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Coach Munchak's Aug. 15 Practice Report

Posted Aug 15, 2013

HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on expectations for this week’s game)

You go with the word consistency, knowing that we’ll probably play close to a half. You just like to see both groups come out and establish themselves. On offense, moving the ball, making plays we have to make. On defense, getting stops. If they make plays on us, hold them to field goals, get some turnovers. We weren’t in enough plays last game to have that happen. So, you want to see that physical play on the road. There’s going to be some adversity one way or the other in the first half. So our defense needs to overcome that and make plays, and that’s what we need to do this game.

(on whether he expects to see a jump in the level of play over last week’s game)

I hope so because we’re going to see a tough opponent and we better be able to play in Cincinnati. It’s their first home game and they’re a playoff football team that wants to take it to the next round. When you turn the film on, you see that. A preseason game or not, we’ve got four good teams we’re playing against in the playoffs. We had Washington last week. So, they have good players. They’re a good football team. We better be ready to play. I don’t care if it’s preseason or not. I think they see that. I think you’re going to see the same type of intensity. I just want to see us come out in the beginning and not just kind of feel them out for a series. We need to stay away from that and come out ready to play.

(on whether there will be opportunities for Jake Locker to throw downfield more against Cincinnati)

There will be opportunities for him. Last week there were plays called where he could have gone downfield, but they were playing off and playing soft and they gave us the underneath things. Again, like I said, when you see Shonn Greene catch a three-yard pass and go 14 or 15 yards with it, you know they’re playing off. What the quarterback had the first play where Jake tried to force that first long one down the field, that’s the one to dump off and probably get eight-nine yards. He learns to go back the second drive and takes what they’re giving us. We hope we can. We hope that’s what they’re going to give us. But if not, we should take the 10, 15-yard completions that we weren’t taking last year either that teams gave us. As the game went on we started taking advantage of that. There’s always plays called to take shots. It’s just a matter of if it’s there or not. You want your quarterback to make that decision if it’s there or not.

(on forcing the issue of throwing downfield)

I think, yes you do. I think if you play a whole game you’ll hit those windows. If Jake (Locker) played a normal four-quarter game you’re going to get some shots in there. If CJ’s (Chris Johnson) in the game the whole time with Shonn (Greene) and you run the ball well, that’s going to have to stop. They’re going to have to say, ‘you know what, prove you can throw it,’ and give you some chances. If they only play the 20 snaps, it’s harder to get a chance to get to that.  You still have to find ways to get those. We will, and I’m hoping that’s the kind of thing that happens this week. 

(on if the starters will see 20-22 snaps in the Cincinnati game)

Probably, we’re willing to go 30. To me, it just depends on the flow of the game. Thinking what’s happening, I would like to see them put up to halftime if it comes to that. It doesn’t matter what the other team is doing. We need reps. We need groups playing well together. We won’t be going into the second half playing the same men, but I think first half ought to be, ‘you know what, if you all can get 40 plays then maybe you can get out earlier,’ but we need to have some success and play. 

(on the starting center)

Fernando (Velasco).

(on the starting corner)

Tommie (Campbell).

(on other starters)

Coty (Sensabaugh) is doing a nice job. The plan from the beginning was to let Vern (Alterraun Verner) have the first game and come back with Tommie (Campbell). Coty is doing a really good job at corner when he’s been playing, in the last game and even out here on the (practice) field. Even though we know he’s our starting nickel, he’s done a nice job at corner. He’s still in the mix there too. The same thing at center, (Chris) Spencer has done a nice job. The problem is, there are only so many starts in preseason that you can give them. (Brian) Schwenke unfortunately has the hamstring. He’s still battling through that. He’d be another guy we’d be talking about at the center spot. It’s not down to two yet still. Someone just has to step up and take the job.

(on Coty Sensabaugh as the nickel back)

He did a great job last year. We’re really confident with that going in. If he ends up not playing at corner he should be a nickel unless something happens in the next three weeks.

(on seeing more from Tommie Campbell)

He has to feel comfortable. Tommie (Campbell), like half of the other players I mentioned on the offensive side, the first series we were very tentative early. Not that we’re soft, we’re just kind of feeling out how these guys play. To the players’ defense, and I’ve been in that position myself, you don’t know these players, there’s not that much film to watch, so you really don’t know what you’re going to get. If I’m a corner, the worst thing I have happen is a guy run by me on the first snap, because I don’t know the player as well as I would if I were starting during the season. You start a game slowly that way because of that. That’s what we have to avoid this weekend. He’s going to get a chance to start out there with the first group, go out there and play. He knows what’s expected of him. We want to see him do, just like we want to see the centers and other positions do what they’ve been doing out here on the field. Take it from the field to the game and see how they mesh together, see how these groups work together, when he’s out there at corner or when Fernando’s (Velasco) at center or at some of the other spots where we’re moving guys around. We want to see not just how they play, but how the other guys around them play.

(on whether the second starting cornerback will be picked by the Falcons game)

It has to be where we have a good feel for what we’re doing. I’m hoping after this game that we feel pretty good. We have some good feelings either way about what our thinking is, we just have to play out a little more in this game this weekend and in practice next week.

(on Rob Bironas’ return)

He’ll be definitely kicking field goals and we’ll just see about the kickoffs.

(on if Al Afalava is the number two guy for free safety)

He’s been the guy rolling in there without (Daimion) Stafford. It’s unfortunate for him he is going to miss this game because he was looking good on special teams. He was the guy we really wanted to see, but unfortunately he’ll miss this week. So, Al (Afalava) is going to get a shot in there with the second group as they come out.  

(on whether Al Afalava is more of a strong safety)

He is, but just like when we brought (Corey) Lynch in, just signed him, he’s a guy that has played free safety. He’s playing catch-up. You’ll probably see him in the second half out there.  He’s a guy that can play both spots. We talked about other players going back there, (Alterraun) Verner at times, back in OTAs. We won’t do that this weekend but that’s something down the road, once we figure who the best guys are then we have to see who can play that spot if there’s an injury.   

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