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Coach Munchak's Nov. 21 Practice Report

Posted Nov 21, 2013

HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on whether he was worried when he heard Chris Johnson raced a cheetah)

No. No, not at all.

(on getting off the field on defense)

I just think like you were saying, making plays. Drives don’t start off maybe necessarily as well as we’d like. Like you mentioned earlier, in the (beginning of the) year, we did a better job of making a play, holding them to a field goal, maybe making them punt. Last couple games, it’s kind of caught us a bit. At times during the season, you’re going to have some games where it doesn’t go the way you hoped. We got to pick it up in other areas, maybe get a turnover, doing something on offense. No doubt that’s the phase of the game we stress.

(on getting after Matt McGloin)

I think there will be a plan for him now that we know who’s at quarterback. I think stopping the run is going to be the most important thing probably because that probably is the easiest way to make a quarterback feel uncomfortable to force him to have to throw the football. We can go in thinking we’re going to go after him—yeah, he’s a young quarterback, but if we can’t stop the run, it doesn’t matter. It’s going to be hard to be aggressive when they don’t have to take risks. That will be the challenge early which we know it will be. I think we’ll be successful there, so we should be able to apply some pressure to a young quarterback.

(on the Raiders’ decision to announce Matt McGloin as their starting quarterback)

It must be obvious. They want to move forward. A lot of times you hurt yourself by playing games. I think you do what’s best for your football team. I think it’s best for them to not be dealing with that question every day from the media with, ‘What are you doing, what are you doing, what are you doing?’ It’s a drain on the team. I think they knew what they were going to do. They probably did the smart thing.

(on Chris Johnson not having as many carries or yards in the second half against the Colts)

The thing is a lot gets thought about the adjustments. A lot of times it’s just they (the Colts) didn’t miss a tackle, they played their scheme better. There really wasn’t anything different they did. They didn’t start blitzing, they didn’t start adding another guy. They already had eight guys up—you can’t put nine up. They just played a little better at times. He didn’t have as many opportunities when we had the cold front there where we didn’t have the ball when they scored 17 unanswered, and the offense didn’t get one play in. It had a lot to do with that, but there wasn’t anything dramatic that happened. We lost opportunities, lost our momentum a little bit, and that’s kind of where it went. We needed that done a little differently than it did, but that’s how it is during games. You’re going to have your ebbs and flows, but we need to do a better job finishing stronger in the fourth quarter with running the football.

(on the challenges of playing out west)

I think just not getting caught up in it. It’s another game. Obviously, there’s a two-hour time difference, but it shouldn’t be that dramatic in making a flight out there in the morning and playing a game out there on a Sunday. From the time I started playing, I never understood it all. If we were going to Europe, I think it’s a little different. If we’re going to Hawaii and playing a game, there’s no doubt. When I used to go out to the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, I used to take a day to get organized and feel like you were ready to play. A two-hour time difference, I don’t think there’s a reason to have a problem, a letdown, or have that be part of the mindset at all. I think that’s the problem is that people ask that question every day, and guys start thinking, ‘Maybe there is something to this.’ You got to be smart how you do your schedule and all those things, little things here and there, but ultimately how we play on Sunday should have nothing to do with west coast, central time, east time. I don’t think it should matter.

(on whether the team purposely played AC/DC at practice to simulate Oakland’s music and game day atmosphere)

I think it just happens to be a coincidence that that’s what we’re going to hear there, it’s the hard rock. It’s a little crazy out there which will be good. It’ll be fun. This week we just wanted to create noise to anticipate what we’re going to hear out there on third downs, third-and-one situations like we do every week.

(on whether he worries about the team’s stamina when running no-huddle)

You know what, I don’t think so. I think we look at it as the defense is just as disadvantaged as we are that we’re playing against. When we do it, we mix it in. Especially with the weather being different, I think if it was hot, if it was all of a sudden 90-degree weather and we were doing something new, I think it would definitely be a factor. Communication is definitely probably the hardest part of just being able to talk on the line of scrimmage. On the plays we’re not hurrying up, the guys have time because we’re doing runs and passes—it’s not just like a two-minute drill. They’ve done a good job. I think it’s something with the time of year it’s happening, it’s something kind of new for them. We’ve been doing it all through OTAs and camp to really get our defense ready for the offense we felt they would face this year. The offense really came up with a plan for the same thing, and obviously we didn’t do it as much with Jake (Locker) because we had a different way to attack. But, I think this is something that they’re having fun with because it’s something you can keep adding to daily. You can add different code words, different names of what you’re doing. I think it adds another change, so it’s something different for the second half of the season. Hopefully it’ll go well for us.

(on rating the linebackers and their tackling this season)

You know, you judge different parts of the season on how things are going. Again, a lot of these things people are always evaluating how it is right now. I think for a period we tackled very well, I think certain guys are tackling very well this year. I think we’re tackling better than last year and the year before from what I’ve seen. I think the last few games we haven’t tackled as well as we need to. I think it was more about guys being out of position, about guys not hitting the right gap, so all of a sudden you’re out of position. That’s kind of what we were doing a good job of this year avoiding. I think I bragged on that a few weeks ago. The biggest difference I think from this year to past years is the communication has been so good, and we’re in position that the guys are tackling better. I think the last few games we’ve had some issues where guys were out of position a little bit, and that led to us missing tackles. Now, we’ll miss tackles. Some backs are going to run you over and make you look bad at times. Guys are going to make you miss, and that’s part of it, too. I think we haven’t been as consistent as we had been. I think that had been our strength here. I think the last few weeks it has been a little inconsistent, and we have to bring that up in that part of the field especially.

