HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK
I think we’ve only played one game. I think maybe when you say he’s indecisive some of it last year was a little more leakage than expected at the point of attack at times. Him thinking he may have had to get a bigger play than was there, not settling for second-and-six. Him thinking he could get a better run, and sometimes it worked against us. We all saw a couple games where he reversed fields in Miami and scored a touchdown on it, but that’s hard to do. He’s special and he can do that, but that’s the hardest part with great backs. They always feel they can do something special with the ball and they’re not content with what’s there sometimes. I think he’s out of that mode though. That happens when you’re not winning, when your team’s not winning. You think you have to do something. You’re the guy. He knows he’s the guy we rely on. Again, hopefully this year with the combination of the backs and playing better as a team we can avoid that.
He’s going to be a force to reckon with in there. He’s a big man. He can do a lot of things. Yesterday was a good day for him as far as getting a lot of good work in. This morning he worked. We kind of rested him this afternoon. We didn’t want him doing much because tomorrow is a day off for the players and then we can get into Cincinnati on Thursday. We want him ready to play Saturday to kind of see where he’s at and give him a chance to play in a game-like situation, but we’re expecting big things out of him at some point. It’s just a matter of find out where he’s at and whether he can stay healthy.
(on whether the coaches have decided who will start at center against Cincinnati)
No we haven’t yet. Tomorrow now with the day off we’ll start finalizing everything and what we think about playing time and who we want playing with who for that first half.
We think it is (living up to our expectations). You saw from the game, CJ only had a couple of carries or three carries and Shonn (Greene) ran well. So this week you’ll see us just extend that. We’ll get more touches, play longer. We develop that as we go. You’ll see when we get into a game, it will be rolling to keep them fresh. I think Sly (Sylvester Croom) does a great job of getting a feel for who needs a rest and when they need it. In practice, we’ll rotate with them more, because we’re asking the backs to run 50 or 60 yards with the ball quite a few times, a “finish the drill” kind of thing. In the game, it will probably be that CJ will stay in there for more plays in a row. We’ll probably give him more of that this weekend. We’re happy with them.
(on Shonn Greene and Chris Johnson’s complimentary skill sets)
Obviously the size. One’s 245 (lbs) and then some, probably. CJ (Chris Johnson) is smaller than that. CJ is faster than he is, but they can run a lot of the same plays. Shonn’s (Greene) made some great cuts out here. I don’t think people realized what great vision he has, how quickly he gets in a hole for a guy his size. There’s no wasted motion; there’s no dancing. He makes a decision and he goes. He’s going to punish people when he’s running. That’s what we want. We’ve talked about that as far as in our running back and our offensive line and our tight ends and on and on. That’s the reason we went after Shonn. We wanted him here to compliment what we thought CJ could do. Sly (Sylvester Croom) has done a great job with CJ. You saw that cut. CJ at times wants to go more lateral, go to the sideline, instead he squared it up and made the guy miss. So, you see the effects of Coach Croom working with him and I think he’s going to have a lot of big runs this year. The two of them working together is going to be a difference for us this year.
(on shifting into a different mode with the end of public practices)
Next week, with the Atlanta game, as most teams do, we’ll game plan a little bit more. It won’t be like the regular season by any means, but the first couple of days in the week, we’ll still finish some training camp type of things that we need to work on. Then Wednesday, when we get into it, we’ll spend a lot more time than we have for Cincinnati or the first game with the Redskins. We’ll get more in that routine so the players get used to the routine of what it’s going to be like during the season. Yeah, it will start changing by the middle of next week.
Definitely, he’s a guy we all trust. Quarterbacks trust him. The line loves him in there. We gave him a couple runs today. He runs hard. He’s very comfortable with the ball in his hands. He can protect, physical kid, does everything you ask him. I think that he’ll get an opportunity to play a lot more, and play with the first group from the first play because I don’t think Quinn (Johnson) will play this week. Good opportunity for him.
(on Mooney playing both tailback and fullback)
Especially during the season when you can only suit up 53 and you have concern at how many running backs you keep up, I think that becomes big factor, a big plus. And he’s a special teams kid also, so he can help us there. That’s where he needs to excel in the fullback position. In some games the fullback may get eight snaps, six snaps, it just all depends on who we’re playing against and what our plan is offensively, so special teams become huge. Him and Quinn (Johnson) both are on quite a few special teams [packages], so that’s a big factor in these preseason games.
(on keeping a player who would be predominantly a return man)
We did it last year, well, the last couple years I guess. We had Marc (Mariani) two years ago playing receiver and returner and last year with Darius (Reynaud), so we do have that. That’s why we have Darius at running back and at receiver, thinking if he is the guy that he can do those things. We know Daimian (Williams) can do punts also. It’s just a matter of Marc and how long he’s out, where he factors in to this now that he has the shoulder [injury]. You’d rather not have to have this spot, but chances are we’ll probably have to have one.