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Coach Munchak's Friday Practice Report

Posted Dec 14, 2012

HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on if Chris Johnson is doing better with his ankle)

Yeah, like I said yesterday, we were just giving him rest. We’ve done that with numerous guys, especially the last couple of weeks. I think it was just to give him a day to relax on the legs and we had him back today. I’m sure he’ll be back on Monday.

(on how important it is to get the run game up and going on Monday night)

We definitely need to get it going. It helps a lot of things. It would help Jake (Locker), the quarterback, quite a bit, take the pressure off our quarterback so he doesn’t have to make every play. That would be helpful. I think it keeps us with the ball, it keeps us in control of time of possession. There are just a lot of pluses there. We just have to be more effective with it than we have been the last couple of weeks. We get in certain situations, and we have to get to where we can hand the ball off and get points, finish drives and things like that. Yeah, it’s going to be big. We know they’re going to try to run it a lot. It should be a challenge on both ends, for us to be able to run it, and for us to be able to stop the run.

(on red-zone defense)

That’s on both ends, we’ve been struggling a little bit. You always want to hold them to field goals. I thought last week, again, with the turnovers. The last couple weeks there have been some short fields we’ve given up. That’s just something that is always a challenge, to stop them, hold them to three, and we can score seven. We haven’t been doing that on offense, and we know that’s been hurting us. The main problem on offense has been that we’ve been kicking too many field goals the last few weeks. If you’re running the ball well, that makes it easier to do that down there. That’s what we’re going to have to do. We know when they get down there, they’re going to run it. I think this whole game is going to come down to, other than the obvious turnover ratio going on there, is going to be who runs the ball well is probably going to win.

(on Karl Klug’s recent success)

He’s had three sacks in the last two weeks. Unfortunately, for defensive linemen, that’s how they’re measured. People just look at the sack number, and say, ‘Well, he doesn’t have any sacks, so he must not be playing well.’ He hasn’t been playing as much this year as he had last year, his numbers are down that way. Mike Martin has been here, so he’s gotten more reps. He’s been sharing some of those reps he had. Unfortunately, we’ve been behind in games where teams aren’t passing the ball as much as they were last year at certain times. All that factors in  it doesn’t necessarily mean that he wasn’t playing well, it just means that his opportunities have been way down compared to a year ago. Teams haven’t been passing as much because of that, and that factors in. I think when it’s all said and done, he’ll probably end up having six. We’ll say, ‘Well, he had six last year and six this year.’ You can’t guarantee when they’re going to come. You wish they’d come when you knock the ball out and change the game over. He’s battling, he’s like the rest of us, he’s trying to work on his game. He’s a great kid, he gives everything he has. It’s good to see him have some success. Even though he wasn’t getting the sacks and wasn’t getting pressure, and I’m sure he’s asked that question numerous times, he comes out here and works hard every day. Hopefully, he’ll finish strong with this year and lead it to next year.

(on if younger guys might get more snaps over the next couple of games)

In some cases, that could happen. With injuries it’s happening by itself without really trying to do it. Al (Afalava) has been playing more. I think in this kind of game, you’ll probably see him line up more because of their mentality to run the football. I think you’ll see a bigger safety in there in certain packages. Someone like Tommie (Campbell), again, maybe the last week, or you start looking at maybe getting some guys some playing time possibly. That’s when you start thinking about those things. I think we have enough young guys playing right now with the offensive line, with all the injuries, and the tight end spot, you have young guys playing. We pretty much have a lot of youth out there right now. There are maybe a couple more guys we’ll try to get some playing time as we get towards the end of the season.

(on if Kamerion Wimbley’s toe affected him last week)

I would imagine it affected him. That’s something he’s not going to admit to. He’s been playing with it all year for the most part. I think it was more bothersome a week ago than it had been all year. Again, is that why he didn’t do certain things? Sure, it affects your play. It’s not why he didn’t get a sack. You play through it, everyone has injuries this time of year. If he’s not healthy enough to play, then obviously, we shouldn’t have him on the field. I don’t think we think all that. I think we think he’s good enough to play, he has been, he’s been running around pretty good. It’s definitely affecting him, there’s no doubt, but that’s part of the game. 

(on if Kamerion Wimbley was held out of the game late in the fourth quarter because of the toe)

When Indy had the ball at the end, you’re trying to get some more size in there. We assumed they would run the ball, which they did. We were hoping to make the play there, we didn’t make the play. We didn’t get off the field. Heck, they rolled the dice and threw a pass. That was interesting too. That game is over, if 55 (Zach Brown) doesn’t fall down, that’s probably picked and we get the ball back. That’s just how things work out.

