HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK
(on players’ statuses heading into Sunday)
(David) Stewart will be questionable,
He’s just a little sore. I think the last couple weeks he’s been fighting through soreness, so we basically held him. That was more of us giving him a day of rest. He should be fine for Sunday.
Yeah, we’ll see how he is after today, after working today. He had a good workout today, and we’ll see where he’s at with that injury, what kind of pounding he could take this week with a short week—all those things we’re kind of thinking about with him.
I think he’s a smart player, that’s number one. Every time he’s played he goes in there and just fits right in. I mean, he has done good over the years with whoever’s next to him at guard. He’s good with Chance (Warmack). They’ve been working together all year because of (David) Stewart’s situation, so that’s a good communicator who communicates well. He’s very rarely going to make a mistake that way, so that’s the biggest plus. He doesn’t get rattled, and that’s the other plus. The other thing is he’s going to be solid in what he does. He’s a guy that’s been beat up over the years, hasn’t played a lot. He’s going to be probably better in the run game than in the pass game, but he still moved well that way, does a good job on the backside. He’s solid. It seems when he’s in there, we seem to have success on a short-term basis. I think he’d have a hard time being able to play the whole year or something, but I think the way he’s played he’s done a nice job for us.
(on whether David Stewart will be battling injuries all year long)
That’s what we’re trying to do right now. We thought we’d come over the hump and then when he got the shoulder in the San Francisco game, that kind of created the problem—that’s why he missed the game. I think with the rest he’s had, hopefully like you were saying, when we get these last seven, eight games that he gets this behind him. We need him practicing. It’s hurt us not having him out there during the week and getting a lot of this work done with the other guys. He needs that. He’s frustrated, too, so we’re hoping that (with) the rest he has had, we’ll kind of get that behind him and that he can practice the rest of the season.
(on hammering away at Jacksonville early in the game)
That’s part of the mind game, that’s no doubt. They’re coming off an off week which is probably good for them to clear the slate and get a different mindset coming in. If we can get out early and disrupt them from the beginning, that would be the best thing we could do. We have to assume it’s going to be a toe-to-toe fight. In that window we have to take over the game if that’s early, in the second quarter, whatever it may be and realize, ‘Hey, don’t get panicky if it goes down to the wire.’ No matter what kind of game it is, we have to find a way to win it. They know that (because) it’s a division game and all that. We’ve said all that so they know everything they need to know. Now come Sunday we just got to play better.
At his position, it’s hard to hide (an injury) the way he has to run and do the things he has to do. It’s going to take three to six, three to five weeks kind of thing. It’s going to take the whole length of that just because of the position he plays and what’s demanded of him. He’s doing well, and there’s no doubt he’s circling the calendar with playing against Indianapolis. That’s been his goal since the beginning that that would probably be the most realistic return, best chance return I should say. We’ll find out (because) it’s less than a week now, so we have to see how he handles Monday and Tuesday.
(on whether Moise Fokou will get his starting job back when he returns)
I think we feel if he’s healthy, if there are no concerns for his health, and he’s playing at the health level he was at, than yes, he should go in there and play. He’s made a difference for our defense, and he’s done a nice job. Colin’s (McCarthy) done a good job. That’s the luxury we have now. If Moise (Fokou) isn’t ready at that level where he can play the way he needs to play, you don’t have to force him back in there because we feel Colin can do a very good job. At linebacker, we can do things with Fokou, getting him in packages also. That way we can get him on the field against Indy where he maybe plays 25 snaps and kind of plays certain packages. Those are the things we can do with him to ease him back in until he’s ready to be the guy.