HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK
(on what he saw out of
I thought it was good just having him out there. He was able to do all of his individual drills. He did some 7-on-7, took some snaps, did some team stuff. I thought it was a good start for him. We’ll see how sore he is, and we’ll watch the tape kind of watch him a little closer and see how he was moving around; there’s not a lot of stress out there doing things, but he threw the ball well. It was a good start for him.
(on the likelihood Jake Locker will play this weekend)
We’re not really thinking along those lines. We’re thinking we’re glad he’s out there, so after today we’ll decide how much more work to give him and kind of where he’s at. A lot of times, the first time out, (guys) are pretty sore the next day. We’ll see how he’s doing. Like we said, he’s on schedule. We’ll take it day-by-day, give him a little bit of work. Obviously, we’ve got to get a quarterback ready to play Sunday, and that’s why we’re giving him some work just to get him warmed up, get him throwing again, give him confidence again in the pocket.
(on whether the upcoming bye week plays a factor in the decision to play Jake Locker)
Yeah it does. That’s something you’re definitely going to consider with him and maybe some of the other guys with some injuries…when you get to the end of the week and what’s best for the team, what’s best for him. Ultimately, we have to do whatever it takes to win this football game this week, so we’re thinking along those lines, too. It’s important to have our best guys out there, but ultimately there’s a lot of season left. Having a week off next week definitely factors in.
(on whether he plans on starting
We’re not declaring anything. Like I said, we’re not saying he’s out. We’re going forward with Ryan (Fitzpatrick), but we want to see how well, how fast along Jake (Locker) comes. We’re going to do the same thing with Shonn (Greene). I mean,
(on Ryan Fitzpatrick’s interceptions)
Well, the first one he sailed it. I think he was excited about having him wide open and missed it. So, that was he found the right guy, just a bad throw. The second one thrown was just a bad decision. The ball shouldn’t have come out there, and he knows that. In that case with the game 13-10, I could second guess, but that ball should’ve been dumped down. It wasn’t, and that’s the struggle with playing quarterback—their mistakes are always the worst mistakes when you turn the ball over.
(on concerns with Ryan Fitzpatrick fumbling the ball)
We’ve been lucky there, and Jake (Locker) dropped one in week three and recovered it. Quarterbacks always scare me that way (because) when they’re running around, they’re not really thinking about ball security; they’re trying to find a place to lay down. That’s something we’re aware of, and we drill it. They got to be smarter in the pocket with guys swatting at the ball. We realize the three games we won we didn’t turn the ball over, and the ones we lost we obviously had five turnovers. We have to clean that up.
I think he’ll continue to get better. He’s a player I think that needs the work, needs the reps, needs to be part of the system. I think him missing all of training camp definitely slowed him down. In Pittsburgh, that was really his first time playing. I think we’ll see him get better and better as the season goes on. He’s playing a lot of reps; we do a lot of things, so I think he’ll be better at those things as we go forward. That’s another phases, the tight ends, another group that needs to play better. We’re asking them to do a lot of things, so that will get better. He’s been, obviously, a great asset to our team. It’s a big game for him this weekend.
(on what he is looking for from Delanie Walker as the season progresses)
Just overall, I think he’ll be blocking differently. I think he’ll block better, get a feel for what we’re doing in our schemes. He’s moving a lot, so he’s got to make decisions on the move with where to cut up and get his block. He’s a guy that you’re asking to be in a lot of spots. He’s playing the slot, and he’s blocking out there. He’s back in blocking as a fullback. It’s different (because) he went from their system to ours, (and) there’s differences in that. He’s on the job training because he didn’t do this during training camp, so we’re doing it now. I think he’s getting more comfortable in what we’re asking him to do. In the passing game, he’s been a good weapon. I think he’ll keep getting more balls to him.
(on the importance of getting other tight ends involved in the offense)
I guess just because the playing time has been, it’s been so much more limited this year so far. We’ve been playing a lot more three wide receivers and with Delanie (Walker) playing, the fact he can do so much more, and we’re letting him block more, (Craig) Stevens is getting a lot less reps in situations where he caught more balls when he was in three wide receiver sets. So, that’s affected his opportunities. They are just lower because of that; it’s not an indictment on him by any means. I think he played 20 snaps last week, and you only played 52 in a game. It goes back to that ultimate number, which is affecting everyone’s chance to contribute more. That’s on us, on our offense not producing the way it should.
(on the tendency to move away from play-action when the team isn’t running the ball well)
I think we’d keep doing it. I think that’s what we did in the game on the one interception. There was opportunity there, and (teams) are still playing us to run it. Even if you’re not running it, teams are going to honor it because they don’t want to get the running game going. They figure that’s going to frustrate you, so they get it your head—and it does because you’re dealing with, ‘Oh, here we go again.’ (Even) when you have two, three games when you’re not running the ball well, teams want to make sure (play-action) doesn’t happen. The play-action is always there. For a while there, a few of those games there, we were getting some big chunks off that, and that’s what we need to go back to doing.
(on the temptation to play Jake Locker given the importance of this game)
I think we’re just excited. When he got hurt that day, we never thought we’d even be having this conversation this early after a couple weeks. We’re just excited about how well he’s recovered from the injury and how lucky he is to some degree on that. It’s something you have to be careful of, just like with Shonn (Greene). I mean (there are) guys you’re thinking you want back and this is a week (you would like to) get these guys back because (you’ve) got to win this football game, and we all know that. But, we have to be smart about it. If guys aren’t ready to play, there’s no way we’re going to put them out there. If they are ready, we’re going to put them out there.
(on whether Shonn Greene has a realistic chance of playing this weekend)
I think Shonn (Greene) has a chance. He’ll do more tomorrow, and we’re going to think positively. I would hope that he’s up and ready. How much he can do is another thing. It’s just a matter of if we feel things go well the next couple days, then we feel like he’d have a great chance to contribute on Sunday.
(on how much Shonn Greene did at practice today)
He went through it similar (to) Jake (Locker). He went through individual stuff, did some stuff with 7-on-7, had a couple carries, but he was limited, very limited, in that regard. Tomorrow will be more of a big test day for him I think.
(on how much Jake Locker did at practice)
He did a couple reps in the team period in the end—reps that Rusty (Smith) would normally take. We just gave him a couple. No (scout team work). At the end of practice we gave him a few of those like I said that normally Rusty would take just to get him out there. (It was) very limited.