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Coach Munchak's Sept. 23 Press Conference

Posted Sep 23, 2013


HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on cleaning up first half penalties)

Going into halftime after the blocked kick, I think there was a lot of excitement knowing this was a whole new game now. We just made a great play after a couple of situations we thought could have been better, and I think coaches did their thing and before we came out we discussed the number one thing is that San Diego’s getting the ball first and they’ve scored touchdowns in both games on the first drive of the third quarter. So, we made sure our focus was on that, doing what it took to get off the field. Obviously there were the penalties on all three phases of the game. It wasn’t one-sided. I think each phase had four penalties. It was more of us to relax and not getting caught up with the officials and not letting that become more part of the game than it already was as far as affecting the game. We had to clean that up with our hands and not let things that happened in the first half affect how we played the second half. I thought they did a good job with that. I know we had one or two calls made in the second half after all those calls in the first half, and I think we did put it behind us, didn’t let it affect us. I didn’t want us to be timid and worried about making mistakes. We still want to be physical but just play smarter.

(on Bernard Pollard blocking a field goal to close out the first half)

I think you tweak it every week as far as what their technique is. With the offensive line, there’s a couple different ways you can do things as far as protectors. You’re always working your edge stuff. It’s a certain area we think we can go after. I showed the team last week the effort by our guys throughout the game rushing Houston’s kickers – not the one we blocked because we were offsides. We were close on a lot of plays last week against the Texans because the guys were giving such great effort to try and get that block. Bernard (Pollard) and Griff (Michael Griffin) and those guys have a feel for that. That’s something they’ve got a knack for as far as how to cut that corner tights with the pressure coming inside. It was just a great play by those guys and Nate Kaczor on the way they work on it at practice. That’s an attitude play. Most guys say ‘ehh, we’re not going to get there. I’m not going to lay out like that.’ That just shows you what a difference that play makes.

(on bringing up penalties to the team)

I think you start with today saying it’s a great way to win and an exciting way to win. When you watch the tape you realize there’s a lot of plays you could have made, especially on offense where we had some nice drives going that got altered with some penalties. Maybe we’d have a comfortable lead in the fourth quarter rather than having to come up with a huge play. That’s where the penalties take the sting out or you’re helping them score. I think we’re going to harp on them. We’re going to talk about them. We’re going to learn from them and be smarter. We’ve got to do all those things for sure because you can’t have those penalties to win many games. When we look at them, we’re going to break them down. We’re not going to have any excuses. I think there’s some that were legitimately called that we were in a bad spot, we did push someone’s back when we shouldn’t have. We had some young guys making mistakes there, and I thought a couple were very questionable, more so the ones we didn’t get. I think that’s more of you’re going to get some calls in the game…just so you feel it’s happening on both sides then I think you’re a little more comfortable with everything. When it seems to get a little more onesided, it’s more nerve wrecking. We can’t worry about officials and how they influence the game. We just got to go out there and play smart.

(on Delanie Walker’s effort after missing a reception)

I think he’s just a refuse to lose kind of guy. I think it’s the same thing with when he fumbled the ball in Pittsburgh. I never saw a guy get up so fast to recover a football after it got knocked loose. Here’s another play where he did exactly the same thing because he wasn’t going to be that guy. I think he said afterwards that, ‘I wasn’t going to be the guy that let the guy have an easy play to make there.’ That’s a phenomenal play by him. If he catches the ball he doesn’t have to do all that, but he saved a bad situation, no doubt. Those are the kind of guys we’re saying we added to this football team that are making it a different team. Those are the kind of plays that are contagious for the rest of your teammates to see the kind of effort guys are putting out on a play-by-play basis to win the football game.

