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Coach Munchak's Monday Press Conference

Posted Dec 3, 2012

HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on the starting offensive line for the game against the Colts)

It’s going to be a work in progress. Obviously, we know (David) Stewart’s situation. Dave is out for the year, he broke his leg yesterday. Mike Otto will definitely take his place. (Michael) Roos we assume is going to be OK this week. He got through the game. He played on a sore knee for the whole half. We’ll probably limit him in practice, but it looks like he’ll be OK. His history has been he heals well. It’s not anything that should keep him out of the game this weekend. We should have both tackles available. We’ll have to look at adding to the roster there today, tomorrow, next couple of days. Interior, (Steve) Hutchinson is getting checked today as far as the extent of his situation with his knee. We’ll know more about that later this afternoon. We’ll kind of make decisions from there what’s the best way to move forward with who we have on our roster and then what our options are elsewhere.

(on if it’s a good sign that Steve Hutchinson came back in the game)

I think it is. It was helpful that he was able to do that. Luckily, he didn’t have to play more than that. He didn’t tear it, I think he’s got loose bodies, something going on there, obviously, that’s not good. I don’t want to guess at what that is, but we’ll have to wait and see, I guess. He’s not ruled out at this point, so that’s a positive. We’ll know a lot more this afternoon and tomorrow.

(on if he’s been having issues with his knee)

No, I don’t think he’s really ever had a lot of knee problems. I think it was just something that he felt during the game. I think it was actually on one of the interceptions, the tipped-ball deals, I think that was the play. It was late in the second quarter. We’ll have to wait and see where that’s at.

(on if Steve Hutchinson might be out the rest of the year)

We’re hoping that it’s more the other, that it’d be more of a game or two, or maybe not even that. It’s just hard to tell. It’s hard to speculate on things like this, when it’s not like (David) Stewart, he’s out. We all know that, you move on. This one is one of those we just don’t know yet.

(on if David Stewart had ‘hardware put in’ his leg at the hospital)

Yeah, I mean, I was going to talk to Dr. (Burton) Elrod this afternoon. I haven’t had a chance to do that yet, as far as exactly what had to be done there. I saw it on film. It didn’t look very good. It was on that big run that Chris (Johnson) had. He did a good job blocking, and the linebacker went for the tackle and missed it and landed on the back of (Stewart’s) leg while he was blocking his guy. I think that made it worse because he was blocking someone who was pushing against him. So I think that made the injury probably a little bit worse than it would have been if he had just gotten hit in the back of the leg. He knew it right away so it was pretty much an immediate problem right away. I don’t know the extent of what was done yet, as far as medically.

(on if he remembers a game with so many injuries at offensive line)

I think that’s only happened once since we’ve been in Nashville the last 15 years. I think it was a Monday night game when it happened. Fred Miller got hurt, Benji (Olson) got hurt, someone else had to go back in the game, and actually Fred had to go back in the game after he was hurt with the ankle and we worked our way through it, but this was, when (Michael) Roos got hurt, I think it was at the extreme because you really don’t practice a lot with Fernando (Velasco) going out and playing right tackle. It may have been (Craig) Stevens playing right tackle at some point. You’d hope it—especially when you go into the game healthy. That’s why, I think most teams carry seven (offensive line players on the active roster) because the odds are with you that (so many injuries are) not going to happen. That just seems like it’s one of those years where everything that can go wrong has gone wrong and we’ve been challenged in a lot of different ways, and like we said, they had injuries too on their side, I think in the secondary and the linebackers during the year, but it’s hard when it happens during the game like it did this way and we have guys that have to go in and play. Luckily, Roos was able to stay in there because that would have been a much bigger problem if he couldn’t play. Like I said, for (offensive coordinator) Dowell (Loggains) that was tough, when things are happening like that because your continuity is not what you’d like it to be because guys don’t practice in those spots as much during the week as other guys do, and it’s a good defense. Unfortunately we were down 21-3 and that added more stress to the situation of running out of time. They were doing a good job when they got the ball of chewing up time with their play action and running the ball, so we knew we would have limited time with the ball, even though the defense did a great job for us, getting the ball back quite a bit, especially in the second half. They ended up getting three plays, six plays and punting and running a lot of clock, so we knew we weren’t going to have a lot of time, which forced us to have to throw the ball more, obviously, than we wanted to, especially with injuries on the offensive line, but just the way the game was unfolding, that gave us the best chance to get back in the game, which we thought we were about to do a couple times there in the third and fourth quarter.

