HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK
(on if it's hard for the players to focus knowing it's the last practice)
It usually is but I thought they really worked well. I think not having pads on makes it a little easier mentally even though it was 48 hours (after the game). That's why we practiced later in the afternoon because it's more like two full days since we played. We covered a lot of different situations, obviously, run right from the beginning. Then we did some base blitzes, third down blitz stuff, red zone stuff, two-minute drills. It's an opportunity to get the young guys some reps too. It's not all about the veterans getting the reps, some of the backups, some of the guys who haven't run an offensive play in a while get an opportunity to do work.
(on what the departing message was after practice was)
It's the first time we have had a break in the last 12 or 13 weeks to this extent and since the lockout it's been all about football and learning and getting to know coaches and players and a lot has happened in the past so many months. Enjoy their time away, we have done some really good things, we have a lot of work to do and a lot of improvement to do but let's put that on the back burner as of right now and enjoy your time off that you have. Whatever you do with it, make good decisions, and we will see you back bright and early Monday to get started.
(on what areas he is focused on improving other than the running game)
We just have to work on overall consistency of making plays. We obviously have to clean up penalties. We are still making some bad decisions when under stress. When we are in stressful spots, we are still getting called for too many penalties and throughout games you just can't have them. Those are things that you have to continue to work on and control best you can during the game as best you can. Some of those things you can't control because officials see it one way and you see it another but for some reason when they go against you, we seem to have that happen to us a little too much.
(on if the penalties are a concentration issue)
I don't know what it is. For example, the face mask thing for example, I don't know if that's a penalty on us or a penalty on them and we have had a handful of those. Now offside and things like that, lining up in the neutral zone, I think we had one of those last week, those things shouldn't happen, that's just a mental error by someone. There is no excuse for that. Other things are part of the game, the holding calls, and the interference, that's the part that's tough to take sometimes because a lot of that is judgment and that could or couldn't be called. So some of it's that, and some of its bad luck really.
(on if he likes the timing of the bye week)
Ideally, I think everyone would like to have it right in the middle of the season, play eight games, get a break, and play eight more. If you picked a time that's probably what you would think before you saw what your team's situation was. If we had won and been 4-1, then you probably think, 'hey, let's keep playing, we are hot.' Now that we lost you think, 'let's keep playing to get this feeling out and play a good game.' I think it's fine, it's a spot where we can kind of gather what we have been doing and get a break. It really has been nine games and a lot going on with training camp and getting to do a lot of things in a short period of time to get ready for preseason and the regular season. It probably is good to get a break right here knowing that we come back and have three games at home.
(on the mindset of the players when they return)
I think they are going to be excited. I think they are excited about where they are at. I think they are very disappointed about how things went on Sunday, like we were after Jacksonville, but I think the excitement of what's ahead of us and the position we are in even though at 3-2 we are still sitting there with the Texans at this point and we come back and play them. I think that adds a lot of excitement to the return and knowing what's in the future when we come back.
(on his plans for the bye week)
I will probably stay here in town. The coaches will work the next few days and we are going to be in here doing some things. Coaches are always analyzing the same things you are wondering with the run game, look at the protections, look at red zone and just look at all the things, look at the pass game and really look at everything because really for us as a staff we haven't had anything to look at. We haven't had film to study of our system. When the players came in here the offense and defense were totally new systems so now we have something we can look at and the players have something they can look at. We did some of that today with the players because when you have a chance to sit back and not worry about a game that you have to play, you can just worry about concepts and see if there is any pattern at why we are not succeeding at a certain deal. That's what you kind of do in the run game, with pass concepts, and with coverage. Those are things as coaches we are doing and today we did with the players.
(on the importance of the bye week for the rookies)
I think they are realizing how long this season is. People always talk about some rookie wall they are going to hit. I told them when we come back we have a college season to play. We have 11 games to play when they come back. That's probably a great time for the rookies to get a break right now where they can get a little break this weekend and be ready to roll for the next 11 games. As we get into the tenth and eleventh week it gets a little tough physically so this probably will be a good break for us.
(on how Akeem Ayers is progressing and where he can improve)
Like we have said, he and that whole group have done so well but probably adding to his pass rushing. Getting to where we can use him more rushing the passer on third down or even on first and second down. That's something he hasn't done a lot of in college. That's something that the more he does it the better he will get at the technique so that's something that after today he could work on like he was today. That part of the game he never really did before. You want him to continue doing what he has been doing, he has been consistent in games, and he has held his own against some very good offensive lines and tight ends. He is off to a good start and now can he come back and make a difference, he as one sack and seeing if he can add to that total when we use him on different ways on third down.