HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK
(on having a shorter practice today)
We just trimmed it down a little bit just because of that first group playing a lot last week and having the short week. We got all our meetings in this morning, watched some tape and got a head start on the Vikings. We came out today and worked cards, and it went a little quicker than usual. We cut a couple reps out to get on and off the field, but it was a good workout.
(on whether playing well last week dictated today’s practice length)
I think it did, but we probably wouldn’t have changed a lot, maybe a series or two at the most if for some reason we didn’t play well. I think the fact that we did…you know we’ll just be smart kind of like the first game where certain guys play longer that need extra work. Other groups will get out earlier in the game, but everyone is obviously getting ready to play. It’s just a matter of who we’ll pull out as we go.
(on whether position battles have been resolved)
We’re going to probably wait until at least the next couple of days to decide what we’re going to do about the center spot I think as far as officially doing anything just because the guys aren’t going to be playing much this game. So, there wasn’t really a big hurry there. Same thing at corner. We’ll work our way through probably the next couple of days then decide.
He looked strong, physical, which we thought he would. His reactions were a little rusty as far as some of the stunts and stuff he saw. But, again, he didn’t make many mental errors. He was on his guy. It’s just a matter of the more he plays, the better he’s going to get. It’s just unfortunate for him he missed so much time because, again, I think he’s going to be a really good football player. He’ll get a chance to play a lot this Thursday night.
I think everyone wanted that for him. He’s been working hard, and he’s been asked to do a lot of things in this offense. He missed the week with the shoulder last week and then he came out and had a really good practice. It was good to see him catch some balls and make some plays for us. He blocked well. You know, we’re moving the run. He’s playing a lot of different spots. He’s shifting and he did a really nice job with that. He’s a big man. He could do a lot of things. He can help us win games. He can help us on special teams. He runs well. So, that’s good for his confidence. I think it’s good for the offense in general to have him and a lot of the guys play better this past weekend.
You know, we’re kind of going to see how things go this week for him. He’s doing more each day. Like today, we didn’t do a ton of things, but he got a lot of reps on both sides of the ball. Tomorrow it’ll be more of a full day, so we’ll see how he handles that. I know he wants to play. He wants to get on the field, so we’ll just kind of see how he responds after tomorrow then decide.
(on whether he thinks Delanie Walker needs to play)
I don’t know that he needs to play, but I think it’s a personal preference. As far as the offense goes, probably not because you’re not going to be out there enough to kind of get a feel for working with Jake (Locker) in a game or with the tackles or whoever. It’s more for him I think as much as anything with confidence for him if he thinks he needs to. We’ll sit and talk to him and see how he feels about that. Obviously, you want to be smart about his knees. He’s worked too hard to get to where he’s at and you start getting cautious this time of year.
(on whether performance or depth influenced roster cuts)
I think a couple, two or three, that were more because of being short at certain spots. You know with the D-line being short, I don’t think we could release any of the D-linemen. The fact that we knew a few guys can’t play this weekend and we don’t want to have to have guys play that we don’t want out there the whole fourth quarter. So, there’s a couple guys that way, but overall, it was just more the guys that we need to move on we did. That’s the hard part. It’s the hardest week in football I think for this reason. There’s this cut and then obviously the cut this weekend. The good thing is a lot of these guys will have an opportunity this Thursday night, one last shot to make a difference and make the club.
I think another week. I’m assuming he won’t play this week, but I think he’s doing well already. I think he’s feeling better. I think he’s feeling good about it. He’s played with different things on his hands before, so you’re hoping again that by the time he actually has to play in a game that he feels pretty good.
He did a nice job. He grows up, and we challenged him a little bit that way. He went out there and started the first play of the game. I thought that as the game went on he was physical. I thought he started feeling more confident as he started making a few plays. He runs well, so you saw him in the fourth quarter keep the quarterback…Even the one run the quarterback had, he was right there. He did a nice job. He got kind of yanked by the offensive lineman who kind of pulled him and didn’t get the holding call, but I thought overall he had a good feel for what was happening and got better as he played. I think that was a good experience for him and this Thursday will be another good opportunity for him to play.
(on how many roster spots are still unsettled)
You know that’s hard to say, but assuming there aren’t any surprises health-wise. There’s always going to be three-four guys that are competing for those last three spots kind of thing. Not necessarily just competing in their spot but competing..do you keep an extra linebacker or is it an extra DB or is it an extra D-linemen because some of our D-linemen can play special teams. Is it the extra receiver? So, there’s a lot of guys fighting for those last two-three spots if everyone stays healthy there’s no other reason. So that’s where it comes down to three to five spots max. It’s tough. There are some really close battles with things we’ve been looking at and health has become a concern. You start looking at the 46-man roster also on game day with who’s going to suit up against Pittsburgh. You’re weighing all those factors to make that decision.
You know, that’s an area where we still haven’t finalized as far as what options we could have there. I think we feel comfortable that he’ll do a very good job. (Marc) Mariani is meeting with the doctors this week as far as exactly where he’s at and how much time we think it’ll be until he can practice and play. So, that’s kind of part of the equation, too. I mean, we look at a lot of factors, but obviously he’s the guy that has the best chance at helping us win football games at that spot right now.
(on potentially stashing
Well, either way if you put him on injured reserve he’s done for the entire year. If you recall him, he still has to get on the 53. So, he still has to take up the roster spot which would mean someone would have to be let go. Even though that’s a way we could put him on injured reserve for six weeks and bring him back, he’d still have to be part of the 53-man roster. That’s the deal. He’s either part of it or he’s not, and if he’s not, he’s on injured reserve which means he’s out all year. So, that’s kind of all the different options.
(on who can challenge for the return spot)
We have guys I think that can do it, but depending on health at other spots, I don’t know who we’d actually put out there to do it. We feel Damian (Williams) can return punts and some guys can do kickoffs. But, I think we’re obviously leaning toward (Darius) Reynaud doing it.
(on which quarterback will get the most snaps Thursday night)
That’s a good question. Probably Rusty (Smith) might. If Jake (Locker) plays a quarter and Ryan (Fitzpatrick) plays a quarter, then Rusty will get the half. I think it’ll fall something like that depending on how the game flows. I don’t think we’ll put Ryan past halftime, so then Rusty would take the whole second half.
He’s doing well. He’s running well in the games he’s played in. He’s doing really well on special teams. So, again, he’s come in and really been a pleasant surprise. For us picking him up as late as we did, he came in and has done such a nice job. Each week it seems like he’s been consistent and he protects well and he’s a physical guy. He blocked well in the fourth quarter when they were blitzing with the quarterback. He’s the full package, and we’re excited about what he’s done.