HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK
(on the weather at practice)
It was great to start I think. I guess it was good. We got a nice combination of it. We got through about half of practice with the weather, then it was a matter of can we squeeze in the second half. We got most of it in. We just kind of skipped some of the periods really where we would have rested. We just kind of kept it going. I think it probably helped with the endurance a little anyway. It was good though.
(on what he thought of the Pro Bowl news today)
I haven’t see all the details of it. All I saw was I think they were picking the same way they chose teams or something. I think it’s more all about what’s best for the fans. Hopefully it’s just so the players are chosen the same way by their peers, by the coaching staffs, so the guys who should be picked in that should get the credit for having great seasons. Then after that, however they decide to make the game more interesting. I think that it’d be fun having the players mixed up. The AFC players would be teammates with the NFC players. I think that’d kind of be nice especially for the guys who’ve been on there a few times. It’s kind of nice to get to know other players within your league.
He’s done well, I think toward those last few four or five days of OTAs and the mini camp. He’s been physical. I think he looks bigger, stronger, confident again. You know, just how he was last year at this time. I think he’s focused, and like I said, he hasn’t let anything bother him as far as what team he’s running on, what he’s doing. He knows that if he just does his job, he’ll be in the mix, and that’s exactly what he’s done.
He’s done a nice job for coming right in the last couple of days. He’s just got to get used to the speed at which things are happening. I think his assignments are OK. He has a good, solid understanding of what we’re doing. We were spending a lot of time with him that last couple of days getting caught up and, again, refreshing him on the plays. I think he’s off to a good start. I mean, it’s good to have those five guys together two days in a row, working together, getting used to each other, him and (David) Stewart next to each other. We just got to make sure we settle on the center thing over the next couple of weeks so we can get that thing really solid.
(on how much of the offensive line can be settled during camp)
I think a lot of it. We can decide what we think is best for the quarterback, best next to the other two guards. Game situations obviously help a lot. So, we will see. (Brian) Schwenke getting hurt kind of put him in a tough spot. Between Rob (Turner) and Fernando (Velasco) and (Chris) Spencer we have some players. I think we can win with all three of them. It’s just a matter of determining which one’s the best one to start with.
(on the first preseason game)
I think they lose track. You get in the camp mode. We’re a week into it now. I think they’re just concentrating on that calendar, on where they get these next three days. I always thought the first two weeks are the hardest two of the season, especially training camp. We’re almost there. We have Thursday, Friday, then we’re at the stadium which will be fun on Saturday. The light at the end of the tunnel is getting the opportunity. They know things lighten up when you get ready for a preseason game. I think they’ll be excited to play next Thursday night.
Yeah, his hamstring. The good thing it’s not a bad one. He shouldn’t miss a lot of time. But, it’s one we have to be careful with, so he doesn’t miss too much. He won’t do much the rest of the week and then I think next week you’ll see him back on the field.
I think like most rookies would, finding your way for someone who didn’t practice in the OTAs. I think that’s the difference between like him and Chance (Warmack) or him and the other rookies that are really comfortable with what we’re doing versus someone that’s still trying to figure it out. It’s the first time really in the last couple of days, the last four or five days that he’s been really in the mix and learning and seeing things full speed. That’s a lot of information, a lot of plays, a lot of adjustments that we’re putting out here these first five or six days. I think he’s going to have his moments where he’s kind of lost a little bit. He’s still playing through that and once we get to the games, the preseason games are much easier for the young player because you’re really limited in what you’re going to do and they can concentrate on making plays.
(on Shawn Jefferson being hard on rookie Justin Hunter)
I think hopefully it will be for him. I think Shawn will make him uncomfortable. Shawn will make him push himself more than he thought he could. Like he is the rest of the guys, I think the other veterans are going to help him quite a bit. You saw the one drill he did, the inside drill, how excited they all were for him, how they’re cheering him on. They have a good camaraderie in that room. Besides Shawn pushing him, I think he’ll do a good job pushing.
I think he flashed in the last couple of years some great catches, more than people thought he could make. He made some tough catches last year. I think there will be more. He’ll be spread around a little bit more. He’ll fill in some three receiver sets maybe because of his blocking ability, and the fact that I think we’re going to run the ball more on third-and-three, third-and-two, third-and-four where we won’t be so predictable on those downs. I think he’s a guy, him and Delanie [Walker], could be in those kind of situations. Hopefully it’ll help his game.
(on Craig Stevens being the best blocking option)
Yes, he is. He’s a tough, tough kid, very competitive, matches up well against the big guys, the quick linebackers. Then
(on Gregg Williams yelling ‘faster’ at practice)
Just guys playing quick, not getting caught up, not staring things down. Just being football players. You have your keys, read them and go. Don’t think too much into it. You want defenses playing that way, so I think it’s just a general reminder for all of us just to play fast. Go make the play. You’ll hear most coaches yelling just like on the offensive side of the ball doing the same thing. We want guys playing fast, with the quarterback not thinking too much, same with the receivers. It’s just the whole team we want playing that way.
(on hurry-up offense and how defense is reacting)
As the offense gets a chance to control what’s being done, what the play is going to be, defense has to be able to communicate. They have to be, especially the back end, they have to be able to take signals, pay attention to what is going on. They can’t worry about rotations. Especially the front seven that you roll out more, that maybe won’t get a chance to get out of the game because the way the flow the game may go. So yeah, it’s definitely hard on the defense, and that’s why offenses carry those packages to make it harder on the defense. Jim Kelly did it back when I played for years at Buffalo. They went to four Super Bowls running a hurry-up offense. It’s something that’s been in the league forever, and I think you have to have to right people to be able to do it. It can be a quick three-and-out if you’re not very talented. At that phase in the game you have to be able to stay in it.