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Coach Whisenhunt's Monday Practice Report

Posted Aug 18, 2014

HEAD COACH KEN WHISENHUNT

(On Charlie Whitehurst’s injury)

Charlie (Whitehurst’s) fine. His finger was a little sore, so we just gave him the day off.

(On Shonn Green’s injury)

Shonn (Greene’s) fine. He practiced today.

(On injuries occurring in games)

I think I said, whatever day it was I talked, that we didn’t think it was anything big. That’s part of the game. If you do have guys that get injured, other guys have to step up.

(On Charlie Whitehurst’s injury)

He got caught. The guy sacked him. He just dinged his finger. He’ll be back out here. I don’t know if it’s tomorrow. He’ll be back. I don’t anticipate there being any issues. It’s just, once again, it’s the opportunity for Zach (Mettenberger) and Jake (Locker) to get more work. Charlie (Whitehurst) has been doing great. We just felt like it was better to let him take the day off today.

(On having two quarterbacks this week)

I don’t think Jason Michael’s okay, because he had to try to throw in individual today, and that was pretty tough. We’ll adjust it wherever we need to do it. Getting the team reps is not that big of a deal. What you just have to watch is when you’ve still got the depth that we’ve got at receiver, tight ends and backs, that’s a lot of throws in individual, so we just have to monitor that.

(On Bishop Sankey’s progress)

He needs to get as many reps as he can from the standpoint of what he has to do. Protections, and then obviously with putting the ball on the ground, those are things. He’s not a fumbler, he was not that in college. It’s technique things, it’s footwork things where he hasn’t gotten a lot of reps at those, and that can mess with you when you’re trying to think about your footwork and not focusing on some of your other things. For him, he’s just got to get reps. He’s got to get in those games, and you’ve got to understand, it’s part of the growing process, but I don’t think there’s any question about his talent and what he can bring to the team from that standpoint.

(On Bishop Sankey adjusting to handoffs)

I’d say it’s been mostly footwork. The fumble in the game the other day was because he’s been harped on that footwork on that particular play, which he has not done a very good job with and trying to get a feel for that. He naturally, sometimes he’ll reach for the ball instead of keeping a pocket, and that’s what happens with young players, so you’ve got to work through those things.

(On the first-team defense)

When we play a team in the regular season, I’m sure our package may be a little different. They responded after that first drive in the last game, and with the exact same players on the field, they got off the field a couple of times. We’ve just got to do a better job at the start of these games. I think everybody gravitates to that first series, which is the sensationalism of it, but if you look at what they did after that, they did respond better. It’s a preseason game. I think we’ve got to do a better job of starting. Our mentality’s got to be better this week. We played two good offenses. I think one of the points is that both of those teams have very good offensive skill players. They’ve been in the same system for a number of years, so they’re going to be efficient, and we weren’t. When we did it the right way, we were able to stop them. I think that’s just what we have to continue to work on.

(On putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks)

If you look at the tape, there was pressure. A lot of the time it’s close, but they’ve got to get the ball out. On the one long pass down the middle, the guy was sacked, he threw it up, and the receiver ran under it. That’s kudos to him. The quarterback knew where the ball was supposed to go and he let it go way before the receiver even made the break to the route. That’s hard to beat, but the pressure was there. We’ve got to do a better job of playing our defense and making some plays when they’re there. Hopefully that’ll pick up.

(On the first practice after the Saints game)

We’re a little nicked up from that game. I think it’s natural when you play on that surface for the first time. We had some guys down, so we went in shells today. We didn’t put the pads on, and they were flying around. I think we challenged them, the coaches did today to practice and try to learn from what happened last week. What they’ve shown, they responded, so it was a good practice today.

(On changes to the training camp schedule)

They won’t be here until 9:45 at night. They’ll be out of here by 5:00, 5:30, so it’s a shorter day for them.

