HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK
(on the team still playing hard)
That’s there. That has been good. This group works well together. Like I said, once you get to Wednesday, when we get our team meeting going on Wednesday and start getting the plan, then all of a sudden you start focusing more on what is ahead not what’s behind and problems we may have had in the past. It’s all about finding a way to win on Sunday. That’s what they look in to. They’re trained to do it that way, these guys handle themselves well that way, and that’s why they’re a special group that way. We just need to go get two wins for our troubles.
(on whether the team’s heart is encouraging)
You always want that. You want your players to believe in what you’re doing as a staff. I think we have that. I don’t think that’s been a problem. Like I said before, when you turn the film on and see the game, they see what’s there. I’ve been part of teams where you wonder and you watch tape and…I went through some losing seasons where you’re going, ‘Man, we’re not very good or there’s not really any plays there to be made or guys aren’t making plays.’ I think when you turn our film on both sides of the ball, that’s not what you’re seeing. You’re seeing not enough plays, but you’re seeing opportunities like, ‘Why can’t we pull that ball? Why didn’t I catch that ball when it was thrown at me? I was in great position.’ The coaches, we still have to improve what we’re doing, too, but I think the players, when they can see that there’s a lot of good around it even though the disappointing thing is not finishing or not making one extra play to win it or maybe we’re making that one mistake that has hurt us…I think that’s what keeps them thinking this is heading in the right direction. We have enough guys with positive attitudes. It rubs off.
To me, it wasn’t really a suspension. It was the fact that I made them inactive. As in the NFL, I can make them inactive and decide not to play them on Sunday. There was never a time where they were told to leave or couldn’t be part of it. They were part of the sidelines, they were part of the game. We decided not to suit them up. They’re back. People make mistakes. They paid for their mistake, and they spoke to the team about their mistakes. We move forward, and they’ll compete this week. Hopefully they’ll help us win on Sunday.
(on not stressing out about his current situation)
Well, that’s what’s good about practice. You get a chance to come out here and yell at players and yell at people, yell at coaches to kind of get it out of your system. I’m the same way; coaches have to be the same way. It’s hard after a game. I think it’s more than 24 hours. For me, it’s as soon as the game ends and I have to go speak to the team about how we should look at this and how we handle this. From that moment until really today, until we actually get started with the new week, there’s a lot of thought that goes into what could we do differently, what do we need to do, what am I going to say to the team on Monday, on Wednesday, to the staff. There’s a lot of things that go into that. It’s a lot easier when you’re winning, no doubt about that. It’s a lot easier because there’s a lot less of the negative going on, but I think this group in this building has handled this very well, which has helped me handle it well I think. Again, all we control as we know is what we put on the field these next two games, and that’s what we’ll concentrate on. This is part of the business. When you sign up, get in the NFL as a player or coach, this is how it is every year, this is how it is in more facilities around the league, at least 20 of them that aren’t going to be in the playoffs. Even with teams that are in the playoffs there’s a lot of stress. We get that. That’s part of it, and we expect that. Expectations are high for us and are higher for people in the city. They’re high for everyone. We get that, and it should be that way. Our expectations every year is to be in the playoffs, to have a chance to be one of those 12 teams competing to win it. We haven’t been the last couple years, so that’s hard to take. We understand the frustration, but we got to figure out what the right thing is to do about that frustration.
(on his message to the team this week)
This was a little difficult because we had to talk about a lot of things today as far as the game we just played because we haven’t met since the game. The players had off Monday and Tuesday, so we talked a lot about the game, and obviously going forward we talked about Jacksonville and our situation of us versus them and what has gone on, the good and the bad since we’ve played this football team. We got into that quite a bit and just how they should approach these next two weeks. I talked about situations I’ve been through, of teams, how we built it up to be a championship team when I played as a player and as a coach. You go through years like this where we’re at the point where we know, yes, but how do you go forward? What’s your mindset? They’re building something here. (I talked about how) there’s change every year and the fact that most of these guys are going to be back and they’re building something here that’s going to be very good, but it’s just not happening right now. Like I said, I told them about the years we were 8-8, 8-8, 7-9, then all of a sudden we got a couple key pieces and went to the Super Bowl and went on and had five years of the best record in football. I don’t think anyone foresaw that, and that’s kind of how your mindset has to be. There are good people here, and it’s going to get better.
(on needing a division win)
We need to. There’s no excuse to not have a division win. What we can accomplish these next two weeks is get two division wins. Like last week with the home thing, we need to win a game at home. That’s why last week was so important to us for a lot of reasons. It’s disappointing to have games where we’re right there. Jacksonville last time we lost by two points, lost to Indy twice. We should have three division wins, but we don’t. We got to finish with two here. It does mean a lot for that reason. You’re battling for second in the division I guess or whatever that comes to at the end. We got to beat a team that has given us trouble.
(on beating the Jaguars
We definitely owe them. We’ve been giving them gifts the last few times we’ve played them. We turned the ball over four times. In the first play of the game we fumbled the ball, we got a safety, we did everything we could to lose that football game by turning it over and still were down by two. We owe them for this year, last year, the year before that. We owe the Texans. Unfortunately we don’t play Indy again, but we owe them, too. We’ll have to wait later for that one. You wonder why they’re motivated; they’re motivated for a lot of reasons to win this football game. It’s a pride thing now. It’s not going to get any further. Five wins, six wins, seven wins is not enough wins, but you still could get a lot of satisfaction from it.
(on whether the team is banged up)
Yes, we all have our problems this time of year. They’re experimenting, too. They probably want to see young guys play, so they’re rolling their roster around. I don’t get caught up in that at all because when you’re in this league, you can make plays. Sometimes the guys you don’t know about are the hungrier guys, the guys that are going to try to impress and make plays. They lost last week to Buffalo because they turned it over three or four times. They had a touchdown, the ball got popped out, went through the back of the end zone. They could easily have won last week and had five wins. This is going to be a challenge no matter who plays on both sides of the ball. It’ll be fun.
I think we looked at him throughout the quarterback situation. I think now that we are at this point in the year with two games left, we’re looking for a young quarterback to have here for the offseason that we thought would have a good chance of helping us going forward, of competing for one of the spots. Earlier in the year it didn’t make sense because if we had an injury, we needed more of a veteran guy. We needed to get someone in like John (Skelton). We brought John in for that reason to learn our system in case Fitzy (
(on Tyler Wilson’s potential)
I know that the guys like him when he came out of the draft. Dowell (Loggains) is an Arkansas guy, so he’s all excited about him, too. It’s someone we’ve kept an eye on. We always keep an eye on different guys. I think it’s someone that as a young quarterback, we thought he would fit what we do here. We like the way he plays the game, his demeanor. It’s the first time I’ve had a chance to meet him. Again, I think it’s more of thinking for the future.
(on whether Ryan Fitzpatrick will start the rest of the way)
I think Fitzy (Ryan Fitzpatrick) is doing some really good things. He threw 400 yards, four touchdowns, and he’s doing some really good stuff. We need to win both these games. We played last week to win it. Decisions we make are to win it, not to come close, even though we’re getting close a lot of weeks and not finishing those games. He’ll play the last two.
(on the Jaguars’ turnaround since starting 0-8)
I think they have confidence. They’re 4-2 since we played them, and we’re 1-5. That tells it all right there. A lot of games we should have won that we didn’t. They found a way to build off when they beat us that day. We need to win this football game, we need to play a lot better than we did the first time around. I would assume they’re confident. We’re coming to their place, and they beat us last time by two. We need to change that on Sunday.