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Coach Munchak's Wednesday Practice Report

Posted Nov 7, 2012


(on the status of Jake Locker)

I think he’s ready to go. It’s just a matter of now getting through practice and seeing how it goes for him. Physically I think he’s as healthy as he’s going to be, I think, until he starts playing. He had a good day of practice today, and we’ll see how it goes the next couple of days.

(on how Jake Locker did with the contact at practice)

It’s very limited. That’s the one thing for all of these guys, you can’t simulate, especially at that position, what it’s going to be like to play on a Sunday. He’s been in traffic all of last week and obviously again today. That part has been fine. We’re doing a lot of different drills with him, doing different things with him to see how the soreness does, how he holds up. Like I said, we’ll see how he progresses the next couple of days.

(on if he sees Jake Locker providing a spark in practice)

When you get someone new in there, especially a quarterback, there are things that are different, so I think it does bring energy. You see it in practice, it’s nice. I think it’s just good when everyone sees their guys getting back. A guy gets back from being injured, whether on offense, defense or special teams, it’s just good to see the guy back out there. Then you’re rallying around him hoping that he can play, and play well.

(on if Jake Locker has to show him something in particular to prove that he’s ready to play on Sunday)

No, just overall. It’s going to be a lot of his input on how he’s feeling. From the smallest things that you think wouldn’t be sore. Obviously he’s not going to get hit out here, so you’re not going to see how he can take a hit or those types of things. There is a lot of movement, there is a lot of pressure around the pocket, there is a lot of body pressure. Guys lean on him, you have the periods there with the defense. There are guys all around him. We’ll see how that goes, and how his reactions are, and how he’s feeling mentally, all those things after watching today’s practice and tomorrow.

(on if there is a sense of urgency with this team)

I think there’s been a sense of urgency. When you lose two in a row for the third time this season, there has been. We just have to find a way to end that. This is going to be a tough week to do that, but we need to. I think I said the same thing before we played Pittsburgh and before we played last week. We’re running out of opportunities to make this season what we thought we could. We’re going to have to do something special to get that done. You can’t do that unless you win one. I think that starts Sunday. We realize the position we put ourselves in. Unfortunately, we are where we are, and we’ll find out what we’re all about come Sunday.

(on what the doctors said about Jake Locker’s shoulder)

The stuff they can see on the MRI’s, the pictures, that it’s as healed as it’s going to be. Waiting another week or two weeks or three weeks isn’t going to make a difference as far as how he feels. Now it’s just a matter of playing football again.

(on if he expected to see players out at practice with tougher attitudes)

They realize the only way to feel better is to win in this league. They realize that, and the only way that’s going to happen is by having a good week of practice. That’s really all you can do. Does that guarantee a win? Obviously not, but it guarantees a great chance of winning. That’s how you have to look at it. That’s what we’ve said in the meetings all this week, that it’s up to us how we come out of this. We dug the hole, and now we have to get out of it. It’s going to be all the guys in that room that are going to make the difference on Sunday. That’s the approach they are taking. I think they had a good practice today. We need to have a couple more and then go travel and win a big game for us.

(on if he thinks that the psyche of the team is fragile right now)

No, I don’t think so at all. Like I said, we’re very disappointed. Like I said, we weren’t happy with how things went last week. Who would be? No one wants to turn the ball over six times and have those things happen at home. Like I said, it happened. There’s nothing we can do about it other than learn from it and make sure it never happens again, and make sure that we go play much better this weekend and win this football game.

(on if he’s surprised at Miami’s success with a first-year head coach and a rookie quarterback)

No, not really, not in this league. They’re good coaches. I think it reminds me of us last year. We were 4-4 last year. They’re playing with a young quarterback, but again, he knows their system well. He has the advantage of working with Mike Sherman who was his head coach at Texas A&M. So I think they know each other well, he knows the system well. As far as learning the NFL, he is, but he understands their system very well. I think Coach Sherman has done a nice job of not having him do too much. What has helped them a lot is that they haven’t been behind. There hasn’t been a lot of pressure on the young quarterback to carry the team because their games have been close. They’ve won, obviously, four of them. I’m sure they’re feeling good about where they’re at. They probably feel the same way we did about Indy. They feel like they should have beat Indy last week, and they didn’t get it done. I’m sure that’s bothering them going into our game. It’s a home game, they play well at home. I’m not surprised by anything in the NFL, no matter how many years you’re coaching or not coaching. Young quarterbacks these days are winning a lot of football games. It started with (Peyton) Manning and you can just keep going right down the list. Young quarterbacks are coming in and doing well. We hope our young quarterback has a chance to do well next week.