(On simulating a game week)

We’ll look at them a little bit, but we’ve got so much we have to do, and I think one of the things is it’s still training camp for us because we’re competitive. We’re going against our defense. Our defense is going against our offense, so it’s not Atlanta plays. Will we work a little bit on Atlanta? Yeah, we’ll do that, just for the mechanics of preparing in-season, but we still have a lot of work to do as far as installing and competing one-on-one in team settings.

(On throwing passes to Taylor Thompson)

That’s just where the ball’s gone. Credit to him, he’s working hard, he’s making progress. There are still some little intricacies at the position that the only way he’s going to get those things is from playing. He’s had a great camp. He’s playing well in these games, and that’s exciting to see.

(On Taylor Thompson’s progress on third-down conversions)

When you talk about third-down conversions and keeping drives going, that’s important. We’ve been good in third-down conversions in the first couple of games, and that is a point of emphasis. That’s something that you have to learn from. To be perfectly honest with you, he got it, but it was still a little too close. If he had taken his route one more yard, then when he catches it it’s a first down. But, his awareness was better, and that’s why we’re doing this, trying to put those players in situations where they understand that.

(On officiating in preseason games)

I think it’s a process where everybody’s got to get used to it, and they’re going to call it. I think we’ve told our players that. We’ve tried to work on it in practice, and we’re prepared for that. There were a lot of penalties called in that game. If there’s a positive out of it, I don’t know if I could ever say it’s a positive that we only had 10 penalties when the other team had 22, so there is some of that that’s got to sink in, and we’re working at it. It’s a point of emphasis with the league. You’ve got to be aware that they’re going to call it.

(On the practice with Atlanta carrying over into this week’s game)

I’m sure there will be some of that, just because we’ve gone against them. There’s already a little bit of competition against them. I don’t think it will be anything that won’t be normal football game-type stuff, but I know our guys are excited to play them. It’s the third preseason game. We get an opportunity to work a little bit more, continue to try to get better, so they’ll be fired up.

(On the first roster cut)

I hope they already know that they’d better not be holding anything back, but I did mention that in the meeting today. I said, ‘A week from today, we’re going to be looking at making some cuts.’ I said, ‘What you have to understand as a player is recognize what your role’s going to be, and you have to be really good at your role, and if you’re that, you’re going to get other opportunities.’ A lot of these guys are going to get a chance to make this team on special teams, so hopefully that message will sink in.

(On available roster spots)

To be honest, I haven’t even gotten to that point yet. We haven’t even talked about that, so I don’t know. I know we’ve got a lot of guys competing, and that’s a good thing.

(On making decisions on kickers and cornerbacks)

I think either one of those two are going to be ready, no matter when that decision is made. I don’t feel any pressure. Ruston (Webster) and I have talked about it. I don’t think we feel any pressure to have to make a decision by a certain date, so we need to let the competition keep going.

(On Coty Sensabaugh and Blidi Wreh-Wilson)

I like both of those young men. I think they’ve done a good job, and you don’t make assessments based off of one game. You look at the whole preseason and practice and everything. I can just tell you this, I’m comfortable with either one of those guys, and both of them are going to be on the field at the same time. I feel very lucky that we’ve got two young corners that have that skill, that compete the way they do.

(On the cornerbacks improving)

Blidi (Wreh-Wilson) made a play today on a ball, which is what, not necessarily Coty (Sensabaugh), but all the (defensive backs) have got to do. (Marqueston) Huff made a play on a ball at the end of the game last week. How you can be better? Don’t panic, trust your technique, and then when you have the opportunity to get the hand in there and knock it out, do that. That’s the way you can play it better.

(On evaluating other players)

We’ve still got another game, and this will be a big game for that, to be able to see those guys. We’ve kind of rotated guys at different positions. We’ll get another opportunity to do that this week.

(On Coty Sensabaugh’s mistakes against New Orleans)

That’s just part of the game. There’s no finger pointing here about it being somebody else. It’s one of those things I said, Coty (Sensabaugh) can play better, he can. He’ll work at it, and he will.

(On rotating Coty Sensabaugh and Blidi Wreh-Wilson)

That’s a possibility. Like I said, both of those guys, I really like. I think they’re good football players, and they’re both going to have an important part of this team.

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