HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK
Good to have him on the field. It was his first time. He was doing individual with the offensive line for about half an hour. It’s good. I think he got a little tired, his leg got a little tired, but he’s not sore. Tomorrow he’ll do more and the goal is just to have him do a little more every day and get him back to the competitive part of practice and then hope that if he continues, he’ll have a chance to play on Saturday.
(on rotating the offensive line and getting a good look at everybody)
It definitely is hard. You like the problem. You like having some good football players that we have with Rob (Turner) and Fernando (Velasco) and if (Brian) Schwenke gets healthy like you mentioned as we go. We wanted him to get some reps. We’ve been mixing different guys in there. We wanted Chris (Spencer) to get a chance to be with Jake (Locker). He was last week also, so our process is we still have three or four more days of training camp before we get into Cincinnati. So, we’re going to try to mix that up and you’ll probably see different guys in there every day with Jake. He’s comfortable with all three of them, the veteran guys, so that makes it a little better. It’s going to be a tough decision when the time comes, but we’re going to have to make it pretty soon.
(on how Brian Schwenke’s injury has affected his progress)
There’s no doubt for a young man like a rookie coming in that it is hard. It does make it harder. But, again, we’ve been bragging on him that he’s a special guy that we think can still help us this year. We’re just kind of waiting to see now. He lost some good valuable time that we can’t get back, so now it’s a just a matter of seeing how he handles this week. We just want him healthy because he’ll catch up quickly with that. He’ll be fresh. If anything, his body probably feels pretty strong right now and if we can get him on the field on Saturday for a little while without rushing him, then I think he’ll have a chance no doubt to help us this year.
Just being a veteran player in the League, that’s what we liked about him. We played against him last year and thought he was a pretty good back. We’ve seen him out in practice. Every day he’s gotten better. He is hitting holes quicker. He’s a strong man. He’s good on special teams. When he got in, I don’t think anyone expected him to take that screen and convert a third and 16 into a first down. He made a couple of people miss. It was a good day for him. We want to get him more carries. We probably took him out a little too soon in the game. We probably could have kept him in a little bit longer, but we wanted to make sure we saw everybody on the first game. We all saw what he’s capable of doing, now it’s just a matter of it continuing. It’s also in part learning protections, which he is getting down pretty good. It is different when you go from team to team. Hopefully he’ll continue that as we go into the next couple of games.
You see why he’s a first round pick at one time. He definitely is a good athlete and still moves pretty well. He’s most comfortable at center. He’s been playing both spots. It is hard to really take too many guys with the first group. He’s been in the rotation over the past two weeks. He played last Sunday. Now this week, we’re just going to…each day you’re going to see different guys in there working with the first group. We will try to make a decision by the end of the week with what we’re doing on Saturday and going from there.
(on the difficulty of motivating players after getting a taste of game day)
For coaches also. The whole group of guys, when they get some time … you settle things down toward the end of the week to prepare for the game. So, it physically tapers off. You played the game, but a lot of guys didn’t play a lot, so it really wasn’t that hard of a workout. Then they get a day off. It’s hard to get back. This isn’t just a game week; this is still training camp. That’s why we came out today. We had a great workout. The sun was out, so it was a nice warm day, which we needed. We had the pads on and had a good workout. We needed that and we need three more of these over the next three days.
(on using one-on-one drills to inspire players)
It’s something we’ve done at the beginning of practice. Last week, we did the offensive and defensive line, this week it was the corners and receivers, and the receivers won 3-2. That’s a tough drill for receivers because they have to catch the ball to win. So, that was great competition there. That kind of gets everyone going and then we went to a half line drill to get the tempo going, loosened up with those types of things. I think if you do certain things like that it’ll keep it going, same thing with the music. The music is more for the communication. They have to start yelling louder, especially on defense, communicate when the offense is moving around. I think it just adds a more game-like element for the players.
(on growing pains with
I think that is what you’re going to get with any young player. You’re going to see on some plays he had some really nice catches today and you’re going to say that’s what we’re going to expect to help us this year, and then make a mistake like the rest of them do. The thing is, he comes out every day and competes. He loves playing. He knows he’s getting better. He’s got some good veterans in that room with Nate (Washington) and Kenny (Britt) and Kendall (Wright) and Damian (Williams) that are really pushing him and are in his corner. They set the standard in that room and they’re holding him to that. He’ll get better because of that, the way they’re pushing him, not just with us as coaches. We want him to help us this year, and in order to do that, we got to get him battle tested and ready, and I think he’s getting a taste of that, but he’s making some plays. He’s out here every day and I think he’s responding well to it.
(on improving the pass rush)
I’m seeing it out here pretty well when our defense changes up does all the things they have in the repertoire with different personnel packages they’re using. I think it’s going to really work well for us in the game; we kept it pretty much four-man rush. I thought (Derrick) Morgan rushed well, I thought (Jurrell) Casey rushed well, I thought (Karl) Klug had some nice rushes. So, I thought the first group did a nice job in winning one-on-ones. I think it’s heading in the right direction. We’re still experimenting with a lot of different options and a lot of different players. That’ll be stuff we’ll have to decide on as we get closer to the season. I think we have some good options, we have some good athletes, like I mentioned earlier, we got some size. I think now they can push to the middle a little bit more than they have in the past.