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Coach Munchak's Monday Press Conference

Posted Oct 24, 2011

HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on if he found an any answers to what happened after watching the tape)

I think in general I think yesterday we knew that we didn’t reach our goal which was obviously to win the football game and we knew a lot of things contributed to it. After a game, a lot of times you are not sure exactly why different things break down, so watching the tape I think for the players too, it was good to see exactly where they made plays and where the game kind of got out of hand. Really all you can do about it at this point is, as the players have today, is be accountable. Be accountable for what your part was and why we had some break downs in coverage and why we missed some gap control and why we missed tackles. The physical stuff there is not much you can do about it other than work technique week in and week out. When guys are missing tackles or taking bad angles, those are stuff you have to keep working on week in and week out to get better at and eliminate those things. If it’s a blocking technique or things like that, those are just things that you have to continue to work on. There are a lot of areas when you lose the way we did yesterday, a lot of areas that we didn’t play well in and we know that. Like I said, it’s something that we need to be accountable for and we have to fix. We have to play much better next week.

(on the likelihood of any personnel changes)

I don’t know that there will be any because of what happened yesterday. I don’t think there will be any changes on Wednesday morning on who is starting if that’s what you are asking…You consider everything, everything is always on the table to make changes to try to do things better. This organization has been bringing in free agents on a Monday or Tuesday to see who is out there in case of injuries, we are going to continue to do whatever we can to find the best players to put on the field and into a position to help us win football games. That’s all that matters, that’s our job is to win football games. There are a lot of ways you can do things on defense with how you rotate guys. It might not necessarily be someone starting different but you can change rotation and start different groups that are in there together in the secondary with the linebackers and obviously, the D-linemen. There are things that you can do and it’s a lot easier to do on defense than it is somewhere else. With receivers, obviously you can just play one 20 plays more than you did the last week. There are things like that going on all the time where guy’s playing time may change because of how they are playing in that particular game or how as a group they are playing better together. Like we have talked about since training camp when people were always interested in who is the starter, well the thing for us is more of what groups are going to be out there, especially on defense to help us win. When you are not winning or you are struggling, for example on defense where we had one turnover the last two games and we had seven or eight in the games we won in, well we have to find ways to get turnovers. We are not having sacks, we have only had one sack in the two games we lost and we had 10 in the first four or five games. We have to find ways to make those things happen, get the turnover, get the pressure on the quarterback. Then you look at, is it three down and is it putting another linebacker in there so you use different groupings. We did some of that last week and they got the ball out quicker. When the ball is coming out quicker and teams are running the ball and getting ahead on us like the last two weeks, it’s a lot harder for the defense to get turnovers and do some things because there are not as many opportunities throwing the ball unfortunately like we have been. We have been throwing the ball quite a bit, 49 times a week ago and quite a bit yesterday. We will still work within those restraints as far as getting the best players on the field.

(on potentially moving Leroy Harris to center)

No, you always consider options but in week 5 or 6 you are not thinking about moving guys and to think that him going from left guard to center is going to make that much of a difference at this point.

(on potentially getting Fernando Velasco into the starting lineup )

At some point you may, two weeks ago we were 3-1 thinking we were a pretty good football team. I know we were struggling with the run game most of the season. Other than maybe one game we are not running the ball the way we would like to, but if you are going to make a change, if you change the offensive line it can’t be a one-week thought. ‘Let me put this guy in for one week and see how it works,’ you may mess up more things. I think on the offensive side, I don’t know what the stats are now but I think we gave up the least sacks in the league as of yesterday, before yesterday. So obviously in the passing game those five guys are doing a really good job, so is it worth the sacrifice that maybe we will get 10 or 20 more yards rushing but the quarterback may get hit three or four more times because you have communication problems inserting one new guy. When you make changes you have to take into account all the factors that go with that change and sometimes it’s not worth the risk. It doesn’t mean that Fernando (Velasco) can’t pass block, it means that when you are making a lot of adjustments during the heat of the game or in battle, that he may miss a couple because he is not as comfortable with Michel Roos or David Stewart or whoever, then all of the sudden we are sitting here saying, ‘why did Matt (Hasselbeck) get hurt on that play?’ ‘Well, so and so is not used to playing next to so and so and this is what happened.’ You have to consider all of those things when you make changes, other positions are easier to change because they are not affecting as many moving parts. We have to be smart how we do it. Would we do it at some point if we thought it was necessary? Yes we would. If we think that at some point it’s reached that point, then that’s what we will do.

