HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK
(on injuries heading into Sunday)
Guys that would be out are (Zaviar) Gooden and Moses Fokou. Questionable would be Jake (Locker),
(on who will start at quarterback Sunday)
We haven’t decided yet.
(on which quarterback he is leaning with)
We’re not really leaning anyway, it’s just that Jake (Locker) has done well. He was better today; did everything we wanted him to do, and now we need to spend some time with him, talk as an offense, and decide what we think is best for Sunday.
He’ll have a big say. We really want to get a good feel for what he feels he can do well and what his limitations may or may not be. Those are things that go into it now that we’re at this point. I thought on the field he handled himself pretty well, got a little more confidence every day, and I think both of them have gotten enough reps where either one of them could play on Sunday. We just need to finish up some talks today and make a decision.
(on Jake Locker’s limitations heading into Sunday)
We don’t know that, (and) that’s the hard part. Anytime a quarterback has a knee…just like Shonn Greene’s going to have some limitations. We’ll see what we think they may be. We don’t want to say that out loud, but we have to take into account the things that could come up in a game and make sure we’re comfortable with the fact that he puts us in the best position to go ahead and win on Sunday. Now that we have all the factors, we’re not going to get much other than seeing how he is tomorrow when he comes in. All indications are that he’s obviously been handling the work load. We just got to decide what we think is best.
(on whether 80 percent is good enough with Jake Locker)
Well, your starting quarterback is always going to bring that extra energy to your team. That’s something we can’t get caught up in that because we have got to do what’s best—it’s a long season. There’s been a lot of players like Shonn Greene—he’s done the same thing—and (Derrick) Morgan. There’s guys that we’re sitting here thinking, ‘Yeah, they do a lot of stuff at practice, and we like what we’re seeing, but can they actually help us on Sunday?’ We just got to make those decisions in the next day or so, today and tomorrow, going forward. It’s not just Jake (Locker), but obviously that’s the biggest one because it’s the quarterback. We have other ones we make every week with the same criteria, so we just have to take a look at those kind of things (with respect) to what’s best for us, if we do this versus this, what our options are, what we think may play out in the game, what may be necessary to win this ball game. You kind of play all those factors in and make a decision.
(on whether the decision to play Jake Locker has to be made tomorrow)
Well, I think you want the guys to know who they are, you want them to lock in. Nothing is going to change probably on a Sunday morning with Jake (Locker) working out I don’t think. At this point, if by tomorrow afternoon he’s doing well or some of these other guys are doing well, you want to let these guys know as soon as possible, as soon as you get together and make a decision so (the guys) can lock into playing. I know they all do that now. Obviously, Ryan (Fitzpatrick) is going forward like he’s starting. I’m sure Jake (Locker) in his mind is, and I’m sure Shonn Greene is, Derrick (Morgan), and so on. That’s how athletes have to do it, but the sooner we can give them that information, the better.
(on how badly Jake Locker wants to play)
Well, that’s the problem. He wants it. It’s going to be up to us to keep them off the field (because) I don’t know if he’ll be 100 percent honest with us unfortunately. Most athletes are that way, (and) they want to play so bad. He knows how important it is to the team and all those things, so he wants it real bad. We understand that, and he understands what we have to do, and he’ll ultimately go by what we decide is best even though he may not agree with us. There’s a lot of football to go this year, and we want to make sure we’re doing the right thing.
(on whether the upcoming bye week makes the decision to play Jake Locker more complicated)
I think you can kind of slant that to your advantage either way I guess. It’s a factor, but we’re worried about this game on Sunday. We need to win this game on Sunday, so we’re going to do everything necessary (while) being smart, too. We’ll weigh a lot of factors, and that’s a factor, but that’s not going to be the ultimate factor.
(on whether Jake Locker has enough mobility to play Sunday)
That’s the thing we have to be comfortable with; that’s the stuff you look at to see how much we had him to do this week and if that would affect our game plan. Those are the factors you have to think about that maybe we like what we’re seeing, and, ‘Hey, he got through practice, but ultimately, we don’t think it’s in his best interest to play right now because of these things like you’re saying.’ That’s where we’ll make that decision and let him know we decided not to play him for this reason or this reason. So, that’s the hard part of this because there’s only so much you can find out in practice. The good thing is he didn’t have a major problem where it was easy to say he can’t play. So, at least that’s a good thing, but that doesn’t mean you’re ready to play 70 plays on Sunday either. You kind of have to weigh the other factors, and it’s hard.
