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Coach Munchak's Dec. 12 Practice Report

Posted Dec 12, 2013

HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on the Cardinals’ front seven)

I think they’re playing well. They’re very good. (Darnell) Dockett’s been there a long time then they’ve added (Calais) Campbell, last time played those two guys inside. That’s a big man that’s playing well. (John) Abraham like we said has added nicely to them with all the pressure they get inside. I think that’s helped him a lot to get the sacks, get some of the plays he has made. Last week he made three sacks. They’re aggressive. They attack the line of scrimmage, they blitz a lot, they bring a lot of pressures, they try to really get after quarterback to hopefully discourage balls down the field.

(on challenges the Cardinals’ defense presents for Brian Schwenke and Chance Warmack)

I think so. They’ve seen a lot. With the teams we’ve played, they’ve seen a lot. For rookies in their first year, this will be another great challenge because these guys are big and physical and long and they bring a lot of heat. You’re going to get a lot of one-on-one matchups. These guys win quite a few of their matchups especially these last few weeks. We have to change things up. We have to do different things to help up front and the backs and the tight ends so they don’t get taken advantage of. We have to be smart that we’re changing up what we’re doing otherwise this game could get real long real quick especially if we get behind at all. You’ve seen teams they’ve gotten ahead of like last week with the Rams. It got ugly for the quarterback when you know you have to throw it. We have to stay out of that situation and help those young guys inside.

(on the Cardinals’ injured rookie guard Jonathan Cooper)

He’s very athletic. He would have been doing the same thing; he would have been doing some things well. I think the passing game would have been the area that he would have to grow in quite a bit. He’s a good athletic guard that would have helped them quite a bit in what they’re doing. The thing they’re missing that we’re gaining is Chance (Warmack) is getting through that first year, (Brian) Schwenke is getting through that first year. I’ve been through it, and it’s hard as a lineman. There’s going to be good days and bad days and good moments during a game and bad moments. It’s how you handle it, and I think both of our guys have handled things well when they’ve struggled or they’ve had plays go against them. They’ve had a lot of good things also, but one year under your belt for a rookie, from first year to second year, is a huge jump. They’ll lose out on that, but that’s a good football player who should be good for a long time.

(on Matt Shaughnessy’s season)

He has played well. The problem is it’s like playing with five defensive linemen. They bring those guys a lot, kind of like what Houston does with their five guys. They want to bring five guys and try to get as much five-on-five or make the back have to block someone he can’t really hold on to or make you have to get the ball out of your hands. It has worked for them, but he’s a good football player. He’s strong, he’s big. It’s almost like having five down out there. They got something going on there, and their defense has really come on strong this year.

(on whether the team would have signed Shaughnessy during free agency)

We tried to get him for a visit. I don’t know how it would have worked out, but he was definitely a guy that could help us also. They are the kind of guys you look for that could have fit here and had a role for us just like he does there. It has worked out well for him obviously, so I’m sure he’s happy where he’s at. He’s a guy that could have helped us also.

(on whether Bruce Arians’ offenses over the years look similar)

Very similar, especially the run game. A lot of the same formations he likes in both places. For the offense, other than learning their personnel, their receivers are obviously the big difference from what they have there right now in playing well. The running game for them hasn’t really been a strength yet. I hope we can keep it that way, but it’s been something where they run a lot of the same things. He has been successful. Heck, the guy has been everywhere he has been. It has worked for him and their quarterback is playing much better now for them and they’re very effective on offense right now feeding off their defense.

(on whether he is impressed by the Cardinals’ turnaround)

I think a lot of it is what they’re doing on offense, the fact that they’re steady at the quarterback spot. The run game, like I said, is average. It’s just getting going. The defense is playing at a high level. They’re one of the top defenses in football. It seems like that has been the pattern in that division. You got Seattle playing as good as anybody on defense, San Francisco, them, the Rams. You got some good defenses there that are really helping them. I think that’s the difference is that they’re getting consistent play at the quarterback spot where they were scrambling the last couple years to try to find that guy. I think they’ve found that. They’ve had the receiver, no doubt. They added the new guy last year, so they have a nice mixture of guys there. It’s working for them.

