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Coach Munchak's Dec. 2 Press Conference

Posted Dec 2, 2013

HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on making mental errors at crucial times)

Well, I mean, throwing an interception at the end of the game, that’s just a competitive issue. That’s kind of hard to blame on a mental issue. That’s more of trying to make a play and then not making a good decision with the football in the heat of the battle. That’s on the offensive side. On defense, again, it’s just finding a way on the last drive like we have in the past to make a play. There was plenty of opportunities along that drive that they had to drive down the field where we could have stopped them. We had some alignment problems, we had some guys drop some coverage, we had them make some good plays. We just had a combination of things that we just have to do much better at. 

(on being harder on players)

I think we are. I talked to the players again today. I don’t think it’s…it’s under pressure that a lot of times mistakes happen. It’s not in practice when you’re competing. That’s a different type of pressure. When you’re in the meeting room, it’s a different type of pressure when you stand in front of your teammates and have to go to the board and draw something up and do assignments. We do stuff like in law school where you have to stand up in front of the whole team and we’ll ask you questions about, ‘If this happens, what do you do? If that happens, what do you do? they’re forced to be under some type of pressure to make them uncomfortable. You can try to simulate in a game when you’re going to be uncomfortable. You can only get so close to that experience that guys do have a great feel for what they’re doing. We don’t see some of the errors you may see in a game in practice. It’s not like they’re happening and you’re not correcting them and they think it’s OK to carry the bad behavior on. It’s the fact that unfortunately it’s growing pains. Sometimes it’s you need to become a better team as you grow through some of the mistakes that do happen, and you find out how certain guys handle pressure when things aren’t going well. Every guy is different with what is pressure to them. Is it always the fourth quarter? Could it be the first play of the game? Guys all are wired different ways. You have to take a good look at what’s going on, who the guys are that are struggling at times. If it’s a pattern, if it’s something we can’t fix, you have to find a way not to play that person or that person is no longer with you or you make moves that way. It’s a process of looking at that, but each person is responsible to fix what they can fix. They are being corrected, they know their behavior. If it’s a bad decision, they’re being told about it. We’re trying to find ways to fix it so it doesn’t happen again. All those things are being done. As we all know, what covers up bad mistakes is someone making a big play, someone making a play that overshadows some of the mistakes that are made by their teammates. That’s any NFL game you watch or college for that matter. If we fell on some of those fumbles, if we had a couple of those interceptions, if we made a couple more catches, then some of the mistakes you make are overshadowed and you learn from them in a more positive nature. Unfortunately when you lose, it just makes it a lot worse.

(on Moise Fokou’s unnecessary roughness penalty)

When I watched it yesterday, I was watching the other side of the field. It was a situation where they had seven or eight seconds left in the half. We knew they were either trying to go deep or try to catch a ball then get out of bounds. Our defense was set on the boundaries so the (Colts couldn’t get two plays—we were trying to keep them to one play. He (Andrew Luck) hit the flat earlier where the running back came out. He (Moise Fokou) saw Luck was staring over there initially, looking off where he was going to throw it. He saw that, he broke to make a play on his guy so he wouldn’t be able to make a play if he threw it to him and get out of bounds quickly for a second play and hit him. The problem with the play was he hit him in the back, he hit him from behind. He was in the five-yard area when he hit him, so that part was OK. You can’t hit a player in the back. I talked to them in New York today, and they said it should have been a five-yard penalty for illegal contact. It was unnecessary to hit him probably as hard as he hit him in that area in that time in the game—not a good decision. He could have just wrapped him up, could have just went up there and made sure nothing happened, but when he hit him the ball wasn’t out of Luck’s hand yet. I was led to believe when it happened that it was something that was totally unnecessary, that it was after the play was over. It wasn’t any of those things. You’d rather him not do that so the official doesn’t get involved and allow that to happen, but it should have been ruled a five-yard penalty. We don’t want the behavior. He could have played it smarter than he did. He got tunnel vision when he saw Luck looking over there thinking he was going to throw it to the back. He went and did his thing, and he didn’t need to do all that. He didn’t need to be as physical as he was in that nature, in that point in the game, to make sure no flags were thrown. Obviously, we don’t want that to happen, and we don’t want that to happen again. We would want him to be in his area, we would want him to react the way he did, but not with the physical nature of the hit.

