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Coach Munchak's Monday Press Conference

Posted Sep 26, 2011

HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on the health status of Kenny Britt)

Well, unfortunately liked we hoped it wasn’t, he tore his ACL and his MCL so he will be out for the season. It’s very unfortunate for him, and obviously for us. He was off to a great start this year like you all know. He is a special player and he has a lot of work ahead of him, but he is young and we know that he will be back next year.  It’s very unfortunate.

(on if he will have surgery right away)

They will wait probably a week or so, let the swelling go out and kind of take it from there. I’m sure he will make all the decisions then as far as what’s the next step, but for now it’s just to take a little time and let the swelling go out and some of the soreness and kind of see where he is at. 

(on if they will have to add a WR to fill that spot)

Yeah we will have to, that puts us down at four. We have been looking at that since first thing this morning at what some of the possibilities may be and that’s what we are working on right now and I’m sure you will see us do something by the time we get to Wednesday.

(on how big a blow this is to the offense)

Anytime a guy like him…he is a special guy and we have been talking about that since last year and when we drafted him I guess. We started seeing a lot of it last year and we all know what a great start he was off to this year. He is a great weapon to have and its very unfortunate. He was playing well and he was playing well in this game until it happened. It’s just very unfortunate for all of us, especially him obviously.

(on if they have talked since the diagnosis)

Not today, I talked to him yesterday. I haven’t seen him today. He was over at the doctors most of the morning. I don’t know if he is back in here yet, I’m not sure about that, I have not seen him today. I just talked to him yesterday when he was on the field and then in the locker room afterwards.

(on how long he expects the recovery process to take)

I think everyone is different, I think unfortunately in his position, having to run like that, I’m sure it’s very different than D-line, than O-Line, than for receivers so I don’t know. It’s a lot of work, there is no doubt. I have seen guys come back and be as good as new for the most part and just a long road ahead. I’m sure he will look to other receivers who went through it, probably maybe talk to some of those guys and see how it went for them. Right now, I think it’s more of mentally, for him I would think it’s just trying to deal with it. This league, sports in general, (snap) just like that he went from being special and helping us to being injured and having to deal with a surgery.

(on if the person they bring in will be depth, or to try to fill Kenny’s role)

Yeah, it would definitely be depth because you are not going to get many guys that can come in off the street and help you this weekend, or next weekend. The good thing is that Matt (Hasselbeck) does a great job of spreading the ball around. I think 11 different guys caught balls yesterday so it’s not that one person has to make up for it, it’s going to be a group effort. You just don’t make up for losing Kenny Britt and think one guy is going to come in and fill his shoes, he is one of those special players that I don’t think you really fills his shoes. A lot of guys just can’t do what he does. I think as a group we can and that’s how we have to look at it, as a group of guys. You mentioned some of them, the receivers that are here, the tight ends, the running backs, there are a lot of ways to fill that void with a lot of people.

(on if defenses were more aware of Kenny Britt this week because of his production in the first two weeks)

They are going to be aware of him, but I think Chris Palmer does a nice job of moving him around, had him playing the last couple of weeks to where you can’t always assume where he is going to line up. He has been in motion a lot more, he has been in bunch formations, so I think we were doing a good job on the offensive side and making it hard for defenses to lock in to one spot where he would be.

(on if he regrets sending Kenny on that route, or was it just a freak injury)

No I don’t think you start looking at those things. Things unfortunately happen, sometimes some hits you think someone should get hurt on a play and they don’t, and then you get other plays where he could get tackled 100 times and that wouldn’t happen again. Unfortunately, it happened and we will just go from here.

(on if Jared Cook could fill in for Kenny Britt)

He wouldn’t play necessarily Kenny’s (Britt) position, but he would be an opportunity to give you a three-receiver look. He is a guy that could do that just like Chris (Johnson) did for a couple of snaps yesterday. You can use people in different spots, but you are not necessarily going to replace what Kenny did for us.

(on if he ever tore his ACL)

No, a lot of cartilage things like that, everything but that I think. No, luckily not, that’s a toughie. I think the last lineman was Jacob Bell. I think he tore his in December and came back, then obviously last year, Derrick Morgan. Unfortunately, it’s something that happens and it’s a long road and he is a young man obviously we are expecting him to be back next year playing.

(on if Kenny Britt’s presence was helping Nate Washington’s numbers)

It’s hard to tell, I’m sure we will find out maybe a little bit more. There is no doubt when you have a lot of good players, it’s going to help each other be productive because you can’t cover them all. Like I said earlier, I think the fact that the quarterback, Matt (Hasselbeck) the way he spreads the ball around he is not necessarily looking at one receiver all game and that’s apparent by the different guys catching balls. The biggest catch of the day was by a tight end who doesn’t get the ball thrown to him very often. That shows that a defense can’t just move coverage just to cover certain people or take things away, that we will take what they give us.

