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Coach Munchak's Dec. 19 Practice Report

Posted Dec 19, 2013

HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on Chris Johnson’s early fumble against Jacksonville and whether it affected the game)

We allowed it to. Things like that unfortunately happen. We fumbled it. He had a nice little run there of eight yards and drops the ball. Unfortunately, the hard part was the defense gave up a touchdown on four snaps, so it looked bad. That’s what kind of made it look worse. It went from bad to worse when you make a mistake. If that was the end of it, it would have been alright. Unfortunately, we followed it up with a few more turnovers and the fumble for the touchdown and the safety and on and on. Like I said before, that made it hard, but I thought when that game in the fourth quarter and we got the ball back with three minutes left down two that the story was going to be more about how we overcame some bad plays and won the football game. We didn’t get it done. That’s the hard part about it. Games are going to happen like that. You’re going to have games where you fumble the ball and things don’t go your way early and you fall behind against a team at the time you think you should beat. You got to find a way to win that game. That would have been a great teaching moment for us. Unfortunately, we didn’t finish the game when we had to do it, so it made it worse than it needed to be.

(on whether the team plays worse against the Jaguars)

I don’t think we do. Sometimes they match up well, feel good when they play us for some reason. I don’t know. When they got their breaks, they hung in there. They didn’t give the ball back to us. We have to change that this weekend and learn from that one. We’re going to win.

(on the possibility of rotating guys given the warm weather in Jacksonville)

I think it may be. We have to be smart about that in the phases we can, whether it be at receiver, running back, the guys that have to run a lot, linebackers possibly—kind of like what we did in Denver a little bit. I think you’re going to have a game where, depending on how many reps everyone gets, if the defense can get off the field and the offense can stay out there, then the defensive guys probably don’t have to rest much. If it doesn’t work out that way, then, yes, we’ll have to be ready to play more guys. We just haven’t been used to it. There’s no way to prepare for it until you get there other than keeping hydrated, getting rest, those types of things. As far as that type of activity, we haven’t been in that heat since back in October.

(on why they don’t beat the Jaguars more often)

I think we’ve split with them the last few years. We played them early. In the opener we lost there by a score, lost up there last year…tough spots, a catch in the end zone that Damian (Williams) had that we didn’t get, things like that. The games have been close. I don’t know. If we had the answer, if we knew that, we wouldn’t have lost the last one. Again, we feel like we match up well against them just like we do against Indianapolis. We do match up because we’re right there in the game in the fourth quarter. We’d rather have a big lead, but we haven’t been able to do that. Even when we’ve had one, we haven’t held it, like with Indy. This is another one that last game last year we blew them out because we got turnovers. That’s pretty much telling you the bottom line. When we haven’t turned the ball over, we’ve beaten them. When we have, we’ve lost. We got to take care of the football.

(on Zaviar Gooden and the linebacker corps)

He’s (Zaviar Gooden) finally staying healthy. He’s been healthy for more than two or three weeks now, which has been a plus for him to get on the field and play that way. (Colin) McCarthy is another one that I think is getting better, playing well on special teams. I think that group in general, rotating those guys at Mike and Will, getting them playing like we did in Denver where they all played quite a bit. We just got to get more consistent. The last four or five weeks on defense haven’t been as consistent as we were early in the season. When you do that, you start moving some guys around and finding a way to make some plays. If you can find a combination that will maybe change the way things have been going.

(on whether Colin McCarthy will play more this weekend)

I think Colin has a good chance to play some depending on the packages, the run packages, things we’re going to do when we are playing. It’ll be a wait and see how we decide to attack them when we get there, but I think we have ideas of different ways, assuming how they’re going to attack us. So, we’ll figure out the best guys we have out there to stop that. They’ve had injuries in certain spots, so we’re expecting the game to go a certain way. We’ll prepare for that.

(on whether Ryan Fitzpatrick has played better than his 1-6 record as a starter indicates)

I wish he would (have a better record) because then I’d have a better one. You wish you would. The game, that effort the other night, you wish the interception happened earlier in the game and he finished with 450 yards and won the game. He has done a lot of good things. In that game last week, making him have to throw that much, we didn’t want to throw the ball 50-plus times against that defense. He did a great job handling it. When you throw it that many times, you’re going to have a couple bad ones. The timing of those is what the key is. He didn’t get any back, and that’s the main thing. For all these guys, for the team in general, I know the record is what it is now and we’re not going to make the playoffs, but for us it is important to win these two games, for him to win it, for everyone’s confidence. The fact that he’s playing hard, he’s trying to do the right thing, he has come in and really done a nice job, and I wish he would have a few more wins, which would be these next two games.

(on whether the team needs to post impressive wins against the Jaguars and Texans)

I think right now any win we’ll take it, any way it comes. We just want to finish these last two with wins. We think we’re capable of winning a lot of games. I felt there were games we should have won by a lot of points. We start out like we would in certain games and didn’t get it done or hurt ourselves. I think the capabilities are there to do that, but we see both these teams have beaten us. We just need to win a football game by at least one point I guess. We’ll take anything we can get.

(on Jaguars’ offensive lineman Brad Meester retiring)

Fourteen years in the league, I think he has played 200 games. That’s a great accomplishment for him. That’s not easy to do staying healthy year after year playing offensive line. I always thought he was a good football player. He plays hard, he’s a guy that’s always down by the pile. They got a lot of great years with him there. I’ve always enjoyed watching him play. Great career for him, and it’s great that he’s going to walk out healthy for the most part, which is a good thing. You enjoy watching him play. He’s a real smart player, has that edge to him, knows how to play all the little tricks of the game, so I know they’re going to miss him.

(on whether Marcedes Lewis presents a matchup problem)

He does with that size. He’s just a big man. Unfortunately, he was healthy our game and made plays against us. We missed some tackles on him. He’s a big man. Now that the receivers are hurt, I’m sure they’re going to target him more. We got to do a good job tackling. The last time I think we missed him a few times. They run screens to him, get the ball to him, so he’s a guy we’re going to have to stop.

(on David Stewart’s health)

Last week was a better week for him because he practiced on Wednesday and Friday. It’s concerning when he doesn’t practice. I don’t like it when he doesn’t practice Wednesday, Thursday. It has made for a tough year for him.

(on Zach Brown telling reporters he didn’t know why he was getting benched)

I don’t know what Zach (Brown) said.  I’ve talked to Zach throughout the process as has Jerry (Gray), as has everyone else. I think we’re all on the same page. He’s aware of what’s going on. On defense we’ve been playing a lot of guys, a lot of combinations. It seems like each week is a little different. He’s well aware of his situation as far as I’m concerned. I’ve talked to him about it.

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