Coach Munchak's Friday Press Conference



(on Kenny Britt and Matt Hasselbeck's lack of timing on the pass thrown to Britt)

I think there was an adjustment on the ball to the coverage, and like you said, they were a little out of sync on exactly what the other one was doing. We had that same thing happen last week on the second play of the game I think with Nate Washington. I think what you saw, which was nice, is they came to the sidelines and Matt and Nate a week ago adjusted to that and we threw the same route and the same play the next quarter and that drive we scored on. He made a great catch on a tougher throw. I think what it shows is there are going to be some spots, not just in the quarterback receiver relationship, but you usually have that in the offense line and you have it with the running backs. You are going to have those types of things, not just our team, but all teams. When people ask how the lockout affects a team, well I think there are certain areas like that, that's where you are going to see it show up on all teams, especially on ones where players haven't been playing. That's a common thing to happen when someone hasn't been on the field that much, and that's his first time in a game. Those are things we are going to have to fix in practice and fix in communication on the sidelines to limit those kinds of things.

(on if he is worried about Chris Johnson getting up to speed)

He will, but not a lot has changed. The running back is a little different than adjusting routes and coverage. It's not just going to be come right in and you are going to have it down and there is not going to be any growing pains, I think their always is. Even for a team in general, when you haven't had a lot of time together, when you go from preseason to the season teams have growing pains in general, the whole league does. I think it's just going to be part of the challenge when we get started next week.

(on if he saw enough from Jake Locker this preseason to feel comfortable with Jake entering a game)

I can, I think he has done what has been expected of him. I think he has done what we hoped he would do. I think it started with him coming in with the work ethic and his teammates having confidence in him because we could stand up here as coaches and player personnel and tell you all these things that Jake can do, but unless the players believe in that and see that, that's part of the process. I think as a rookie at all positions, the veterans need to realize that this guy can make a difference, and this guy does make us better and if he does come into the game, we are going to be pretty confident that we can win. I think we feel that as a staff, and I think Jake feels that, and I think the players around him feel that way. That is always the challenge, especially early with a high draft pick, in a short period of time which he has had. It's not like he has had the extra three months that you normally have to win over your teammates. He did it in a short period of time by how he handled himself at practice and in the huddle, in the weight room, all of those feature how he gets in their playing. He has played with all three groups. It's not like he has just been with the first group or the second group, he has played with everybody as far as interacting on the field. He has done well. He's put some good numbers up and his percentage of pass completions was high, yesterday was another example of that. He has been very efficient with the ball, people try to make a big thing out of that. That's the stuff why you can't get caught up in numbers a lot of times. He is productive and he wins. We are thrilled that we feel we have two quarterbacks we feel we can win with.

(on the turnover differential in the preseason)

That's one of those things I talked about after that game was over. Everyone will say, 'we didn't play our starters, they didn't play their starters,' and we got five turnovers. That's what you want. You want whoever is playing in a game to do things like that.  When the season is over, that's what you look at. Ours was I think a plus nine for preseason, that usually means playoffs. That usually means good things for your football team. We are learning how to do those things, we are getting the ball back, and the defense did a great job in the four games we have played, not just the veterans, but the young guys. The young guys are maybe contributing this year. The ball bounces a lot of ways and we talked about that when I first got the job, about making plays. That was one thing we didn't do last year, we didn't get that ball back. When you start doing it, it becomes a habit and then you starting counting on it…you realize that in the last two quarters you didn't do a whole lot, but if you can get that ball back by getting a sack for a safety like we did last night, to me that's a turnover. It doesn't get counted in the stats, but that's a turnover. When you get a sack and force a team to punt, you get the ball back. I think there are a lot of good things going on that way. That stuff gets contagious so you want to see it no matter if the game is preseason or regular season, that's one of the things you want to see along with ball security. For the offense, you want to see the fact that we are not sloppy with the ball, we are not putting it on the ground even though you are playing a lot of running backs, a lot of different quarterbacks, different centers, very few times did we have mishaps with the ball and I think that's encouraging for a team that hasn't been together for a long period of time. You can even see it in practice. Most of you are at practice most of the time and you didn't see much of that happening in practice. I think we are getting to habits that way so that's probably as much as wins and losses an important stat as there is as far as we are concerned how we are playing.

