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Coach Munchak's Sunday Press Conference

Posted Aug 28, 2011

HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on how important it is for Kenny Britt and Matt Hasselbeck to get some game action together this week)

The good thing is in practice they have been getting some of that work and they will the rest of this week.  Then hopefully Thursday if things go well with Kenny, we will see how he is for playing.  Even if he does play, it is going to be limited so it is not like we are going to get a lot of work with him and the quarterback.  If he plays on Thursday, it will be more about getting his mindset right and getting back in the game and going through the whole dynamics of getting ready for a game, warming up and playing, then know that we have 10 days of practice until that point to get comfortable with each other where he will be running and getting reps with the first team.  In that regard we will have plenty of time to do all those things.  We feel good about it.  He is looking good and feeling good, so we will see how things go starting tomorrow.

(on if Britt will practice with the first team offense tomorrow)

Yeah, and the only reason he hasn’t been at times is just because when we got into getting ready for the game mode or the carded-periods, there was no reason for him to take away reps from someone who was actually going to play in the game.  I think it will be a little bit different the next couple of days where he will get a chance to run with the first group and get some reps and continue that on hopefully for the rest of the season.

(on comparing the preparedness of Britt to Chris Johnson with both missing a lot of reps in the preseason)

I think it is a different position.  I think it is a lot different with the route-running versus what Chris has to do with all the reads up front with so much happening in that box with the offensive line and the defensive line and the linebackers which is different than what he is getting on the edge.  I think for Kenny it is more of a conditioning thing and what kind of shape he is in, game shape wise that is and getting hit.  Obviously, at that position you don’t get hit like you would at running back.  It is different, but you are going to have to be smart with him.  We can’t assume he can go out there and play every snap in Jacksonville.  We will have him on the field as much as we feel he can help us and be effective.  It will be warm there, but I think Kenny is in good shape.  It is just a matter when you are out there running and blocking and things like that, that I’m sure we will roll him enough that we will keep him fresh throughout the game.

(on getting a short look at Kevin Curtis and how much he will play)

Probably as much as we can possibly get we’ll get in a short period of time.  That is how this league is though; sometimes you only get a few days or one game to make some decisions.  He has been in the last couple of days and he has been in the book with the coaches and he will have an opportunity starting tomorrow to get on the field.  We will see where we are at.

(on Justin Gage having a good camp but getting limited reps in the games)

I think it was more for us to get Damian (Williams) a chance to play and to get him on the field.  Justin has been here.  We felt like we had a good feel for what Justin Gage can do.  We wanted to see what Damian can do in that role of getting reps.  Unfortunately, yesterday with the offense having so little opportunity to be on the field, I think we had 50 snaps that made it hard to get a lot of guys the reps we wanted to get them.  Some guys, especially the guys that didn’t start, didn’t get near as much playing as we had hoped.

(on if Damian Williams hurt his chances last night)

No.  You want any receiver, running back and tight ends to catch every ball thrown to them, but he has done some good things.  He has caught some balls and he has dropped some balls, so that is part of the evaluation process and that we factor in when we decide who should be doing what.

(on how much the potential suspension weighed on Britt during camp)

I think there is no doubt I’m sure that gives him some relief to know that if he is healthy that nothing else will stand in his way of playing.  The whole time when I think he is on the field he focuses that out and locks in to just running his routes, doing his thing and being competitive.  I’m sure the off the field stuff comes back into your mind when you are not practicing or not playing.  Once we are in here those things are left inside until he is done with practice.  I think he will feel better no doubt.  I think more of his frustration has been about his health.  I don’t think he has been overly concerned with something he couldn’t control.  The health has been something that has frustrated him more than anything, to go from the hamstring to the quad and limiting him from practice.  Now hopefully we have all of these things behind us and we can just go forward with him.

(on how much Matt Hasselbeck will play in the final preseason game and whether he will be kept in longer to work with Kenny Britt)

We are not going to play Matty longer for that reason.  We will stick with what the plan was from the beginning which is we knew Matt was going to play in the third quarter last night and he did.  This game will be a lot less action for him and he’ll have to get his work with Kenny in practice.

(on Hasselbeck’s specific playing time)

I haven’t even talked to Chris Palmer about that yet.  I think we were originally thinking along those lines back to a quarter or a certain amount of plays.  Like I said, we didn’t get as many reps as we wanted on the offensive side of the ball last night, so that could factor into some guys maybe playing a little bit more.  The general rule of thumb would be yes he would be playing less and Jake (Locker) would get in sooner than he did last night.