(on if it was a tough decision to leave Byron Stingily on the inactive list)

No, just because we were healthy. Like I said, I don’t know that any team in the league carries eight, maybe someone does. If someone’s hurt you do. If someone has a nick going in at a position, then you would go heavier there. If somebody had an issue going in, a tackle or somebody, then you’d carry an insurance guy for that reason, but because we were as healthy as you’re going to be going in, then that didn’t cross our minds and probably won’t next week either unless we have someone we’re concerned for.

(on what the Titans’ offense will lose from an ‘attitude standpoint’ with David Stewart being out the rest of the season)

Well, that’s what they lose. They lose the personality, I think the edge that he brings—not just the offense, the whole sideline watches him play. He’s a guy, that if you’re on your side, you’re going to say, ‘Hey, watch this guy Stewart here,’ because he’s always doing something that’s going to entertain you. So, I think, it’s not a premeditated type of thing. It’s just how he plays. It’s his body language. He’s fun to watch because he’s giving you everything he has on every snap. That’s the only way he knows how to play, so he’s the guy down on the pile. He’s the guy helping the back up, he’s the guy going out of his way to protect whoever has a Titans jersey on, and you need guys like that. He’s played smart. There were times, he had the penalty this year in Houston, the last time we played them, so I was looking forward to this game because I thought it was going to be very fun to watch the way it was going to unfold, with him especially on their good player there, because they had a good battle last time, and unfortunately that didn’t happen, but you lose someone like that, it makes a huge difference because he does things like that. He does change a game. He does — when you’re being hit in the throat, in the neck or the stomach or all the different places than the normal spot, that changes your game a little bit when you’re a defensive player. He does that to linebackers, DBs, D-line, just one of those kinds of guys, so you lose the edge that you normally have. That was tough to lose him, especially on the third play.  

(on if it was not a coincidence that so many balls were getting batted down without David Stewart in the game)

(Players) have to protect themselves with him. That’s something that they do better than other teams. Every team bats balls. We batted the ball against Miami. I think we picked one off when we got one. We hit a couple balls yesterday. People don’t realize how hard it is for quarterbacks to have to negotiate a throwing lane, especially when you know a team is good at it. Heck, their end dropped off the one time. He realized he couldn’t get a rush, he dropped off like he was in coverage to block one, actually went that way, he was reading eyes. Some guys have a knack for it. They have a couple of guys that do it well on their side. Again, unfortunately, it led to turnovers by us. That’s why we have to do the best we can to move around the pocket more, find different throwing lanes. Obviously, there were a lot of times that there were very good lanes to throw in. But a lot of times, especially with the three-step, they read that. Defensive linemen do a good job of reading that, stopping it, and trying to time up a jump. That’s something, again, you have to continue to work against. The quarterback has to work on it and find lanes, maybe the ball has to come out higher at times, finding different windows to change it up. That’s something they’ve been doing with a lot of teams. Pittsburgh is someone that is also known for it. Pittsburgh over the years, heck, back when I played, same thing. These guys did a great job of having a knack, those linebackers, good athletes on the field. Some guys can jump much better than other D-linemen. They have a feel for it, and they’re athletic enough, and they’re making plays off of it. It’s working for them right now. It’s not something that other teams haven’t done. Like I said, that’s been going on, when I was playing, I’m sure before I was playing. I’ve lost numerous games where that happens when we play against Pittsburgh or teams like that, that over the years, have done a good job with that.

