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Coach Munchak's Wednesday Practice Report

Posted Nov 28, 2012

HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on what Dowell Loggains offers as an offensive coordinator)

I just think he’s very comfortable in the position. I think he knows the players very well, the receivers, the tight ends, our strengths and our weaknesses. Obviously, he has a great relationship with the quarterbacks and has a great feel for what they like to do, what they’re good at, how they see the game. I’ve worked with him when I was a line coach for a lot of years. He understands the problems up front, the protections, which I think helps him be ready to call a game, knowing all those types of things. He can process all that pretty quickly. I’m looking forward to seeing how the game goes for him. I’m excited for him. I think today he did a good job putting the game plan in, I think we have some good ideas. We’ll see how it goes. I think we’re excited about the plan. We thought we had a good plan last time, but unfortunately we turned the ball over and lost a quarterback. Some bad things happened early in that game last time. Hopefully it’ll be a lot different this Sunday.

(on the timing of the switch)

It didn’t have anything to do with how many games were left. I think we’ve been frustrated most of the year with the offense. We’ve done some good things, but just haven’t been consistent. It seemed like it started in preseason, and we never really overcame that or really got going like I thought we would or we all thought we would. It’s tough when your expectations are higher because of the talents that you feel you have, and we’re not getting it out of them in the games. Last week was frustrating, but I just thought it reached a point where things weren’t changing. We needed to do some things to make this thing different or at least give a different perspective on how to attack a team. To me, there was no reason to wait. I felt it was time to do something different. Once I realized that, I think it was time to make the change. We’re trying to win football games, and I think this gives us the best chance to win the next five football games.

(on who was responsible for making the switch)

It was my decision. Once I decide to do something like that, if it’s a player or if it’s in this case, a coach, I talk to Ruston Webster and Mike Reinfeldt to give them an idea of what my thinking is and what I want to try to do and why, and what my plan is. Once I do that, obviously, the next thing is to talk to Mr. Adams. He needs to know what we’re doing and why, especially when you make a coaching change, especially at a coordinator position, he wants to be in the loop on it and he wants an understanding of it. That’s what we did on Monday. He was comfortable, like I said. He’s been (comfortable) since I’ve been the head coach with my coaching decisions on who I want or if I want to make changes. He’s been very supportive of that. I think, again, he’s going to leave it up to me. He wants me to have the coaches I want and whatever it takes to try to win football games. If it doesn’t work, then I’m the one that made these decisions. I appreciate that, and we did it the way you should do it. When I got the OK, I talked to Chris (Palmer) on Monday night.

(on if he’s concerned that Dowell Loggains hasn’t called a game before)

Everyone has got to have a first time. There are a lot of great coordinators that started at some time. I’ve been around him enough. Anytime you do something the first time, sure it’s going to be a little uneasy at times during the game. He’s got plenty of us there to help if anything comes up. I don’t see a problem there. I’m looking forward to having him get started with that, and he’ll have plenty of help along the way.

(on how Dowell Loggains’ offense might look)

It’s not going to be all of a sudden we’re a no-back, five-receiver team. That’d be easy to notice, or all of a sudden, we went to one receiver and it was all three tight ends. You’re going to see us do a lot of different things, but I think there will be more subtleties in how things are coached, how things are stressed, how we’re attacking the team, how we call a game. Everyone is going to call a game totally different than the next guy. That’s hopefully what will come out. Again, you’re going to have to see a couple games of us. If we do the right things and make plays, I think you’ll see a pattern of how we’re going to attack teams and what his philosophy is a little bit as he gets going. If we go win, it’s going to be, ‘Wow, look at this. We did all these great things.’ If we lose, it’s going to be, ‘Same old thing.’ This is going to need some time to develop, and it’s more of seeing how the players respond, the consistency coming back to the offense, going out and making plays. Coaches can’t catch the ball and do all those things for them. Players have to step up and make plays, but we have to put them in a position to do that. We have to find a way to stay on the field as an offense.

