HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK
(on the situation at defensive end and the release of Jacob Ford)
Well like I said, the last cuts we went with guys we felt most comfortable with and how we would use different guys. There are a lot of moving parts with those kinds of equations but we feel good about
(on if he feels OK about the numbers of defensive ends healthy)
If Jason (Jones) was down for a long period of time and (Derrick) Morgan was going to be then we would look at it differently, but right now we don’t see it that way. So right now we are going to go with the way we have it.
Yeah, there are things you can do to at that spot depending on who you are playing against, especially like a game this week. They like to run the ball and you could put a bigger bodied guy out there. That’s something he can do. He can do different things with different guys rushing at the end spots, and we think we have some versatility with some players that we will be OK.
(on the two young corners that made the roster)
Well I think (Tommie) Campbell we saw a lot in him. He came out first thinking special teams and I think we were all hoping that a guy with his speed and size, that his best chance would be on special teams and he came out right away and showed us in practice that’s definitely where he was going to help us right away. As he kept playing in games and getting a lot of opportunities, he started showing up at the corner spot. I think he came on a lot quicker than most of us thought he could, like most of these rookies that we have been talking about. I think the confidence grew in him that he could be the fourth corner. (Chris) Hawkins is the same way. The decision at this point is about the fifth corner and who you want to keep on the roster, and then we thought the last couple weeks he really stepped up as far as what his skills may be. We went with the younger guy as our fifth corner.
Well anytime you lose a player who has been such a big part of our offense and our run game, sure. You don’t want to lose anybody and that was unfortunate. Again, like these other factors, there is not much we could do about that. It was something that happened a long time ago, we just didn’t know when the decision was being made that he was going to be suspended or not suspended. We found out when he found out so. As an organization as we know, life goes on and we are playing on Sunday. We had to make a decision, make a move and we did.
(on if it’s going to take some time for the quarterback, line, fullback and running back to get onto the same page)
Sure it could, but I don’t think…running the inside zone or running the outside zone, there isn’t a whole lot different for him. He just needs to read his keys and get to his linebackers. I don’t think that that’s something that will be hard for him to do; I think it’s more of just a couple days of getting our terminology down. Now it’s called this instead of that as far as who to block and how he does it. There won’t be a lot of difference there in the run game. Protection wise, the little bit that the fullback does in protection, two back stuff isn’t very complicated so I think it’s something that he should have no problem with picking up and helping us right away and that’s why we went after someone who had game experience. We didn’t want someone who had never played the game before because then maybe you are maybe a little more nervous about how he is going to handle playing a real game for the first time only being with us for nine days or something. I think the fact that he played some and had some confidence… how many plays is the guy going to play? Well it all depends on how much two back we get in, but usually it’s the eight to 15 plays range.
(on the differences between Ahmard Hall and Quinn Johnson)
He is bigger there is no doubt. He is six foot, 255 and change probably. He looks pretty good, moves pretty well. This is the first chance we have had to see him other than watching Green Bay games the past couple days. He moves the pile and makes room and keeps his feet going on contact. He is just a bigger version of what we had and we will see. He is here and we will spend the week with him to kind of see where he is at. Like any position, we have to be smart. There are certain plays that we kind of liked and adjustments that we can make and we will just have to make sure those are things that he can handle. We just have to be careful with that, but like I said, I don’t think that position is one where the fullbacks are asked to do too much.
(on how fast
Like I said from the beginning when he wasn’t here, I don’t think picking up the offense is going to be a problem for him at all. He has learned some of the differences already. We all know it’s going to be more of a physical thing. How quickly can he slow the game down to see that it’s blitz pickups or it’s reading the blocking up front. I think that’s more of what we have been talking about from the beginning is just getting reps in practice and getting a comfort zone with him making the decisions on when to make that cut. Those are the things that he just needs to keep working on and in these two days already he has had some good reps and he will get three more days of that on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. So, that’s going to be more the key to kind of see where he is at when we get to that point.