(on if he’s disappointed that Jake Locker got hit so much)

You want it to be cleaner than it was, that’s on a combination of things. There were times that Jake (Locker) definitely could have gotten the ball out of there, especially in the first half, I felt. Kind of the second quarter, beginning of the third quarter, I thought we were sloppy in a lot of ways that way, as far as timing, getting the ball out when it needs to get out, moving the pocket, getting out of there and getting the ball. Even the couple times Jake moved out of the pocket, he kept the ball. He could have avoided some bad spots there. Throughout that game, he’s trying to hold it to make a play, he tries to hold it to make someone get open. Then it ends up being a sack. It’s not always on the line. Then there were times that the line did get beat, have pressure. No doubt, it affected the quarterback’s throwing. I don’t know if we’ve had six sacks (against us), and I don’t know when the last time that happened was. A lot of them were just like the fourth-down one, that kind of thing, trying-to-make-a-play-kind of sack. We didn’t want to have to throw as much as we did. That’s not what you want when you’re playing against a good team. Like I said earlier, because of how the game was unfolding, we kind of got our hands forced a little bit. You hope it would be cleaner than it was at times, but it still was good enough that if we make one of those plays at the end of the third quarter, beginning of the fourth quarter, we’re down one score, and it’s a whole different football game. You move on because it was getting better, I thought, as we went forward. Unfortunately, we didn’t make those plays, so now you have to deal with the consequence of that.

(on if there is anything that can be done about receivers dropping the ball)

I think it starts with, ultimately, that’s their job. You’re a receiver, that’s your number one job, to concentrate, focus, and make the tough catch, make any catch, make all catches when the ball hits your hand. They know that, you work on it, you drill on it, that’s not going to change. You drill on those things every single day out there. They catch numerous balls all the time. That’s why we do competition periods where we go against the defense a lot of times. They’re getting balls that are contested. You’re not going against a scout team all the time. That’s why we have those periods where you’re competing against our best DB’s, and they’re competing for the ball, so they’re getting good work and practice on that. That’s what we emphasize while we do those things. They’re doing drills where they’re catching and getting hit with the bag. You can’t go out there and tackle them in practice like you’d like to. That’s about as game-like as it can get. You’re working all the other phases of it, the catching, the concentration, pushing and shoving them when they’re trying to get it. Then you’re doing periods during practice where they’re competing to make plays against the number one defense. You’re putting them in a lot of spots, but it’s still not Sunday at noon. You can do all the drills you want to do, and you have to do it just to do it, no doubt. That’s what you have to work on, the technique of things. Ultimately, you have to do it under pressure. Real pressure is Sunday at 2:30, three o’clock, when those balls are coming, when someone is all over you. You have to make those catches. That’s part of the game that didn’t go well. That’s not the bottom line why we lost. We can’t fumble either, there are things we just can’t do. Ultimately, (six) turnovers is not going to win you a game, especially when you don’t get any off the other side. There are a lot of things going on there, but that is a phase we will continue to work on, we have to. Hopefully, that won’t happen again. It didn’t guarantee we’re going to win, but I think it would guarantee us the chance of winning.

(on how many dropped passes he counted in the game)

Six, it may have been more, between six and eight. People count in different ways. I count the ones that should have been handled, probably in that area.

(on if Kenny Britt was frustrated with his own play after the game)

I would assume he’s frustrated with the loss, I know that’s what he’s frustrated with. He knows how hard he’s working and he knows how hard the rest of them are working to try to finish games and win games. Without talking to him, I know that’s where the frustration starts. The bottom line being practicing hard, working hard, but not getting the results we want. I’m sure he wants to play better, like every one of them, just like the coaches do after a game. You replay a game a thousand times, and you realize all the things you could have done to make a difference in a game. After a game, especially for a player, that’s what is going through their minds, what he could have done. He had a nice touchdown pass, but I’m sure he’s thinking he could have had four or five other plays that he didn’t have.