(on whether Fokou should have been flagged for unnecessary roughness)

They felt, in talking to them today, that, no, it should not have been.

(on whether Fokou is off the hook given the officials’ mistake)

No. It should have gotten us off a three point play. To me, if you’re hitting someone after the play is over, that’s unnecessary, that’s a different level of making a mistake. I just think he was being way too aggressive in a situation where he didn’t have to be. At least it wasn’t something that was blatantly bad.

(on Shonn Greene’s 15-yard penalty)

Same thing. It doesn’t matter the day after. Shonn Greene got up, two guys that know each other on a big hit after an eight-yard gain get up and jaw back and forth. They threw a penalty. He (Shonn Greene) clapped I think, and they threw a flag. They told me that there was no reason to do that, no reason to throw a flag.

(on whether it is irritating to talk to the league office and find out that yesterday’s officiating crew made several incorrect calls)

Well, that’s why I don’t want to call, that’s why I don’t like calling. It’s nice to know that your guys aren’t…I know officials don’t know who knows each other, but my thing is what’s the difference between that and a player when he gets a first down getting up and doing the first down signal when a guy is laying down by your legs there and you just beat him? I mean, if you’re worried about taunting or whatever it may be, guys that hit each other, they get up, and that’s the game. They should enjoy that. They both made a great play—great run, great hit. No one hit each other, no one pushed each other, no one shoved each other. That was unnecessary. I don’t know why he called it, but he did. I don’t think they want that play called, but it got called. Luckily, we overcame that one.

(on whether Fokou and Greene’s penalties are a sign that the Titans are undisciplined)

That’s guys competing. I don’t see that as being undisciplined, no.

(on whether he heard about Delanie Walker’s catch that was ruled incomplete)

They said it was a catch.

(on what he thinks about the officiating mistakes)

I probably need to not say a whole lot about that. I think mistakes happen. It’s upsetting when you feel they could affect the game one way or another, but you just want consistency when things aren’t going your way. I don’t think there’s usually that many, but you know there’s going to be some mistakes. It’s more about learning from them for us as a staff and for me as a head coach so I know what they’re looking for and why I don’t challenge something and how I see them looking at it. The more I can educate the player, hopefully I can get them to play smarter, that we don’t make the same mistakes, that the officials don’t call…if they’re going to call something, I want to make sure these guys are aware of it. That’s the problem we have right now with the officials is that some guys call it different than others. That’s just how it is. One crew is going to say it’s a penalty, one crew is going to say it’s not. The clapping part, the one on Shonn (Greene), most of them (the crews) won’t call it, but that crew did. You have to learn what behavior is acceptable and what’s not. We don’t want guys showing people up. We watch tapes on that, we talk about it all the time about doing anything that’s unsportsmanlike. I’m 100 percent against anything that’s showboating or any of that stuff. We’re very thorough on all that stuff to avoid that. We had the one call the one time on that touchdown celebration in the end zone, but that’s all we’ve had all year on that type of thing because of all the rules against that with people celebrating together. I think we make a big emphasis of that. You can’t see Shonn’s (penalty). I didn’t see it actually happen to see exactly what he did. That’s how they explained it to me which sounded like it was a whole lot of nothing, but it was called. We have to avoid those things if we’re getting close to looking like we’re celebrating someone tackling you.

(on whether losing Delanie Walker hurt the team)

I thought it did. When you lose a player that last time you played them caught 10 balls that they had trouble covering, definitely. All of a sudden, they can put more attention on Kendall (Wright), on Nate (Washington), on our other receivers, which they couldn’t have done before. The one thing that can’t happen is you lose a tight end, and it happened the first 10 plays. That was hard. I thought Dowell (Loggains) did a good job of working our way through that. We still did a lot of good things but not enough to win.

(on Delanie Walker and Craig Stevens’ statuses)

Just saw him briefly. I think it’s just like (Craig) Stevens, just kind of see how he goes through the process the next few days. I think Stevens worked out today, so we’ll see how he is. The next couple days we’ll know more about both of those.