(on Miami’s ability to stop the run)

I think it’s going to be a big challenge. We played Pittsburgh, they were in the top two or three. Last weekend, Chicago was pretty darn good, and then Houston. We did a pretty solid job running the ball in those games. This is another one, I think they’re third. They’re tackling at the line of scrimmage well. They’re like everyone else, they blitz a lot. They’re similar to how Cincinnati was last year. They do a lot more on first and second down as far as attacking the line of scrimmage. Even though they’re not a 3-4 team, they’re more like Pittsburgh, where you’re going to get a lot of safety blitzes and a lot of inside and cross-dogs. They’re going to try to discourage you from running the ball. That’s one of those games where you have an opportunity for big plays if you hit it right. That’s what we have to hope happens with the run game.

(on how polished and experienced Randy Starks appears on film)

He’s done well. He’s a guy that left here and has done well. We had him a few years back, and he was getting a bunch of sacks then, and I think he’s got three-and-a-half this year and he’s playing well for them. I think he’s had a good career, and he’s still moving well. He plays the three technique, so we’ll see a lot of him. Containing him is going to be a big part of it in this game because I think they’re in the top five, six, seven, top 10 in sacks, so they’re doing a nice job on defense. Their defense is a lot like ours last year. I think they’re eighth in the league in points allowed. They’re only allowing 18 points a game, so they’re keeping them in games, and that’s why, I think, they’re 4-4. They haven’t been getting many points; their offense is only scoring about 21 (per game), but that’s all they’ve needed.

(on the challenges that Cameron Wake presents)

He’s quick. I mean he’s leading the way with eight-and-a-half sacks, and he’s a special player for them, athletic, not a big guy but he’s athletic. He gives the tackles some fits. He gets some good matchups over there, and he’s a guy that we’re going to have to be very aware of, especially playing at their place where the noise, there will be noise, and the tackles—he’ll be over (David) Stewart probably most of the time, so Dave’s got to make sure he does a good job of getting off the ball and getting his hands on him because he’s not a big guy, but he’s obviously a very quick guy, and he’s been a big reason why they’re 4-4.

(on the differences between Jarius Wynn and Pannel Egboh)

I think (Wynn) can play a little bit inside and outside, and a little more experienced, I guess. Like I said, with the roster, we’re going to be experimenting with different guys, I’m sure, as we go forward here, as most teams do at this time of year. I think we know what (Pannel) Egboh can do and now wanted to kind of see what (Jarius) Wynn can do, and we’ll see that over the next couple of weeks.

(on if Deuce Lutui will replace Leroy Harris as a starter because of Harris’ placement on injured reserve)

That was the reasoning and thinking before is that we had a feeling Leroy was going to have to go on IR as his knee loosened up during the week and we had a chance to get it re-tested, so we’re thinking that Deuce (Lutui) is more of a true guard than Kevin Matthews is, so that was the thinking last week, is give Deuce a chance to play. He did a nice, solid job for us, and now Kevin can still be the swing guy without having to put Kevin in there and have him do a double move during the game and not have a chance to get reps, so for the o-line, the best way to do it was this way, and Deuce has a lot of experience and he brings a little energy, too. He’s another guy like we’re talking about, you hate to see a guy get hurt, but he’s a guy that has a lot of energy and he brings a different dimension to the game. He had a nice, solid game for his first time playing in a while, and so we’ll continue that way.

(on if a decision on the starting quarterback will be made before the game)

Oh yeah, we’ll decide before then. That’s why we’re giving him reps out here, letting him get a lot of reps today and tomorrow, and that’s something we’ll decide in a couple of days.

(on Rico Council being added to the practice squad)

Yeah, I think you’re looking for young linebackers that can come in, maybe, and show us what they can do and see where they’re at, as far as starting on practice squad, see if there’s any way where, we’ve been having such a run on linebackers this year, as far as guys getting hurt. You never know when you’re going to have to elevate one so we wanted to get one that we could see if it’s a possibility that he can help us on special teams, with (Patrick) Bailey being hurt, and (Will Witherspoon) being hurt, (Colin) McCarthy being hurt. It seems like that position has been (hit hard) this year. Losing Zac Diles, I mean, it’s a long list of guys. We have about 14 guys on injured reserve this year, so we’ve had quite a few guys hurt. So, we’re just bringing in young guys to see who we can develop. Who knows? You can be on the practice squad one day and running down on special teams the next.     

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