(on if he will limit the numbers of carries for Chris Johnson in Jacksonville)
I think we will be aware of that but not necessarily. We are not going to sit here and tell you he may only get X amount of carries because it depends how those carries go. Hopefully they are all big runs and he will have less carries. We are going to be smart with it for sure with the weather and the humidity; those are factors for running backs. Even if he was here all camp, we would be having the same conversations about Javon (Ringer) running a little bit more for him this year. The dialog will be a little more about that like we did with (LenDale) White. With LenDale they kind of split it more so that’s always in the equation, but there is no doubt that we are going to be aware of his carries and kind of see how his conditioning is once we get going. It’s hard to tell that during the week. During the week you will see more about his cuts and decision making and those things, but until you get in a game, even for the rest of your team, you really don’t know where you are at when you go from preseason to the regular season, for every player in this building and everyone in this league. No one really knows how anyone is going to be because you haven’t played 60 or 70 snaps yet or played in the weather and football is a lot different that first month of the season then it is once you get going. For CJ it’s going to just be a little different because he hasn’t been here but it’s something we will have to be smart about.
I hope so, he has practiced the last couple days and ran the ball pretty well. That would be very important for us to have him because he is the kind of guy who is a difference maker when he has the ball in his hand. So far so good with him now that he has been back in the past few days. He has looked pretty good. So I’m hoping that continues the rest of the week.
(on if Peyton Manning’s injury makes the division more wide open)
Well what happens there is not going to be a factor until we get our turn to play them and what condition they are in. They have shown that they have won our division the last so many years that even when they start poorly they are in it. They are a good and talented team and we know that. I know him being injured is more of a concern than for most teams because he does so much for them and we don’t play them for quite some time so we will just see how they are when we get them on the schedule.
(on maybe acquiring a veteran wide receiver this week)
Not necessarily, not unless someone showed up that we thought…we were only going to suit up five anyway, so right now no. Will that change, I don’t know. Depending on if we have injuries, but for right now for this game we pretty much stick with what we have unless something were to change between now and then such as an injury or someone got cut that we didn’t anticipate getting let go from a team or something like that. We are not actively trying to find a sixth guy like we are in dire need, but like we will with all the positions, a lot of these positions we will continue to look to try to upgrade if opportunities come that direction.
(on if he thinks the roster will stay the same for Jacksonville)
I think it would. I don’t see a whole lot happening in the league the next couple days that would change our positioning that we have right now. So going forward, if we feel we are in a need or shorthanded, or something didn’t work out the way we hoped it would or whatever the reason may be, we are going to continue to keep looking for what’s out there and what possibilities there are if there are people who are worth trading for at some point down the road. You are always looking for those things and all teams are doing that. We are what we are right now and we are happy with where we are for the most part and we’ll just kind of keep working through and just kind of see how everyone works together the next couple days and how we play on Sunday.
(on who won the starting cornerback job in camp)
Well I think it’s going to go that way. I think it will be (Jason) McCourty and Courtland Finnegan.
I think they are happy with how they played and it’s not necessarily that anyone won anything. I think you have those three guys playing at a high level, it just got to where it will start those two and knowing that all three are going to play quite a bit.
(on if he is more concerned with offense or defense to start the season )
I’m just concerned in general as a head coach would be about it all. Just like when I coached the offensive line, you think you are ready, most teams are in the same boat, you are excited for where you are at, you are excited for the season, but you really don’t know for sure because we haven’t played a full game and we haven’t been through a full game together now. So that’s why the excitement is there throughout the league especially the same way we are. We are going down to play a division opponent, someone that we know very well and someone that knows us very well, in a place that we are very comfortable playing. It’s a great opportunity to start in the division so I think the excitement is going to be sky high and is it’s just a matter of how we go down there. Can we play as disciplined as we have during the preseason and can we carry it into the third and fourth quarter where he haven’t had to do that yet this year. I don’t think there is any real concern over one side of the ball than the other, it’s just a matter of how we come together and how we handle the highs and the lows of a football game.
