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Coach Munchak's Oct. 17 Practice Report

Posted Oct 17, 2013

HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on Jake Locker’s comments about preparing as if he will be a starter on Sunday)

He’s just an amazing guy that way. I think that’s the way he has to go about that when they’re practicing, they’re practicing to play. That’s how he’s always been, and he was like that last year when he was hurt. He came out and looked better today. I think he’s just getting better every day. We gave him a few more reps today than yesterday, so I think he’s headed in the right direction no doubt. We’ll see how he is tomorrow.

(on whether there is a chance Jake Locker will play Sunday)

You know, we’ll consider anything, but we’ll wait until tomorrow because that’s a lot of ifs. He did more today individually and (we) pushed him more today, had him moving more, and those types of things. It’s kind of wait and see really where he’s at. We don’t want to ever say he can’t do anything, so we’ll just wait until tomorrow and see.

(on whether the team is still planning on Ryan Fitzpatrick starting this weekend)

We’re not going to change anything until there’s a reason to do that. Like I said, a lot of it will depend on the next 24 hours or so to see really how he’s doing and what is realistic. Again, like I said, we put him through a lot of things today, movement stuff, things that are more game-like for him. It’s kind of wait and see now.

(on what Jake Locker did in practice)

He took reps, more reps. He didn’t do a whole lot yesterday, so he did more today. He split some of the reps in some of the periods, so he did a lot more on the side, moving around, moving him out of the pocket, scrambling, and doing things like that—that’s more of some of the things that could come up in a game. You can’t work on everything, obviously. We’re not going to have him get hit or anything, but just having people around his legs, part of the pass rush, doing those types of things is always good for a quarterback. Just like Shonn’s (Greene) trying to do as a running back. He did a little bit more today, also. Like any guy coming off an injury, you kind of have to go through the process. It’s just a matter of how quickly we feel he’s ready to play or not ready to play.

(on whether he is surprised by Jake Locker’s progress)

That’s one good thing about him—he’s a guy that has unfortunately been hurt, but he heals usually ahead of schedule. He definitely loves the game, definitely wants to be part of it, doesn’t want to miss it. These last two weeks have really been hard for him, so I think he’s going to do everything he can to put himself in a situation where he’s ready to play.

(on whether Jake Locker is medically cleared to play)

Yeah, he’s cleared. I mean, he can play. Medically, I can, I assume, do everything he’s capable of doing. It’s just a matter of can he do that? Is he quite ready yet with his body? There’s no doubt the more you rest, the more you take off, the stronger your leg’s going to feel, your knee, in time. It doesn’t mean you can’t play in the meantime. I think it’s more of seeing, like we said, as we put him through things he hasn’t done in a few weeks, how his body responds, and that’s kind of what we’re doing now.

(on whether Jake Locker looks limited in certain situations.

Not really. He’s not, obviously, dragging it or his leg in any means, so it’s hard to tell. It’s more about if that knee gets fatigued or how he feels in a regular game. That’s why in practice we were trying do more things with him when he wasn’t working on the side, simulating a long drive, doing things with Coach (Dowell) Loggains and things like that. We’ll do everything we can before we actually put him in there. We’re not going to put him in a game unless we feel comfortable he’s ready to go.

(on how Brian Schwenke looks at center)

He’s done a nice job. For him, it’s just going to be going out there and playing in a game again (because) he hasn’t experienced that in a while. So, that’s going to be the interesting part with how fast the game’s going to be moving when we get started. He’s got everything else; we’re not concerned for that mentally, physically (because) that’s all good. I think he communicates well with the guys, and he’s worked with them throughout OTAs and camp. I think he’ll be fine. I think there will be some things that will be challenging. This is a good group of guys he’s playing against, but we feel good about the push and some of the things he should be able to do that we haven’t been doing the last few weeks.

(on Brian Schwenke transitioning from inactivity to his role as a full-time starter)

It’s going to be hard. Luckily, he’s very thankful for the weather; I know that. Hopefully it’s in the 60s, because believe me, if it was in the 90s, it would be a huge issue I think. He’s a big boy, and I think he’s gained a few pounds since he’s been here. Again, if you saw (Steve) Watterson’s workouts on Sundays, I think he’s going to be pretty happy he’s not doing those anymore at the stadium with all the kettle balls and running the steps and all those things those guys do. I think he thinks this might be easier, at least for a half. That’s going to be a challenge, no doubt. You can’t simulate going against guys that are 325-pound nose tackles or going against linebackers and all the things that are expected from him. You know, we’re excited about him. This was the best timing for him to play—anything sooner I don’t think he was quite ready for, and it wasn’t a good situation to go into with how our schedule played out. This is kind of a good time to let him kind of get his feet wet and let him take over.

(on whether he worries about fumbles of botched snaps with a new center)

There’s always things, but, again, that’s why we didn’t want to open up on the road with him for that reason. I don’t think that would have been fair at all to do that like in Seattle for example or any of our road games. I think this gave us a chance to do this, but (concerns about fumbling) are always there. That’s not something you want to think about. We’ve worked on it out here, and that hasn’t really been a problem since he’s been here. I can’t imagine that being an issue at all in this game. The other stuff will be a little more concerning with the silent count and doing all that his first game because there’s so much more going on that he’s thinking about, and all of a sudden you forget about snapping the football. This will give him a chance to play a full game then have another week before we actually go on the road. I think this is about as good of a situation as he can have.

(on Shonn Greene’s progress)

He’s similar (to Jake Locker). He did more today, more reps, did his individuals, did some 7-on-7, ran the ball a little bit today in the period. We thought he did pretty good with pads on. He got hit around a little bit, and that was good for him. So, again, we’ll see how he is tomorrow, and hopefully he can do more tomorrow. It’s different for him because he’s not starting. He could be a role player, so you’re looking at seeing if he can give you 15 or 20 snaps in the game this week—that’s more of what you’re looking at with him, and that’s not as hard to do as maybe for another position.

(on whether he is optimistic about Shonn Greene’s return to the lineup)

Yeah. We’re hoping he can (play). There’s nothing to say he can’t. Like Jake (Locker), we’re waiting to see how (Shonn Greene) feels tomorrow and then how much more he can do tomorrow to see that. We think it is. We’re happy with Jackie (Battle), and we can go forward with that, but obviously, you want to get your guys out there. We’ll be anxious to see if he can go, and I’d love for him to have an opportunity to suit up. If physically he can, then we will (play him).

(on growing pains with Brian Schwenke as the new starting center)

There’s no doubt that’s going to be a work in progress, but when you’re as big as he is, as strong as he is, you make up for a lot of things not being just right in the run game and the pass game because he takes up so much more space. You can get away with not being as exact as you need to on some of your fits, and that’s what he’s got going for him. There’s going to be some communication things here and there (because) these guys are used to each other in the heat of the battle making calls. But, like I said, he’s more than able to handle this. I’ve done it with other centers when I was a line coach that came in during the season—he’s kind of like those guys. He’s smart, so I don’t think that’s going to be a problem. It will just be a matter of when you have a few seconds to make those calls, can you get it to Chance (Warmack), can you get it to (Andy) Levitre. That will be something we have to develop as we go.

(on the challenges Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman present)

They read things so fast, and they’re going to play our tendencies in a big way. They’re going to read our formations and dissect them quickly, and they can run. Those guys can run, and they’re a tough matchup for a back to block. In pass protection, they do a good job of trying to find a way to get them on your running back. They can apply pressure to the quarterback, and they’re all over the field. They’re physical guys. They’ve got two special ones there I think. That’s going to be a challenge throughout the game for us dealing with them in the run game and the pass game.

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