(on his thoughts about what Chris Johnson said after the game and being accountable)

I have talked to (Chris Johnson) today, I actually didn’t hear those comments from him. I talked to him after the game, but he didn’t say that to me, we are all part of it. I think he knows that and I don’t think he meant to say that he has stepped back and it’s everyone else’s problem, it’s all of our problems, the coaches and players and so on. When you’re not doing something well it’s timing and when you call plays, it’s the guy running the ball, it’s the guys blocking obviously. It’s not just one aspect, it’s a group effort either way. If it’s going well it’s a group effort, unless you guys sometimes see just a great run at time that busts out where it’s all the running back, sometimes that does happen, but as a general rule, week in and week out a lot of guys are accountable to that run game and you are either being successful or failing. I’m sure he does feel like he is a big part of why he is not working even though we are not blaming him for being the main reason.

(on if he is worried that there may be finger pointing in the locker room if the run game keeps struggling)

If that comes up we will deal with it. I don’t know that that has gone on at all yet, you guys are bringing it up a little bit. I talked to him after the game briefly, and I didn’t hear anything about that. I didn’t see anything today and if we have concerns about that then we will deal with that. Anytime you lose a couple games in a row, there is no doubt that guys are competitive and everyone wants to win. The city wants to win, the city wants to be represented in a positive way, we want to win, and that’s our goal. Every day we are here to work to win, not to almost win, if you lose you lose, it doesn’t matter how many you lose by but you want to be competitive and you want to win so you have to deal with that too. Chris (Johnson) has had a great career here in three short years. I think it’s hard when you are going through a spot when I think the first time in his career where he is not having the success he has had for three years.  I think a lot of athletes struggle with that concept. Again, it’s not all his fault, to run the ball well it takes 10 other guys to help him out. 

(on if Chris Johnson has a confidence issue)

I don’t think so, not that I can see. I don’t see that. 

(on potentially going to more of a two-back system)

We didn’t carry the ball much in the last couple weeks. Like I said yesterday, what did we get 10 carries? We feel comfortable putting Javon (Ringer) in there so you are going to see some of that just naturally because we will do it. Unfortunately we have had too many games where its been single digit carries or it’s been 10 carries or 11. I know if you run better then you get more opportunities so it’s easy for me to say, ‘well he has only had 10 carries so it’s hard  to judge a guy,’ but it is hard to sit there and that’s what starts happening for any position. When you do something very little, when you run the ball 14 times in a game…you start micromanaging every single play. ‘What could happen on this play, what could happen on this play,’ you are trying to find answers but you wish you had 30 or 35 plays to try to make the same comparison. Unfortunately, I thought this past weekend we would have had a lot more opportunities to run the football and we could have cleared this up. I thought that after the Cleveland game it was kind of headed the right direction and Pittsburgh comes and we have 12 carries and then last week was the same thing. It’s hard to come out of a slump if you want to call it a slump not having as many opportunities. You have to earn those opportunities but it’s just making this thing prolong, unfortunately. Everyone is very impatient, and we are too because to me the running game is most important and that’s how a team goes I think. How you run it and how you stop it and we are obviously not running it very well right now. 

(on if any players were being lackadaisical and not playing hard)

If I saw that, if we thought guys weren’t playing hard, then we wouldn’t have them out there playing. If we saw someone that was going through the motions or that wasn’t playing to win, then they shouldn’t be on the field, but I didn’t see that. We didn’t play well, but we weren’t a quitter. 

(on Javon Ringer making positive plays when given an opportunity)

Well I think like you said, some of it’s the situation, they were playing more of a pass defense. The quarterback did a great job of checking the play on the one run he had for about 25 yards. Matt (Hasselbeck) did a really nice job of checking us to a pass and getting us to a run because of the coverage he saw and the front he saw. He did a nice job on that and we are capable of doing those things and we had some checks earlier on a third-and-three where he checked to a run where Chris (Johnson) ran for a first down, I think it was the first series of the third quarter. Once we got behind by the four scores, we had to go more to the no-huddle and he does a good job of inserting those runs in and it’s obviously easier to run when you get that defense. 

(on Damian Williams’ injury status)

He got the win knocked out pretty good when the play happened and today I think they ran some tests on him and they feel pretty confident that he is doing pretty good, so we assume that he will be able to play this weekend. 

(on if he expected Damian Williams to return to the game)

That’s the whole thing, they come tell us that they are out there checking him and I think it was because it was tied in with having a headache and some symptoms of a concussion. Not necessarily a concussion, but some symptoms, they are going to be careful with that, which they were. I think today it was more thought that he should be OK. 

(on receivers not making plays and dropping balls)

Like we have always said, it’s making plays and they made them and we didn’t. When we had a chance early in that game, I firmly believe early in games it’s like Mr. Destiny. I think it changes thing dramatically in games. I go back to the Pittsburgh game when we failed to score a touchdown, it shouldn’t, but I think for some reason it affects the way the rest of the game rolled when we got held to a field goal. I think yesterday when we had the ball three times on their side of the field when the score was 0-0 and 3-0 and we came away with nothing on all three of those opportunities early in the game, I thought that really hurt us. So making plays like that that he dropped, the couple of them, you have got to make those plays. They are tough plays to make, but they are the ones you make. 