(on adding the passing dimension to the offense)

I think we’ve said that all along that that would come. I think Coach (Dowell) Loggains has been saying that, that the offense would be what it had to be on a Sunday to win depending on who we’re playing, what the matchups are, and what’s happening in the game. We’re not just going to force plays because ‘hey, we need to show that Jake (Locker) can do this or the receivers can do this’ or ‘hey, we have to show we have a certain running game and we’re tough guys.’ Really, the stuff is in. It’s not like ‘OK, we put a lot more passes in this game.’ The same amount of passes were in, but guys were just getting open. Guys were making plays. We rolled with what we thought was the best way to win the football game. Again, we didn’t score the points we needed to score. I thought we were moving up and down the field, but we only had 10 points. So, again, we could run the ball and have the same amount of points. The point is we found ways to move the chains, but we hurt ourselves when it came time to scoring points. We think we can do those things week in and week out. One game it might be the passing game; one game it might be the running game. I thought we were pretty balanced. I thought we passed well. I thought we ran pretty well against a good run-stop team in a lot of situations.

(on San Diego using only one deep safety on most defensive plays)

I think most teams the certain thing they want to do is stop the run. That’s kind of the mentality of most teams that we’re not going to let this team run the football for the most part in this league because now they’re one dimensional; now we’ll make them throw it. When you have a young quarterback, most teams play that philosophy. Let’s see if the quarterback can beat us before we allow big runs or control the ball. If you run the ball, you control the line of scrimmage, you control time of possession. It’s a lot of negatives for the opposing team. I think that’s where teams usually start the attack with ‘OK, they’re a running football team. Let’s take that away from them. Let’s discourage them and force them to do something else.’ I think we went into this game saying we’re going to do it both. If they’re going to do that, we’ll do this. That’s what we did. We threw the ball quite a bit. When they were doing some of those things, Jake (Locker) was getting us in and out of the right plays throughout the game. That last drive, we changed the protection twice. They were blitzing one side; we flipped the protection, so he didn’t have any pressure for eight or nine snaps. He did a lot of good things on that drive to take us 94 yards.

(on running the ball out of three-receiver formations)

Well, last week against Houston we had about three or four runs out of the three-receiver formation which were good runs. You have to be able to do that. You can’t have the run game disappear when you go to three wide (receivers). We have to be creative because there’s less you can do when you have three wide. It’s easy to take away the run game when you’re at three wides because it limits what you can get away with if you want to load the box. But, we had some good runs with seven in the box. CJ (Chris Johnson) had some nice runs there. They got us a couple times for no-gainers, but we still got out of negative runs pretty much and allowed Jake (Locker) to manage the line of scrimmage. He did a great job knowing when to run. I mean, he had some great runs. He moved around the pocket. When you thought he was going to run, he threw the ball for completions out of the pocket for first times. You saw when we ran the quarterback draw that he scored on. He had it going on. I was proud of him the way he played, the way he came back after a frustrating game for us last week. He responded in a big way as the rest of the team did.

(on Jake Locker playing more aggressive)

I think the more he plays, the more he watches the tape, the more he sees a game after two weeks of the season saying ‘Hey, I could have done this here, I could have done that there.’ You start seeing yourself, like any position, saying, ‘Well, I need to do this.’ Even watching the game on TV and seeing someone else to that opens your eyes to what opportunities are there and how difficult that is for a defense when you do those things. We can tell him all we want to run, run, run, run, but he still has to process it during a game. We don’t tell him to run. We just say, ‘Hey, after so many hits just go ahead and make something happen and get out of there.’ That’s what he did. I think once you get a feel for the rush and guys weren’t really on him – there was= pressure a few times – but for the most part, I thought he had the ability to move around because there was not a lot of leakage around him. In certain other games we had some leakage around him where we really couldn’t maneuver the way he’d like to. This game I thought he moved around the pocket which you have to be able to do in this league. He was able to maneuver more in this game I think than the last two and make throws. I think you saw it. He wasn’t looking to run. He actually got in the pocket and threw two or three times then he ran obviously a handful of times, too. If he can do those things, that’s another weapon. That’s a big problem for a defense.

(on where Justin Hunter has built confidence)

In practice. I think a lot of it is the health of the team, also. We had injuries, other spots opened up for having all six receivers out there this game. We had four one week, five, six. That affects who’s up and who’s not. That helped him get up rather than the first game, how he’s practicing. You have guys that are injured; Kendall (Wright) didn’t practice much last week, Damian (Williams) was hurt. So, all of a sudden in practice, he’s getting a lot of reps, catching up to what he missed with that first week during training camp. Last few weeks he’s gone out there, went out there Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Practice counts. That’s what you try to tell them. You can get better in practice, and he’s a guy that’s gotten better in practice. That allowed us to have the confidence in him. It’s not always what you see on a Sunday. A lot of times it’s what we see Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday with our quarterback to feel comfortable throwing balls to him during the 7-on-7 or team pass. He’s making good decisions, he’s catching, or he’s breaking them up if it’s not a good pass. I’d say the confidence with a young guy just comes in those ways.