(on whether Jake Locker will play if he suits up)
I guess I’ve always said that in general. I would think that if we think he can suit up and go into a game, then why not just start him. I think either he can play or he can’t. I don’t think you go halfway in or halfway out. I think it’s, suit him up, let him go play the football game, or if we want to rest him, let’s rest him. It’s not we don’t have an itchy finger or thing, ‘Hey, you know what, if Ryan (Fitzpatrick) made a mistake you start thinking those things.’ The crowd gets into that, too, and you don’t want to have something like that going on in a game that’s so important to us.
(on whether the team is trying to gain a competitive advantage by not making a decision on Jake Locker’s playing status)
No, I don’t think so. Nothing is going to change. I can’t imagine anything that San Francisco does is going to change. I mean, I know quarterbacks have different tendencies, but I don’t think…we’re doing what’s best for us, and that’s strictly how we play it out. It’s only Friday, so we just got to make sure we’re comfortable with everything, and then we’ll roll it out there.
(on whether he feels Jake Locker will play Sunday)
Well, that’s what helps us. That’s why we’re saying we’ve been waiting each day and having him do more. Today he didn’t have a heavy load; Thursday was probably the most work he had to do, so that was good. Today he came out here and moved around pretty well again. Now it’s like you said, it’s a matter of just making sure tomorrow he feels as good as he does today, and then it becomes easier with your decisions. If he starts to have a problem, it’s easier to shut him down. That’s the other factor playing into it, and that’s why we’re not deciding anything right this second. The good thing is we have a decision to make rather than not having one.
(on whether he is surprised by Jake Locker’s recovery)
I wouldn’t think last week at this time we’d be talking about this as much. I’ve learned how he is. He kept saying, ‘I’m going to be in the conversation for San Francisco,’ and we thought, ‘Yeah, it would be great if you were.’ We were thinking like most people were, and he put himself in that situation (to play). That’s a credit to him and the training staff. Like you said, when we saw him hurt that day, we never thought he’d be back this quickly, so we’ll see.
(on whether Jake Locker will be a game-time decision)
He did more. Again, there’s not as much to be done today as (there is) normally. That’s why I’m saying it kind of tapers off by Friday. Now it’s just him doing a lot of extra stuff, not on the field, but inside with different things we could do with him in the weight room or training room with the strength and things like that to see if he lost strength. There’s all these factors to take in play. We want to make sure he has strength in his leg and all these issues that you think about that are non-football ones. That’s what we’ll do; we’ll go through it like we do every other player. He’s obviously a pivotal one, but we’ll obviously do what’s right.
(on whether Jake Locker or
That’s probably pretty close. (Jake Locker) might have done a little bit more.
(on bringing back the navy blue jerseys this weekend)
It’s exciting I think. I told these guys it’s been five years since we’ve been in the (navy) blue. That to me is a Titan tradition. When we became Titans, that was our color, that’s where we had a lot of success in that. That’s not why we had the success, but I think it just brings back the memories, and the tradition is always important. I think I kind of explained that to the players, so I think it’s great. I think it’s something they are excited about along with the Code Blue with the fans being into it, wearing their blue, and showing their support of the team, and knowing we’re all in this together on Sunday, and the city, the team, and the organization. It’s fun. It’s going to be a fun game.
(on how Shonn Greene is progressing)
He’s the same way. He actually did better today than he did yesterday. I think it’s a different position, and it’s going to take a little more pounding on him then we hope Jake (Locker) gets if he plays. He’s progressing well also, and that’s going to be the same type of thing. He may be a guy we get up on Sunday and make sure he’s running well, feeling well. He did more today than he did yesterday. So, he’s the guy that just kind of did a little more every day. I think we’ll see how he is this afternoon, tomorrow, but the good news is he’s real close. He’s right on the verge of being able to be fully back. It’s just a matter of can he do it this Sunday or do we wait another week for him. That’s what we’ll kind of see with him tomorrow.