HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK
(on the mood on Christmas day)
(on how coaches’ families handle pressure and backlash from fans during the season)
That’s the part you wish you could avoid. The families got to deal with all the stuff that goes on with coaching. I know coaches have dealt with it forever, so that is the hard part. Players (deal with it) too, especially quarterbacks, the high profile positions where there’s always feelings when someone isn’t playing as well as you’d like. It’s hard, but they’re used to it. They roll with the punches. They shouldn’t have to deal with that, but it’s part of it.
(on who the Texans’ starting quarterback will be this week and injuries on defense)
That’s kind of like you’ll have to wait and see, so you kind of prepare for it. This is the time of year that this does get more difficult that way. We know they’re going to try to run the football, and that’s certainly a big part of what they do with the play-action. On that side, I think we’ll be fine. Defensively, they’ve had some guys injured, but they’re playing hard. The front five is the same guys we played against back in Week 2. We know they’re going to try to get after the quarterback and play hard. They’ve had injuries at linebacker and the secondary. It’s going to be a lot of the same for us as far as going against them. We know we’re going to see a lot of these guys next year, and this is one of those games where we want to win two division games in a row. We need to win at home, and this is a team where we’re going to see the same kind of players. It’s good for a
(on whether he has film on the Texans’ backup running backs)
We don’t have a lot of tape on those guys, so it’s more or less preparing for their schemes, not necessarily the running style. We’ll just prepare for what we’re used to seeing. They’ve changed a few things. They run a few more powers and do some things like that. Overall, it’s just stuff we’ve seen. It’s more or less preparing for the scheme and not necessarily getting caught up in who may be running. The quarterback is something during the game you have to do adjust to what they’re doing and how they’re attacking us.
(on whether he is surprised by the Texans’ season)
I never would have ever predicted — as anyone would — that they haven’t won a game since we played them. They have too much talent on that football team. They’re playing with a lot of confidence the last couple years, so what they’ve been through is hard to believe. Atlanta is no different. Two teams that you thought would be shooting for the championship. Both teams dealing with injuries or whatever else happened.
(on whether the Texans’ season speaks to the competitiveness of the league)
It just shows you that exactly … when you try to stand here and say a couple plays here or there or a couple guys staying healthy and your whole season was different. They’re perfect examples of that, of how things can go bad real quickly. Like I said before, when we were 10-0 a couple years ago, no one would have expected that either. We made plays at the right times in games, guys stepped up. You start getting that confidence, and you get on a roll. Things like that can happen. They’re sitting on the opposite end, which is hard to live through. Obviously, they made a coaching change there, and they’ve been through a lot. It has been very disappointing for them, but we feel for them because we know, we’ve been there.
(on whether the Texans will be hungry for a win)
I think they’re going to do what they’ve been doing. Their defense is still ranked in the top-10 in most categories. They’ve playing well on defense. The problem is that they’re not getting the turnovers they got last year, which led to a lot of their wins, and they’re turning the ball over. That’s probably been the biggest statistic. I think last week, like we were, they were 16-13 with Denver late in the game, playing well, and they couldn’t hold up. They started turning the ball over. They got some guys that are injured, so that has hurt them in the back end. The front seven is playing hard still, so we anticipate them being pretty much…they haven’t changed what they’re doing. They’re just not doing as well, haven’t been as fortunate with the turnovers.
(on seeing the team’s young offensive linemen go up against the Texans’ defensive line)
I think it’s fun to watch the young players. (Brian) Schwenke didn’t play in that game. It’s going to be fun to see him play against those guys. Those are the positives you take from this game. It’s good experience for them, good confidence for them. Just watching the film with Chance (Warmack) last time he played in general, not necessarily against J.J. (Watt), just how much better he is than back in Week 2. That makes you kind of happy seeing how much improvement he has made in all facets of his game. I think he’s watching and going, ‘Man, I’m doing this better, I’m doing that better. I understand it better.’ That’s what you want to see from those young players, the development.
He didn’t practice. He and (Jurrell) Casey didn’t practice. Everyone else practiced. I imagine we’ll go with Byron (Stingily), give Byron the start. Byron did a nice job last week in the game. He and Chance (Warmack) worked well together, so this will be a great test for him to get a chance to play against some very good football players.
(on whether David Stewart will be placed on injured reserve)
We’ll keep as we are. I don’t know if he’ll practice by the end of this week … just in case there’s issues with getting hurt, getting sick if we still would need him. His shoulder is better than last week, but it’s not to where he’s probably ready to play. Maybe by the end of the week he’ll be better, but for now, we’ll go forward and wait and see.