(on if Kenny Britt is where he should be in terms of recovery from the ACL)

Like I said, I don’t know how anyone could answer that question. He’s practicing every day, he’s working hard every day. When is he going to be like he was a year ago? That’s hard to evaluate. I’m sure he doesn’t feel like he’s running as well as he’d like to, probably not doing certain things the way he wants to, like you normally are after an injury. I don’t think it’s that drastically different. If this is a process, he’ll get through it. Obviously, next year will be easier for him because he’ll have a whole offseason to be healthy and move forward. I think that will make a difference for him. I think his confidence, he won’t be thinking about his injuries any more. All those things you go through, when you’re coming off a year-ender, there is a lot happening. Hopefully by this time of year, that’s behind him. Now it’s just a matter of getting consistent about running, getting comfortable with the system and continue to help us win.

(on how frustrating the offensive struggles are considering the experience on that side of the ball)

I think our expectations are always high, and they should be. We should build up expectations of what we think we’re (capable) of doing. You never want to underestimate what you think you can do. You want people always thinking they can do more than they can reach, if they work hard. Why can’t we win the division? You have to go into a season thinking that, and we do. You hope if you have to go through a season like this, like we’re going through right now, you hope you can look back and say there was some good that came out of this. Like for us right now, all you can look at is you have four weeks left. The goal is to be a lot better in four weeks than you are right now. That’s all you can work on. You can’t take back the past, and all we can do in this room, the guys that come to work every day, is realize that the bottom line is we have four games to play, we need to get better as a team and as individuals. That’s their job to do that. I think that’s what you have to focus on. You can worry about all the what-ifs and what happened in January or February. Right now you can still do something about it, and you can still finish your season in a very good way and a very positive way, which you should do. That should be your goal. That part will be handled right. Now the question is can we win all four? We’ll see.

(on how tough it is to convince the players not to give up)

I think, first of all, we’ve talked about this. Unfortunately, we’ve had this talk too many times this year after a loss. I think on the defensive side of the ball, they’re going to watch it and say, ‘Well, we held (Arian) Foster to (38) yards rushing. We held them to 24 percent third-down completions. We did a lot of good things, things that are trending in the right direction. We just didn’t get any turnovers, we didn’t get a sack. That’s the stuff on that side of the ball that we have to continue to work at. We gave up a bad drive in the beginning of the game, and a guy should have made a tackle and he didn’t. They had a 50-yard play. That’s stuff you can build on, and say, ‘You know what? In the last three weeks, we’re heading that way.’ I think, again, like I always say, I was on teams that won two games, three games, four games, five games. I’ve been in those seats. Like I said to them, the best compliment I ever got was from a player that didn’t say, ‘Hey man, that year you guys went 10-0.’ It was, ‘When I turned the film on and saw how hard you guys were still playing, you, Bruce (Matthews), Dean (Steinkuhler).’ That compliments you guys for how you guys are playing with whatever the score is, no matter what your record is. I think that’s how they look at it. They’re paid to do a job, and it’s not over now. It doesn’t mean the job ends when people assume you’re out of the playoffs, so now you can start cutting back and taking it easy. Bad things happen when you do that. You can get hurt. You can turn the film on if you’re in free agency. Who is going to want a guy that is quitting with four games left. Guys don’t do that. You didn’t see it yesterday, you won’t see it. Like I said before, that’s the last thing I think I have to worry about. Are guys frustrated? Yes. Do you have to help contain that? Yes. Should they be frustrated? Yes, they should be, but just so they understand that they can do something about it. It’s not about who can I blame, I’m frustrated. It’s not the offense, the defense, I’m not pointing my finger with frustration. I’m just frustrated that we’re working hard and we’re not getting the results yet. Like you said, that’s the battle, no doubt, is to get them in here, get them focused on we’re doing this, then this, then this. I think that way, once you get back to the game they love and you get them on the field, they respond and they will. We’re playing Indy this weekend, and obviously, they’re finding a way to win football games and doing a great job at 8-4. It’s going to be a huge challenge to go in there. Believe me, we’ll have a great week of work, we’ll go in there and we’ll do our best to win that one.

