HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK
(on if the Titans’ struggles are a good test for
We were hoping not to test that real soon. I think that’s something that as you can see just talking to him, he handles things well. He knows what he has to do. He’s not hiding anything. He knows he has to play better, he knows he will. He knows it’s part of the learning process, unfortunately. He’s getting a taste of a team not having success early on in his career. I think that will encourage him this weekend. Like I said, we’re all focused on Sunday and finishing this game strong, and then we’ll go back and have the whole offseason to figure out how to go forward and play much better next year.
(on if Jake Locker has shown the qualities that he expected to see)
I think he has, a lot of the things we’re seeing, he has. It’s just that we have to get the group around him to be the same way. It’s not just Jake (Locker), it’s cleaning up the system, we have a lot of things to work out. It’s better to wait until the season is over to start evaluating all those things by watching the tape. Again, his health has been a concern. I’ve done it as a player, when I’ve been hurt early and came back and played again, it’s really hard to get any feel for the offense or a feel for the players you’re working with, especially at that position, I would think. I haven’t played quarterback, but it would be very hard to do what he has done, play four weeks, sit out six, come back for six, and have any kind of continuity of what he’s doing, relationship with the receivers and the backs and the offense. All that has been a burden, I think, for everyone. We’ll just, like I said, have a good week this week and worry about those things in the offseason.
(on if a win will help Jake Locker’s confidence to end the season)
I think it will be good for everybody. That’s why I mentioned after the game last week, luckily that wasn’t the last one. I think we all need that as an organization, as an offense, a defense, everyone in general, you don’t want to finish with a game that gets out of hand and you don’t play like you’re capable of. I think it will be good for everyone, for the whole team.
(on if the game against the Jaguars is a must-win)
Believe me, right now it’s a must-win. We want to win it, it’s not going to change in the grand scheme of things, it’s not going to change a lot, I would assume. It’s nice to win, no matter when it is, so of course we want to win. Everything is on us to win. We still have a lot of work ahead us, it’s not going to fix all of our problems because we win. It’s a good way to go into the offseason with a win rather than a loss. Having said that, once we do win this weekend, then we have a lot of work ahead of us to get where we need to get. We know that. That will all start the day after that game. This week, everything is all on playing well this weekend. We watched their film, and they played really well last week and really had a great chance to beat the Patriots. That just shows you how this league is. When you look in the paper, you see the record and you know that’s what you did all year, but when you play on a Sunday, anything can happen. They played really well last week and had many opportunities to beat the Patriots, didn’t. We realize what kind of game this is going to be for us to win. We need to win a division game. We’ve been saying that, and we haven’t done that. We need this for a lot of reasons.
(on if he has concerns that Sunday’s result might have a bearing on his job)
I’m sure anything is possible. I’m not looking at it that way. I’m looking at it as our last game of the year where we have to play better than we did last week and win a football game. We’ll be judged by that. The best that we can do is 6-10, and as far as me individually, I’ll just go from there. Whatever happens, happens when the game is over with. We’ll sit and talk, and see what direction we want to go.
(on if he thinks the team is improving despite the record)
Again, I think it’s hard when you’re living the season to figure out exactly what all we’re doing well and not doing so well. Definitely some players have gotten better, there’s no doubt about that. We’ve talked about that the past few weeks, especially the defensive side with the linebackers and some of the other guys that are playing more. When you’re having what’s going on, the different players playing and different combinations of guys playing week-in and week-out, guys on injured reserve, the offensive line changing so much, losing your tight end and losing your receiver last week, it gets hard. You can’t get too carried away with what that all means, and comparing this year to last year, I don’t think you can do that at all. Each year, people like to do that, but it’s a totally different situation than last year. We didn’t have any injuries last year. We were a totally different team last year than we are this year right now. It’s hard to get into all that comparing. I know that’s what people look at is 9-7, 6-10, that’s obviously not as good, but there are a lot of factors in there, who we played all year, the health of our team, on and on and on. Again, not to find excuses, but the bottom line is, we have to win more games. That’s what we’ll be looking at, is when this season ends, 6-10 is what we’re hoping to be when we finish, and then now how do we get to where we want to be, and that’s winning our division. We have a lot of work ahead of us, and sometimes a handful of moves can make a huge difference in a team, you see it every year. We had Kevin Carter come in and speak to the team a couple of weeks ago, and he was on a team that was 4-12 and won the Super Bowl the next year. There are a lot of stories of it happening, organizations doing it. That’s what I always say about the excitement of this league is that you can go from what we’re going through right now, to winning it all a year later. We feel that’s something that we’re capable of doing if we make the right moves, and that’s how we have to look at it.
(on if whichever team shows up on Sunday is going to win)
No, I don’t think so. I truly feel from playing in the league and being around it, that when you go out there on a Sunday, the records don’t mean anything when the game starts, it really doesn’t. Then as the game develops, maybe one team has more confidence than the other when things don’t go your way. Again, we should be pretty equal, I guess, because they’ve had their share of bad breaks, and we’ve had our share. We’ll see who holds it together for 60 minutes and wins the game. Last time we played them, we kicked five field goals. We could have had 35 points at halftime, and we didn’t. We have to build on that and play much better. They beat us last time at their place, and we have to hopefully return the favor here.
(on if he thinks any players on the team should be selected for the Pro Bowl)
I haven’t given any thought to that. I’m concentrating on what we’re talking about as far as our team. We’re not happy where we’re at. I’ll wait to see how all that works out tomorrow and the next day, whenever that comes out. I really haven’t given much thought to anyone deserving that.
(on which players have a chance to play on Sunday)
I think Kendall (Wright) has a chance to play this week which will be good because we really missed him last week. I think Damian (Williams) will be more questionable. (Chris Johnson), you hope the two of them will be able to practice tomorrow, him and (Jamie) Harper, and see where they’re at. CJ hasn’t missed a game, so you can’t imagine him missing a football game. I would assume he’ll be back on Sunday. (Craig) Stevens will be questionable, I don’t know about that. We’ll have to wait and see how he’s feeling with the concussion deal, same with (Colin) McCarthy. (Will) Witherspoon should be OK.
(on if they need to take extra precautions with Craig Stevens and his second concussion of the season)
Definitely, that’s something that he’s still not quite where he needs to be. Him, (Colin) McCarthy will probably be in the same boat.
I don’t know exactly what it is, other than what I’ve been saying, he just doesn’t feel 100 percent, he doesn’t feel clear enough to where he’s back to feeling normal. He just hasn’t gotten there yet. Certain things he’s been able to do and feel better, but overall, getting ready to play football, he’s not ready.
(on if Colin McCarthy is the one saying he’s not ready)
Well both, that’s the thing about concussions. The concern with concussions is that guys won’t admit that they don’t feel normal and they keep playing with it. That’s what has gone on with the history of the game, guys don’t want to say anything because they want to play. I think he’s gotten to where his is the fact that he is letting us know. He tried to get back, and I think he’s realizing that trying to get on the field, he’s not getting better right now. We just have to be real careful there. There’s no reason not to be. We haven’t played him for that reason.
(on if Colin McCarthy probably won’t play in the final game)
I think he’s very questionable, no doubt.