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Coach Munchak's Wednesday Camp Report

Posted Aug 15, 2012

HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on what he wants to build on from last week)

I think on offense we have to avoid having a start like we did. We have to stay on the field. Last week was a turnover and a penalty which killed our first two drives. So we need to put drives together and stay on the field so we can get a feel for the game. That will help everything. That will help the run game and play-action, all the things we want to do. So, that’s number one. On the defensive side of the ball, we need to just get off the field quicker. We got off the field and held them to three points in the first half and then we spent too much time on the field as a defense. We have to get some of those three-and-outs and get a feel for what that’s like. So that’s probably the two things on both sides of the ball, usual goals, but something that we just didn’t accomplish last week.

(on the importance of gaining momentum in the preseason)

I just think it’s good to win whenever you go out. Obviously, these four games aren’t going to affect our regular season record by any means and it will be forgotten. I still think it’s good to have certain things happen and learn how to win as a team even though you are playing a lot of guys. The goal is always to win. You want to win, but you just don’t get caught up in either way it goes when the outcome is over. I think you just want to go out and feel good about the direction you are heading. To do that, we need to play better with those first groups in the first and second quarter.

(on what Jake Locker needs to do to win the starting position for the season)

I think Jake Locker just has to do what he has been doing out here. He needs to do what he did last week, but finish the drives as an offense. He finished and got the field goal on one of his drives. His one drive we didn’t get a touchdown, so it would be nice to see him, even though he isn’t going to get as much time as he’d like, out of 20 or 25 plays, get at least two drives where we do something positive with points. We’d like to see us go up by 10 points, move the ball, stay on the field and find a way to make plays. Those are the things you want to see. It’s going to be an away game in front of a different crowd, so I think that’s part of the problem too. It’s playing well on the road.

(on if it will make a difference that Jake Locker will come out first)

I think so. I think he’s excited. I think any player is excited anytime it’s their first time doing something. When I played my first preseason game, you’ll remember it even though it doesn’t count. It’s that first experience where you are in charge and you are the guy. So I think that will grow on him during the week. You want to see him go through that part even though it’s not a regular season game. Still, you are the man. You are leading us out there. You do have the ball first and you have a chance to make a difference. So that is definitely exciting. I am sure he is excited and he’s competitive, so he wants to be there.

(on whether it matters that Jake Locker hasn’t started in a year)

I don’t think it’s a big deal. I think it’s just something he needs to do and it’s helpful in the process for any player to go out there and get a chance to play. When I was playing, I didn’t go out there and start any preseason game, but then I started in the first regular season game. Guys do it all the time. So, I think it’s good for a quarterback to get a feel for the situation. There’s just another one that he’s been through. So, it’s a good experience for him.

(on if Chris Johnson’s problems last Saturday were related to the offensive line)

Well, his first run was a communication problem at the line of scrimmage between the tight end and the tackle with the noise at the first and 10. So, we cut a guy free on that. The second run was the fullback. So then we only got three runs left. One was 12 yards so that was pretty good. The other one was four yards so that was pretty good. His last one, I think he had a one-yard gain. It’s hard to evaluate and judge people on five snaps. I think what stood out more was that he dropped two balls. I think that’s something that he is more concerned about than what he accomplished on five carries. We just have to keep going. We want the run game to improve and we will hopefully do better this week in the first quarter. It was better from second quarter on, but not what we wanted the first quarter.

(on if he cares about Jake Locker’s completion percentage)

I think it’s about winning. If we are not winning and that’s part of the problem, then that’s one thing. I agree. I think just like on defense, yards don’t matter. It’s how many points you gave up. The offense is just the opposite. You don’t care about the yards. You just want to win football games. So if the quarterback is getting the job done and making the plays he has to, to win football games, you don’t care about numbers. I think people look at numbers and they figure out how to use them against you, quarterback, cornerback, whoever. Like last year in the running game, the Giants were the worst in football and won the Super Bowl. So, I don’t know what all that means. You can take stats and use them any way you want. Obviously, he wants to be successful. I think he’s shown that in college. He is that kind of player. The guy could’ve came out and left a team that wasn’t playing very good football, but he wanted to stay and take them to a bowl game. So, I think what is important to him is that he wins football games.