(on if he’s tempted to use Akeem Ayers more in the rotation with Kamerion Wimbley)

He is playing in the third-down package, exclusively now, where he’s involved in the four down where he rotates to both ends. Also, he’s playing in the three-three package, so he’s in that package to rush the quarterback. I think the last month of the season, we’ve got him more in that role. That’s a role we thought, once Zach Brown was comfortable taking over the linebacker position, that it was where Akeem (Ayers) needed to be. I know we said this back during OTA’s and the draft, and that affected our thinking during the draft even, that we thought he could be a great weapon for us. I think it will turn out, as he gets going, it’s only his second year, that he will be a guy that will make a difference at that position for us. There’s a lot to learn, you can’t throw a guy out there and say, ‘Have at it.’ All of a sudden, they see you out there, and unless it’s an obvious pass down, he’s not necessarily a big guy to play tackle to survive the run game. You still have to be smart about how you do it. I think he’s a guy you’ll see have six, eight sacks a year.

(on if there is a specific Monday Night Football memory that he has)

Nothing really, back when I played, there were some that I enjoyed. For me, I’ll go with Earl Campbell running, his rookie year, 80 yards down the sidelines. I don’t know if I saw it, or I saw so many tapes of it after I became an Oiler. Just seeing the Astrodome back in the day with 55,000 and the pom poms, that kind of atmosphere, and him doing something, a lot of people thought he had that kind of speed to take it down the sidelines. I remember seeing that one, and ironically I got drafted by them years later and I got to block for Earl. That was probably the one for me from Monday night that stands out, and obviously, I’ve seen it many times after that.

(on if he takes pride in the fact that players are remaining positive this late in the season)

Yeah, we do. To have a chance every Sunday, you have to have that kind of attitude. We’re not happy by any means of where we’re at. So the alternative is to me, to come out here and work hard, which they have been, the energy has been great. I know a Monday night game helps that. That’s excitement that adds to the excitement. I think next week will be no different. I think that’s what you’ll see on Monday, guys that are playing with great effort, it’s important to them. They’re not thinking about 4-9 on Monday or Sunday. Like I said last week, I think what guys do is after this game we just lost, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, usually those days are pretty depressing and they are hard to deal with. If you probably ran into one of these guys somewhere else, they probably looked pretty depressed. I think once they get back to work, it’s all about the next chance and the next opportunity. You talk about that, but I think these guys are actually acting that way. They think the best thing we can do is continue to come together. I think they believe the fact that they’re going to be part of something. We tell them how I was and other players were. Unfortunately, you don’t come in one year and go to the Super Bowl or have a playoff team. Sometimes you have work a little bit harder to get there. Unfortunately, we’re going to have to work a little bit harder than we thought to go to the playoffs. It may take into next year and the year after. I think they feel they’re part of something that’s heading in the right direction. The way to prove that is by winning football games. That’s why I think you see the energy as high as it is, and I think it will continue that way until we finish up.

(on injuries)

(Colin) McCarthy is still not in position to play, we don’t think. He’s very questionable. All three (McCarthy, Damian Williams, Scott Solomon) of those are. Those would be the three that obviously, we’d rate them as questionable now. Unless, they practice tomorrow, and we’ll talk about the status of them tomorrow once we get through one more day.

(on if Colin McCarthy is working on exercises inside)

He came out yesterday, and he wasn’t feeling well. He still has symptoms, he’s still not ready. He can do some light activity, but I think when he gets a little more intense, I think he’s just not quite right yet. We’re going to be safe there, and wait and see until he really feels good.

(on if Colin McCarthy has seen a specialist)

He’s seen doctors. He’s been seeing people along the trail. He’s been evaluated and seen by different doctors. It’s kind of like you’re in a holding pattern when those things happen. You just have to be smart, and wait until he feels better than he does.

(on if he’s hoping that Colin McCarthy plays again this season)

Yeah, I think the whole thing is that if he feels good, he’s going to play. We’re not going to play him unless he feels good. He’s a guy we’re assuming has a lot of years ahead of him, and we’re expecting big things from him. Him and other players, just like Damian (Williams). Damian has a hamstring, and we’d love him to play, but we’re going to be smart on if we should put him in there the last week of the season to play. That’s what we’ll have to decide if he’s not ready until then, if that’s worth forcing something that might not be necessary. I think you have to do that with all of your guys. We want our best guys out there, but we’re going to be smart how we do it. Again, these guys want to play. It’s not like, what do they have to play for? Like you said earlier, it means a lot to them to be part of it, no matter what our record is. All those guys we mentioned want to play, they’re planning on playing, it’s just a matter of will they be healthy enough to play.

(on if Tim Shaw will start at middle linebacker)

He’s done a good job. Tim (Shaw) has done a nice job of playing the Mike linebacker and taking up the extra reps. Last week, it wasn’t quite as much as the week before, but this game is going to be, we assume, a big run game, so this will be a game where they’ll probably be in those kind of packages where he’ll get to play a lot.

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