(on how long it would take for someone that is brought in to contribute on the offense)

Well it depends on who it is. It depends on if he has NFL experience, if he has been in this type of offense. Realistically can someone come in and help you this weekend win a football game, it’s pretty small I think unless it’s someone, like I said, that knows this offense pretty well or has been in this type of system that can come in and do a handful of things for you.

(on if Justin Gage is an option)

Yeah, Justin is someone that I’m sure we will bring in for a workout. We will have quite a few people here. We have been having workouts the last few weeks for other positions and obviously tomorrow the emphasis will be on the receiver position and just looking at what options there are, the people we can work out, the people on other rosters, you just got to do a full search and see and weigh all the factors. ‘How can this person help us, can he help us right away, what are we looking for, is it short term, is it long term?’ So I think you look into all these factors and figure out what is the best thing to help us win now. We want to win this weekend, our biggest concern right now is beating Cleveland and then Pittsburgh and then we know we have a bye to maybe buy some more time to figure out if we have an answer. We will try to do what’s best for this roster on Sunday to suit up and feel strong at that position.

(on if he will consider Terrell Owens)

I don’t think so. I wouldn’t rule anything out I guess, I guess you never should. At this point we are going to look at all the options and see what’s a good fit for the field, for the team, and that kind of thing. You will probably hear more about that tomorrow.

(on the challenges of dealing with this injury for Kenny)

It’s good to talk to other people who have been through it. Like anything, I think the more he talks to and talks to his teammates about the ACL injury and the road and the recovery and how they feel and how long it took them and that stuff …more or less educate himself on the injury. The first part is just going to be the disappointment. He had so much ahead of him and was going to be a big part of what we did this year, we all know that. So I think the first part as a player and as an athlete is dealing with the disappointment of something that you really love to do is taken away from you. That alone takes a little bit to get used to, even if you ever do. Then he has to regroup, and he may have a week to 10 days to determine the surgery, what the next step is, then kind of get a plan. It’s tough. It’s going to be dealing with the disappointment of no longer coming to work on Wednesday to get ready to beat the Browns. He is on a different schedule and that’s hard to deal with as a player initially.

(on if Kenny will stay around here to do his rehab)

That will be the plan, yes. That would probably be the best plan, but when it comes to a knee surgery of this magnitude, it will be up to him to make those decisions on who does his surgery and those kinds of things.

(on if he thinks Matt Hasselbeck will be able to keep the offense going the same without Kenny Britt)

That makes it hard no doubt, but I think he will. He is a professional that we are thrilled how he has played. He has come in and done probably better than anyone expected in the three-week period, that’s why it’s nice to have a veteran and when he was throwing the ball, it wasn’t just to Kenny (Britt). He is comfortable throwing to a lot of people, he just has to get used to the new guys that will be playing. The new targets he will have more often with Kenny not being in there. Life goes on, that’s the thing about football. The Browns aren’t going to care who is playing and who is not, there are going to just want to beat us. We are going to have to get ready to go on Wednesday and we will have a plan ready to go and we will have the answers and we will go up there and play our best.

(on why the run game is struggling so much)

Just inconsistency, that’s the easiest answer. We start the game with two penalties on two good runs. (Chris Johnson) runs and on his first or second run was an eight-yard run for a first down and they called holding. Then he comes back two plays later and for a 12-yard run and there is another hold and I that’s just how it’s been going, it’s frustrating for all of us. The script has been flipped as far as relying so much on the pass game then we have in the past, where it used to be the run game, so just that. I think you are seeing inconsistencies in a lot of areas and the penalties have hurt us probably all three weeks with taking runs that we have something going and move them back 10 yards. It’s been frustrating for all of us, but we will just keep working on it. We all know that it’s got to be more productive if we are going to keep winning.

(on “gutsy” play calling)

I think you are seeing a group operate that has a lot of confidence in its quarterback and in its receivers that we are not afraid to throw the ball on third-and-one.  We are not afraid to throw the ball on the minus-one, we are not afraid to throw it will 10 minutes left in the game because we have a 10-point lead. I think that you are seeing that when you have confidence in your quarterback, and you have confidence in your receivers, and guys are doing the right thing and making the play when the opportunity comes, I think you see what you are seeing.

