HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK
(on putting the team’s nine-game losing streak against the Chargers to rest)
We just want to win, and that’ll be a nice thing to talk about. We’ll know it’s finally behind us. A lot of these guys, when I showed them how old they were, most of them were 10-years-old or younger the last time we won. They don’t remember it very well. I think it’s just something that we know, the people who have been here, that it’s been a quarterback that’s been tough for us to beat. He’s a good quarterback. He makes a lot of plays. He’s played well against us, and we know that it’s going to be a challenge.
(on being a player the last time Tennessee beat San Diego)
I heard it was a shutout, too. We beat them 27-0 someone said. I don’t remember what happened. I remember beating them down there in 1990 or 91 then we beat them in 1992, so we had a two-game streak. We’ve lost nine in a row for 21 years. It’s one of those strange things I guess, but this is a great opportunity for us at home in a game we need to win if we’re going to accomplish what we think we’re going to accomplish this year. We got to go out and play good.
(on the importance of the defense pressuring Philip Rivers)
That’s always important that we make his day rough, but I’ve seen us make his day rough and him still perform. He’s not a guy you’re going to discourage easily, but we need to do that. We need to get interceptions; maybe we knock the ball loose and those kinds of things. He’s going to keep coming for four quarters. We know that, and we’ve seen that firsthand a couple years back. I don’t know how many times we hit him in one game, but he ended up beating us in overtime. He’s a special quarterback. He does get rid of the ball. He knows where he wants to go. He knows where the problems are, so usually the ball’s going to be out. He’s not a guy that’s going to hold and hold and hold and wait too long. He’s going to get the ball out of his hands. He’s done a good job in this offense doing that. It’s going to be a challenge to get to him, but we just have to hope he makes some mistakes. That’s what we need him to do.
At the time, we didn’t think much about it. We knew he played well. Obviously, when we were looking for a third back that was an easy game to remember. That was a game to see how hard he ran and what a good kid he is, so that made it easier.
(on the advantages of playing against a 3-4 defense for the third week in a row)
I think there’s some things you can do, and the players are used to hearing the same words, same adjustments. A lot of that’s the same which is nice. There are different guys playing. They (San Diego) definitely play different than Houston plays and Pittsburgh, but there’s a lot of similarities which you can build off of.
I thought he did a nice job. I thought what he was asked to do he did pretty well. When he can do that on top of being the leader that he is, he brings a lot to the table on defense and on special teams. He’s definitely made an impact, and I thought all the coaches and myself thought he had a nice solid game last week.
(on whether George Wilson will be defending Antonio Gates)
Yeah. He’ll be one of the guys. That’s a guy who’s going to make some catches, but hopefully we can limit that and limit the yards after he catches it, that type of thing. Him and the back coming out on third down make a lot of plays, so they’ve got some guys (Philip) Rivers takes advantage of. We have to know what his thinking is on third down.
There is a fine line. You always want to be careful. I don’t think our thoughts in both the games so far have been about that, more or less protecting him. It was more about taking advantage of the situation and not putting us in a situation we don’t need to be in. Like I said, there’s going to be a game where I’ll stand before you guys after the game and say ‘Hey, we threw it 50 times. I told you we would if we had to.’ If we’re making yards or doing the right thing and that’s the way to win the football game, we’re going to do that. We feel we can. We threw the ball 30 times last week. We have to make plays to win, and we didn’t in the passing game and the running game. We had a fourth-and-one last week we didn’t get. We had a third-and-one we all know we didn’t convert. One was a run, and one was a pass. If we do a couple of those things better, we win the football game. That’s a fine line, but I think we can’t handcuff him. We can’t do that. If we think the right play is to call a certain call and make him make a play, then we have to make him make a play. Let’s give him a chance to fail or not to fail. I think we’re not trying to limit him at all. We’re just being smart about what situations we put him in.
(on the possibility of using the hurry-up offense more going forward)
I think it’s always there for us to use. I think we practiced it all through training camp for our defense also so they can get used to that. They’re going to see that every weekend probably. They’ll see it this week, so we’ve got work in on both ends for that reason. It limits you a little bit with what you can do run-wise and some things you can’t do. It’s just harder to do the things you may want to do or take advantage of. There will be games it’ll make sense to do it more, and you’ll probably see us do that. In other games, maybe not. I think it’s just a matter of us being smart with when it’s good and when it’s not.
(on who will be the third wide receiver if
Well, Damian (Williams) will be up. We feel he’ll be back. He’ll move up, and I’d assume (Justin) Hunter would be the other guy. So, those four guys would play.
(on Kendall Wright’s status after Sunday’s hit)
I assume he’ll be fine on Sunday. He has to go through the process tomorrow of seeing the doctor and all that. I assume he’ll practice tomorrow if all goes well.
I think he’s handled himself very well. He’s fallen back into the role of at least he knows he can help us. The other day he had about three tackles at least on special teams. He almost caused the fumble on the one and did everything but knock the ball out on one punt. He’s handled himself well. He’s working hard in practice. He’s giving our receivers great work, so he’s continuing to get better. Again, as we’re finding out week-to-week, guys have to step up because of injuries all the time.
I would think it’s going to be hard for him to play this weekend. I think this is one where those ankles are tough especially for a big guy. We’ll see how he is tomorrow; we’ll worry about it tomorrow. At this point, he’s not running on the field and that kind of thing. It’s going to be tough for him to play this weekend.
(on who needs to step up in Sammie Hill’s absence)
Well, I think (Mike) Martin will go in and play a little bit more. Obviously,
(on how to get Philip Rivers out of his rhythm)
Just by making him hurry balls. (Getting hit) isn’t going to discourage him from making the next throw just like there are certain quarterbacks that sit in there nice. Some guys start looking at the rush, and some guys don’t. He’s a guy that never does look at the rush; he’ll just learn from that play and make an adjustment. But, you still want to pressure him and still want to sack him and do all those things because obviously you can create big plays that way. You have to realize it doesn’t stop your intensity to get there, but you have to realize it’s really hard to rattle this guy.