HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK
(on what it meant to him to have the military watch today’s practice)
I think it’s great for everyone. The soldiers had a chance to talk to the players before we came out and they just kind of got away from everything for the day. I obviously wish we had a more exciting practice. I think the players really enjoyed it that they (soldiers) were here to watch, and I wish we did something like this more often.
(on if having the military at practice puts things in perspective for the players)
Well, sure it does. We can’t fathom the sacrifices they make for this country, and that their family’s make for what they do. I think it makes you appreciate much more what you do, and what opportunities we have, and how blessed we are. I’m thankful for people like them that are defending us.
No, we thought he’d be okay today, but it’s looking like that’s still a little shaky. We’ll see how he is tomorrow. That’s the good thing about preseason; you can kind of wait right up until the last minute before you have to announce anything. We hoped he’d do more today, but we’ll see how he is tomorrow.
(on how he is going to keep his players motivated as training camp is reaching its end)
They want to do well; they know cuts are coming. A lot of the young guys know their opportunities are running out; like you mentioned cut-downs are after the third preseason game. I don’t think they need a lot of motivation. They want to do well and they want to win. They know they are going to get limited opportunities from this week on, especially the younger guys. I think they practiced hard. We came inside because of the weather and we were working hard. Things weren’t as crisp as we’d like, as far as a few dropped balls, a few bad throws, but come Saturday night, hopefully we’re playing well.
(on who will start at middle linebacker if
Right now, we think he will play. We’ll just move guys around if he (cannot). We can put (Will) Witherspoon there at MIKE (middle linebacker); that’s a good thing we’ve mentioned this whole camp about moving guys around. You got (Gerald) McRath who can go and play WILL (weak side linebacker), you got (Colin) McCarthy that can go in there (middle linebacker), so we’ll see probably a combination of both. All those guys have played it, and they’re comfortable doing it. I’m sure we’ll start the veteran (Witherspoon) first, and then later on McCarthy.
I think they’ll start those two like they did last time. I think last week, depending on if we’re in nickel or not, what group is on the field, but not necessarily. I think we’ll start the same way we did last week.
(on what he knows about the new running back Kestahn Moore the team brought in)
Don’t know a whole lot about him yet. He was at Kansas City (Chiefs) and a couple of other places. We needed some depth. We needed to bring someone in that could help us with this kind of practice. We’ll see how quickly we can get him up to speed, as far as if we use him in the game or not. If (Javon) Ringer doesn’t practice or he doesn’t suit up, you only have three running backs going into the game. So, I think that was the thinking behind bringing someone in that we thought could maybe take some carries in the fourth quarter.
(on if its normal for guys to get tired at this time of camp)
Guy are tired, but that’s how it’s going to be in a game. That’s one of the tests out here, you don’t want guys making mental errors and dropping ball because they are tired so that’s now what they are trying to do. That is part of any practice, I guess it happens, but it’s got to be limited or you won’t get the opportunity to play.
(on how long the starters are going to play)
Last time we actually went into the second quarter with some of the players, some of the offensive players, because they were in the middle of a drive, so I think the goal is to get them ready to go to almost halftime. It depends on how many plays though. For example, last week the defense only had like 13 or 14 plays until late into the second quarter. So if there are only 25 or 30 plays in a half, then the first team is going to play the whole half. It’s kind of in that 25 to 30 range that we are trying to get most of the players with some exceptions. We need to get closer to playing like game time. We need to get a two-minute drive one way or the other before half.
(on if it’s better to be cautions with Javon Ringer)
I imagine we will. We thought he would be out today but he wasn’t quite ready for that. You are not going to push something that’s not really good for him right now. We probably don’t want to make it worse than it is.
(on what skills make
I just think he is such a physical player. In the slot you are asking guys to do more as far as attacking the line of scrimmage and play the run more, blitzing more, and he has that personality and he has that physical make-up that makes him good at that. He disguises things well and he does all the things in that position that fool the quarterback, so I think it’s a natural to put that player on the field.
(on if Alterraun Verner is natural outside)
I think he is, in his second year I think last year he came in and did a nice job and I think that’s the whole part of putting guys where they are most comfortable. When you get those three on the field, I think that’s probably the best position for the three.
I think he has just been sore. I think there is just a little soreness coming into his leg there from all the stuff he has been doing and he has probably been favoring things. We just thought that enough is enough and we would cut him back since he is not going to play on Saturday, so hopefully he will be fresh and ready to go Monday.
He is, and he definitely wanted to come in and press from the first day he walked in and he asked me who the special teams coach was. I think someone told him right away how you make a team as a young player. So he is highly motivated and he played about eight or nine snaps on special teams last week and did a nice job. He is a good-size kid, he looks physical, he plays hard, but he has a lot to learn. He got about 25 reps as corner last week so this will be another big test for him. For a young man like him to come in with the little experience he has, he has done a nice job.
(on if there will be a big jump in what is asked of the players for this game)
Not really, I think we will mix in a few more things, a few more formations and let these guys play. It’s still evaluation time, you want to put guys in position where they can go out and play well and I think that’s all we will be doing and keeping it simple like I’m sure they will on their side of the ball. Next week we will pick it up a little more.