(on what comes to mind when reflecting on the last meeting between the two teams)

Just the excitement of winning on the last play. I think CJ (Chris Johnson) had some good runs that day. The game got tight, they scored, and made us have to go down to win it. It’s great to win a game like that, especially at home. We’ll take a repeat of that in a heartbeat. We need a win. It would be great to win in a dramatic fashion, but believe me, we’d rather win by two, three touchdowns because it seems like we’re hanging around the fourth quarter way too much.

(on Kenny Britt against the Cardinals in 2009 compared to now)

I can’t really (believe it), and I don’t think anybody really can. Going into the season, for a lot of different things, we thought it would play out differently than they have to this point. That’s one of them. That’s something I would have thought it would be a different situation than it is now. He did, too, after four years ago when he made that big time play there and Vince (Young) made that nice throw. It seemed like that was a long time ago.

(on figuring Kenny Britt out)

Unfortunately, in this league as you know, he had the opportunities to really change what happened I guess. We feel we gave him plenty of them throughout the year, but obviously him not suiting up last week and getting limited reps, it’s kind of hard for him to break out again and have the catches we hoped he’d have. We hung with him all that time hoping that way, then Justin (Hunter) kind of started stepping up and other guys started making plays. It made it hard for us not to limit his reps and add reps other places. Obviously, we thought he would be a great weapon for us. We still got three weeks left, but we wish it would have been different.

(on whether Kenny Britt will remain inactive)

It’s just going to depend by the end of the week. He’s practicing, and that part has been good, his attitude, how he has handled it. It’s not easy for a guy that has high expectations, for himself and that we had, to not be able to produce the way he wants to and get the opportunities he would like to have. It has been hard. He has handled it as good as anybody probably could. He is still working hard in practice, and all those things are positives. The opportunities are going to be limited.

(on whether Britt should see a sports psychologist)

He has a good support group. I’m sure he has done about everything he could possibly do.

(on Michael Preston and Damian Williams’ versatility)

That’s what helps him (Michael Preston) and Damian (Williams). Because of what we had to do on defense, Preston was very valuable. We needed him to play 18, 20 snaps on special teams, which he did. They have confidence in him on offense, so that worked well. Damian is a guy that has more versatility on offense. He helps us with all three spots without having to move Nate (Washington) if something happens to Kendall (Wright). That’s where Damian’s strength comes in. Plus, Damian can back up on a lot of special team spots also beside returner. He can go out and play in the gunner and do things. That is his value also, so that’s what happens when you’re not the guy, you’re not one of the top three at the receiver spot. That fourth guy has to help us other places, so that’s where Kenny (Britt) starts to get caught up in that.

(on why Damian Williams was inactive against Denver)

Just because of what we said. Coty Sensabaugh all of a sudden played 70 snaps last week when he usually plays 25. We didn’t want him doing that plus playing 18 on special teams. We needed someone that could go in there and handle that at that position at that level, and (Michael) Preston was the guy that could do that. That allowed us to suit Mike Martin up also. Coty was able to concentrate on just playing defense by having Preston up because (Preston) played 10 snaps on offense and 18 of defense. It worked out well that week. This week is different because we don’t need Coty to play 70 snaps, so now he can go back to starting at the gunner spot out there. All of a sudden, we look at it differently. We don’t need a guy to take 18 reps. That’s kind of the effect of each week of who’s healthy on offense and defense and who you’re playing against. Denver is a different animal than this team will be, so we’ll look at it different. Damian would have suited up probably last week, but now it’s kind of a different situation.

(on whether Damian Williams is healthy)

He’s good. He’s healthy, and he should be ready to go.

(on Delanie Walker’s status)

He has been good. He has practiced full all week. I think he’s just excited about playing, and we’re exciting about having him. We need him, and we definitely missed him both games, especially the Indianapolis game. Last week, he could have made a difference. It changes coverages, and I’m sure Kendall’s (Wright) happy and some of the other guys to have him back because defenses now have to be concerned a little bit more about what he can do. It’s good to have him back.

(on Delanie Walker as a top performer this year)

He has for a guy that has started slow because of missing all of training camp. That hurt him, no doubt. I think the first part of the season, the first four or five weeks he was still learning the offense. He hadn’t really done anything full speed with us. That kind of slowed the offense a little bit because of that. I think he has come on strong, and I think he’s feeling more comfortable with what we’re doing. The quarterbacks were getting used to him with both quarterbacks playing. He has been what we thought he would be. He has had as many catches as he has ever had, I guess more, so that weapon at tight end I think has gotten to where we hoped it would be. It’s been good.  

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