(on how worried he is that Chris Johnson may get injured due to lack of football conditioning)

You can't worry about it. We have to be smart like we said from the first day of training camp when we brought these guys in how much we have them do when we had to wait a week to play the other veterans free agents that couldn't practice for a week. We had to be smart with that group of guys when they came in on how fast they could contribute. So it's just another example of a guy we have been waiting to come in and all eyes are on him to see how he responds to everything he is going to do now, but I think we are going to do the same we would anybody else. We are going to start practice with him this week, get him in there and work him in and be smart and find out exactly what kind of shape he is in and where he is at as far as football shape and then we will go from there as far as deciding how much he is going to play, how much he is going to do, what positions to put him in and be smart about that. It's our job to be smart and he will be anxious, he will want to prove because that's the kind of player he is. He is not very bashful when it comes to what he thinks he can accomplish and that's a good thing. We are going to have to be careful that we don't overdo it, especially early.

(on how relieved he feels to have this whole thing behind him)

It's good. For a head coach, it's great. (Chris Johnson) is here, Kenny Britt is practicing and playing. On the offensive side of the ball we have all of our weapons and we can move forward now in a positive way. We have a couple quarterbacks we feel good about, we have a running back, we have a receiver, and the benefit now is that a lot of the guys got to work when they weren't here. We have some depth, last night you saw Damian Williams make some plays. On special teams he had a touchdown. (Lavelle) Hawkins went in there and did the same thing on special teams and catching the ball. Those guys got a lot more playing time as receivers. Nate (Washington) has had a nice camp catching about every ball thrown to him. There have been a lot of good things that have happened while these guys weren't here, a lot of the other guys got reps. Jamie Harper got touches that he never would have gotten before so our confidence level on him has risen because of that. Normally a rookie wouldn't have that kind of opportunity being our third or fourth running back coming into camp. So there are a lot of plusses, even though the main guys weren't here, that hopefully makes us a better team.

(on Javon Ringer's health)

We are assuming we will have him available for the Jacksonville game. All signs are that he will be able to do that. He practiced last week more, he got involved in more stuff last week on the field and he will continue that when we get started on Saturday. So, we are hoping for the best there that he and (Chris Johnson) are working together again.**

(on how last night's injury to Kevin Curtis affects his chance to be evaluated)

He fractured a bone in his hand I think, so I'm not quite sure exactly what the timetable is for that, how much time that would be or what needs to be done medically for that, so we will have to see over the next day or so how that will affect the receiver position and his status.

(on with the money Chris Johnson got, can he afford to keep Justin Gage on the roster at his current salary)

I don't think one affects the other, no. I don't think that what we do with (Chris Johnson) will affect any of the players on the team as far as having to move things around. I think Mike (Reinfeldt) did a good job of paneling that, so if anything is done with other players it will be strictly because of that situation, not because of anything with CJ.

(on if Mike Reinfeldt will ask Justin Gage to take a pay cut )

I don't know, that's something that I'm not involved in and right now that's not something we have discussed.

(on how the team found out about the Chris Johnson news)

It was just another day at the office for the boys I think. We didn't talk about it all, we had a game to play preseason or not. I think the word got out sometime yesterday afternoon. I'm sure the guys heard about it slowly but surely during the day. I'm sure they are all happy, I'm sure they are excited about it, but there wasn't anything by the team. We didn't announce anything or do anything special. We had a game to go play and we did that, and by the time the game started I'm sure everyone was very well aware that we got him signed.

(on his emotions when he heard that the deal was done)

I think it's a long time coming. We have talked about it so much that you get tired of talking about it. You stayed confident that you knew that (Chris Johnson) would come in in time to be ready to play for Jacksonville. I think I always felt that would happen one way or another. As a coach you want it to happen sooner than it did, but he is here in time, 10 days before we have to play a game. So he has quite a bit of time there to get ready to play. Myself, the staff, just excited to finally go forward. You get the last piece of your puzzle finally, so now you can kind of figure out how you are going to use that now. Now it's up to us to decide when he comes in, he will be here this afternoon and then how do we go from here and how does he help us win against Jacksonville. That's the next part as a coaching staff, we have to start working on that idea.