(on if he has noticed Jake Locker being more accurate in camp)

I think I notice because people point it out to me. I think it’s a good stat. Obviously, you don’t want to turn the ball over and have those things happen, so he is being smart with the ball and the decision making. But a lot of times guys just force plays out here because you are going to run it in a game. As a quarterback, you run and buy more time and sometimes you try to squeeze balls in that you shouldn’t. You can’t get caught up in all that. Half the time, some of these guys are sacking and throwing the ball. I think in the preseason games you don’t want to see those mistakes. Even though it’s preseason, how he does these next three games will tell us what to do.

(on what he anticipates of Jamie Harper in a situational role)

Like you said, we’re sitting here talking about CJ (Chris Johnson) getting carries, and then you have (Javon) Ringer. So it gets a lot harder that’s why he did a good job showing us last year what he can do. He took advantage of the opportunity given to him. There will be games this year. I’m sure the second half of this game he’ll get an opportunity to run again and show us where he’s at. Obviously, a lot of that you have to go by what you see in training camp practice and until the fourth game when young guys play more. So, we’ll get enough to show us what he can do. Now you got D-Ray (Darius Reynaud) running the ball well so all of a sudden you want to see him in there. There are a lot of guys and only one football, and you want to be throwing the ball so there’s a lot to do, and that’s what’s going to make the decision hard. You’re not going to get ten carries per guy to make decisions on. You’re going to have to go off of what you see on the practice field

(on whether Darius Reynaud will play in the early part of the game)

Yeah, maybe somewhere in the first half he’ll get an opportunity. We know he can run the ball; we just have to see the rest of his game. He just hasn’t had a chance or been asked to do a lot of things yet. You know what (Javon)Ringer can do, so maybe he’s a guy who won’t get in as many reps and then you find a way to give more reps to (Jamie) Harper or Darius (Reynaud). So yeah, we’ll do those kinds of things and try to get them in situations where we can make decisions on these guys.

(on what he is hoping to see when rotating back-ups into the first group)

You want to see how they handle playing against better players on the other side of the ball. Usually, if our first group is in there, the other team’s is. So, you get a chance to see how he runs in that group or how he reacts to that group or being with the first quarterback or with one of our top two quarterbacks. So you kind of look at all of those things and see how he does when he’s in there with the first group.

(on what Darius Reynaud is doing as far as blocking)

That’s the hardest thing for him. That’s a vision thing. That’s a feel thing. That’s something he doesn’t know much of. So for him, that’s something he’ll get a lot better at. It’s a two-way sort there. You don’t want to put him in and find out that he can’t do it. Because then sometimes the quarterbacks probably get hit if he’s not picking up people, but you do want to see him doing the right things, especially in practice. That he is picking up the blitzes better. That he gets out quicker in drives. That he runs the right routes. So there is a lot that goes into the running back other than carries.  So yeah, we’re going to try to look at that stuff over the next three weeks.

(on how Kendall Wright’s presence has changed Lavelle Hawkins’ role in the offense)

I don’t know if it is changing it a whole lot. Obviously, on a third down if we have Damian (Williams), Nate (Washington), and him in there then he may not get in as many reps in some of those packages, depending on how much three wide receiver we do. But I think we’re going to do a good job this year. Last year, those guys hadn’t played a lot of football, and that’s something you’re worried about when your receivers are playing that much. I think this gives us a great rotation, where we can rest guys to keep them fresher in the fourth quarter and really fresher during the season, because it seemed like we were wearing out towards the end of last season because guys were getting in so many reps.

(on whether there is a difference in Matt Hasselbeck since Jake Locker was named starter for Friday’s game)

No, he’s the same. He’s special in that way. I sit at the meetings with those guys, the quarterbacks, in the mornings, and he does a great job. He’s like a big brother to him, I think. He’s helping him. He’s concerned for him. He’s worried for him. So I think that’s why Jake (Locker) is in the position that he’s in, because he’s had Matt (Hasselbeck) around him for a little over a year now. He’s been such a big plus to his career in such a short period of time. He’s handled it just like we thought he would. He’s been through this before in his career with other situations. He’s handled it great. Like I said, I think Jake always mentions that Matt is a big part as to why he’s even as good as he is already. 

(on whether he knows which quarterback will start next week)

A lot of it is going to depend on what starts happening. We’re running out of time. It’s funny how we talked about it back in April or May saying, ‘Well, geez, we’ve got three or four months,’ and now the seasons getting close. I think we feel good about it. I think we’ll make that decision around next weekend, a couple days after this game.

