McNair in his own words

Here's what Steve McNair said after Wednesday's practice:

On having a short-term memory: "Of course. You have to. That's over with. We're concentrating on Cincinnati. What happened on Monday night, [we] got it out of our system. It was bad, but at the same time, we have to learn from it and move on."

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On the main problem with the offense: "There's not one main thing. I think it's all about everybody just getting on the same page. Like I said, everybody's taking their turns making mistakes, and that's not the key to an offense. An offense has to be clicking on all cylinders. All 11 players have to be doing the right things at all the right times. And that hasn't happened yet. So that's what we're focusing on this week: Going out there and relaxing, not pressing, and going out and having fun. I don't think this offense has been having a lot of fun because of that. I think we just have to go out and relax, be patient, and play our type of game. I think we've been buying into 'what the defense gives us.' And I think we need to just go out and do what we do best, to change anything, and just go out and execute Sunday evening and let it be. We just have to go out there mainly with the mind frame that everybody is against us right now. I think right now, we as a whole, as a team, know we're all by ourselves. And that's a good thing, because once your back is against the wall, you have to come out fighting, and that's what we're going to do Sunday."

On the quarterback typically taking most of the blame for a struggling offense: "It's 11 guys, but the quarterback is always going to take the bulk of the blame. That's just how the nature of the game is. That's just how this system works -- and every system in the NFL. If you're doing good, the quarterback is the best. If you're doing bad, 'What's wrong with the quarterback?' But that's typical. I've been in this league 13 years. What people say outside this organization doesn't bother me. What the paper writes doesn't bother me. What the news people say doesn't bother me. I know what I'm capable of doing. We haven't gotten on track yet and it's the eighth game of the season? Yes, that's something to write about. That's something to talk about. But, at the same time, we can't let that affect what we do during the course of the week to prepare for the next game. We've got to move on. We've got to continue to keep our focus on what we're trying to do. Unfortunately, we haven't done it in eight games, but like I said, there are eight more. We can get things back on track in one game. As long as we get our focus on what we've got to do this week, and go out and play well on Sunday, all that will be behind us."

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On feeling like the team needs a fresh start: "Yes. This is a new season for us, offensively, and that's the way we're looking at it. We're looking at it as this is a Game 1, this is an opener, and we're going to go out there and treat it just like it's the first and the last game. We want to go out there and just compete, and compete on a high level. Not to knock Cincinnati -- they've got a great team -- but we want to keep their offense off the field. And we want to do what this offense is capable of doing, and that's controlling the ball. That's what we did last year and that's what we're going to try to get back to this week."

On feeling like the offense has something to prove: "Being in the league 13 years, it's a great opportunity for us. And it's an opportunity for us to go out there and prove everybody wrong, especially on the offensive side of the ball. I think we've given our defense too many chances to go out there and give up big plays. You can't [expect] even a great defense, that many times going out on the field, to not give up points. It's up to us to keep our defense off the football field, and we've got the opportunity to go out there and do it this week against a good team, like I said, [with] our back against the wall. But hey, what better day to go out there at home, on Sunday evening, and go out there and fight and play hard?"

On any dissension between the offense and defense: "No, because after every practice, we always say one of two things: We either say, 'Family!' or we say, 'Team!' This is a team sport and we're a family. We're going to stick together no matter what. The thing about it is, the thing that we can pinpoint is turnovers. You can't turn the ball over and expect to win ball games, especially against a good team."

On watching film from the first game against Cincinnati: "Well, you have to go back and correct your mistakes. At the same time, you can't dwell on how many turnovers you had. You have to have that open mind to go out and just try to do better, and we will do better. That's something we're working hard with this week. Forget about the six turnovers… Just go out there. If you look at it, [even with] six turnovers, we still had a chance to go out there and win the ball game. At the same time, you can't do that. You can't turn the ball over and expect to win."

On the public criticism bothering him: "No, not at all. When I first came in to the league, [it was] the same thing. Look what kind of career I've had. So, I don't let people tell me -- outside of this organization -- that I'm not capable of playing, [that] I don't need to be playing. For what? They've never played the position of a quarterback. They never go through what I go through mentally or physically. So how are you going to tell me I'm not able to play? I know what my body can do. My teammates know what my body can do, and I know what I can do on the field. So things have happened. It's been a bad first half of the year. So what? You've got another half. So we have to go out and do better."

On physically being able to do what he has always done: "I have done it and still can do it."

On needing more big plays offensively: "That's also a factor. But if you look at what we've done offensively, we haven't had our nucleus, our total nucleus, together. We have to balance things out when people get hurt. We have to depend on more people than we did when everybody was out there. I think that is the most important thing. When you're trying to get an offense on the same page, you've got to have everybody out there every week, and get the chemistry and get all the things down that you need to go into a game on Sunday and have that execution."

On trying too hard to make something happen: "I think that's what we've been doing. We've been pressing. Offensively, we've been pressing to make too many big plays, to make too many big things happen instead of letting the game come to us. That's when you make mistakes and that's what has been happening. We just have to go out and relax, go out and have fun, and get that swagger back. I think if you go out and have fun and go out and do the things you know you can do individually, everything collectively will come together."

On pressing individually against the Steelers: "I didn't press, but I think, at the same time, the mistakes that happened, things that [I did] that I normally wouldn't do, you could say [I] pressed a little bit. But, at the same time, I was probably more upbeat and anxious to get out there because I haven't played in two weeks than more of pressing."

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On being affected by his time off: "I think I was just ready to go out there and play. I wouldn't say the layoff was a key, because I've done this before and played well. At the same time, I think it was just me being ready to play, and it was Monday night, and maybe I was over-anxious to get out there and play."

On why the fans should not panic: "I think it's a long season. I don't think it's time to panic at this point in time. We've got eight games left. We're 4-4, we're .500. We could be worse than that. Some teams are worse than that. But [at] 4-4, I think we've still got a great chance. We just have to take it one game at a time, continue to go out there and play hard. We haven't gotten the breaks we had last year. I think the second half, we just have to get some breaks, and fight through the things we've done bad through the first eight games and go with it. I think the fans have to understand that this is a tough game. Any given Sunday, you can be beat, regardless of how good you are or how bad you are. We just have to continue to go out there and stay focused and continue to play."

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