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Coach Munchak's Friday Practice Report

Posted Nov 9, 2012

HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on if Jake Locker is ready to go on Sunday)

He looks good. I think so, he looks good. Unless something comes up between now and then, he looks like he’s ready to go.

(on what he wanted to see out of Jake Locker this week)

I knew he’d be confident, I knew he’d feel good. We knew all those things going in. He handled the game plan well, which again, we thought he would. He moved around well, his reactions were good, just things you look for to see if someone is limited in any way where we felt that he wouldn’t be able to play at the level he needs to physically. We didn’t see any of that. Like I said yesterday, we had some very competitive practices with pads on against the defense, ones-on-ones with two-minute and pass periods, have-to-win situations. He handled it well. He didn’t look like he was worried in any way about his health or shied away from anything, and was stepping into his throws. So all the things you want to see, I think the best you can in practice, we saw it. There is no reason to think he can’t play at a high level on Sunday.

(on if he tried to up the tempo in practice this week)

I think we always are similar. That’s why I’ve been saying, I think these guys have practiced hard. That’s why last week, again, I thought we had good practices last week. I never thought we’d come out and turn the ball over the way we did last week. That’s why, those things, you just don’t know when they’re going to happen or why. I think this week is another example of their mindset and what they know they have to accomplish. The only way to do that is by having good practices, which again, I feel they did. I thought the periods we’ve had have been similar and competitive and it was good to see. I thought it was good. I think we’re as ready as we’re going to be. We have to go on the road and win a big game this weekend.

(on how much it would help to start fast against Miami)

We need it. I think when you’re coming off two losses, you want good things to happen early. Last week, fumbling on the first play after a big gain, that could have been a first-and-10 at midfield, could have been a whole different game. Or like we did, we turned it over. We just have to come out and not worry about that happening, not worry about those types of things. I don’t think we will, we’re not really that type of team. I think we will come out and play well and make plays. I think we’re excited about that. Again, we know we have a break afterwards, so we have to lay it all on the line and give it all we got, and find a way to win.

(on if the upcoming bye week is a distraction for players)

You make sure it’s not. We talked about the bye two or three weeks ago, so they knew their schedule and what our plan was, especially being the last one, being so late. We kind of talked about what my thinking was on it, why we were going to do it the way we were doing it, so they could plan for the time we’re going to have off assuming they weren’t injured in any way. They’re focusing now. They will. That will be something they’ll think about on Monday and Tuesday. But I think now, they know how important this game is to us, not just wins and losses, but just us as a team to come out and play the way we know we’re capable of playing after last week’s game of letting the game get away from us the way we did with turnovers and playing so sloppy. There are a lot of reasons to play well, and I think we will.

(on if he’d like to see a hierarchy in the receiving corps)

I don’t think it is. You’re trying to keep your best guys on the field. You want those guys to make plays. You want Jared (Cook) to get as many balls as he can, and Nate (Washington) and Kenny (Britt). Kenny and Kendall (Wright) mixing in, we're doing a lot more three-wides. In their own way, they’re having success. I know they all want the ball more. I think (Chris Johnson), now that he’s running better, he’s taking plays away from them also because we’re handing the ball off more than we did the first part of the season. I think it’s good and bad. Like last year, when you knew you only had certain guys, they knew they were going to get the ball on certain plays, now we’re rotating more. The good thing is we have a lot of weapons and ways to make plays. I think they’re gaining confidence. We had to switch from one quarterback to the next, and now back to the other. So I think some of that is a transition too for some of those guys. Hopefully this will be a smooth transition on Sunday.

(on the energy that Deuce Lutui brings)

It’s just personality. I think everyone is different. He’s more of a vocal guy. Like I said, I coached him in the Senior Bowl, so I was around him then. I always thought he was fun to be around then. I just thought he brought another energy to the team, not necessarily just to the offensive line, in his own way. When he was available and we were looking for a backup, I thought he’d be a great fit for us. He has been. I didn’t think he’d be playing as he is, but he is. Like I said, everyone is a little different in the way they do things. It’s not good or bad that someone else isn’t that way. I think you have to look for all the benefits of having what happened, have a lineman be replaced. He’s confident. When guys don’t know you, like you’re the new guy here, he comes across as being very confident in what he does. I think they saw it in how he played last week.

(on if it’s nice to have him be more vocal on the offensive line)

Yeah, he is. I think it’s the same way in Bruce (Matthews’) room. I think you want to have someone that talks more. They have a little fun with him. He has a good sense of humor. You need that. I think that just adds to your building and to your roster and obviously to that room because you have different personalities now. I think it’s been helpful, and I think it will continue to help those guys. We need him to play well this week, they’re a good defense. We need them up front to play very well.

(on if Deuce Lutui is the first native of Tonga he’s ever coached)

I think that was half of the fun last week. Even though the game wasn’t going our way, there was a D-lineman on Chicago that he was having dialogue with throughout the game. I think that added a little different tone to the game. He’s just a fun guy that enjoys what he does and he’s good at what he does.

(on what the players were saying)

I don’t think anyone knew, but they were all laughing. I think both sides of the ball were enjoying it. I don’t even know if they knew what they were saying, they were just enjoying the attention I think.

(on who is responsible for Cameron Wake)

He’s going to be mainly over on (David) Stewart. He’ll be mainly a left defensive end for the most part. They’ll move him around at times, kind of like how (Julius) Peppers was, but he’s predominantly on our right-hand side.

(on if it’s unusual to face a team’s best pass rusher coming from that side)

Yeah, you usually have the open-side guy. I think some guys perform better, he obviously is performing very well from that edge. He’ll move around some, kind of like how (Robert) Mathis has always been the guy on the left and (Dwight) Freeney on the right. I think it’s kind of what they’ve done with him. He’s having success, so I think you don’t mess with it when he’s doing well. I say that, and he’ll probably be on (Michael) Roos all day. From what we expect, he’ll be over on David (Stewart), and it’ll be a good matchup for David.

(on the play of Randy Starks)

I think he’s doing a whole lot. I think he really just grew into the position, understands it well. I thought he always was a good pass rusher. He’s a guy that can stay on the field. He’s like (Jurrell) Casey is for us. He can play every down. He had a Pro Bowl year in the past, a couple years back. He has that kind of talent. He’s done a nice job in their system. I don’t know how many years now he’s been there, but he’s done very well for them. He’s playing well, and he’s rushing the passer well. He’s another guy you have to watch, and you have those two on the same side. They run stunts very well together. They’ve helped each other have success at getting at the quarterback.

(on if it’s nice to play road games when you’re not having success at home)

It gets you away. It’s just more distraction when you’re not winning. There is distraction at home anyway just from people coming to visit and wanting to go to the games and you have a house full of people. You always wonder as a coach, even in any away game, it’s nicer when you get away just because you get away from all those things. The road brings its own distractions. In this case, we had two at home, which I would have never thought we’d lose both. We lost one in overtime, and then the one last week was to me, a really freak game, the way that worked out. Hopefully we’ll have a lot of Titans fan making a lot of noise on the road for us in Miami.

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