(on if he thinks Gregg Williams will test him on Thursday night)

We play them during the season, so I bet he will hold all that stuff until then.

(on missing some of the deep connections in the passing game)

It is frustrating early because we came out and make a great tackle on special teams inside the 20 and the second play the defense gets a turnover, Griff (Michael Griffin) gets the pick and we are doing exactly what we hoped we would do.  On offense we had the ball on their side of the 50 and the second play we had an opportunity for a big play there.  I think the first pass we got four yards, the second pass we had someone open there that we didn’t quite make the connection and that happens sometimes early in games.  You get a little fired up and excited and you’re pumped up after getting a big turnover and I just think we overthrew him a little bit, a little high and we couldn’t make the completion.  On third down, I think he was covered a little better.  It would have been a heck of a play to have gotten that in there.  When games start like that for an offense, you have to fight through that.  We went three-and-out twice and only had six plays in the first quarter.  It is hard to get in a flow for a quarterback and anybody when you came out thinking that maybe you are going to throw a little more and you really don’t get that opportunity like we thought we would.  The offensive side of it, the good thing was that before the half we had that nice drive to go 80 yards and kind of take over the momentum of the game I thought at that point when we scored the touchdown before halftime.  We had a really nice drive passing it and running it, everyone we needed to do for a nice complete drive.  That was the good part of that first half because the offense really only had four or five opportunities with the ball.

(on Jacob Ford’s injury and the health of the defensive line)

Jacob Ford with the hamstring and being a short week I’m sure it is going to be tough to play on Thursday night.  We will know a little bit more today and tomorrow how he is.  It is not a bad one where …I assume the thinking is he will have a good chance to be ready for the opener.  That will be something where he is day-to-day.  The defensive end position we do have a couple of guys hurt and definitely concerned but I think we will wait and see how (Derrick) Morgan does, how (Jason) Jones does, how Ford does and it gives some of these young guys the opportunity to hang around and play a little bit more this week.

(on if Jason Jones and Derrick Morgan will play this week)

Jason Jones, no.  I would assume both of them would not play on Thursday.

(on Chad Cunningham’s run after the blocked punt and his running ability)

I was thinking let’s put him in with the way he hit that hole and he got that ball.  I said, ‘wow, who is that carrying the ball?’  That was an exciting play for him and for us. That was just making a play and that was a big play in the game that I’m sure he wasn’t expecting to make, but I’m very happy he did.

(on why the punt was blocked)

I think there was a little pressure.  I think there was a combination of both there.  I think it was some technique issues up front that created the problem and he made a great play out of a bad situation.

(on if Matt Hasselbeck is making good progress with the offense)

Yes.  I think we are getting there.  It is going to be a work in progress though I’m sure just because you only get so many opportunities in games.  He threw maybe 22 passes last night and up until then he threw 10 or 12 so not a lot of opportunities in game-like situations.  You never quite know what is going to happen on game day because there is a lot more pressure, a lot more things going on, a lot more emotions than are going on in practice.  I think those are things where we are going to have to see how they are going to develop once we get into the Jacksonville game.  We feel as comfortable as we can, but you always want more work.  Those little factors are going to come in and not being together back in April, May and June.  That is still practice time to me, so it is still about it being live action.  We will see.  I think we feel comfortable where we are at and we will find out once we get started in the real games.

(on when the team will make first cuts)

Probably sometime tomorrow I would think.  We are starting the week and we want to move forward.  We have the guys coming in tonight to watch the game film and then we will start practice tomorrow, with Monday, Tuesday and a little one Wednesday morning and then travel.  I would imagine we would start getting things going tomorrow.

(on if the last  preseason game can make a difference for roster decisions )

I think so, I think guys can make difference and first of all you don’t know who may get injured and who is ahead of that person and that can affect someone’s situation big time. There are a handful of guys, I’m not going to sit here and say that 35 guys are on the edge of making the team because there are some guys that are in situations where there are just too many guys ahead of them, but where that person’s opportunity is, is with other teams.  There are 31 other teams like we are watching tape of these preseason games trying to decide if so-and-so gets cut if he would be a good fit for us or do we want him on the practice squad. Even though they may not make the Titans roster, these guys have to be excited that they are going to get an opportunity on Thursday evening and hopefully make our team but if they don’t they still have an opportunity somewhere else in this league. That keeps guys excited about it, they know it’s important to them and you just never know in this league how things will shake out. If a couple guys get hurt at the same position, you may be relying on someone that two days earlier you didn’t think you had to rely on.

