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Coach Munchak's Wednesday Practice Report

Posted Sep 28, 2011

HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on the addition of WR Donnie Avery)

Well we worked out quite a few guys and we decided this morning. We played against him in preseason, he played well against us that day, we know he is coming off the ACL and missed last year. He has played in the league, has 100 catches or so, he had two good years his first years in the league, so we felt that he had the best opportunity to come in and help us this year.

(on if they will have to be patient with Avery’s development)

Patient, but also I think that he has been around a little bit. They run a system that has some of the same terminology to some degree, we are going to put him in at one spot with the X and see how he progresses the next couple of days and then maybe you can have him available if need be. We will just see day by day how he does the next couple of days.

(on if he expects Avery to put pressure on Damian Williams and Lavelle Hawkins or if he wants the guys who have been here to step up)

I think the latter, I think we want to see these two guys step up, they have had small doses of success and now we give them an opportunity to do it on a full game bases and know that much is expected of both of those guys, the young guys, (Lavelle) Hawkins, and Damian (Williams) and let (Donnie) Avery be that guy, that at some point as he learns the system, it would be great if he is going to push them a little bit, but I think now it’s more of something that we have where we feel we needed him during a game he could help us with his speed and maybe do a few things for us.

(on if Damian Williams will be a starter this week)

We will see as it goes this week, but assuming that’s the way we will go.

(on if Donnie Avery’s great speed is fully back after his injury)

I’m sure he is still working at it and I’m sure he will feel in another year that you get back to where you were or even better, but like I said, what we saw in preseason, he looked pretty good and the fact that he has been in NFL games and made quite a few catches and he is comfortable doing that now it’s just a matter of, like I said earlier, of how quickly he can help us and if he can in a small degree, we know he can’t go out there and learn the offense in two days, but there are certain things you can put a guy out there and have him do for you. We will see how we can school him up these next couple of days and see how the young guys do in practice and make a decision at the end of the week.

(on if it was important to get a guy with speed)

I think so, I think you want some speed and I think you also wanted someone who had some experience. I think you want someone who has been out there and has had some catches, had some success, has some confidence in his ability and he was the best fit for us.

(on if he can talk to Kenny Britt about going through ACL surgery as a receiver)

That’s another nice thing, I was saying when Kenny (Britt) got hurt, the best thing to do is to talk to someone else who has been through it and we ended up bringing in someone who has been through it. It’s going to be awhile for him, he is going to have to go through the surgery, and kind of get his mind going and get back in rehab and I think it would be great to talk to someone like Donnie (Avery) or some of the other guys at that position who have gone through that surgery and have made it back.

(on what the history lesson was this week with the Browns)

I just told them a little about our team and the fact that they were in the same division at one time and we used to play these guys twice a year. We used to have a great rivalry. It was one of the places I used to love to play as a player when you go back just because of all the history in that building with Jim Brown and back then, before they changed the stadium over, I was telling them the locker room was tiny, you could barely fit a team in there. You came out through the dugouts, the baseball dugouts through the stadium. The fans are awesome there. I talked a little about what it’s like when you go east, the fans are a little more hostile, they do their homework on you, and they will be heckling you a little bit and that’s all part of the game when you go up that direction. We are looking forward to it, it’s a great opportunity. They are sitting there at 2-1 like we are and it should be a great game.

(on if the Browns were “his team” growing up)

Yeah, that was one of the teams I liked quite a bit, that’s why when I actually made it to the NFL and had a chance to go there and play it was very interesting to have that opportunity to think about all the guys who were in those lockers back in the 50’s and 60’s and all the years. We used to always play there in December when the weather was…you had that breeze off the lake there was brutal and it affected a lot of the games and the crowd and the dog pound and being in the end zone and getting snowballs. The whole atmosphere is part of the package when you went there and it was great games.

(on how close the running game is to getting into sync)

It’s one of those things it probably takes one nice run. I think it’s something like that where it’s one or two break out of there to kind of get that feeling back again that we can do certain things and when you watch the film that’s what’s at least encouraging for them. When you are not having results, at least you are seeing on the film that it’s not maybe as bad as people think, and we just have to go out there and like we have been saying, it’s got to improve if we are going to win these next two weeks.

(on Chris Hope’s health)

He got through all of practice. Today was the first time he has done everything in a practice since he has been hurt, so I think that’s encouraging. Tomorrow we will have pads on so we will see how that goes for him but I think he feels like he is over the hump.

(on if Chris Hope will go back into the lineup)

If he is healthy then he would be playing, but it really just depends on how he gets through Thursday and Friday.

(on if Chris Hope is healthy would he start)

If he is completely healthy, then I would say yes.

(on if Chris Johnson needs to touch the ball more)

I’m always going to say yes to that question, I think 13 carries isn’t enough. Maybe if he was having more success earlier he would have had more carries, I don’t know, but yeah I think so. We want him to have more carries than that. We need to be more effective with those carries as a group, but I think ultimately you want to have him 20-plus carries if you could, that means things are going well and he has more opportunities to get going. Like we said last week, the first couple carries we had a couple nice carries that we lost on penalties and that kind of set us back a little bit.

(on if the last game was just a bad game for penalties, or does there need to be more discipline)

I think you have to look at the penalties themselves. I never look at the amount and make a decision that we are undisciplined or that we are playing are certain way or that its good or bad because, like I said before, two or three of those penalties were done inside the five-yard line where we were trying to get a jump on the ball and really those penalties didn’t hurt us, but it could of helped us if we were trying to get that jump. So those kinds don’t upset you as much as they do when you line up offsides, we had one of those. We had a personal foul, hitting the quarterback late, those are the things that you can’t have because those really hurt you. The holding calls, we had two in the game and those are things that are hard to deal with. That’s to some degree a cost of doing business and they can call things like that, but we just have to find a way to not have those calls made on us. For some reason they are happening to us and they are happening to us early in the first quarter and it’s not the obvious. If I was sitting here telling you that we are throwing guys on the ground or we are tackling them then I would be more concerned, but the fact that they are really iffy calls, but they are being called. The holding, we just have to move on from there and fix that because we can’t afford to overcome those types of penalties.

(on how it feels to be 2-1)

We feel great, I think it’s good that a team practices with an edge and knows we have things to work on and that we have things to improve upon and we know that, you know what, if you play better you can win by more. We made that game close, we had opportunities just like they did and that’s how the games go. We did enough to win it, but I think we are realistic enough to know that we have to do certain things better in order to keep winning, especially on the road. We know that we have the two games before the bye, Cleveland being a huge one right now, and we need to play better to win. 

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