(on if it’s easier to call a game from the field)

That’s an individual preference. I’ve never done it either, so I couldn’t say. Talking to Chris (Palmer) and Jerry (Gray), they’ve done both and liked both. I think he’ll have to decide that as he gets going with this game. I think he feels more comfortable because he wants to be with the quarterbacks on the sidelines. I think when he came down this year, I think that was helpful for him. He came down this year to be on the sidelines, so he realized how well he can see the game from the sidelines. I think when you’re up all the time, which he was all those years with the different coordinators he worked with, you think that’s the best view. I think he was pleasantly surprised by how much of the game he could see from the sidelines and how helpful he was able to be to the quarterbacks, even though he was on the sidelines and not upstairs. I think he feels very confident that it’s the place to be for all those reasons. Again, it’s the first time for him doing it. If we need to make an adjustment on the road, or he feels more comfortable there, then we’ll take a look at it.

(on if he brings a different energy to the field and to the meeting rooms)

Everyone is going to be different, head coaches, coordinators, coaches. You bring your own style. He’s 32 years old, he’s got a lot of energy in him. He loves what he does. He comes out, you can tell, he loves football. This guy is like a football junkie. He understands it, he knows everybody in the game I think, that’s been coaching now. He has a lot of people to reach out to, a lot of resources that he reaches out to get answers on things when he doesn’t know how to do this or do that over the years. I’ll say, ‘Where’d you come up with that?’ He’ll say, ‘Well, I talked to so-and-so.’ ‘I watched this game from three years ago.’ ‘I went and studied when the Saints won the Super Bowl from five years ago, and I saw this concept.’ He’s a guy that’s going to do whatever it takes to find a way to get it done. I think that’s what’s exciting about him. That’s why I knew some point he’d be a coordinator for us, I assumed at some time. Obviously, I’m very confident that he’s ready to go. I didn’t know that it would be this time of year. You don’t want to do this during the season, obviously. That’s not your goal. That was not mine by any means. I wish this would be something that happened a year from now or two years from now even, somewhere down the road. It just became necessary to do it. I think that it will be interesting to see how it unfolds. He does bring that, in the meeting rooms it’s different. That’s just how it is. There is energy. Any time there is a change, you get a little boost, obviously. You get a little rush when there is a change in leadership a little bit. I think this is something that will stay for a long period of time.

(on if he expects that Dowell Loggains will remain offensive coordinator next season)

I don’t know. I’m not into titles. I think he’s our offensive coordinator right now, and we’ll see how it all pans out for five weeks. It’s not just him on the line, we’re all on the line. It’s not like we’re 8-3, and we’re all happy about our situation. Making one change, we’re still 4-7 and aren’t doing a lot of things as well as we should. This is just something we’re hoping is a fix to something that was going on. Hopefully it’ll lead to helping us play a lot better the next five weeks. Things go well, I hope we’re all back. I think it’s something we can all work out. We’ll see.

(on if he’s planning on making a switch at defensive coordinator)

Like I said, I’m not planning on it. I wasn’t planning on doing this. I wasn’t something that was in the works, and I was thinking, well if we don’t do this, I’m going to make a change. As a head coach, you have to think ahead and be ready for things that may or may not need to be done. That’s my responsibility. That’s why I did what I did. If we didn’t have someone on our staff, then maybe that’s not something I could have done. It wouldn’t have made any sense, it wouldn’t have been smart to do. I wasn’t going to make change to make change because someone says, ‘Well, they need to do something to show that they care over there.’ We work hard, we care very much about it. If there was something that I thought we could do that would make us have a chance to be better, which I think we can, that’s why we did what we did. Again, there’s only so much you can do when things aren’t going the way you want. You have to be smart about that. I don’t see any changes on the defensive side of the ball going forward.

(on Dowell Loggains’ relationship with Sean Payton and Bill Parcells)

Like I said, he talks to those guys. I think that’s been a big help to him. I think the way he talked about doing quarterbacks, just a lot of his ideas for how to train a quarterback was off things that he was with those guys in Dallas and learned from. Being around Norm Chow and Coach (Mike) Heimerdinger, he’s been around a lot of good people, and obviously, Chris Palmer. He’s learned from a lot of people. He’s a guy that has no ego. He doesn’t worry about who’s getting the attention, who he’s asking. He just wants to be good at what he does and pass on knowledge and put guys in positions. He’s really fun to be around because you don’t see any of that. I think that’s why people like him so much. I think that’s why they like talking with him. I think that’s why they share ideas with them. A lot of coaches aren’t going to share ideas with you. You can call someone and talk to them. Yeah, you picked up some, but you’re not going to get the whole story. He’s the kind of guy that people like working with, they want to help. They like his enthusiasm. Hopefully that will pay off for our players and our team.

