Coach Munchak's Friday Practice Report

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HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on what the biggest limitation is when an offensive lineman is dealing with a calf injury)

It's pushing back on pass setting where you have to step back and put the weight on it. Then when he is going forward it's not quite as bad for him but playing offensive line and having that back foot in the ground and having to sustain a bull rush type of guy where he really has to dig in. That's where the concern was last week that that could become a big problem if it popped and then all of the sudden you lose him for the season. His strength is a lot better, he feels a lot better, so we are assuming that he is passed that so we feel pretty good about him.

(on the role of special teams in the later part of the season when the weather becomes a factor)

They do a great job. Directional punting, he (Brett Kern) he has done a nice job with that, limiting returns, the coverage has really helped all of that too. Those guys have really done a nice job. (Rob) Bironas hits the 52-yarder last week, he has been kicking off like we have asked him. The little things that go unnoticed like deciding if we should punt, should we kick off here, do you feel comfortable with the wind, or can we kick it through the end zone? He has been very honest with me as far as what distances he thought he could hit it instead of always saying coach I can always make it. He has been really good at, 'Hey, going this way I feel good at this distance.' He talks to Alan (Lowry) about that and for me that's huge because then I really do have a good feel for it if you go for it down there. Does he feel really good about that distance or doesn't he? That makes me feel better about making a decision on if to kick or not to kick and so he has been real helpful for me with that. The whole package of those guys, the coverage units and the whole bit, and now we have had points scored. There are a lot of things headed in the right direction there and that's a huge plus to have going into this part of the season where we need to win.

(on Chet Parlavecchio getting credit as well as Alan Lowry for the consistent special teams play so far)

Yeah, both of them, I think they are working well together. I think he has brought a little more enthusiasm to what they are doing. He gets a lot of these guys on the side and does a lot of technique work with them, where Alan (Lowry) didn't have as much time for that in the past. I think he has been very influential there. I think they work well together on game day with what they are seeing and what is there and what is not there and that helps me a lot obviously. They have been doing well together. I think it's a good mix of personality and it's showing that these guys are responding pretty well to them. This last half of the season, and really most of the season we have been pretty solid on the teams.

(on the difference between a pro coach and a college coach and how a person can be good at both)

Well for me being in the pros so much, you would think it's more natural for me to be in this league because it's the only league I really know as far as coaching. For other guys, I think it's football and when you get to the game and actually preparing for a game, personally I don't think it matters. If you are a good football coach and you can motivate, I think it's the same. It's a different type of recruiting. It's a little harder to look at a high school kid and some of these colleges you are looking at sophomores and juniors and making decisions. I think that's a little bit different if you have never done it to look at that kind of tape and make decisions, versus what we see on the pro level. You still see a lot of mistakes. It's probably a wash on that but that's probably the difference in recruiting. I don't know why someone couldn't do both, I never understood all of that thinking. I know the differences but the bottom line to me is if you are a good coach then you should be able to do it on any level and have success.

(on if he would be able to recruit high school kids)

Sure, I think that if you are in that role it's not different. This year I got a small taste of it with free agency of talking to a guy. I know the money is a huge part of that but I think you are excited about your program. For example, I talked to Matt Hasselbeck or I talked to Daniel Graham on the phone. I talked to (Barrett) Ruud and I think I was so excited about our opportunity here that it helped me sell the program and exactly how they fit into it and what their role would be here and what they are going to be part of, and I enjoyed that a lot. I'm assuming a college coach has the same sell of what he is selling the program, what he could and how he could develop that kid to become who he thinks he is going to become and the whole college experience. I think it's exciting on both ends. I think it's the same type of thing and if you believe in what you are doing, then that should come out in how you are selling to an 18-year old boy or 25-year old guy who has a little money in his pocket already. There are differences, but when it comes to the bottom line, when it comes to playing the game, it's the same.

(on if he is lobbying for the Penn State job)

No, not at all, I am answering a question you asked me about players.

(on if he has spoken to Penn State to give any recommendations)

No. I know things are going to come up with me because I'm from Penn State, I played football there, graduated there and all of those things. It's a natural thing to start wondering but if something changes, then you guys will be the first ones to know

(on the scuffle at the end of practice and if it's a good thing)

I hope so, I hope it's good luck and they are competing and I think it's a good thing and I didn't have to pay either one of them to have to do that. I think the energy level is good, they are excited and they should be. They realized what a good opportunity we have this weekend to start making a move in this thing. We can talk about it all we want but we need to go up to Buffalo and go play well and hopefully those are the kind of things that show that we are getting an edge on and get excited about playing.

(on his policy on fights at practice)

I stay consistent with it. To me, things are going to happen when guys compete so pushing and shoving and a little fight we break up and no harm is done there, then I am fine with that. You are asking guys to come out here and compete against each other, especially the big guys and you are going to have guys that get upset. But if it's nothing blatant or somebody actually trying to hurt somebody intentionally, I think if you see something like that then there is going to be consequences. I think just the pushing and shoving and the battle and all that, if we pull it apart and there is not a problem, then we will live with that.

(on if he got into fights at practice as a player)

Yeah, I did, probably more than I should have. I got in a fight with Elvin Bethea my first couple of days. I picked the oldest guy on the team and thought that was the best way to do it. He is the All-Pro, is the Hall of Famer now and a young guy comes in you have to fight with the old guy then everyone just leaves you alone so that's kind of what I did. I think Elvin has the same thinking, everyone thinks he is too old to play so you pick on the young rookie and so that's always how I tell the story that he is the one that started that fight, but those happen. I don't think I got in more fights than Bruce (Matthews) or anybody else in that group we had. We were just competing.

(on if he has ever seen anyone hurt a hand in a practice fight)

The only guy that I have ever saw hurt a hand since I have been around is (David) Stewart and Stewart hurt his his rookie year. It's amazing that more guys don't get hurt, and that's what you preach because if you do get hurt then there are consequences. If you are stupid enough to hit someone in the helmet with your bare hand, that's not real smart. You probably deserve what you got but you also get fined for what you did. He is the only one I have been around that actually got hurt in one of those things. Usually there is some minor stuff and I'm sure there are some other cases, but for the most part guys want someone to just break it up fast. 'I started this thing, I got my punch in, pull me off of them.' I think that's kind of what most of these fights are.

(on Ryan Fitzpatrick's ability as a quarterback)

I think he does a good job of diagnosing the coverage and he has a good feel for what you are trying to do. That's why you have to be good at disguising things with a guy like him. He is going to get the ball out and he going to drill it. He throws it like he is a darn baseball pitcher. That ball is coming out and he is going to stick it into some tight spots, especially early in the season. Even last week with the Jets, he had some really nice, tight, hard thrown balls that I'm sure the Jests didn't think he could stick in there and he did. He is smart and knows where it's supposed to go and he has a split second to make that decision and so he is doing that and that. They are number one, we are behind them in sacks allowed. They have 15 and we have 16 and that's something to attribute to him because they have lost some lineman that have got hurt…He is still doing a nice job of making decisions and getting it out and they don't go down the field a ton with the deep ball, but he is still doing a good job distributing the ball around.

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