(on the possibility of increasing Justin Hunter’s snaps)

I think it’s something that’s wait and see. Like I said, it’s week three. We’ve only played three games, and we’re still finding ourselves in a lot of ways as an offense and defense with how good we can be or how we can be more consistent than we’ve been. I think you saw it yesterday why we thought it was good to draft him in the second round. We saw the talent and the big play ability that he brings to an NFL team. Now it’s just a matter of how it fits with us as we go forward. If you make plays, you continue to get opportunities - whatever position that is. That’s a great play for him. He’s only had one catch in the NFL, and it won us a football game. I hope to see a lot more of those.

(on Justin Hunter potentially taking snaps from Kenny Britt)

Obviously, that’s what we’re talking about with all these guys to throw balls to who’s going to catch them. There’s going to be a week where we’re always going to say someone didn’t get enough throws. Nate (Washington) got a lot of good catches last week, and now it’s ‘well, what about Damian (Williams)?’ So, it’s a problem that’s good to have. You’ve got guys making plays. We’d rather have that kind of conversation than us not making plays. That’s something we’re going to have to work out as a staff moving forward with what’s best for the team, what’s best to beat the Jets this week, what coverages they play, what guys do we need to play, is it a good fit or this receiver or this running back or this tight end. Those are the things to take in on a week-to-week basis when you have options. When you don’t have options, you’ve got to play who you have. If you have six guys and six that you have a lot of confidence in, then each week you have to factor in here’s the coverage the Jets are going to play, here’s how the Jets do things, who’s going to be the best fit for us to make plays, and what’s the best matchup for us to win this football game. If it’s (Justin) Hunter, then Hunter will be in there more. If it’s not, it’ll be someone else in there.

(on concerns over Kenny Britt’s production early on)

I hate the word concerned, but we want to have more success than we’ve had. He had some drops yesterday. Over three games, it’s kind of been inconsistent play for him. Again, I like to keep the group in that because a lot of guys have been inconsistent. He had some drops yesterday and a couple penalties, but he’s got to work his way through all that.

(on whether Jake Locker and Kenny Britt are on the same page offensively)

I think the first pass he threw right to him. I think he was on the same page with him there. He threw the ball to the corner of the end zone for a touchdown. I think he was interfered with there. It wasn’t necessarily a drop. I think he got interfered with, Kenny (Britt) did. The one down the sideline was right on him. I don’t think that’s a problem. I think they have a good relationship and they’re on the same page. It’s just a matter of we haven’t connected the way we hoped there yet.

(on seeing Kenny Britt through the season)

Well, we’re just worried about next week. I’m not worrying about down the road what could or couldn’t happen this year or this season. He’s on our football team. He’s going to help us win football games. I’m not really worried about what’s going to happen down the road or next year or the end of the season. Like anybody else, we need him to continue to play better just like on offense we have to play better. Ten points going through four quarters isn’t enough to win games in this league. We have to improve in a lot of ways, it’s not just Kenny (Britt).

(on what’s been slowing the team down in the red zone)

Yesterday a couple times a drop got us one time, a penalty got us one time, a sack got us, little things like. I thought we got down that one time they made a great play on a pass we made. We thought we’d get them on a boot. #32 (Eric Weddle) made a great play on our tight end, Delanie (Walker), on that one play. We thought we had him. He made a great play on us. Things like that. We’re getting the ball down there, but it seems that when we get down there we’re not quite executing the way we want to.

(on replay challenges)

It was a little of that in there. The one on the sideline to Nate (Washington), I thought I saw that pretty clearly. To me it looked like he caught it and made a football move. It looked like his shoulder was turned to go up the field then the ball got swiped. I saw it live at first and thought, man, it looked like a good catch. It was bang-bang. I knew the official sees it that way then I asked them what they saw upstairs on the replay. When I saw the replay, I saw the same thing. There was no doubt his feet were in bounds it was more of…that’s a judgment. I know we have to be careful there, but upstairs felt good about it. So, I thought at that point in the game it seemed like we needed a play. All those factors factored into it, and that’s why I challenged it.