(on what the team is playing for the final five games)

Obviously, right now, we know we have to win them all. We’re playing to win them all. That’s obviously something hard to say when we’ve been so inconsistent this year. That’s our philosophy. That’s our thinking. All we can do is handle this game this Sunday. It’s a great opportunity for us to play against the best team in the AFC in our division. We just have to take it that way, the old ‘You have to take it one game at a time,’ because that’s really where we are. If we win this one, we can really enjoy something special, and then we can figure out what the next one means. At this point, that’s really all we can do. You’re going to see us play, it’s a home game. We need to play well at home in front of our fans. Everyone is going to be wondering how this team is going to respond after losing a game we should have won and being 4-7 and making some changes. I hope you’ll see really what we’re all about come Sunday.

(on if he’s concerned with how Jake Locker developed with Chris Palmer as offensive coordinator)

No. Heck no. I’m excited for Jake (Locker). I mean Jake’s played (six) games that he’s started this year. I thought he threw some great balls last week. I thought he got out of a lot of bad situations. He made plays that a lot of quarterbacks in the league can’t make, so no, his development, I think, has been very good. The injury was very disappointing the last time we played Houston. That was probably the most disappointing thing of the year, was losing him for this much of the season, for six or seven weeks, was hard because of our development. That made it hard for the offense, there is no doubt. I mean Chris (Palmer) and the offense have dealt with a lot of situations like that. You lose your quarterback you’re counting on developing, and all of a sudden he’s gone for five or six games, and then he comes back and you’re trying to pick up where you left off, so there were a lot of things we had to deal with, but everyone has to deal with that, and you’ve still got to win football games. So no, I’m real excited with where he’s at. I think he’s going to be a special player. Again, I hope we can show that these next five games.

(on if Locker learned more about the protection schemes during the first Houston game)

Yeah, you hope it does when something happens like that. You build on that because you’re not going to take big hits like that, free shot. That same thing has happened now three times since he’s been playing and the ball’s been out when guys have gotten within three yards with a free rusher. That just happened to be a play, unfortunately, he thought he could put a ball somewhere and then he realized he was down by the goal line. Otherwise, he probably would have thrown it out of bounds, but he thought a guy jumped the guy he thought would come open and all of a sudden he held it longer than he had and just didn’t get a chance to protect himself before he took the hit. If he could have gotten down, it would have been great, but he was just afraid to throw it because he was worried about an interception. Yeah, I think he learned quite a bit from that, and he’s a quick learner. That’s a good thing about him, and like I said, that’s why last week, it would have been great to finish the game like we felt we were going to with a drive at the end to win it and those are the things we need to do these next five weeks. We have to find a way to win games and see where we’re at when the season is over.

(on not having a plan to make any changes among defensive coaches)

Like I said, anytime you’re thinking about making a change, you have to figure out ‘What change could I make?’ That also goes for players. People say, ‘Well, they should put this guy in at that position.’ Well, what guy do you want in? It’s easy to say what you want done, but you have to have a way to do it, so I’m not looking to make changes. My point is that it wasn’t a situation where there are a lot of other options at this point. I mean we have five games left in the season. It’s not like you can go out and hire. There’s a certain pool you can hire from in February, so you have to know what you’re dealing with when you try to make decisions, so you have to do smart things. I’m never going to do something to show, like, ‘You just fired four guys. For what reason?’ Are we better because we did it? That’s hard to sell for your team, that you’re doing something like that. So, no, we’re not trying to make any changes. Like I said, we’re not happy where we are. Heck, the last two weeks, our defense has played much better. We had seven sacks, and turnovers, and let’s see what we do against Houston and in the last five weeks, but there won’t be any more changes the rest of the year.

