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Coach Munchak's Thursday Practice Report

Posted Oct 25, 2012

HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on the status of Michael Roos)

No. We’ll probably know more tomorrow.

(on if Michael Roos is talking with the doctors each day)

Every day, just talking about how he’s doing, what he’s doing. He’s not allowed to do a whole lot. It’ll be a couple more days, and then kind of see where he’s at.

(on how Jake Locker has looked at practice this week)

Good. He’s throwing well, he’s having less soreness with his shoulder when he does throw. He’s running, doing a lot of things to where he’s feeling more natural with his left shoulder. He’s doing about everything he’s allowed to do at this point, and we’ll just kind of have to wait until next week to see kind of how the healing process is going.

(on if he won’t dress Jake Locker this week if he doesn’t start)

He won’t suit up this week, no.

(on the decision not to have Colin McCarthy practice today)

He’s OK. Our thinking was, Wednesday he’d have a full day. He pretty much did everything yesterday, and actually felt about the same today after doing all that, so that’s a good sign. Tomorrow when it’s more red zone, we’ll have him out there tomorrow, and kind of go from there. He should be in good shape for Sunday.

(on Quinn Johnson’s role in the offense)

He’s done a nice job for his first year as a true starter. Last year he started at the beginning of the season, and from there he didn’t get the chance to play a lot. He’s come along nice, he’s catching the ball well. He’s showing his versatility there, every ball that’s been thrown to him, he’s caught. He’s made some plays for us there on crucial downs. He did the same thing last year on some key fourth-and-ones. Like we’ve been saying, the more opportunity he gets to block, the more he’s on the field. There’s a guy that’s really been affected by us losing. You kind of get away from two-back, which means he’s out of the game pretty much a lot of those games. I know he’s enjoyed the fact of playing really the last four weeks when he’s gotten the chance to play a lot. He’s blocking better, and the more he gets it, the better it is for us.

(on if Quinn Johnson’s improvements are helping the offensive line)

It’s him, it’s the tight ends, it’s (Jared) Cook, it’s (Craig) Stevens, it’s Taylor Thompson. I know everyone kind of focuses on the offensive line when things are going well or bad. Really those guys—the fullback is a big part of it, and so are the tight ends. All three of those guys are doing very well.

(on how much success fuels more success in the run game)

I think the positive would be that we know that’s still very capable of happening. It’s just like anytime you’re in the hole, you think something special could happen, a run or pass. The thing we can’t have happen is that Chris (Johnson) or we think, well we’re going to get one of those every time, and now you’re playing for those. I think we talked about the fact that looking for the home run too much gets you in trouble more than it’s a good thing. I think the fact that we know that it’s there and it’s possible to happen on any play is a good thing, but we can’t dwell on the fact that those are hard to come by. Like when you hear that stat that Chris is the only one in history to have four of them, you realize how hard they are to come by. That’s something that if we get another one of those, it’d be awesome. I’ll take the four-and five-yard runs every time we touch the ball every day.

(on if the success reinforces the weapons the Titans do have)

Yeah, I think so. I think it helps us with teams hopefully, with Indianapolis watching us and seeing, what are they going to take away? I think we have all of our weapons, the running game, the pass game. Last week, really the first time it all really looked good. We didn’t turn the ball over. It was our best game as an offensive unit probably all year. What we did, finishing in the red zone and on and on, we just did everything you’d want to do. I think for the offense now, you come back next week and do it again against a different team after you’ve had success. We’ve been struggling to do exactly what we did last week pretty much all year. I hope that’s a good sign, and we can continue to make plays like that. Like you said, from the beginning, that’s a lot of confidence for a lot of guys when you have success like you did last week.

(on if he expects that the cornerbacks will be challenged by Reggie Wayne)

Yeah, I think it’s a great challenge for them. He’s done well for them. He’s obviously the go-to guy. They’ve been throwing to the tight ends also, though. I think, yeah, it’s going to be a challenge because they will go deep. (Andrew Luck) will hold onto the ball and wait for Reggie (Wayne) to get open, and that’s why they’ve made a lot of plays. So I think, yeah, it’ll be interesting to see how it works out.  It’s a great challenge, and obviously we’ve had plenty of challenges all year long with the offenses and the quarterbacks we’ve faced this year. It’s just another test coming in a division game.

(on if Donnie Avery looks like the same player he was with the Titans)

He’s getting the chance to play a lot, be a starter, which is a good thing for him. We liked him. We were trying to sign him when the season ended. I think he wanted to get somewhere, which he did, where he could be a starter. He knew with Kenny (Britt) and the guys coming back here, that it was probably a tougher deal, so he got in a great situation there. He’s been productive for them. He’s a good kid, he played hard for us when he was here. It’s good to see him doing well.

(on how different the Colts defense is with the 3-4)

It’s a lot different. Before it was one front, one or two coverages. You knew what the philosophy was as far as getting after the quarterback. More than anything else, now I think you see it just being different. The amazing thing for them is they’re playing it well already. They’re going to get better. They’re getting better at it every week, getting used to their new positions and what they’re doing. That’s a credit to them on both sides of the ball, how well they’ve adapted to their systems being so much different than it used to be. They’re 3-3, which means they’re just going to continue to get better every week.

