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Coach Munchak's Wednesday Practice Report

Posted Sep 12, 2012

HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on if Jake Locker convinced him that he’s ready to play)

He’s been doing that since Sunday afternoon, so he’s a competitor, wants to play, said he felt a lot better today. He came out, again, we kept him limited, but he participated in all the periods but just in a more limited fashion, threw the ball pretty well when he was in there, so we feel good about his chances to continue and play on Sunday. We’ll just continue each day to add more to his plate, and I’m sure by Friday, he should be doing most of the work.

(on if Jake Locker threw the ball well in practice)

Yeah, he did. He threw seven-on-seven, he did his normal reps in seven-on-seven, which is eight or nine shots out of 12, and then he did all of the individual periods. On team, we just wanted to cut him back some, so he probably did about three or four snaps rather than seven or eight. So far, so good. I think he passed the first test. I think we’re excited about the fact that he should be ready to go on Sunday.

(on if Jake Locker needs to slide this week)

He always slides. I think when he’s actually the runner, he does a good job getting down. The couple times he ran, he did a great job, we just have to watch the tackling. He had a nice tackle. Obviously, those things happen when you get in a pile. We have to try to avoid that from happening the best we can. Unfortunately, quarterbacks take enough hits during the game just playing their position and trying to be successful. We have to hopefully limit the other ones he takes.

(on what challenges the Chargers present on defense versus the Patriots defense)

There are some similarities. They probably pressure more. They probably want to attack at the line of scrimmage more with blitzes and things like that and their first and second-down packages. They give similar types of schemes. They’re more of a 3-4 under kind of thing, kind of like we played the Cardinals in preseason. That’s more that kind of defense. A little more blitzing, not as much as Pittsburgh, but kind of along that vein. They have some good rushers, good linebackers, good athletes, which means they have a lot of speed on the field. They can chase things down when you’re trying to run your quarterback, or from behind, catching up with receivers and things like that. They have a lot of team speed, and obviously, they won a big game for them on Monday night. Beating a division opponent on the road in Oakland, which we know how hard that is to do, that’s a huge win for them. We’re their home opener, so I’m sure they’ll be excited to continue on from what they’ve done. It’s going to be a big game for both teams, and know how important it is to win this game.

(on how important it is to have Kenny Britt back and be able to work him into a game plan)

I think it’s just great to start getting some of your better players back. Having him, a guy we all know what he’s capable of once we have him completely healthy. Same thing with him—so far, so good. Today, we kept him in a limited fashion, got a lot of work in though. For him, he hasn’t played in a year, so there are a lot of things he has to get used to mentally and physically. We’ll kind of see how he does Thursday and Friday, and then decide exactly how much we can use him, what he does well, how we think he can help us on Sunday without putting too much of a burden on him. Even though when you have a great player, you want to use him badly, we have to be smart in how we do that. There are some ways he can help us, and that’s hopefully what we’ll do on Sunday.

(on a range for touches for Kenny Britt on Sunday)

Like I said, depending on what kind of game it is, how things go in the game will factor into this thing too. I’d imagine in that area. You’d like to see him have an opportunity to play 15, 15 to 25 as a max. It just all depends. It’s hard to guess numbers right now and think what’s going to be best for him. I think a lot of that will be determined as we get toward the end of the week, and kind of look at the package we have in and see what he does best and what he can run now with his knees that he feels good, that we’re not putting him in a spot where he feels uncomfortable. Obviously, if it’s a running game, he probably won’t play much. We’re not going to have him out there, going in the box and blocking support, and doing things like that. That could affect how the game goes too, how much he plays depending on what kind of game once it unfolds on Sunday.

(on which offensive player stands to gain the most with Kenny Britt on the field)

I think the quarterback. I think when the quarterback has a weapon, the running game. We’re thinking a defense is going to see how effective he is, really where he’s at, can they cover him? What are we doing with him? How are we using him? Obviously, he’s got a respect factor because of what he is capable of and what people have seen him do. He just adds another serious weapon to what we have right now. Without having him practicing, let’s face it, in this offense, he’s probably practiced less than a month including last year and this year. Even last year in training camp, he practiced a week of normal practice; he got hurt after the second game. There are a lot of things for us to figure out as an offense: exactly how he does fit, what he’s really good at, and with the weapons we have now, how to best use him. I think that’s what we’re probably looking at now, how to best use him with what we have. We don’t know how much he can play exactly, so you have to make sure we have a plan for what we’re going to do if he’s more limited than we think. Or if he plays more, it will be all for the better.

(on what they saw in Deuce Lutui)

We coached him in the Senior Bowl, I did. Our staff was there when he came through there. I liked him a lot then. He was a second-round draft choice from the Cardinals. When you coach someone, you kind of keep an eye on him. Watched him play at Arizona, but enjoyed watching him play, liked the way he played, liked his attitude, liked his energy. All that I thought was really good. When he got released, he was with Seattle, and we were still looking for guards. We thought he’d be a guy that has game experience; the game wouldn’t be too big for him if he had to play. If we had an issue inside staying healthy, we felt he was a guy that has done it, can continue to do it and come into our offense pretty quickly and would be a good fit.

