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Coach Munchak's Thursday Practice Report

Posted Oct 6, 2011

HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on how Ahmard Hall is looking on the field and on tape)

He looks good, he looks quick, and he is moving well. We knew he would keep himself in great shape and he wasn’t too sore today from yesterday, so he looks good.

(on how Donnie Avery has looked this week and what his role may be in the game)

We will suit him up again and then it will all depend on how the game goes, if we are passing a lot. It’s supposed to be good weather like it is here, so if the guys are tired I’m sure he will have an opportunity to play more, especially if we are passing the ball quite a bit. So he is up, he feels more comfortable with the offense, we feel more comfortable with him, so he will have a chance to help us out this week.

(on how valuable Matt Hasselbeck’s leadership is to the team)

Like I have said from the beginning, that is one of the big reasons or part of the reason we brought him in, other than the quarterback need, the leadership that we thought he would bring just because of the type of player he is, the success he has had in the league. He brings instant credibility and when he came in here he took over from day one with the way he set the tempo and the things he did. When you have success right away like he did, that helps. That makes it a lot easier for him to kind of spread his message. I think it has caught on well and the guys have really responded well to him.

(on the challenge facing the Troy Polamalu)

He is just unpredictable, he has the authority to kind of do his own thing at times because he is such a smart player. He could be at the line of scrimmage three or four yards off the ball or he could be the deep safety in coverage. He does a great job of trying to fool the quarterback at what he is doing. If he feels run he will take off and blitz when maybe he is not supposed to by design. He is just a smart player who has a long leash and is allowed to do a lot of things. He is a guy that you have to be very aware of every play.

(on if Troy Polamalu is the best defensive player in the league)

I don’t know that, but he is one of the best, yes.

(on if there are any incentives regarding the bye week for a win in Pittsburgh)

Nope, we already have our schedule set and believe me, it’s already a good schedule so they are happy with that. We just have to go out there and win. We have been part of those things and usually they don’t work anyway. You feel bad and you end up giving them the day off anyway so we set that about two or three weeks ago so we didn’t have to worry about that. They know what they are getting off and I think that it’s more important and that’s the last thing on their mind right now. They will worry about that on Sunday night.

(on how dangerous Ben Roethlisberger is on the move)

He is just dangerous in general, he just makes plays. He is just one of those guys that you wonder how he does it, and you watch the tape and you go, ‘how did he do that, he should be sacked.’ People complain that he holds the ball too long but usually when the smoke clears and the game is over, he usually won the game because he did hold the ball too long. He has been to the Super Bowl a couple times, he has won the Super Bowl, he still has a long career ahead of him if he stays healthy and there is no doubt that he makes them go.

(on if this looks like the same Steelers defense on film despite unusual numbers)

It’s the same to me from what you watch, really the only thing that stands out is the turnovers. I hope it stays this way, last year we gave them seven so we got them off to a good start last year, but they only have one I think this year which is probably very rare for that defense. Having said that, I hope it’s still one after the game, but that is one that I wouldn’t have believed if I didn’t see it. They are still playing hard, they are the same defense. People get caught up in, ‘man, what are teams doing against them?’ They have missed a tackle or two here and there, a couple of people have made some good runs on them, but I think giving up 16 points per game is pretty good defense. They are still tops in a lot of categories, and again, they are being judged on a four game season. There is a long way to go and when it’s all said and done, believe me they find a way to be in the playoffs and be one of the top defenses in the league. We know what we will be playing against on Sunday.

(on if the seven turnovers against Pittsburgh last year was more due to sloppy play or the Steelers physical defense)

They returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and we fumbled the opening kickoff, it’s a combination of both. It’s sloppiness on our part and good defense or special teams by them.

(on what the message is this week regarding playing the Steelers)

I think it helped that we played on the road last week, we needed a road win badly I think last week going into Cleveland, so it was nice to just carry the message over from that. The fact that we went to Cleveland, beat them, they used to be a team that we played twice a year, and Pittsburgh is in almost the same exact category for us.  We are very familiar with them, we have played Pittsburgh the last three years so even though they are not a division team any more, they feel like one. This is one of those games where you really don’t have to say a whole lot, they know what they are getting into. They don’t listen to what anyone else says about statistics  or where they are at or where they are hurting because they are 2-2, Their history speaks for itself, so for a coach this is any easy one to get the guys ready to play.

(on seeing friends while up in Pittsburgh)

Yeah, I’m sure I will. Going up to Pennsylvania we will see a lot of old teammates in Pittsburgh so yeah I’m looking forward to it.

(on seeing family while in Pittsburgh)

Yeah, they just don’t do busses anymore. There will be over 100 people there probably from the Scranton area that are going to the game. They are driving separately, they are not going to take the bus. They are enjoying the long weekend, I think they have Monday off, and there is a holiday Monday. So we will have a lot of Titans fans, more Titans fans than normal at a Pittsburgh game.

(on if some of the family going may be Steelers fans)

Well they are not allowed to be. For 24 hours, they have to put the Steelers deal to the side and root for the Titans. That’s part of the deal if they want to get tickets from my dad. They have all agreed to that, I don’t know if quietly they root, but they are all in the same section so everyone knows if someone doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain. They have enjoyed going to these games since I have been involved with the Oilers in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, all of the close stadiums, Buffalo and the New York teams. It’s a great road trip for them, they enjoy it, so there are a lot of Titans fans up in the northeast.

(on how many tickets he has gotten for friends and family)

Well the good thing is I stay out of it. Over the years I have learned that my dad takes care of it, my uncle does. They have a good relationship with Marty (Collins) so I can give him the direct line so I can stay out of the hassle. My sisters all come and their families so there will be quite a few here for this game.

(on if Kenny Britt’s surgery been scheduled)

I think it has, I’m not sure, I think it’s later this week. 

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