(on if he thought about challenging the flea-flicker play that was ruled an incomplete pass)

Yeah, actually I did. I was going to but everyone’s feeling on it was not going to be overturned, so I didn’t. At that point it was the first quarter with eight minutes left in the first quarter, it was early in the game. We didn’t think it would be overturned, so we stayed away from the flag. 

(on if he likes Matt Hasselbeck’s competitive fire and frustration when plays don’t work and his reaction after the incompletion to Ahmard Hall)

He wasn’t frustrated with (Ahmard Hall), he was frustrated that we didn’t get the right formation. That play in the game, he was hurried and had to throw the ball away. The clock was running down, there was supposed to be some motion tied to that play, he didn’t have time to do the motion so it kind of messed the play up. I think he was frustrated with more probably us. The fullback had nothing to do with it. The fact that we couldn’t get into the right formation because of the time crunch because I think we changed the play, he didn’t get a chance to get the play run. 

(on how many missed tackles he counted on tape)

I don’t have an official count, too many I guess is the best way to answer that question. One is too many I guess but there were too many as the game wore on. I think early we did exactly what we were hoping to do. The first two or three drives I thought we stopped them just like I thought we would, then after that they made a couple of big plays that shouldn’t have happened and it turned the game. 

(on the Texans’ run game)

I thought we did a nice job early in getting our fits. This is the same offense that we played a year ago at home here and held them to 40 yards rushing. It’s not something that’s been different for us, it’s almost the same personnel versus the same personnel, so it shows you what you are capable of doing. Yes they got some runs and there were some missed tackles and some tackles they made you miss. Give them credit, it’s a good running back that does some good things. The two of them, as the game wore on it got a little more out of hand there. Towards the end of the game where we gave up some yards that normally we wouldn’t when the game was out of hand in the fourth quarter. It was bad angles, it was some missed tackles, and it was some good running by them. 

(on if the Titans defense just had a “bad day”)

Well that’s how we are going to chalk it up, as   bad day where we didn’t play very well. We get to play them again so we have a chance to prove that one way or the other at the end of the season at their place. I think you chalk it up to the fact that you have been through this before with teams, I know I have as a player and a coach. You can play them one week and it’s one thing for some reason, and then three weeks later it’s just like when we played these guys last time. They beat us 20-0 and we looked horrible I thought in Houston, I think you all remember that game, and then three weeks later we came here and hammered them. That’s a year ago and it happens a lot when you play teams within the division. You don’t want to get beat lopsided at home obviously, I didn’t expect that to happen and I would think if we played them 100 times that wouldn’t happen again at our stadium, but it happened. 

(on Donnie Avery)

He helped us early winning the one-on-one route and forcing the pass interference which was a nice positive start. He actually went in on the run game and had a crack on the defensive end and did a nice job. I think when he had to play more than expected that got a little hard because he wasn’t as comfortable in some situations once Damian (Williams) was out. He was OK, again, for a guy that is still trying to figure out what we are doing and making the adjustments on the run during the game from not playing much the first two games to having to play a lot more yesterday. 

(on if Donnie Avery can be a bigger part of the offense)

To be determined I guess is the best way to answer, I think, when he feels more comfortable. That’s just one of those things, like Matt (Hasselbeck) is getting used to all of the receivers. I think it’s the same thing with him with just getting a comfort between him and Matt. We were planning on him playing more anyway yesterday, that was the plan to mix him in more and he just ended up playing a little bit more because of the injury. 

(on of he watched the Colts game)

I did not watch it, I had seen enough football yesterday. Sundays I am not a big football watcher after our games so I did not see it. I heard the score this morning, but I haven’t had the chance to watch the tape yet of that game. 

(on if Chris Hope or Colin McCarthy may be back this week)

I think (Colin) McCarthy may be the only one who has a chance depending on how he does the next couple of days and if he has turned the corner enough to start running hard on that or not. That’s probably something we will probably determine early this week. 

(on the William Hayes injury)

Those things can linger, it just depends. As of today I don’t think it was any different, really he hasn’t had any relief since it happened Friday afternoon at practice I think we were talking to you all about. He was just running and it popped on him or something, it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be anything major, but it’s still bothering him. Right now we will kind of wait and see how he does the next two days. 

(on if this group of receivers can help the Titans win games)

Well I think what happens there is, if we put as much pressure on them as we are now because we are not running the ball, then I would say it’s going to be very hard, we are making it hard. When one phase of your game is struggling, it’s no different if we could only run the ball and we weren’t passing very well then that becomes as different type of strain. I think the strain we are putting on the receivers is we expect too much because we need help in all phases. We need to be a more balanced offense and that will take the pressure off what’s expected in the passing game and off of Matt (Hasselbeck). You can’t expect Matt Hasselbeck to come in here and have 16 perfect games. He did his best to do that for us for the first four or five weeks, but we have to help in other areas as an offense and a defense. We can’t count on one guy to make up for lack of performance in other areas. 