(on if this team has as much talent as other two, three or four-win teams he’s been a part of)

I think we have very good talent here. Again, until we prove it, by winning the football games, we’re just not getting the results we need to have yet. Right now, we’re a 4-8 team. Like you said, you are what your record is. That’s where we are right now. You turn the tape on and watch it, there were a lot of plays to be made, but we just didn’t make a lot of the ones that could have made that game different. Like I always say, credit the defense. That’s a good football team, obviously. They’ve only lost one game. They’ve found ways to win all kinds of games, which they have. That’s what good teams do. That’s why we would be frustrated that the game should have been different, in our opinion, than it ended up being.

(on Kamerion Wimbley’s toe)

Again, same thing, not sure. They’re all getting tested. We’re not sure where he’s at. He’s sore, obviously left the game, but as far as long term, not concerned about that right now. Just a matter of seeing how he is later on today.

(on if anyone will have to move to IR)

I think the only two that we’re concerned about right now are obviously (David) Stewart, we already know that, and Robert Johnson.

(on Robert Johnson’s injury)

He tore some ligaments in his foot yesterday. There’s a good chance he’ll be done (for the year).

(on who steps in for Robert Johnson)

Al (Afalava) will play more, (Jordan) Babineaux, those guys were solid yesterday I thought, playing some time. Al played maybe about 10 snaps, so he’ll probably play a little more. Tracy Wilson dresses up and plays on special teams, so he’ll be kind of a guy if need be as the fourth. He’s the fourth safety that dresses up. Like I said, once we get the final result on some of these guys heath-wise, those are the two that we’re concerned for not having back this year, then we’ll kind of have to play with the roster and see where we can be short and where we need to add to get through the next four weeks.

(on Damian Williams’ hamstring injury)

It’s hard to tell with that. Initially, I think they were very concerned. He wasn’t as sore today as he was yesterday. That’s why with a lot of these injuries, you don’t want to get too excited one way or the other. We’ll know more about him, (Steve) Hutchinson, (Kamerion) Wimbley, we’ll know more about them the next couple of days.

(on the play that Damian Williams got injured on)

He was trying to pull back right before halftime. On the third-down play or one of those plays, a worker at the stadium, he was trying to avoid running him over. I think when he pulled up, it popped on him.

 

(on the mistakes made by Kevin Matthews)

Yeah, he had a couple holding calls. I think he ended up going the wrong way on a play that resulted in a sack, there was some confusion. There was some sloppiness at times, but again, he did a lot of good things too, when you’re playing against some very good football players, like he was. It’s going to depend on, he’s obviously more comfortable at center than he is at guard if he has to play long term. Those are the things we have to look at, putting guys where they’re comfortable and seeing what our options are depending on (Steve) Hutchinson’s situation going forward. He wasn’t the only one that was doing a little struggling at times. They made some plays and created some problems. The thing was we hung in there pretty good throughout the game and gave ourselves a chance to make some throws as the games progressed. We just didn’t finish those drives.

(on the hit Fernando Velasco took from Antonio Smith in the Titans’ final possession)

Totally unnecessary, uncalled for, no place in the game for it, all those things. They threw the flag, which I’m glad. Obviously, they saw it. I’m sure there will be some consequence to that. It’s just totally out of line.

(on if he thought anything led up to it)

No, I just think he was taking a cheap shot at the end.

(on if there is any more clarity as to Tom Moore’s role with the team)

I think he’ll get more comfortable with us and what we’re doing and our players, of what they’re capable of doing. Even last week, he’s a coach, he was speaking up and talking to them last week. He took over some quarterback drills when Dowell (Loggains) was doing something else. I think he’s going to get more comfortable adding to it as he goes. That’s what we told him, feel comfortable. Dowell has told him, feel comfortable during the film study and watching the game, bring up anything that comes to your attention. During the game, he was upstairs and made some comments on some things. I asked him a couple questions during the game. Obviously, a great resource. I think he’ll be a great resource for all the players, like we said, on offense, especially the receivers and the quarterbacks. He’ll bring some interesting ideas, I think, as we go forward. I think it’s going to be a real good fit right now as we go forward and finish this thing up. I’m glad he’s here.