(on whether Moise Fokou will play Sunday and what he brings to the defense)

First part of the question, I think he looks good. There’s a good chance that he should be able to play this weekend. Not as many, not every snap like he had been when he was starting, but I think it definitely looks like he could be part of the equation this weekend and the game plan. I think what he did was he really took control of the defense. I think he really, for a guy that unexpectedly came in, was very confident. He’s doing what we’re doing, and that carried over to the players. I think they responded to the fact when there were adjustments needed, he made the calls immediately. They knew exactly where they were supposed to be. I think we played better as a group for whatever reason when he was there. I think it was just more consistent. I mean, we’ve done some good things with the other combinations, but I think it’s just when you’ve got something going and you’ve worked it all through training camp and all through the games and you hear a certain guy’s voice and he’s making changes, you kind of get used to that routine. All of a sudden it goes away, and someone else has to pick up the slack, not just the new linebacker. It changes. Unfortunately, it affects guys a little bit, but hopefully we’ll be back to all that.

(on whether he has been pleasantly surprised by Fokou this season)

No, we didn’t know because he hadn’t had that opportunity in the past where he had been. I don’t know what the situations were with those teams, maybe just because of guys ahead of him they didn’t need him in that role. Coach (Chet) Parlavecchio looked at him, and I remember him talking about how he could be an every down linebacker, how he could do all these things he’s doing now. We thought we’ll wait and see. I think he’s been one of the real good surprises for us this year the fact that he can play every down, the fact that he stayed on the field every snap, and the confidence he plays with for a guy that hasn’t been in that opportunity. He’s made the best of his chances, and sometimes that happens. Sometimes it’s just a really good fit. Someone comes into a situation and just fits right, and he’s a guy that’s really come in and made it work. When you get on a roll, whether it be offense or defense, the group is playing well together. All of a sudden you pull a piece out, and for some reason it’s not playing quite as good. It’s not an indictment on Colin (McCarthy) or anyone else. Colin’s played pretty solid, too. There’s a good chance Colin will be in the mix playing. He can play Will, he can play Mike, we have some more versatility. We finally may have a little depth there. We could get (Zaviar) Gooden back, and we could do some others things rather than have the combinations we’ve had. This gives us a lot more flexibility.

(on whether John Skelton will be the team’s third-string quarterback)

He’s learning. We’re just glad he’s here. Rusty (Smith) will be the two going forward. If something changes, we’ll look at it. But, right now I think we’re happy with the way it is.

(on Jake Locker’s surgery)

I haven’t gotten the full layout. The surgery was done yesterday. I think they were feeling good about how it went, no surprises. Like I said, I know he’s happy it’s behind him. Now the rehab will begin which is going to be a long process. I haven’t had a chance to talk to Dr. Elrod and our doctors of exactly what the timetable is going to be. But, I think everything went well. Like I said, no surprises which is a big thing. We know he’ll be ready for training camp and OTAs and things. It’s just a matter of exactly how the whole thing will work.

(on whether Locker will rehab here)

Yes, I assume he will. He’s not going to be able to do anything for a while. I think he will pretty much stay off it for a long period of time. Like I said, we’ll get briefed more on exactly how they see it going forward.

(on whether Locker will still take part in team activities)

He should be back, he’ll be back. He’ll be in the meetings, I’m sure he’ll be doing everything. He’s a guy that just wants to be part of it, we want him part of it. I don’t know exactly when he’s coming back to town or anything. I’m assuming after this trip we’ll see him, but I haven’t really talked to him. But, he’ll be back.

(on Oakland’s receiving corps)

Good speed as they always have. It seems like they’ve always had guys that can run. They haven’t been throwing the ball. I mean, they’ve been concentrating on the run, so it’s something that…all of a sudden last week they had three touchdown passes. I think they’ve had six or seven all year, and I think they’ve had a bunch last week. I think their offense can be different now that they have different quarterback in there. I think the philosophy will be a little bit different other than we know they’re going to run. They won’t have as much, obviously, designed for the quarterback. So, we can’t fall asleep on things like that because they’re going to start using the receivers more so than they have in the past when they were blocking more than they were catching balls.

(on who will wear the headset on defense)

It makes it complicated going into the weekend because you’re looking at combinations of guys, how you’re going to play guys. We’re waiting to decide on Moise (Fokou) tomorrow and how much he can play and how we use him versus how we would use (Colin) McCarthy, how we’re going to move the guys around if he can play in certain packages. That’s something we hope to settle tomorrow, and everything else will fall into place. That’s the thing with the injuries especially on defense; it affects a lot of people, a lot of positions, a lot of packages, so those are the things we’ll finalize tomorrow.

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