(on Zach Brown’s quiet day on defense)

We went, for coverage purposes, to a dime with an extra defensive back. We knew that we’d have one less linebacker on the field. We’ve been doing it the last few weeks, but this week a little more with their tight ends. We put George (Wilson) into the game a little more, and he played the box and matched up with the tight ends when we thought they were passing. I think it was more package-oriented. It was more of what we thought were the best matchups for us at that time during the game.

(on substitution issues)

This was the first time it’s happened this year. It happened once to us in preseason, and, again, that’s the hard part of having packages. There’s a lot of advantages to have a lot of different packages; more guys play, you have a lot of ways of attacking the opponent, but there’s miscommunication thinking we had one group on the field and someone ran off. A linebacker ran off that wasn’t supposed to and by the time we recognized that, the clock was coming down and they complete a five-yard pass on that. We had a guy missing. That happened one time, and we cleaned it up after that. That shouldn’t happen at all. It happens in this league. By the time we recognized it because guys were running off and they were kind of hurrying, it was too late to do anything about it.

(on Kamerion Wimbley’s role going forward)

It hasn’t changed. I think it’s just that we went bigger. Ropati (Pitoitua) played a lot more last week, this game I should say, because of the run. We thought he was pushing the line of scrimmage well to discourage that. Mookie (Antonio Johnson) played more. We went bigger. They were going three wide receivers a lot and trying to encourage us to put in our other guys. The way it worked out rotation wise we went bigger in the middle. Last week, he played a lot more because it was 80 snaps and the defense was on the field so much. This week the offense only had two three-and-outs, the defensive guys, (Derrick) Morgan and (Jurrell) Casey, were much more rested. You’re not rushing them back on the field. Those guys want to keep playing, and we keep them out there. In Houston, the offense was going three-and-out six times in a row, and you got to rotate your guys more. You’re going to see numbers change week-to-week. It doesn’t mean anything. It just means that our guys are fresher and they can play longer periods of time one week versus the other.

(on whether Keyunta Dawson and Karl Klug are ahead of Kamerion Wimbley on the depth chart)

They play different packages. (Keyunta) Dawson’s playing in a three-down package, whereas we don’t have (Kamerion) Wimbley in the same package. This is one of the first times Dawson’s suited up. When he does suit up, he plays a lot of special teams and he can play in a lot of different packages. If we’re playing that package that day, he may get more reps. Week-to-week it’s going to be different. It’s been three weeks. It’s almost like wait until we get rolling, and you’ll see more patterns to it. A lot of times it depends on who we’re playing and what they’re doing and hurrying up or not hurrying up and what they’re doing. That affects who we play.

(on Jake Locker’s game-winning drive)

I think it’s good for your quarterback to do that whenever he has the opportunity. We wish we had that a week ago, we wished we finished a couple drives then. It’s not all about Jake (Locker). I know people look at the quarterback as that guy. We all feel confident he can do that. You only get so many opportunities to do it to where it’s a one score game. This one was one. Last week we could’ve done it to put the game away, and this week it was more to come back from behind. He did a great job. That’s the guy we see every day. We’ve been talking about what we think he can do. He hasn’t put in one full season yet. I think he’s going to do this a lot more when necessary. Everyone knows how we feel about him, but it has to happen on the field. We get that, we all know that, and so does he. I think he had the opportunity presented to him and went 94 yards. Like I said, made some great (throws) with no timeouts. He made some great decisions, changed protections, threw to seven different receivers, and made the big play to win the game.

(on whether the team needed to win this game)

That’s all a byproduct of winning and making plays. I think our team needed it more than anybody. Our team needed to come back after last week to show we could be in a tough game and not necessarily play your best four quarters and still win. You find a way to win by making plays. We did that yesterday. A week ago we didn’t do that. We had opportunities that game to make plays in all three phases to win a week ago in Houston. We talked about that all week. We were discouraged about that. We knew we had to find a way to step up when the time was there. We wished we won by two touchdowns, but that’s not the way it went. We had to wait seven days to prove ourselves that we could go into a game against a good football team and win a game in the last 15 seconds.

