HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK
(on overcoming slow starts both defensively and offensively)
It has been. It seems like one phase is struggling every game. It’s really been defense all year struggling with that first drive then they had the Jets game and did very well, had Kansas City, and did very well the last two weeks. It seemed like the offense struggled for the first time with the ball. That’s what we need to get behind us especially on the road going to Seattle. We can’t afford to have a slow first quarter for anybody. We just have to come out and play much better early in the game especially on the road at a tough place to play against a good football team. We all know that. We’re doing everything we can to accomplish that, and we’ll see what happens.
(on the team’s improved third down defense)
I think so far we’ve tackled better when they’ve thrown the ball. We’ve made a lot of tackles in certain games where they will be a yard short, two yards short, three yards short—we’ve done a great job with that. (We’ve) taken away the deeper stuff and given them stuff underneath and making the tackle. That’s been a big part of what we’ve done, and I thought last year we missed a lot of tackles which we shouldn’t have. I think the pressure has been better. I think the coverage had been better, the schemes a little different. I think some of this you saw in the second half of last season. There were quite a few games in the second half where we did the same thing. We had a couple games that weren’t so good, but six out of the eight were really good defensive performances last year. I think we just kind of picked up on some of that, played a little more man, press a little more, the rush is a little better. I think those combinations have made a difference so far in the season.
(on the team tackling better this year)
I think just the staff did a great job focusing on what we struggled with last year. I think that was the emphasis right from the beginning when Jerry (Gray) and I started talking back in January about how we fix what went on. Besides getting personnel, improving personnel, and bringing in five new defensive players that have made a difference that way…I think it’s been more of what we’ve focused on drill-wise, technique-wise. That’s our job as coaches how to fix what’s going on. So, you credit the coaches for the drills they’re doing, how they’re emphasizing things at practice, and how the players have responded. I think it’s just a combination of a bunch of those things.
I think just continue to get chances to play. I think at practice he’s getting more reps. I think that’s the biggest thing that the more he plays, the more comfortable he’ll get. It’s like any rookie at a new position—every game is so different. The game plan is so different, and the coverage is so different. I think each game it’s not as easy to adjust for a young receiver. There are certain things that he can do no matter who he plays against, and there’s other things that he’s got to get better at. It’s just a matter of him working and us giving him more opportunities, which is easier said than done because you’ve got guys playing well. You’ve got Kendall (Wright) playing well, you’ve got Nate (Washington) playing well. Damian (Williams) played well when he got in there, so you’ve got guys. I think we have a group of guys that want to stay on the field, so it gets hard to get reps. But, he’ll keep getting them.
Probably. I think it’s more of medically with that long flight what’s the best thing for him to do. I think he’s progressed really well so far. Plus, we’ll get out there Saturday morning, so he’ll have an opportunity to get treatments a couple times on Saturday, Sunday. It would probably be better for him to come with us than him not because he’ll get a lot more work done being with us. So, it’ll probably work out that he’ll be with us.
(on whether Jake Locker will be allowed to see his alma mater play on Saturday)
Probably not. He’ll probably be watching tape and studying with us. I think Fitz (
(on keeping Jake Locker sharp and not rusty)
I mean, he won’t allow that to happen. He’s in all the meetings with the quarterbacks. He was here on Tuesday. Even when he’s getting treatment, he’s in all the meetings with the quarterbacks when they’re by themselves. He’s doing everything he normally does. He’s just obviously not partaking in practice. That’s disappointing for him, and he knows he’s got to be patient. Hopefully, in a few weeks he’ll be out there.
(on Marshawn Lynch as a weapon for Seattle)
You have a quarterback that can run the offense, but I think when you get past that it’s all about the running back. The running back definitely going back to the last few years has been the difference maker for them on offense. Once (Russell) Wilson got it going last year, making the plays he made with his feet and throwing the ball as well as he had…that’s what you need to have. They have it going on, and they have a lot of confidence in their run game. They should. They do a nice job with it, and he’s a heck of a runner. We have our hands full putting him on the ground. We were talking earlier about tackling well, and this is a game we better tackle well or he’s (Marshawn Lynch) going to run you over, and the quarterback will make you miss. It’s going to be a great challenge for us on the road to do those things on defense.
(on what makes Marshawn Lynch good)
You have to tackle him. You better come low and put him on the ground or he’s going to run over you or by you. Obviously, people feed off that—teammates feed off that, crowds feed off that just like when Jackie (Battle) ran over some people. That’s contagious. That’s something the other guys get excited about when they see it happen, and he’s a guy that does it every other play it seems like. So, that’s a big challenge for us.