HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK
(on returning to work after a win as opposed to a loss)
I think it was obviously much better, especially after having a couple of days off. Coaches got the weekend off, players went off for a few days, so I think all of it was a plus, came at a good time. I think, after going through a tough period, coming out today, getting a good workout in, watching the tape, watching the Pittsburgh game today and some of the things we did well as a team and where we could have obviously done even better in that game, so I think it’s a lot easier to build on stuff and watch tape when you’re coming off a win, and along with that, we’ve got to go on the road and need to play much better than we have on the road this year against a team that’s 3-3 and won a big game in Arizona. Yeah, it’s a good feeling, a good chance to come out here and break a sweat again, get some good work done against each other, compete offense versus defense for about an hour and then they’re back on a normal routine.
(on getting through the first six games of the season)
Well, we all felt we would have done better than we have. We knew there was going to be a challenge, but we just thought we’d play better than we did during that stretch. The good news is, like you said, you’ve got to play 16 games and everyone plays pretty much the same teams in our division, for the most part, except for two games, you’re playing the same teams. It just matters when you play them. So, with other teams, you look around the league, watched a lot of games yesterday, and teams are going to knock each other off. Teams have the same problem we have. They’re going to face a tough stretch where they’re going to lose some games and not look as good as (they) hope, and you watch teams lose yesterday, and you’ve got to realize that we’ve got to take care of our own business and see what happens on the road. We’re 2-4, and we thought we’d be better than that but we haven’t played good enough to be better than that. This is our chance now to get something going. We have to try to win two in a row.
(on the medical evaluation of
They’re still, I mean—I wouldn’t think he would play this week. He’s doing better, much better than he was last week at this time. He’ll probably start doing more activity this week, but again, we’ll just have to wait to see how he does in the next couple of days, how fast he comes along, but I would imagine it would take another week to be ready to play.
(on if Jake Locker had an MRI on Monday)
Yeah, I think he had a test done today, but we don’t have the results back. I think he’s feeling better and he’s doing better and stronger, and that’s the stuff you go by. He’s, it’s come along well. I’m sure the MRI will be fine, won’t show anything different other than it’s healing and that will allow him to start throwing and doing some more things this week.
No, it really won’t. No matter what was going on, we didn’t look very good two weeks ago in Minnesota and we weren’t hurrying him back for the Pittsburgh game. I just think it’s, we’re going to do what’s best for him, best for the team, like we would any player, but if he’s just not ready yet—we have to push him along this week—I would hope he would be close by Sunday, but chances are, it would take him a little more than a week to be actually ready to play in a football game. The good thing, like I said, he’s definitely getting better, definitely healing, definitely feeling stronger and is not as sore, so he should be able to start doing more things the next few days.
(on if Jake Locker would initially come back in a limited role as a reserve)
No, if we don’t feel he’s ready to play, I wouldn’t want him on the (active list) — if he’s ready to play, I would think we’d play him. I mean, we’ll have to wait and see, but yeah, our intention would be just like last time. He was healthy; we thought he was ready to run the team and he did. So, yeah, I would think it would be the same way. If he’s healthy enough to suit up would mean he’s healthy enough to play.
(on if Matt Hasselbeck is hitting more of a stride)
There’s no doubt the more you play, especially in that position, the better you’re going to play, but the problem we have going on is he’s playing with some new receivers, with Kendall (Wright), who’s learning as he goes, Kendall is. He’s doing a lot of good things, but he’ll continue to get better at route running and making decisions like coverage, same thing with Kenny (Britt). He’s got another receiver in there that he hasn’t played a whole lot with either that’s learning his way of playing again, finding the ball, doing things that for a guy hasn’t played in a long time, making plays but I think as time goes on he’ll play much more. It’s a work in progress for us as an offense. I think that’s why you’re seeing us, you know, we did a lot of good things in the game on Thursday, enough to win the game, but we could have done so many more things better, with our first drive, not scoring a touchdown from the two-yard line and later on, we get down there and have to settle on another field goal, so we’re still not finishing some drives. We’re very capable of playing, but we’re hurting ourselves with the drops. We had a lot of drops Thursday night, which you can’t have. We dropped a touchdown pass on the first drive. You can’t have that. Those are things that, luckily, we got away with because we made big plays: the blocked punt, and the defense holding them to field goals also and doing things like that. That’s how close this league is. Like I said, you watch every Sunday and even though the scores get lopsided, there’s always a play or two that makes a difference in the game, and this game, luckily, we hung in there because we need to play better, especially if we’re going to win in Buffalo.