(on if anyone is placed on notice)

Yeah, we’re all on notice. There’s no one that’s not on notice. We all know that. I mean, when you’re 4-7, every team in the league that has that record or worse is on notice, and that’s just about in every sport, so that’s just part of the game. We all know that, and you can’t worry about those things. Everyone does their best. You go out there to play on Sunday and try to win football games. If you don’t, we all know there is going to be a change. You just don’t know what that change is, but you can’t work that way. If it’s there, so be it.

(on if he thinks the offense underachieved more than the defense)

No, I just think that we, like I said, there’s a lot of factors that go into any time you’re going to make a change of direction, whether it be offense, defense or special teams. You have to figure out, ‘OK, I’d like to do this, whatever it may be, and can I do it? Does it make sense? Is there a better answer? You have to weigh everything when you make the decision on things. Like I said, on the offensive side of the ball, overall, it was the best thing for this offense at this point to help us move forward in a different way. I thought that was needed. I felt we had the person in place to do that, that could bring a very unique, a different perspective to the game for the players, for the scheme, for the playcalling, for all those things, I thought it was something that was needed. That’s why I did it, and I thought it was better than the direction we were headed, so that’s why you make that decision. It doesn’t have a reflection of the defense, of the special teams. They’re all separate entities, and you look at the defense in a different way. You look at the offense and you make the same kind of decision to move forward, and you do it at the end of the season, and you do it before the season, and you do the same thing with the players. You’re looking at a group of offensive linemen, and you evaluate them and figure out what you can do. People say, ‘Well, go draft that guy.’ Well, he’s not there when you’re drafting whatever pick you are, so I think you need to have a plan, and I think we’re doing what we think is best for the team right now.

(on if he’s heard about the health problems that former Oilers coach Jack Pardee is facing)

Yeah, I had recently. That’s a shame. I haven’t talked to Jack (Pardee) in a while. I used to see him in Houston after he retired at golf tournaments. What a great guy, a great family. He was a head coach, and I worked with him my first year (of assistant coaching) when Jeff (Fisher) took over as the head coach, when Jeff was on the staff there at Houston. I’m going to have to, hopefully, get a chance to see him or talk to him, but yeah, that’s a shame.

(on if Jack Pardee was a good head coach)

Yeah, he was. The think I learned from him, I think, with him being an ex-player, when he was standing in front of us and speaking, I think I really enjoyed his stories. He had a lot of great stories about his days with the Redskins and George Allen. There were some great, great stories, and I think I enjoyed that. I think that helped me when he would kind of stand up in front of us and relate something to back in the day when he played. That was something that stuck with me. It was something — I thought the players, he had our full attention, and that technique was something I’ve used with players as the line coach or as a head coach, that type of style where the players like hearing about the guys that came before them. He did a nice job. We went to the playoffs every year he was there. Unfortunately, we didn’t win the Super Bowl with him, but we had a lot of good teams then.

(on if the Texans are the scariest offensive team in the NFL right now)

They’re playing, they’re a complete team, and the thing is, even when they don’t play well, they find ways to win football games. They’ve had injuries; they’re overcoming that. They’ve given up more points in the past couple of weeks than they have but they’re overcoming it because their offense is scoring or their defense is getting the turnover they want. I thought our defense, really last time was pretty solid. That’s hard to say when you lost by 20-something points or whatever we lost by, but we turned the ball over. We had two pick sixes and gave up 17 points, and the defense had us in a chance, other than the first two drives. It was 14-7 in the third quarter and we had a chance to tie it up and we didn’t, and then it kind of fell apart. We understand them; we know how good they are. They exploited us here last year when we played them, no doubt about that. They had some big plays. I thought we went back last year and played them much better the next two times, but yeah, they can explode and put 40 on you in a heartbeat, so it’s going to be a great challenge for the defense, and we’ll find out where our defense is at. ‘Are we getting better? Are we getting over the hump?’ The last couple of weeks we’re making more plays. Obviously, we gave too many pass plays up last week, but we know we’re going to have our hands full against a very good team.

(on Colin McCarthy not practicing)

Yeah, he got a concussion in the (Jaguars) game, so we have to wait and see how he feels later in the week.

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