(on other options at tight end)

That’s what we’re going to have to look at as far as what the reality is of those two guys if at least one of them is playing. If that’s the case, then what’s our alternatives with other tight ends that could help us this weekend.

(on whether the team would play four wide receiver sets without a tight end)

It would be something that we could mix in, but we would have to look into getting another tight end.

(on Collin Mooney’s injury)

I don’t know if they officially said anything. He hurt his knee. I’m not sure what level it is. We should know more today, but that was unfortunate because that was a screen play. He almost had a chance at a big play there and hurt his knee there. I haven’t heard. He’s going to get tested this morning, but I haven’t seen him yet.

(on whether Mooney tore his ACL)

I don’t think it’s that severe, but I’m not sure exactly what it is.

(on whether Mooney will return this season)

I don’t know yet. If it’s something, we’ll probably know this afternoon.

(on his message to the team)

Well, we’re one game behind now with four left. If everyone wins out, then we’re out. I guess that’s how it works. They understand that, how it could change from one week to the next, two weeks ago, how it changed in one week. All we can do, again, is the obvious. You got to win all four games and hope they lose one, a couple teams that are ahead of you. We got a couple tough ones ahead. We’ve made it harder without a doubt, so we have to win a game this weekend which most people don’t think we have a chance to win.

(on defending Peyton Manning)

We’ve seen him. That’s the one thing that at least Gregg (Williams) and Jerry (Gray) are used to defending him having gone against him twice a year. I think that gives us some familiarity that way. Again, obviously he’s having a great year. They’re putting up huge numbers. I don’t think anyone has really stopped him at all even when they have lost. So, that’s going to be a huge, huge challenge especially playing in their place on top of it. It’s going to be a big opportunity for us to go in there and play well and not have turnovers and maybe we could force a few.

(on slowing down Peyton Manning)

We’ll get into that these next couple days. I think a lot of it’s going to be help from the other side of the ball, the offense finding a way to stay on the field and keep him off the field. That usually works the best. It keeps you in those low scoring games. If we could do that, I think that’s what we used to do in the past, if we can get them to where they’re not getting enough opportunities to put points on the board. That’s going to be a big part of them having success is keeping them off the field I guess. We’ll start looking into that the next couple of days.

(on being in the hunt for Peyton Manning during the 2012 offseason)

I guess some of it happened fast. We knew it was going to be about 10 days of we were right in there. I think it was exciting. Mr. Adams, it meant a lot to him. We knew getting someone like Peyton (Manning) is a difference maker. I mean, look at what happened in Denver. He just makes the people around him better, they win. That’s exactly what Mr. Adams wanted. I got to know him very well. I knew Peyton. I played with his dad for a year when he was with the Oilers, Archie. I obviously knew him over the years. We coached in the Pro Bowl, and for that week it seemed like I was talking to him every day, all day because there was a couple teams that were in the loop doing all this and trying to do it in a private way. It was interesting. I really thought we had a great chance at getting him. I think he felt good about what he saw here and what our plans were going forward. I think he loves Tennessee, so I think that was a big part of why he was very much considering coming here. Obviously, it’s worked out well for him, but it just shows what difference he can make on the team he’s on.

(on not landing Peyton Manning)

Well, it hurt us with free agency and what we wanted to do because free agency started around the same time. We lost out on other focuses at other positions that year. I think we ended up signing one or two guys a year ago. That definitely slowed us down when all of our intention was on working him (Peyton Manning) out and having him come here and doing all the things we needed to do have a shot at getting him. It kept us from doing other things.

(on how close the team was to landing Peyton Manning)

I mean, you would probably have to ask him that. I guess we felt it was right there with what we were offering and what we had here. I thought everything we did with him went well. I think that’s something more for him. It ended up working the way he hoped it probably would. It probably would have worked that way no matter where he went because of the type of player he is. Hopefully, after Sunday he’ll wish he had been with us. 