(on if he is disappointed in the nature of Ahmard Hall’s suspension and the NFL policy)
I think you are just disappointed that you are going to lose a player. Why it happened is an example to everyone else that you are responsible for whatever you put in your body and how that can happen and all of the sudden you lose four games. Chris Henry did something a couple of years ago where he missed time over something that had nothing to do with trying to better himself for football. Sarge’s is the same way, so it’s upsetting that you as a team go forward without a key player who is not there. Players agree on rules and you follow them and unfortunately it’s not always going to go your way.
(on the extreme temperature change this week and getting ready for the heat of Jacksonville)
We are doing everything we can do to be ready and I don’t think the weather is going to be a factor or not. During camp you want guys to get used to practicing in all types of weather so they are acclimated to it, but once that game gets started it’s going to be the last thing on anyone’s mind. That will be the last thing anyone talks about being a factor in the game. It’s all about being in condition no matter what the weather and I feel we will be there and I feel they have worked hard and worked well and worked every day and we are ready to roll. It’s going to be warmer than it is this week, but I don’t think that will be a factor.
Given the circumstances yes, I think having a veteran quarterback for sure. Like I said, I know he is comfortable with what he is doing and what we are doing on offense now. For sure he and others would have liked to have more time together, but I think the fact the he is a veteran is a huge plus to us. He knows how to adjust to the things that happen during a game, adjust on the sideline, and adjust in the huddle when maybe there is a communication issue or maybe Jacksonville is doing something a little bit different and something that they haven’t shown in preseason. He is the kind of quarterback that suggest things to Chris (Palmer) on the sidelines, ‘hey what about this, or what about that or how about we break off the route this way.’ He brings a lot of that, it’s almost like having a coach on the field and that’s a huge plus for us especially when you start a season and a lot of times in the first part of the season teams are trying new things that they have never shown before. There is always a little bit of that game that is a little different, offense, defense, special teams that teams maybe want to try to throw at you maybe you don’t get a chance to prepare for. Veteran people, especially a veteran quarterback, it’s a lot easier to make those adjustments throughout the game without getting nervous or overwhelmed that aren’t quite what you thought when the game starts. I think we will really appreciate his steady hand and being through all of this before.
(on the key to having a strong, even performance over the course of a 16-game season)
If I knew that I would probably make a lot of money. I have talked to head coaches before who have charted it when they have a great week of practice, well how do we play? We have a bad week of practice, well how do we play? We had a great warm-up before the game and we played this way. It’s hard to find a correlation between any of that. I don’t think there is any, I think it’s more of we are going to have to go out there and play them one at a time. you hear that cliché and people are tired of hearing about it, but that’s really what it is. You have 16 one-game seasons. You take them one at a time and that’s what we will do. We play Jacksonville and we will get tunnel vision on Jacksonville and what they are all about and how do we stop them and how do we use our personnel to stop them on defense and on offense what do we have to do, and then next week against the Ravens it’s a whole different thinking. When you are winning, obviously build confidence that way easily, you can’t control injury and there so many things that effect the highs and the lows. It’s just the same old thing, we have been working hard and continue doing what we are doing and if you go out and win the first one it gets a little easier to win the second one.
(on if Jason Jones has been practicing)
No he has not. I imagine Wednesday will be the first day he will actually do stuff with the team.
(on what led to the decision to keep 10 offensive linemen)
Well I think offensive linemen are hard to find, so if you have good ones, you are trying to find a way to protect them and keep them because if you do have an injury, you find out how valuable they are. It seems like teams hoard them, offensive and defensive line. We were in a position with the back end of the roster that this seemed to be the smartest way to go for right now.
I think he will be turned loose to play. I don’t think we are concerned with his conditioning necessarily, he has been here, he knows what we have been doing. He needs to go play, he is healthy, and so we can’t be tip-toeing around that anymore. He needs to go play for us. We expect big plays out of him as we do Chris Johnson when he is playing. I think we are just ready to let him play and think in general we will probably roll those guys more anyway at the receiver position. I think you suit five up and you will see all of those guys play maybe a little more than they have in the past.