(on if he reminds guys of how wide open the AFC is)
We don’t dwell on that. They see that. They’re into what’s going on and what their opportunities are. We talk more about, as most teams do, the game that week. You may look at a quarter, like this being our second quarter, one-on-one here. There are a lot of ways to look at it. But just getting one win, I don’t think you start looking too far ahead at anything for us right now. Maybe other teams would do that if your record is different. We have to find a way to win two in a row. It seems like we’ve lost two, won one, lost two, won one, so that’s not a good pattern to be on. We have to change that. I told them today, a lot of teams haven’t played well coming off the Thursday game. We have to find a way to get back in our routine quickly. It was a great win for us because we needed it so badly, a team we’ve had some good battles with over the years. We have to find a way to go up to Buffalo, we did it last year, and play a team that’s 3-3 and tied for first in their division. All those teams are 3-3 in the (AFC) East, so if anyone is feeling good about themselves, I’m sure they are, especially being at home for them. It’s a tough place to play, as we know. We’ve been up there many times over the years. It’s a tough place to play a game. We need to win a few more before we start worrying about our positioning.
He’s done a great job. I’ve been saying for him and Rob (Bironas), our special teams, we’re very lucky to have two kickers we don’t have to worry about week in and week out, that make plays, that are true professionals, that are into the game. Plus Brett (Kern) holds, he had a great hold the other night when the ball was a little low, could have been a problem, but he’s a good athlete and got the ball down for the big kick, for Rob. They’ve both done a great job. They work hard out here. Like I said, special teams has been our one consistent phase of the game we’ve had all this year and most of last year. Obviously, his punting and the coverage we’ve had with it. Even the last game, he had a solid punting day, but the coverage was so darn good that his net was real good. I think that’s something that the guys are taking a lot of pride in. Like I said, as a head coach, that’s something you look to, to see how hard your special teams play because it’s the whole team out there. Offense and defense are both contributing. I think that’s an edge we have in most weeks.
Even last year we had some weeks where we had (Jamie) Harper being the third-down runner, the end-of-the-game runner, the four-minute guy, the goalline guy, obviously because of his size. That’s something we want to find a way to get him into the game and make some plays. When we got down there, we thought about it on the first down actually, but we already had (
That’s when he went through, I think that run there, where he was making plays for us, the Atlanta game, that game. I think that was the game where he caused the fumble, got up and recovered it 10 yards on the other side of the field or something. I think when you consistently start doing that, creating those kind of plays, which he started doing last year, is when you realize you have someone that maybe can make plays and be the guy we’ve been looking for on defense. I’m just hoping he can get healthy—healthier—he’s playing through it and that’s a good thing. We’re going to need that kind of effort because we won that game at the end last year in Buffalo. We did a lot of things well. I thought we went up there and played pretty solid as a team last year, we ran the ball well, played pretty good on defense, and found a way to win in the fourth quarter. That’s kind of what we’re going to have to do again this year.
(on Colin McCarthy’s ankle)
It’s going to be a weekly battle for him, one of those kind of injuries. I think it’s going to be something where every week, I don’t know if he’ll ever get a whole lot better, other than the fact that by the end of the week, he should be back to where he was the game before, when the game started on that Sunday. He played for the most part, that whole game. He’s sore, but he’ll practice on Wednesday, and we’ll figure out a routine for him that works to have him ready to play on Sunday.