(on when he will know which quarterback will start for the regular season)

To me, like I’ve said, it’s the sooner the better for this, but I think there are certain things that we just can’t hurry and certain things we still need to see and to make sure that we feel good about it. Once we do, we need to move on, because to me, you want to get your quarterback named and you want to get going. I don’t want to do it the week of the opener. I think we’re going to do it before that for a lot of factors. It’s important for the football team. It’s important to move forward. It’s important for the coordinators, for the offense. So I think all of those things are reasons why we’re going to make sure that we do this thing as quickly as we can.

(on if that means he’d like to name a starting quarterback before the preseason game against Arizona)

We’ll name him before we start the regular season.

(on what he’d still like to see to judge the quarterback battle)

For example, when Jake (Locker) starts his first game, I think it’s a lot of little things. You want to see more game-like experiences like that, for him especially. We know what Matt (Hasselbeck) is going to do in games. He has a big track record to see. You want to see more of Jake (Locker) in those situations to kind of see where he’s at in some of those. But again, getting them both to play because you have a new team every year, new receivers. You’re trying to see what receivers are responding to the quarterback and how that relationship is. That’s a small segment. There are so many things you look into when you’re trying to make a decision about a quarterback when it’s not an obvious decision, when you have two players you feel you can win with—which is a good problem to have. But again, we still want to let it play out a little bit to where you feel comfortable that you’re doing the right thing.

(on what he was hoping to see from the new secondary coaching hires)

I think when it comes to the end of the season, we just needed a change in that room with direction. Some (players) get comfortable. I never put that on the coaches, it just a matter of sometimes you need a coaching change. It’s good for the players. I thought bringing in two guys like these guys with different personalities—Steve (Brown) is very aggressive on the field, they both played the game, they’re both good coaches. I think one played corner and one played safety, so they got hands-on experience that way. I think they work so well together. When I’m watching, I’m watching the two coaches work well together. Brett (Maxie) is very organized with how he runs it, (the players) know exactly what is expected of them. He explains the schemes very well. You see them attacking more, and you see a lot of the things they’re working on coming out in the games early and the practice sessions. You’re hoping to continue to see that in games.

(on if he’s already seeing those results)

I think the guys are responding. They’re a young group. You lost two of the veterans last year with (Chris) Hope and Cortland (Finnegan) leaving. They were really two of your main guys that had been here a long time. You’re looking for leadership in the room with guys like (Jason) McCourty and (Michael) Griffin. I think having a coaching switch was kind of a fresh start for everybody. You have young guys, it’s a fresh start. I think the attitude is a lot different also, and I think you’re seeing that out here by the way they’re playing, by the fact that they all know they have a chance to make this team and be part of it. So it’s exciting to watch. Like I said, that’s something over the next three weeks that we’re going to have some tough decisions because I think we’ve got some good, young corners and safeties that are playing pretty well.

(on how refreshing it is to have Collin Mooney in the locker room and on the field)

You can’t have enough guys like that. I think I said that the first meeting I walked in and he was in the front with a nice pair of slacks, a button down shirt, hair combed nice, full attention,  and waiting to hear what I had to say. He’s a free agent that a lot of people haven’t talked about, a guy that’s right in the mix for having a chance to play fullback for us and make this football team. The competition is on there with him and Quinn (Johnson). It will be fun to see how that works out these next couple of weeks.

(on what it’s going to boil down to between Collin Mooney and Quinn Johnson)

Again, for them it’s going to be a lot of factors. It’s going to be the special team play, who can help us there. If they’re suiting up, that’s a position that can help us a lot. It’s going to be obviously how they block. (Collin) Mooney has been a running back. He’s comfortable carrying the ball, so he brings that other part to it. He can run it, he catches it pretty well. So he’s got that going for him too. It’ll be interesting to see how they play, and they’ll have to be multitalented there. We’ll see how it goes these next three weeks.

(on if he expects the first-team offensive line to play the entire first half)

Probably close to it. Last game they played about 23 snaps, and I assume they’ll be right in that same range. So that probably gets you close to halftime. We’ll make that decision as the game is going, but they won’t play more than a half, but probably right in that amount of time.

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