HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK
(on how much
A little bit more. He probably did a little more than half the reps in each period. So not quite everything, but close. He did well. Like I said, wasn’t sore from yesterday which is a good thing. Moved on, did more today. Hopefully tomorrow, even better. By Sunday, we’ll just go play.
Still a little sore. He ran some today, did some things. Obviously, didn’t do anything with the team. Hopefully tomorrow he’ll be doing that. So we expect him to be out tomorrow, and see really where he’s at. Again, still feel good about the chance of him playing this week.
(on how important it is to get Sen’Derrick Marks back and healthy)
It definitely helps. You want experience, and he has that. He plays that nose position very well, he’s very athletic, stays on his feet. You need that in this day and age when everyone’s cutting so much on that level. To get those guys back, so we’ve got eight up, will be very good for us.
(on if attacking more through the air will help free up
We were doing that last week, I thought. We came out throwing. I thought the mixture of Chris (Johnson’s) first drive was a pretty good mixture of runs and passes. We had success, we just didn’t finish the drive. We got down there, and we looked pretty darn good, I thought. Made some great throws, Kendall (Wright) made a great catch. Nate (Washington) made a great catch. We had a couple decent runs there. That’s the team we want to be. Then, as you all know, we kind of spread it out from there because the run game wasn’t going and we got a little bit behind. I think we’re going to have to be able to do both, to spread the field more with the receivers. If we get Kenny (Britt) back, that gives you another weapon to make teams worry about something that will hopefully make the run game easier. Hopefully that will just help us be more productive anyway.
(on if they need to stick with Chris Johnson and the run game more)
That’s why it’s hard when you’re getting hammered on justifying why he only had what he had. The problem is, you have to do well with the few you get. When you don’t, and in his case, we had four or five bad runs out of his share, it gets magnified more when you don’t get as many carries. The goal was to get more carries. Like I said, if we didn’t fall behind 21-3, we would have stuck with the run. The first drive of the third quarter, we threw four passes and scored. So I think we were leaning that way. You hope in games, that yes, you want him to carry it 18 to 20 times, in that area at least. Again in a game like that, you hope that if you don’t get them early in the fourth quarter, or if the game was closer he would have gotten more touches and more carries there, but it just didn’t work out that way.
Pretty good. As far as soreness and all that, nothing unusual. No concerns, just have to keep plugging forward with him. It’s not just the injury, it’s the knee, it’s the confidence, it’s the playbook. There’s a lot going on when you haven’t played in a year. He’ll be rusty in all three of those areas, and the good news is he’s still moving forward
(on if he’s worried about potential leg fatigue with Kenny Britt)
I think that’s why you have to realize you can’t overplay him. The same thing can happen. What happens if he doesn’t hurt his knee, but he hurts something else? He’s had hamstrings before, quads, and you have to start worrying about those things. Again, even though his knee may feel good, the rest of his body hasn’t played either. That’s why we have to be smart for a lot of reasons, not just because of the knee. He has to have a decent rotation where we slowly get him back in there, slowly get his confidence back and slowly have him contribute to the team.
(on how he categorizes the role of the tight end position)
I think when we drafted (Jared) Cook, we were seeing it the way everyone else was seeing it. That we have a guy that gives teams a mismatch problem. A guy that can play all downs, you don’t want to take him off the field like other teams. You don’t want to take (Antonio) Gates off, you don’t want to take Cook off, because he is such a good target, he does run good routes, he does have good hands. I think when we drafted him, that was the thinking behind that. Then you have (Craig) Stevens, who we all know he’s a good blocker, but he’s underrated on how good his hands are. I think we have exactly what you want. Then drafting Taylor (Thompson) because he’s a third guy we feel can develop into a good, solid weapon when he gets an opportunity to play more. I think we’re right in what you need. I think we see it the same way. I think those guys create problems for defenses. Cook had some good catches last week, a great catch over the middle, a great catch on the sideline. He’s been doing that. We just have to keep milking him week in and week out.
I’m sure he will just because they do throw a lot more deep balls, they do go for more home run shots throughout the game maybe than the Patriots do. I think every week is going to be a challenge for him. I think all he has to worry about is one game at a time. He got his first start, had a nice, solid game. This game presents different challenges, and you hope he just takes it like that. So far, he went out there and played a good, solid game. When he had to make tackles, he made them. I think that was hopefully good for his confidence, and this will be another, like I said, a challenge for him. I’m sure he’ll get tested in different ways this week. As you know, we’ll come back with Detroit, I’m sure it will be a little different there, and Houston. He’ll get an opportunity to see quite a bit in this first month.
(on if the defensive line will have more time to get to Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers this week)
Yeah, he’s definitely going to hold it for the bigger play at times. But his line does a really good job, they protect well, they have for him for the most part throughout his career. When you go in there, you know he’s going to take more risks, kind of like Pittsburgh, he’s going to let guys get open, maybe give a receiver more time to get open before he gives up on a play or goes somewhere else with the ball. On the other side of that, they he will frustrate you, because he will get the ball out of his hands pretty good, he will throw quite a few screens, and take what you give him. He’s definitely going to give you some opportunities. On the back end, you have to cover, so you give those guys a chance to maybe disrupt him and hit him. Again, the thing you want out of that is turnovers. We need to get the ball out, and that will help us, especially on the road, to score some points.
(on how much
I think it helps him. He played the end spot in pass rush the last couple of years against them. It’s a new left tackle, so it will be someone he hasn’t played against before. He’s comfortable with what they do, he’s played in that stadium. I think all that’s nice because you get a comfort when you’ve been somewhere before. You still have to line up and play. He’s the kind of guy, you don’t worry about him. He plays hard every snap, and I thought he had a nice, solid game last week. We need him to play well and make a difference for us to win this game.
(on why he set the travel schedule like he did for this trip to San Diego)
I guess because as a player and a coach I’ve been involved in a lot of different ways of trying it. People try a lot of things, but I don’t know how you ever figure out what really does work unless you’re superstitious and say, ‘Hey, we did this last year. So we’re always going to do it the same way.’ For me, I thought the best way was not changing your Friday schedule. Going to the west coast, I think having Friday be normal, and then Saturday, instead of coming here for work, we’re just going to fly there first thing in the morning, so our routine is exactly the same. We get there and treat it like it is Saturday morning, and do our Saturday morning routine that we do here. Then when we’re done with practice, it’s kind of the same travel routine. We’ll have three or four hours to do our thing and have our meetings. I just think that was better. I liked it as a player, I liked it as a coach. I think that gives us the best chance to concentrate and go play. I don’t try to put too much on that.