(on Sen’Derrick Marks making it back to the field quicker than expected)

I’m happy for him. I know he was excited when the game was over and he got to play and he got to play more than probably he thought because we had so many plays on defense so he had an opportunity to play quite a bit in the second half. I think he felt good that he got through it. I think he is kind of where we thought, we know there was a chance that he would play in the third preseason game, which is a credit to him rehabbing and getting back and now he will get an opportunity to play in another game before we get to Jacksonville and that was very encouraging for him. On the film, it looked like he was having fun again. Any time you come off an injury and haven’t done anything in so long, it’s really exciting to get back at it and you realize that maybe all of that is behind me now and I can start contributing to the team, so it was good to have him out there.

(on the role that cuts and injuries play in planning for the fourth preseason game)

I think for all teams we are all in the same predicament where you are trying to decide who you are going to play on Thursday. What injuries just happened, who do you need to rest, where you might be shorthanded, if you are going to rest some veterans, and guys that you don’t want to have to put back in in the fourth quarter because of an injury, so you have to weigh all of those things going into the fourth game and what the plan is for playing time and then ‘ok if there is an injury, what is going to happen here.’ You want to be careful, that if you take someone out in the first quarter, that you don’t have to put them back out there in the fourth because there is an injury. You have to be smart with how you carry your roster and we still have 80 players so you are still in pretty good shape for this weekend but that carries over into the final roster also. ‘Are you going to keep nine of these or 10, offensive linemen, is it eight, nine, or 10,’ well injuries are going to factor into that decision, especially in the early weeks so that’s something we will have to decide upon next week.

(on if they will start installing for Jacksonville this week)

We have been, I think we have been working on things in your offense and defenses do the same, things that you like for the season and not just for Jacksonville but some twists and things that you like that complement what you do well, we have been working on those all of training camp. You start working a little bit more on them this week, and you still have next week and I think you add some things that will complete your offense and defense and you start looking toward Jacksonville as most teams do when you get into this week.

(on how the third game as a  “dress rehearsal” went)

If you took all three games together, last night I don’t think we were as sharp as we had been overall. On the defensive side, we don’t want to have to play 80 snaps or 75. We would like to get off the field more. They made some plays on third downs and that’s a good football team and their offense has a good quarterback as we know here locally he is a pretty good one. He made some nice throws and got the ball out of his hand when he is supposed to and made some big third downs and that’s why they stayed on the field. Some of our tackling at times wasn’t as sharp as it has been, but again that’s some credit to them also. The big positive for us is what we have done overall on defense as far as not allowing the points. Last night was a lot of yards, a lot of time of possession, but very few points, and that’s why we won the football game. We made plays at the end to win. At halftime it was 10-7. For as lopsided as it was in every category we were right there with an opportunity to, if it was a regular game, to win the game in the second half like we did. There were a lot of positive things going on. I think we have had the least amount of points given up on defense, I think turnovers are good and we have handled the ball very well. I think we have five takeaways and one turnover in three games, so we are doing some of those things nice. The penalties have been down. Overall, all of those things are real positive and then we found a way to win the game last night when you look at the stat sheet we should not have even been in the game with the way it went with time of possession and plays, but we made the bigger plays.

(on if he will handle Tommie Campbell’s roster position any differently now that everyone has seen his speed)

I think he is making a case for himself, why it’s an easier decision for us and how he is playing on special teams and how he is contributing on defense. Here is a guy who a week ago gave up a touchdown playing corner and this week he gets one back for us. That’s what you have to be able to do at that position at corner, have a short memory and come back and play well the next week if you struggle the week before, so I’m excited for him. Like we have said from the beginning, we are excited about our rookie class. Those guys are all contributing this year and he is one of them. He is doing a lot of good things and I’m sure it’s going to work out well for him.

(on what separates the depth at defensive tackle)

I think it’s just how they fit, if they are going to play the three-technique, the nose tackle and maybe the versatility. We will watch them on the film and there will be four games when we are done of who is making plays and who is not. That’s what you look at. Who is productive, who can we use in different spots as far as, ‘is he just a pass rusher, is he just a run stopper,’ so you look at how many tackles you are going to keep and you look into all of those different factors and then who is the best fit for the team.

(on if Javon Ringer will play on Thursday night)

I think we would probably be happy to just have him back in practice this week working back into drills and working back into that game-like speed and then not play him on Thursday night.