(on if he is worried that this team does not understand the consistency that this franchise has had in running the ball)

Unfortunately that’s been since the season started that that’s been a topic that obviously we have been discussing here to the media and to each other in our meeting rooms. It’s new territory for us and for this team. We have had spurts in the run game over the years where we weren’t running well for a period of time, we would have two or three bad games but usually we would come out of it and the talk would go on to something else and that’s kind of how you like it. Unfortunately, all of the talk is staying in one area because for some reason we just can’t, we had a one week reprieve of actually running better and blocking better. Right now it’s frustrating, it’s frustrating to have one phase so different than the other or from other spots. That’s not the only area we are struggling. We are not consistent in other areas, unfortunately. That area is an area we have been working our best to get fixed and we just have to find ways to get more opportunities at it and improve it. We are not going to win many, and we lost yesterday not because we couldn’t run but not being able to run the ball didn’t help. 

(on why not take a look at Terrell Owens)

I have always said from the beginning of this that we would look at anybody, I think when people think we are going to run out there and we are going to go after him that people get the wrong idea, they think that means we are signing him. I think we are interested in anybody who is available. Right now there is still a very small group of people that you can actually improve your roster with. You can’t trade anymore so it’s not like you have all these ways to change your roster. You have guys that don’t have jobs, they are the ones who are available to get right now at this point unless someone gets cut. As players get cut over the next few weeks or so then you can make some changes. Yeah we are going to look at anybody. In his case, if he is having a workout, and he does a great job, then yeah, I’m sure there will be a lot of teams looking to see if it’s a fit. There are a lot of things you have to look at when you bring someone else in, you have to cut someone, you have to figure out financially if it fits and you have to figure out if that person fits with your roster. If all of those things work and you are going to better your roster, then you are not being a smart football team if you don’t bring that person in. If that happened to be him and he fit all of that criteria then I would think if he is a perfect fit and he would be great for us the last eight or nine weeks, then sure we are going to take a look at him or anyone else like him that we think can help us. 

(on the wide receiver pick-play)

It just didn’t look good. To the official, I should say all three officials because they rained on that one but I would say it just didn’t look good. It’s just like a holding call they see the body language, and bam, the body language on that even though we weren’t trying to pick them. That was not our intent, it just didn’t look good to the officials. It’s one of those teams where every team runs the same stuff, you see all the same things out there and sometimes it looks better than others and sometimes there is no call. That goes for pick plays and how you pass block and how you run block and sometimes holding doesn’t get called because you learn how to do it a little smarter than the next guy who does it a little more obvious. It’s all going on out there, it’s just a matter of it they are going to call it or not. A lot of time they don’t really think you are really holding them because that guy is not really showing you that they are holding them they are not going to throw the flag. So there is a little acting there sometimes too. 

(on who was responsible for covering Arian Foster on the touchdown pass)

One of our linebackers blew his coverage. When a team is running the ball well you get antsy. You saw them making some throws over the top of the linebackers and that’s because if you are running the ball well it opens up other things. Linebackers want to attack the line of scrimmage because they are being told on the sidelines, ‘attack the line of scrimmage, man you have to attack the line of scrimmage to shut the run down.’ Well then if they get fooled on a hand off then all of the sudden they are attacking the line of scrimmage and people are getting behind them. You are seeing them get some throws over the top and if you can’t stop the run then that’s the next thing that hurts you is that. Then they run the boot, which is the same play, run a lot, then all of the sudden they run the boot and the player lost the running back in the mix. He came through the line of scrimmage and kind of lost him and got fooled a little on the play and it ends up being a huge play for them and a play that really hurt us in the second quarter. 

(on what the issue is with the run defense)

That’s why when people are so into change, ‘we need to do something, someone has got to be to blame for what’s going on,’ that’s why you can’t panic and do that. We have done some good things in the run game and we have done some good things so you have to have confidence in what you are doing. I think if you show you are going to change things every time you have a bad day then, you have to be smart about it, but I think we feel good about what we are doing. We don’t feel good about how things transpired yesterday but we still feel good about how we are teaching things and how we are doing things and it’s just a matter of technique breaking down, angles breaking down and not doing it as well as we had been doing it. I think sometimes when you get behind in games for some reason, when the other team has more control of what’s happening on the score board and on the field it kind of changes the philosophy. Guys tend to try to do too much and all of the sudden they are missing their gap and it leads to big plays. It shows you in this league how quickly things can change if you are not doing your job.

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