(on if the knee of Leroy Harris will be a concern game to game)

Yeah, that’s why we’ve been watching him in practice and giving him a day off. Today we gave him a day off for the same reason, and so tomorrow he’ll practice. Yeah, he started fatiguing early in the third quarter. We got him out. We’ve just got to see how that’s going to be going forward. That was our concern at the guard spot. That’s why we had to bring another guard in here for that reason, and to see how it goes. We assume he will continue to get better. I’ve been through that with a knee, other guys have been. Usually you get stronger the more you play. You hope this game he would feel better—Leroy (Harris) would—and then third game even better, and hopefully, you’re over the hump, and for some reason it doesn’t go that way, now we feel we have answers if we have to make any adjustments.

(on Deuce Lutui’s skill set)

He’s similar (to Leroy Harris). I just think he has a lot of experience. He has a lot of starts at right guard. He’s been in the passing offense at Arizona. I’ve always liked the way he played. He’s smart and he’s confident, and obviously, has got great size. He reminds me a bit of when we had Benji (Olson) at right guard, you know, that kind of sized-guy, but again, just feel like he’s a guy that can do what we need him to do if we cross that road at some point. We’re hoping that we don’t have to but we need to make sure that we’re ready to roll if something does happen.

(on if the length of time between the franchise’s last win against San Diego as a motivating factor)

Really I don’t use it as any at all because that was (22) years ago the last time we beat them down there. We haven’t played them a lot. We’ve played them eight times (since then), counting the preseason. We obviously haven’t beaten them in a while, but as far as these guys are concerned, that means absolutely nothing come Sunday. It was more of a—we had more fun with that, as far as it goes back when I was playing, so we kind of had jokes, some good humor about back in those days and how long ago it really was, not to motivate them in any way. If you turn the film on, we know what kind of team we’re going to play. I have seen these guys play quite a bit on TV. We know their quarterback quite a bit. We know what he’s capable of and what a great player and competitor he is, so we know that we’ve got to take care of our own business. We know we’ve got to play much better than we did last week, especially now that we have to go on the road and deal with the crowd noise, so I think we’ll be highly motivated because we have no choice.

(on Colin McCarthy’s status)

Did not practice, and we’re going to have to see if he improves at all tomorrow or not.

(on the result of Colin McCarthy’s MRI)

Nothing bad. I just don’t think it tells you a whole lot, other than the fact that he’s still pretty sore. We anticipate that it would be hard for him to play this week.

(on if Colin McCarthy has a high ankle sprain)

Officially, I don’t know. It’s just an ankle sprain at this point.

(on if Colin McCarthy has a fracture)

No.

(on clarifying Colin McCarthy’s likelihood of playing Sunday)

Yeah, I think it’s going to be hard unless he gets a lot better today and tomorrow. He’s questionable right now, and we’ll see how he is tomorrow.

(on if thinking about how old current players were when Munchak played makes him feel old)

That’s what I told them. I was going to get out the old game plans because I guess we had a good one because we won that day, but I couldn’t find them. I tried to find some old film but it was all black and white, so I figured we better move on and just go with the film we have, so we just had fun with it and the fact that it’s rare that you — usually you don’t go that long without beating a team—just the fact that we’ve only played them eight times in 20-plus years. It’s going to be a great challenge. We know the last time we played them here, what a physical game that was. It went into overtime that we lost, and we followed that up with losing to them in the playoffs. The guys that have been here have a history of understanding what team we’re playing and it’s going to be that kind of game, I hope.

(on how much the team will miss Colin McCarthy if he can’t play)

I think we missed him a lot on Sunday. I think people underestimate how much we missed him on Sunday. When he went out of the game early, or got the ankle early and tried to play with it, tried to come back and couldn’t. I mean, he’s your leader. We voted him a team captain for a reason. He stepped up in preseason, he was a guy that was making a lot of plays, as you saw out here at practice. All of a sudden, a guy like that gets pulled from the lineup, you’ve got to move on, and that’s not why we didn’t win the football game, but that definitely affected your team when you lose a guy like that. It’s like losing a quarterback. I mean, he’s a top guy. He’s a guy that does make a lot of plays, a guy that does make tackles for losses. Everything is a lot different in a lot of ways if he’s playing, but obviously, he got hurt and we know we have a week to adjust to that if he’s not able to play and move on, but anytime you don’t have one of your better players on the field, it definitely hurts your team.

(on if Zach Brown will receive more playing time)

Yeah, Zach (Brown) will play more. You just move different combinations in there. (Will Witherspoon) will move to middle linebacker, Zac Diles could start playing a little more, so we’ve got that combination, but definitely it would mean that Zach Brown will play much more at (weakside linebacker) and get a chance to start.

(on how Will Witherspoon is at middle linebacker)

He’s going to be solid. That’s his value: his experience, and the fact that he can play different spots. He can play your base defense. He can play nickel, he’ll get the guys lined up right, which you need, so he has that type of leadership ability and the guys do respond to him. The fact that he just didn’t have many reps at that position up until the injury last week, so know he has a full week of working at it and Zach Brown has a chance to get a lot of reps this week and Zac Diles. That’s the difference. When it happens in a game, unfortunately, those guys are pros and they’re going to come in and play and do their best, but they haven’t had many reps leading up to the game last week.

(on Nate Washington’s status)

He should be fine. He should practice tomorrow. I think he’s gotten much better every day. We’ll see him practice tomorrow and he should be OK for Sunday.  

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