(on if he expects that Tom Moore will be here for the rest of the year)

I hope so. That’s kind of what our thinking is. Again, we didn’t sign a four-week contract or anything, it’s kind of a week-to-week thing. I assume it’s going to all work out to where he’ll be there through the end of the season.

(on Dowell Loggains’ playcalling)

As far as just the calling of the game and the mechanics of it, I thought he did well. I thought he handled himself well, I thought the plays were in quick, he made quick decisions. All that was good because he’s never done that before, taking in information when you have six other guys on the line that are saying something about the down and distance or the situation or maybe even an idea. I thought he handled it and took the information well and made a decision when there were a couple different choices. That all was good to see, and I think that was well done. I know he’ll look at the game like all coordinators do and head coaches do, and look at plays where he could have called this or called that or put Jake (Locker) in a different situation, there’s always that. I think it’s his first time out, and like I said, at the end when it got rolling, I thought he felt very confident. I think he was calling things Jake felt comfortable with. I thought he hung with Jake. He tried to find something to get him in a rhythm, I think, after Jake was definitely struggling at times in that game. That’s something that we know Jake is going to go through as a young quarterback, but it was fun to watch him battle through that as he did in the game, and start making some throws and he took some hits, he took off running. You felt he was going to find a way to help us win that football game. He threw for over 300 yards on a day that didn’t start out looking like we were going to throw for 300 yards, so a lot of good in there. I think it was a good start for him that way. Obviously, we want to win the football game, that’s the main thing here. I thought the organization and what we were doing, all that, was pretty clean throughout the day. It’s just a matter of always looking at other things we could have done that maybe would have settled him down earlier in the game, where he was trying to do too much early. He was pressing too hard, the quarterback was, early. I thought he settled down, but it took longer than we thought for it to happen.

(on if he thought Jake Locker was pressing because it was Dowell Loggains’ first game as coordinator)

I think maybe when you get a couple of plays, a ball tipped, or you get a turnover, you feel like you have to do something as a quarterback sometimes. We came back from the Miami game and it seemed like he was more relaxed and he threw ball away that we were bragging on him. ‘Hey, there’s nothing there,’ so he threw it away. In this game, it seemed like he took a couple of sacks instead of throwing the ball away, things like that early where he’d run out of the pocket sooner than he did. He didn’t start running, probably, until the game progressed a little bit. Why it happens, I don’t know, maybe it’s just good defense. He maybe got frustrated a little bit early when a couple of the balls got tipped and they got the pick and we fumbled. Quarterbacks feel like they have to pick up the slack and make something happen, just like we all do. You tell the receivers the same thing and the running backs. ‘(Chris Johnson), don’t go for the home run. Just get what’s there.’ Sometimes, that’s going to happen. Unfortunately, a couple big plays there hurt us with turnovers. Then you settle down, which was the key thing, he settled down and ended up making that game a little exciting there toward the end if we could have made a couple more plays.

(on at what point are Jake Locker’s mistakes become unacceptable)

He’s the first guy on the sideline telling you what he did wrong. He knows what he should have done. He’s not fighting that. I’ve been around some quarterbacks that aren’t as willing to take the blame for things when it’s going in a different direction. He realizes when he watches tape. I’m in there with him and he’s watching it, hearing his perspective on what happened. I don’t think we’ll have that problem. I don’t think it’s ever going to get to that. We’re excited about him. We want to win football games, that’s what it’s about. We’re going to end up doing a lot of that with him, and hopefully, you’ll see that the next four weeks as we finish up the season. I’m not concerned about getting it to some point where we’re deciding that. We’re excited about him, and as we start playing better together as a group, I think all that will come out.

(on if he expects that Colin McCarthy will play on Sunday)

We hope so. Again, that’s something that he’ll be able to practice this week, and then he has to see a doctor somewhere Wednesday or Thursday after he’s does one practice to make sure that there are no side effects, which we assume there won’t be. We hope he’ll be playing on Sunday, yes.  

 

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