(on as a new head coach, how he feels emotionally about making cuts)

It’s hard, it’s going to be very hard. Even as an offensive line coach, letting guys go in that room it’s only two or three or four, but it’s a lot different now. It’s going to be tough because you know how important this game is to these guys and how hard they have worked and for a lot of these guys it’s their dream, this is what they want. You are hoping a lot of these guys have an opportunity somewhere else or even back with us in some capacity. I had a meeting with them yesterday before the game and we talked about what is going to go on the next week and how we are going to play two games in a week and we are going to have to let go of 35 plus guys. Everyone in the league is having that same talk, 31 other teams are doing the same thing. It’s going to be hard.

(on if he will talk to all of them personally)

Oh yeah, definitely. The other side of that is we haven’t been around them as long, I don’t know if that’s good or bad. I don’t think you ever want to tell someone that you are going to have to let them go and they don’t fit into what you are doing here for whatever reason, but I think I will want to talk to each of them and at least explain to them why we are having that conversation and what I appreciate that they did while they were with us and a lot of these guys will have an opportunity to…this isn’t it. There will be an opportunity to hopefully play, either with us or with somebody else.

(on how much Javon Ringer hurt himself by not being able to play the last three preseason games)

If he was a rookie, I would say maybe quite a bit, but the fact that he has been here and he knows our system and it hasn’t changed quite that much even though Chris Palmer is running it now as far as the blocking schemes and that is probably the biggest part for the running backs in this league is to have a good feel for the pickups. He has missed the last couple games which would have been nice for him to see game-like speed, but I think we are fine with him. If he is healthy he will be able to contribute to us in a big way this season.

(on any Chris Johnson updates)

I don’t think anything has changed at this point since it has been last week.

(on if he would be comfortable with Jamie Harper being the running back for the season opener)

Well what I think it’s going to come down to how many guys we have, what kind of shape is (Javon) Ringer in, that’s going to be a factor in this whole thing. Jamie (Harper), definitely we think he can contribute, we have confidence in him, more confidence probably than we thought we would have at this point when we drafted a young running back. Like I said before, if we have only have two guys, if Chris (Johnson) is not with us for whatever reason, then yeah we will obviously have to do something there.

(on Ahmard Hall as the only back in the game on passing downs)

We have always done that with him. He has always been the emergency running back. Last year there were games where we only had two running backs suited up and he would be the third. We have done this over the years with him because he is a good runner. He can run the zone play, he is a good screen runner, he is a good blocker. A lot of times, even in protections, even in the two back set we will release Chris Johnson out of the backfield and Ahmard will do the blocking as a running back would. We have used him on third down and it was it was just more of giving him opportunities to get used to those types of things in those situations of letting him be out there on third down doing it. He can catch a ball in the backfield and do a great job. He is a great runner after the catch. You saw him on the screen yesterday and he had a couple of screens earlier in the season and did a nice job, so we think highly of him and can use him a lot of ways. His versatility will be very helpful to us.

(on what he wants to see on Thursday)

Well probably just a complete game on both sides, we will have to see how everyone is going to play but just come out of the box and play well. That’s what you want to see and your number ones stay healthy and put drives together and finish them. Maybe do more, 60 plays for offense, 60 plays for defense so all the guys can get some work evenly. I think it’s just like all of these preseason games, we will want to improve on certain parts of our game, get another look at some of these players and how they are going to fit with us, and get ready to go.

(on Marc Mariani’s injury)

Again, I don’t know a whole lot. We will know more probably this evening or tomorrow as far as how Marc (Mariani) is doing. He will probably not play Thursday, but from there I think we will be fine. I don’t think it’s anything to be too concerned besides the fact that it’s a four-day week and we are playing on Thursday so it will probably be harder for some of these guys to play right away coming off of an injury.

(on other injured players)

(Byron) Stingily, he was dressed yesterday and he will probably be OK, he had the back spasms but he went through pregame warm-ups so we are hoping he can play as a young guy you want to get reps so we will see how he is but we assume he is going to be OK. (Troy) Kropog will not play this week. Kevin Matthews will probably have a good chance to play this week also. We didn’t suit him up for the same reason, there is no reason to irritate his ankle with the warm-up routine when we knew that he may get 15 reps max because of the veterans playing so much yesterday, so we thought it would be smart to rest him for another day so he will be back out there tomorrow and we will see where he is at.

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