(on if he is surprised by how Matt Hasselbeck has had so much success in a short amount of time)

No, I’m not surprised by that, like I’m sure he would say, it’s a continual process. It a matter of getting to know each other and the more he does, the better I think we will all play as the pass game and even the run game, getting in the right checks, getting a feel for what we are trying to accomplish. He is not robotic as far as, ‘OK, I will do this.’ He wants to know why you do it. He wants to be able to put you in the right position to run and pass to have success. It’s a work in progress, he is having a lot of success at what he is doing, making plays and putting the ball in spots where only our guys can catch it, and they are catching it. They are making plays, but it’s a two-way street there. He is putting the ball there and (Craig) Stevens went up and made a great catch.

(on Matt Hasselbeck and Damian Williams being out of sync on a couple of plays)

There was a couple of things there, minor things, but there wasn’t a big deal there. It wasn’t just because it was Damian (Williams). In that game yesterday, a lot of different guys were coming in in the second half and we are trying to rotate guys so you are going to have some confusion at times and we had a lot of different formation calls in the game plan last week, like I mentioned earlier, to move Kenny (Britt) around. Then all of the sudden he is not there, then you have to readjust with guys who haven’t really had a lot of reps in practice. That’s a process for any team to go through in the game to kind of adjust, so you are going to have some of that.

(on how Chris Palmer calls the game)

He does a great job of calling the game. I’m right there next to him because on the offensive side you give a lot more instruction on what our thinking is about field goals and stuff like that. He is very calm, does a nice job, like I said, is not conservative by nature, he is willing to, when things aren’t working a certain way, he is going to lean on the pass a little more like he has had too the past couple weeks. He would love to hand it off 40 times, believe me, any coordinator would to take the pressure off of the pass game. We know the two have to come together or we are going to have some trouble. He does a great job, he has been around the league a long time, that’s why I have had so much confidence in him since the first day when I hired him and Jerry Gray because I knew I had two people who could make a difference on this team.

(on what Jerry Gary has been able to do in a short period of time and get stops when he has to)

He has a great approach to the game. I think from day one in camp he has kept it simple for him, they have learned one concept at a time. For him I should say, he knew it would take a little while to learn what he had. He watched the tape of it, the tape of the players, but not being here he really didn’t know these guys. I think during training camp he really got into a comfort zone, especially in the back end with Cortland (Finnegan) could do, what (Michael) Griffin could do, having (Alterrauan) Verner on the field, so I think it’s all of that. They are getting better players on the field, guys are making plays, the defensive line is coming together very well. The young guys, like we have been talking about from the beginning, have really stepped up real fast and are helping us probably a lot more early in the season then we thought possible. I think all of those things are coming together and like I said, on the defensive side of the ball we have been building since camp started. They have had success usually every week. We had the great goal-line-stand in preseason, and then you saw the same thing happen in Jacksonville, then you saw the same thing yesterday. That’s not by a fluke, they obviously have a lot of confidence that they can keep people out of the end zone, and it’s been fun to watch. They are playing hard and physical and making plays and it’s not just one guy, it’s the whole group of them.

(on how much Chris Johnson’s lack of production has to do with the absence of Ahmard Hall)

That’s hard to tell, I don’t know that’s it…he is more familiar with him but I don’t think that’s going to be a factor in why we are not running the ball as well as we should. Quinn (Johnson) has come in and done a nice job. He is a physical guy, he has caught a couple of nice passes also. He has caught two or three balls already in big-time situations. He caught a big one yesterday coming out, he caught the big one on the fourth-and-one, so he has done exactly what we have asked him to do. We are real happy with what he has done and. Yeah, having “Sarge” (Ahmard Hall) would be great, but I don’t think that’s why things aren’t working out.

(on the health status of Chris Hope and any other players that were injured yesterday)

Chis Hope will continue where we left off last week with him, hoping again that his shoulder continues to get stronger and that he will be able to help us next week in Cleveland, so we will see how that progresses starting Wednesday. It should be obviously better than last week. From the game, I think (Gerald) McRath is probably the only other one, I think we mentioned him yesterday about how he kind of fell on his knee funny towards the end of the game and so we were having him checked out.

(on if the coaching staff had any laughs over the way Brett Kern ran for the first down)

We were excited for the first down, are you kidding me, we were thrilled. That was a three-point play. He turned a play that could have been awful, into a three-point football play for us.  We may laugh at all of that but we are happy he made the play, and things work out funny sometimes. We would have taken the seven-point play if he could have gotten it for us, but that’s one of those things that happen, and he was just a guy making a play. He could have panicked and just have fallen on the ball or done something and not gotten the first down, but he was smart enough to grab it and run, it was a nice turning point there before the half.

