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Coach Munchak's Monday Press Conference

Posted Dec 12, 2011

HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on the health status of Matt Hasselbeck and the MRI results)

He went over today and he is walking around pretty good. He is sore but like most injuries that we talk about it’s more or less wait and see how he is tomorrow and Wednesday. We haven’t heard anything yet but we are assuming it’s on the mild side whatever it is.

(on if Hasselbeck’s injury is similar to Kerry Collins’ last year)

I don’t think that Kerry (Collins) could have come back in the game like Matt (Hasselbeck) did when he had to for that one play. It looked like the way that it happened it wasn’t quite as severe as Kerry’s was. Preliminary looks are not as bad as Kerry’s. 

(on if there is value to letting Jake Locker start one of the last three games even if Matt Hasselbeck can play)

No, we are looking at it like we are in the middle of a playoff run here and we have to win these three games. If Matt (Hasselbeck) is healthy then Matt will quarterback us. As far as Jake (Locker), he will have plenty of time to be our guy so we wouldn’t put him in there just to give him experience. We know that we can win with him in there and we feel real good about what we have seen in the two games that we have had a chance to play so we will just take it from there. We wouldn’t be doing it just to see, our thing is we have three huge games ahead of us and we have to take care of all three of those if we want to play anymore.

(on Matt Hasselbeck’s chances of playing on Sunday)

It’s hard to tell. I would assume because there is no reason not to be, but you just never know until you go out there and start moving around and doing things that the quarterback has to do, then we will know a lot more then.

(on how Matt Hasselbeck gives the team a better chance to win)

I think they both give us a great chance to win. I don’t think there is any doubt and we feel good and we have been saying it since Jake (Locker) came in as a rookie and showed how well he handled himself with the team and training camp and in the preseason games and then the little bit you have seen him during the season. I think we feel good about Matt (Hasselbeck) and there is no reason to…we have been talking about what Matt has been doing for us for a long time here all season and because of an injury we are not going to all of the sudden decide that now is the time to make a change. If Matt (Hasselbeck) is not healthy then that is another conversation but if Matt is healthy and ready to roll then he will be the guy.

(on why the running game was ineffective)

Well it was just a lack of plays early. They did a great job, but they weren’t scoring points which was a good thing, but they were converting third downs, staying on the field. I think they had 24 or 25 plays in the first quarter and we had four. It’s hard to really establish, but the good thing is they only had three points with all of that. The problem was that we didn’t get a chance to keep the ball on offense. Chris (Johnson) had one or two runs so he had 11-12 yards, they should have been bigger runs. One of them was a fourth-and-one that he converted which was a big down. Two of them were second-and-twos that he converted for a two-yard-run and a three-yard run, so they were effective even though they weren’t great runs. In the second half he came out and had a nine-yard-run right off the bat and got the first down for us so we thought we had something going for us there but again, not having the ball kind of got us out of what we wanted to do and then getting behind when it got to 22-10 kind of got us out of the running game. It didn’t fall the way we hoped it would.

(on the play of Jake Locker)

I think he gets better. I think he is going to get better and better the more he plays. He really couldn’t be any more poised than he is, he just feels comfortable out there no matter what the situation is. Just like he did in Atlanta, he is changing protections, he is changing plays, he made some tough throws, and he moved around and made plays with his legs. All of those were things that we needed in that game yesterday to get ourselves back in it. There is no doubt that with seven minutes to go we were down 12 and I’m sure a lot of people thought that may be the end of it but I think you saw for seven minutes we played some really good football as an offense and a defense and it was exciting and we made plays and everyone was into it and it went down to the last play of the game to win it. He brought a lot energy to it, got us back in it. The defense got some big stops in the fourth quarter to get the ball back and that’s why it made it even a harder loss because it was so close and there were so many good things going on, to have it end on the last play is tough.

(on if there should have been any defensive penalties on the last play of the game with all of the contact)

Well you wish you just scored and got it over with yourself. You can’t really count on any help at that point when it kind of gets late in the game, it’s kind of like basketball where they are just going to let you play a little bit. Was there contact? There seemed to be. They didn’t see it that way so it comes down to us making a play and we didn’t.

(on if he spoke to Jake Locker about at least throwing a desperation toss up at the end)

I didn’t get to have a chance to have a long talk with him about it. His coaches have talked to him obviously about the game in general and what a great job I thought he did and how he handled things. The last play, I think when you watch it, it’s more, ‘well he should have thrown it away immediately when something wasn’t there.’ I think when he didn’t immediately there was a little pressure, someone was free and he had to make him miss and then it became, make a play. He is a competitor, you don’t know what goes through your mind at that point. Once he got shaken off of the initial thought it was about trying to make a play. I’m assuming he thought he could run it in or do something and then that was taken away, and then things happen and you just react. Just like he does, we all wish there was another opportunity to throw it in the end zone and see what happens, but chances are it would have been incomplete anyways. It’s unfortunate how it ended but he put us in position to win that game.

(on what will be different about Jake Locker’s approach to the week if he will be the starter)

Well I think it will be easier for him. I think it’s nice knowing that you are the guy if it came to that. I think he will enjoy that and he will talk more about what he likes, how he would like to approach the game. When you are not the guy, its more about what is best for Matt (Hasselbeck). What is Matt good at, what is best for him? I think with the quarterback, you want to set things up to do things that quarterback are good with. Obviously, all quarterbacks are different and like certain things so I think it will be different that way. I think he would take more control because he would be the guy in charge and I think it would be exciting for him. I think he is obviously waiting for that opportunity to when he does have that position so I think he would enjoy it. 

(on how the young receivers are coming along with their development)

I think that there is confidence, they played well yesterday I thought. I thought they blocked well the last few weeks in the run game. They are playing a lot of snaps. I thought that yesterday they ran after catch very well. I think they had trouble covering the guys so it was fun to watch them. I can’t say enough about Nate (Washington) yesterday. Nate couldn’t practice all week, we knew how bad he wanted to play and he willed himself to be out there and I think he had his best day as a pro as far as yards. He is a big part of that room. I think that whole group is really getting better every week and so I think Damian (Williams), himself (Nate Washington), Hawk (Lavelle Hawkins) are really coming on strong.

(on the extra whistle that some Titans players heard)

I haven’t heard much about it so there is not really much I can say on it. I didn’t hear anyone complain about it during the game and I don’t know how it would have factored in anyway.

(on Nate Washington stepping up to be a leader)

I just think that coming into the year we obviously couldn’t talk to them a whole lot, but when he came in July and August we sat down and had a nice talk with him. He got a chance to meet Chris Palmer and Dave Ragone and myself and spend more time with us as far as what we are expecting from him. He was thinking right away and was excited and he came in with a great attitude. All camp he was working hard and I think he liked the fit with Matt (Hasselbeck) and right away they seemed to get along well and responded well together and I just think he came in with a great attitude and it stayed that way. I think he sees the energy and I think he would have been very helpful with Kenny (Britt) as far as being with him a lot. They were spending a lot of time together. We were really excited about that at that position because we needed a leader in that room and we talked to him about that and how important it was to have someone in there and he is the one guy with experience that we had that could step up and kind of take control of that room for us. We talked like that to him and other players at their positions and he has really enjoyed the role. He has really stepped up in a big way. I know he had a baby this year and I know that excited him. That is probably the most important thing that has happened to him this year. I know that he is enjoying the season that he is having, but I think his daughter is what really got him going and focused him and he has been great. He has been a great pro for us.

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