Coach Munchak's Friday Practice Report

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HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on his feelings about Chris Johnson's first week of practice)

I think he managed himself well, we had the two days last week of work and then he had all this week and practiced every day. I think the last couple days he was getting through soreness like he usually is when you haven't done these types of activities. I think he feels good about where he is at and so do we.

(on any aspects of  the new offense that may not be worked out yet for week one)

That's hard to tell right now, you hope there aren't any. I think it would just be the fact that we haven't played a full game. Like I mentioned, most teams will be going through that same thing early, you would think. I think we feel good about what we practiced and what we worked on and what we are going to do this weekend in this game so we will have to see how well we perform come Sunday.

(on how much thought he has put into the Saturday night address)

I have given some thought to it, but it's kind of like I wait to see how the weekend is going. I have kind of done that for the four preseason games when I speak to the team on Saturday afternoon before the game. That to me is the most important time for those games. I think it's more of how things have gone, I kind of wait to see how the week went, what came up that I need to emphasize or remind them of, what is the theme of that week or that night. That is something I will give thought to of course and I have done that as a line coach but it will be a little different talking to the whole team. I'm looking forward to it.

(on if he thinks over the course of the season he will do any dramatic things for his pregame speeches)

Well I hope they don't need anything dramatic the night before a game. I think we are ready to play, but I think right now is kind of that last time on the field more or less. Tomorrow is kind of a quick, mock game type of practice so I think there are things that need to be said at times and whatever needs to be said will be and I think we will be ready to go.

(on if Marc Mariani has the freedom to make the call to return a kick deep out of the end zone)

I think that's the part that is going to be interesting to see how it happens in each of these games. He ran one back 108 and then he didn't on the next one. I think it's just more of we will give him a heads up on what our thinking is depending on what part of the game it is. Early you may be more anxious to bring it out and see what he can do, then as the games goes on you may think otherwise. I think that's just going to be another part of the strategy of each game.

(on if he is content with a large degree of touchbacks or will they try to pin teams deeper)

We saw it in preseason for us, most of the time when they came out we pinned them inside the 20, which is a good thing. I will be interested to see how teams now, after seeing how much that worked in preseason for them, how many chances they do take of being tackled inside the 20, so that's something we will have to think about.

(on if there will be times when they try to not kick a touchback)

Sure, there will definitely be times where we do things like that, or just try to kick it through or maybe try to kick it a little higher and drop it in there and see if we can pin them inside the twenty. I think there will be all different philosophies to that now. The weather this time of year is different as we get into October, November, and December. I'm sure in some stadiums they won't be able to kick it through no matter how much they want to. Maybe in the first month or so that will be more of a strategy, or maybe for the indoor stadiums.

(on if there has been an overreaction to the rule change on kickoffs )

I think you wait and see. I think it's way too early to judge that, and things will balance out you would think. I think you kind of wait and see and see the league has done a good job or usually doing that and if it is a big issue then I think they will address it when the season is over.

(on if big special teams plays are more critical in an opener)

Probably, because you are playing a lot of guys that haven't played together and going out there and they haven't tackled in a long time so you have a couple guys in the wrong gap. That's what happens and that's what you saw last night. Offense and defense have the same issues, they put a lot of points on the board for a reason too, so I'm sure it wasn't just because the offenses played so well, the defenses blew some coverages and did some things also because it was the first time out. I think all of that is part of it and you have to be careful and that's the stuff you try to work against going into a game and it's just a reminder of how important all the details are, especially in an opener.

(on if he is feeling anxious)

I think we are anxious, I think everyone in the league is anxious right now. You want to see kind of where you are at, no one is really sure. In this league you kind of wait to see how things unfold come Sunday. I think we are very confident that we are ready to play and we are excited to play and I think let's see what happens. You just can't get caught up in the emotion of it all. There are going to be decisions to be made by the coordinators and by myself. Once the game starts, we will all settle down and play, but I think you just get anxious to play. Ten days gets to be one of those long weeks, you are happy to have the rest, but I think at some point it just starts to go to slow and you just want to start playing.

(on the importance of Chris Hope and Michael Griffin having experience playing together)

I think that whole group in the back end with Cortland (Finnegan) there and (Jason) McCourty and (Alterraun) Verner, I think that group is very confident. I think the communication has been very good all through camp, they know each other well, and they have played well together, so we are looking at that as it has been in preseason, as the strength of the team as far as getting the ball back and making plays and then having the confidence that they can do that. We can get pressure up front and create some problems where they are going to get some great opportunities and we have to make the plays and in the run game we have to get our spots right. That's going to be a big part of this first part of the season where the teams we are playing want to run the ball, our safeties are going to have to do a heck of job being where they are supposed to be and closing that gap when it bounces back door. It's good to have experienced guys that have been there and done it, now we just got to go do it. It's one thing to say it and another thing to go make a play.

(on if Jason Jones practicing today is encouraging that he may be able to play on Sunday)

I think his confidence is rising and then like we've said, when you come off of knee and the issues he has had with that, I think it's more of a confidence builder for him, and that allows him to be in the equation for how we do things on Sunday knowing that he is feeling better and he is competing a little bit and that's what you wanted to see today.

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