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Coach Munchak's Aug. 21 Practice Report

Posted Aug 21, 2013

HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on the importance of Saturday’s game)

I don’t think you’ll really see more of different types of plays. I think you’ll see a lot of the same that way, but I think you’re going to see us play longer. You’re going to play into the third quarter, so you’re going to see your better players on the field for three quarters or two and a half quarters or whatever that may be. I think you’re going to see how we respond. Like last week, if we came out in the second half, how would we have played after having a 17-3 game going. So, you’ll see how we handle adversity a little bit. Hopefully it’ll be a positive game and we’ll score a lot. We’re not going to be trying a lot of things. We won’t be showing a lot of things, but we’ll be doing enough to put points on the board. We need to get confidence. This is going to be as close as it’s going to get to a real game, but still nothing like it’s going to be in Pittsburgh.

(on the importance of winning Saturday night)

To me, like I said, winning always matters. We’re 0-2. I know when the score clears in two weeks it doesn’t matter, but it does. You want to win everything you do. You want to have success out there. We don’t want to be down 17-3 at halftime and say ‘if it was a real game it would be different.’ That’s a fact obviously, but unfortunately we don’t want to be in that position. We need to play better. We want to make plays. You’re not just going to start making plays in the opener. You got to start making plays now, and that’s why I always thought preseason was valuable. I know people that watch the games aren’t excited about preseason, but as far as a player or coach that’s the reason I love having preseason. Hopefully that gets some of the things you’re seeing that aren’t as good out of our system and we’re learning from the mistakes we’re making now, and come Pittsburgh and Houston, we’re a better football team than we were last week and that we are this week.

(on the offensive lining jelling more)

I think that in pieces it’s coming well now that Dave’s (David Stewart) been back for a while and is practicing. I think him and Chance (Warmack) are starting to get a good feel for each other. That’s coming. They’ve still got to face more situations, which hopefully will be this weekend with some of the things Atlanta does. So, I think that’s coming together. (Andy) Levitre and (Michael) Roos have been together all camp, which has been good. I think that piece is coming together because they work so much together. I think that way we’re getting a feel for the adjustments needed. We’re not having to talk a lot. The challenge is still going to be at center because, again, we haven’t had one guy in there. The good thing is all the guys that have been in there are veteran guys that fit real well and the guys are comfortable with. We’re getting there. I think we’re doing a lot of really good things. I think we’re way ahead with some of the adjustments we’re making already in camp, practices, and in games. The dialogue is already advanced. Now it’s just a matter of playing this game. That’s why the first week we played 25 snaps and this week these guys got 36-38 snaps. This week hopefully there will be 45 plays. We’re getting reps for that reason because we need them. That’s a big part of our success with the offensive line playing well.

(on early impressions of Corey Lynch)

I like Corey. From what I saw, he’s a tough kid. He’s been in the league and knows his role is going to be here on special teams. Again, he did a nice job on special teams the other night. That was good. He can play some free (safety) and strong (safety), so I think he can help us there. He’s an interesting guy and is right in the mix of guys competing in those roles. This will be a big week. Getting (Daimion) Stafford back this week will be big also for guys like those two guys to come in here and play well this week.

(on Corey Lynch being forced to learn quickly)

I think, again, the fact that he’s been in the league I think makes it a little easier for him. There’s only so many things that are different. Special teams is an area he can really show up in, and he did last week with his speed and his effort and all that stuff was good to see as his first time out. I think like we said earlier, the game plan is not very complicated. So, there’s things he can do. You communicate with different guys, but the bottom line is he’s played the coverages we’ve played. So, he has a chance to come out here this game maybe the second half and a lot of the Minnesota game. Those young guys like that and new guys will have an opportunity to make this football team on the back end.

(on anticipating technical issues with tackling)

I know most teams probably have this problem. As you watch the tape you’ll see a lot of teams that we play trying to tackle us and struggle in the two games we’ve played. We’ve got to get better at it for sure because it’s hurt us. Usually it does hurt you when you miss tackles. On that big run (Scott) Solomon had a chance to tackle the guy the other game, and he had unblocked 50-yard run. We were out of position and the guy takes off 50 yards. Those things hurt you and they don’t allow that in practice, that’s why these games are important and we need to improve in that area for sure.  

(on Atlanta running a no-huddle offense)

Yeah, it would be good work for us and we anticipate they will. That’s their deal; they’ve been doing that for years now. We practiced against them last year during training camp and they ran a bunch of no huddle then. We anticipate it which would be good for us; we could use it. It’s a good conditioning drill also, to see mentally how you handle things, the communication as you get tired and you’re out there for eight, nine snaps in a row and you can’t substitute. I hope we get that, and I’m sure they will do that. They want to win too, this is their third game. They want to go out there and look good. We both have the same motivations for this game, so I think it will be a great challenge on both sides.     

(on studying more for Atlanta game than previous preseason games)

Yeah, we have. You do a little bit more; we don’t expect a lot more. They’re not going to all of sudden unload all of their blitz packages and stuff that they’re going to do during the season. A lot of teams do the same thing. They’re trying to just find out how guys fit into your base systems and go out there and consistently do what you’re supposed to do. We have to go out there and catch footballs. It doesn’t matter what the route patterns are, you have to catch the ball when it’s thrown to you. That’s as basic as it gets. We dropped three balls last week and that could’ve led to 21 more points. There’s real basics of football that we have to do much better this weekend.  It’s not about scheme and all that, if we just catch balls that are thrown to us and don’t have penalties in crucial times we’d have a better outcome in games we’ve played in so far.             

(on the Atlanta game preparing them for the Pittsburgh opener)

They’re so different, Pittsburgh is, than what we play this weekend that there’s not a whole of carryover. Probably the biggest carryover was the Washington Redskin game because they play a lot of the same type of packages. So, that was a really good game for us to experiment with some things. This one is more like playing against our own defense for offense. It’s real similar.  

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