(on if he is disappointed by the number of penalties)

Yeah, we are. I think you watch, especially for the defense, I think they gave up 90 yards in the first half and then touchdown that they did have was all about the penalties on that drive and the penalties hurt us. The personal foul on the quarterback, and some of the offsides, I think we were anxious at times, we were excited in the game, especially down by the goal line when we had a couple of penalties down there. I think guys are just trying to make plays, they were anxious to make them and when you are down by the goal line area, when they are on the minus five or minus three, a five yard penalty doesn’t hurt you because it’s really a yard penalty so you are trying to take advantage of the snap count, you are trying to make a play, so down there it’s not as upsetting, I think we had two down there in a row, those two were pretty much guys that were just trying to jump the count, make a play. We didn’t, we went offside, but luckily on that drive we stopped them. Generally speaking though, yes, we can’t have 10 penalties or 11 penalties in a game and expect to win if we keep doing that to ourselves.

(on if he has gotten to the bottom of the Shaun Smith incident and him not being out there for the goal-line stand)

He rotated still, he played after his penalty, and he wasn’t taken out of them game for anything he did on the field. He was talked to about it, and I think he was given some time to cool off and relax and then he went back in. I just didn’t notice at the time how many plays he played. I saw him back out there, I knew we didn’t talk about taking him out, I knew there was no problem that way, so now it’s more about the rotation and what’s happening in the game.

(on if Shaun Smith needs to “tone it down” in the games)

Well I think that part, everyone has to do that. Different players, you guys have covered us, you can’t let it become an individual battle. When you play football or any sport, it’s a team deal, it’s not about you so you have to be careful because it’s very easy in the game of football, when emotions are high, especially on the defensive line when you are going against, in his case, two linemen at a time usually that 300 pounds plus every snap you can get frustrated but you have to keep your cool and we have to avoid the penalty part. The other part we like with Shaun (Smith), we just can’t have penalties, from him or anybody else.

(on if he still has the same confidence in the offensive line that it is a “Super Bowl” caliber line)

I feel very confident with the offensive line, I think Matt (Hasselbeck) does too. One phase is working well as far as what we are doing passing the ball, one phase isn’t working and it’s a group effort. Just like if we sit here and have 200 yards rushing against Cleveland, it won’t be all of the offensive line’s credit, it’s all 11 guys making it happen. They like anybody else have got to work hard. They have got to have a great week of work, and you can’t get frustrated because things aren’t always going to go the way you want them to go, especially in this league. You have to go out and earn it every weekend. So we have to go out this weekend and we can’t press, we just have to go out there and do our jobs, offensive line included, have a great work week and know whatever it takes, the fun part is at least that we are finding ways to win football games. As offensive linemen you want to run the ball so well that when someone takes it away it’s easy to get depressed over that and let it affect your game. I think we are doing a good job as an offense of ‘that may not be working, we are still pushing, but you know what, we are still going to find a way to win this football game.’ Even at the end again, Chris (Johnson) had a nine-yard run after the big play to the tight end. Chris gets a nine-yard run and all of the sudden its second-and-one and we make another first down to Kenny (Britt). It’s one of those things where we would all like to hand the ball off every snap and have success, we defiantly need to improve from what we have been doing, but I think you have got to stay positive, keep working hard and it will come. We’ve got the pieces in place, we are not going to second guess what we are doing, we feel good about what we are doing, we just got to do it a lot better.

(on if the struggles running the ball are “driving him crazy”)

I want it to be better, I’m involved in every phase now so I can’t…if I was the O-line coach, then yes I would be very frustrated. That’s Bruce’s (Matthews) problem now, he is the one that’s very frustrated. As the head coach, I’m looking at all the phases, we all want that to improve, we know we need to. We have a very good running back that we need to be more productive, and again like I said, it’s not just Chris (Johnson) all of us. That’s something that we are going to work on, but like I said, if we are going to move the ball other ways then we are going to do what we will have to do and there is a long season to be played here, we have 13 more regular season football games so I’m sure the run game is going to become a big part of that as we get going.

(on if he is concerned how Kenny Britt will handle all of his free time)

We are his family, we are going to be here to support him, we are with him all the way. He is still a member of this football team, it’s going to be in a different capacity because he is going to be getting treated and not be with us on the field. We will be with him and rooting for him, he will be around the building every day with treatment and working hard. Guys will still be hanging out with him and having dinner with him and all that, we are just going to lose him during the week which is tough. He is still a big part of this football team and he is going to be with us for a lot of years. 

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