(on how the Colts’ pass rush has been affected by the switch)

Well, they’re just not getting as many opportunities as they used to. All of a sudden, (Robert) Mathis is standing up, sometimes he’s dropping in coverage, before he was rushing every time. He’s on the field, he’s a rusher. (Dwight) Freeney, again, rushes most of the time, but occasionally he’s going to drop a little more than he used to. Freeney is on both sides now, so the one side he’s standing up. Whenever you’re doing something different you haven’t done, even though it doesn’t mean you can’t get real good at it, it takes a while. I think it’s just that those guys are still making plays. The thing is then, they haven’t both been healthy together. A lot of the games it’s been one or the other that’s been playing, which has been a good thing for offenses. It’s been hard for them to really see where they’re at. Third down is still third down. They’re still putting their hand down. When you go to nickel, it’s still a four-down front, and then it’s more about how it was when you played them in Indy. Mathis stays on the left and Freeney, and they get after it pretty good. They just haven’t both been healthy together. I think (Freeney) is coming off an ankle, the last couple of weeks playing through that, which everyone in the league has that issue. They’re still a great challenge, and it will be a huge game for us.

(on if he expects the Colts to pick on Mike Otto)

Oh, I’m sure you’re going to look at some things, thinking that’s a pretty good matchup for you throughout the game at times. You can never dwell on one area because then you get in trouble. Again, if we’re going to go after one of their areas, everyone knows where they have weaknesses, where they have new guys. We’re going to do our best to help Mike (Otto), get him comfortable in the game like we’ve done before when a lineman is playing who hasn’t played very often. You don’t want to put him on an island, and say good luck to you. You’re going to help him, not to where you’re going to help every down, but you’re going to mix it up to where they can’t figure out either when you’re helping and when you’re not helping. Sometimes you just have to play. He’ll be fine. It’s not like he’s a rookie who has never played. He hasn’t played a lot, but he’s a veteran guy, a smart guy. He knows how to get himself through the game.

(on if he anticipates that Mike Otto will start on Sunday)

Yes, we have. I think you have to look at it that way. If Michael (Roos) gets approval to play or feels well enough to play, then that’s great. I think when you have something like this, the player always is anticipating being the guy. We are as an offense. We’ve done that whenever there has been an injury on offense or defense. We just assumed that he’s going to be the left tackle, and if something changes with Michael, then great.

(on how proud he is that the team can get to .500 with a win on Sunday)

Well I’m happy that we’ve put ourselves in this position. Even though we weren’t playing well at times, I think we all felt that we were much better than we’ve shown. We just knew we had to step up and win a game, and maybe we’d get something going. We’ve done it the last couple of weeks, which is a testament to them hanging in there and believing in what they’re doing. Like we said after we beat Pittsburgh, the Buffalo game would add more to that first win. This is kind of where we’re at now, is can we get to 4-4 against a division team that’s 3-3 and people thought that they’d never be 3-3 either at this point. Everyone just assumed that well, they’re going to draft a young quarterback and start all over. They’re going to be a two-win team. That’s not the case.  It’s amazing how teams rally. They’re doing the same thing, they’re in great shape. They haven’t had the ups and downs we’ve had. They’ve handled the first six games better than we have. It’s a division game, we’re 0-1 in the division. We need a win big and so do they. So I think it’s going to be one of those normal division battles, and one that we have to win.

(on how much the injuries to Tommie Campbell and some of the linebackers has affected special teams)

It hurt us last week, without a doubt, with Tommie (Campbell) and Patrick Bailey. Going into the game knowing Tommie wasn’t there and then Patrick got hurt. Then certain guys had to start playing on defense, and you’re trying to limit the reps. It made for a tough situation, especially on the kickoff team. But then you have to rally and recover and do better than we did on that team last week. We struggled there, gave up the touchdown return. So this week, brought some more guys in. That’s the battle of the league, a lot of it’s having some good luck and keeping healthy. That’s a factor in all this as you go through the season because there are only so many guys that you can add to your roster that can maybe help. That’s going to be a challenge, I think, going into this week. In another week or so, we should have Tommie back and Bailey back. Hopefully we can weather the storm in that phase of the game.

(on his relationship with Coach Chuck Pagano and if he’s impressed with what Coach Bruce Arians and their staff has kept the team together)

They’ve done a great job. I met Chuck (Pagano) at the owners’ meeting, it was the first time I had met him. We’ve texted since he’s been treated for leukemia. You turn the film on, and you watch a team play. That’s what I go by, that’s the body of work. I said, ‘The team is playing hard, they’re playing physical in every phase of the game.’ You turn it on and that’s what you see. They’re 3-3, and they’ve done a great job transitioning not only, like you said, with the adjustment with the head coach, the new staff, the new coaches, 33 new guys. It’s amazing what they’ve accomplished. They’re in our division unfortunately, and they’re 3-3. This is going to be a very tough game. They’ve done a great job this far in the season. To be doing as well as they are this early is a testament to that organization.

(on if Colin McCarthy is still on track to play on Sunday)

Yes, we’re assuming he should be fine to play on Sunday.  

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