(on whether he is surprised by Peyton Manning’s success)

Not really. I was always watching him, how he competed, and watching how he handled that rehab, that whole process of wanting to play more football, sitting watching tape with him for six hours or however many hours we were sitting watching tape with him and going through the passing game, the protections, and seeing how thorough he was. I’m not surprised at all by what we’re seeing. That’s why we felt good about if anyone was going to succeed, it was going to be him to overcome his injuries like he has. He’s special. There’s not many guys like him around. You can see that when you spend time with him.

(on George Wilson’s performance in place of Michael Griffin)

That was disruptive not having your starting safety. I thought George (Wilson) came in and did a nice job. When you look at the numbers, if you’re into stats, we won every stat except the turnover stat and the final score. I thought we were all over him (Andrew Luck). I think we sacked him five times. We got the ball on the ground, intercepted him, but they had a couple catches here and there—nothing that was consistent throughout the day. I thought our defense played really well until the last minutes of the game.

(on having a good pass rush yesterday and not being able to convert big stops into offensive gains)

I just felt, again, great conditions for pass rush guys. They love playing indoors. They love playing on the fast track like that rather than playing on the grass where things get slower and the weather can be a factor. I think you saw that with our guys. I think (Jurrell) Casey ended up with two (sacks). We have guys that get off the ball well. We won the one-on-one battles a lot better than the first time we played them. That was good to watch them get after it. I thought we were controlling the line of scrimmage. That’s why I was disappointed we didn’t have more points to show for it by how we were playing in different phases of the game. They at least got field goals. We weren’t getting field goals. It seemed like we were operating in the 40 to 50 too much. We didn’t get to that 35 or 34 even when we had a couple of first downs to get a chance at some field goals. That’s where they beat us, I felt, in that area of the field where they would get a seven-yard gain to be able to kick a 52-yarder. We were always on the outside, always at the 41, the 42, and then we get the biggest play, the sack, and were at the 20-yard line. That’s the part of the field we got beat on yesterday. They were able to convert the five field goals, and we didn’t have any field goals.

(on Leon Washington’s first outing)

I think that return of his was nice. I thought probably his return game coming out, he probably brought one out he probably shouldn’t have and he probably didn’t bring one out he should’ve. It was kind of like getting used to that feel for which one to bring out. Other than that, I thought the punts he handled well. When we had to get away from it, I thought the return was nice. He almost broke that one for a touchdown. He brought confidence which we wanted. I think we’re not worried about who’s catching the ball now. I think we feel that we have something there, an asset there now because of his experience, his professionalism, how he handles the job. I think the guys around him feel really secure about him. Hopefully, over the next four weeks he’ll do some good things for us.

(on Damian Williams’ status)

He should practice on Wednesday and kind of see where he goes from there.

(on Coach John Fox coming back to Denver Sunday)

I don’t think it will change much. Jack Del Rio has kind of been the guy, he’s been running it. I’m sure it will be very similar. When you’re winning and successful like they have been, there’s not going to be a lot of changes in what they do as we start to study them. It’s going to be a challenge. They’re playing well, and they’re usually playing with a lead. That’s a good position to be in as a defense that you’re not on the field a whole lot. When you are, you have a lead and you can get after a quarterback and take more chances and risks because you have a quarterback, you’re up by a lot of points, or you can score points. That’s a whole different mentality when you call a game when you’re in that position.

(on adding a fullback to the roster)

We’ll probably look for a fullback. I think it fits. Like yesterday, we couldn’t run goal line, we couldn’t run a lot of things because we didn’t have a fullback or a tight end. We lost a tight end and a fullback. You already had one tight end missing going into the game, so we’re pretty shorthanded there at some packages we would have liked to get in to that we couldn’t. We’ll definitely have a fullback on the roster.

(on signing a fullback-tight end combo)

Well, if we could do that, that’s the ideal thing. They’re just kind of hard to find. I mean, unfortunately colleges aren’t grooming these guys anymore because no one other than Alabama or some of the SEC teams (use them). There’s not a lot of fullbacks coming out of college these days, but we wish we could find one that could do both. That would be nice.

(on preparing for the weather in Denver this upcoming weekend)

We’ll definitely be outside and probably the worse the weather, the better for us. Hopefully there’s a big snow storm to give us a great chance to win.

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