(on Sunday’s injuries)

We actually did pretty well. We had a couple guys get checked out today, but I think Patrick Bailey is probably the only one that left and didn’t come back with a slight hamstring. That’s minor, so we think he’s got a good chance to play this week. We should get Blidi Wreh-Wilson back this week; he should be back to play. He sat on the sideline last week because of the hamstring. There are some nicks and guys that are sore, but nobody we’ve lost or had to leave the game. We had guys leave the game and come back in. Moise (Fokou) got dinged up, but he went back in and finished up. Bernard Pollard got something a little early, but he finished the game up. A lot of guys are sore, but it’s a good sore when you win.

(on Delanie Walker wearing a boot)

They’ll put you in one of those so it’s protected and not putting as much weight on his foot. (The boot) kind of protects it, but we assume he’ll be fine to play.

(on Sammie Hill and other injured players)

Sammie (Hill) has done a lot better. We’ll just see how he progresses the next couple days. Shonn’s (Greene) going to be the same thing. When he starts running, we’ll see how his knee responds. Like I said, Blidi (Wreh-Wilson) should be back this week to play and be available. (Zaviar) Gooden is getting better and better as far as getting more comfortable with the defense. All of a sudden he could be an option going forward to suit up and help. We got through the game. Guys are sore, but no one hopefully that’ll miss the game next weekend.

(on Brett Kern’s dropped punt)

He took his eye off it. He came over and the first thing he said was ‘I just took my eye off it for a second.’ It’s just one of those things I guess. Luckily, the defense held them to three points. Those are the things we have to clean up. That’s sloppy. Missing a field goal is sloppy. Besides the penalties, those are the things we just can’t have.

(on Colin McCarthy seeing action on defense)

It was good to see him out there. He had a hit on the quarterback, and I think he had some nice tackles. He’s been playing well on special teams. He had a couple tackles on special teams. He’s contributing. The nice thing is when someone does get hurt, he jumps right in there. I kept thinking there was going to be a ball going his way or a pick because things seem to happen for him like that. That puts us in a much better situation than we’ve ever been in at that linebacker position having him healthy and ready to play.

(on whether Bernard Pollard and Kenny Britt need to be more self-aware on defense because of their reputations)

They do. I think it is that way because it’s human nature. The officials do the same thing we do; they look to see who the culprits are, who the guys are that are getting called. You hope that won’t factor into the game. They have to be smart. The thing is you don’t want them to be thinking about it too much. That’s what I tried to tell them at halftime. You can’t get obsessed with who may call what because then all of a sudden you’re not doing your job right. Hopefully we get this behind us as far as the penalties go, but they have to be smart with their hands. The one on Kenny (Britt), I mean Kendall (Wright) changed direction five times. I just don’t think you throw a flag on something like that when the defensive guy is turning your back on you when you’re trying to block him. He didn’t pull, he didn’t grab him. It wasn’t an obvious pull like maybe the one he had a couple weeks back. For him to call it just seemed unnecessary, but they call it. That was a hard one. You wished they pulled off that one, but we just got to be smarter and not become tentative because of it.

(on scouting the Jets)

No, we haven’t started yet. I know their defense is playing really well; I know they’re going to be top in every category just about because usually Rex’s (Ryan) defenses are. We know what kind of challenge that’s going to be for the offensive side. They’ve got a young quarterback. We haven’t gotten a chance really. We’ll start right now, but obviously their confidence is growing. They probably think they should be 3-0. They played the Patriots right down to the wire, and they’re 2-1 like we are. It’s going to be a great matchup.

(on the Chargers’ final desperation play)

We practiced that, the play like that on a Saturday running around and let them have some fun with the ball.  You just never know. It’s one of those things where it’s happened before and anything’s possible in this league. It just went on too far for my liking. I was glad when I finally saw the ball get kicked because I knew it was over right there. It was frustrating, but I’m glad they were doing it and not us.

Game Rewind: Tennessee Titans

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