(on if he will talk to Chris Johnson when he arrives)

Oh yes, we will. We have a lot going on today,  I know he will be in today, I'm assuming he has to sign his contract and get a physical and go from there. Then he will be ours and we will be able to have him in our meetings and he will start spending a lot of time with Jim Skipper. I think the players come in tomorrow, so he will be here tomorrow for that and then get into our routine and he will probably have to do a little extra the next couple days to catch up.

(on if any players have already been released)

We have been talking to them, but we haven't gotten everything done that we are going to do. We will be doing that over the next day or so. I'm sure we will be releasing some type of list later today. With the day off, the players aren't coming in today other than if they need treatment. We are in the process now of trying to get the ball rolling on a lot of that.

(on how worried he is that he may cut a guy and plan on putting him on practice squad but someone will pick him up)

I think that's the challenge that every team has including us today and tomorrow. There are going to be those four or five guys that…'do you keep the extra lineman, the extra D-lineman, the extra DB, the extra linebacker, and then if we lay this guy out there what's going to happen? What's the demand for this type of guy?' There are certain positions that you are very fearful of, usually linemen, offensive linemen because they are hard to find. Guys like that, so you are afraid to lay them out there and loose them for the reason you mentioned. We have to be smart with that. We have to realize that there are certain guys we can't do that with, we need to protect, and take some chances with other guys because the good thing is you have more than 53 that you believe can play in the league. We feel we have had good competition here and we do have more that can play. Unfortunately there will be guys we cut or let go of that will be playing somewhere else in this league. Then you will be second-guessed about why you let that guy go and then you will have to say, 'well this is why' and it's not always a perfect fit. If we have injuries at certain positions and you have to carry more guys at that position, and that affects another position and so you have to make a decision you really didn't want to have to make. That's kind of been forever in football, so that's some of the things we'll be going through the rest of today and tomorrow, to make all the best decision we can for the team.

(on if he has the final call on the roster)

I think it's kind of like how the draft was, I think it's myself and Mike Reinfeldt and Ruston Webster, that we kind of all talk about those things. I talk with the staff so I have a good feel for what Jerry (Gray) and Chris (Palmer) want and the individual coaches. Then we meet as a group, so it's kind of like what we did for the draft. I think Mike Reinfeldt does a nice job of including everyone that is involved in the discussion. Ultimately someone has to make decision, but I think it has worked out pretty well where usually most of us are on the same page. There hasn't been anything where it has been dramatically yes and no on a certain guy, it's more of group effort.

(on if he thinks they will need to keep or find an extra defensive end due to injuries at the position)

It depends, with (Derrick) Morgan being out for a week or two, well I should say, since he has already been out a week, so maybe one more week. Yeah, there are positions you are going to look and say, 'do we have the right guys, what are we going to do there? Can someone else move into that position that is playing somewhere else?' There is a lot of ways to solve that problem and you have to start realizing how many guys you are going to suit up on Sunday at that position. There are a lot of things to think about to decide ultimately, 'if I do add that guy, what's it going to cost us and is it worth the price? If I'm going to add another D-lineman, where is that coming from, or can I do it from within? Can I get someone who can maybe do some things at that position that will help us get through the game?' There is a lot of that going on, especially this time of year with trying to fit the right people.

(on if he has thought about adding another veteran quarterback)

Right now, we are happy with where we are at and we have three right now. So right now that's not something that is very high on our list.

(on cutting guys for the first time)

For me, this is going to be the first time doing it to this degree. I have never been the first guy to tell someone they are being let go, I usually had them after they were let go. Someone else did the initial part. No matter how many you have to let go, it's a difficult process, especially when it's some of the guys who have been here longer than just these past few months. I don't know that it ever gets any easier. This is my first year doing it, so I can't imagine it does because you know how much this game means for a lot of these guys and how they work for it. Change is sometimes good for everybody and maybe it works its way out, but at that moment that's not what you are thinking about. Just like anyone who gets fired from a job, they think it's the end of the world at that moment, a lot of these guys have talent and it won't be. It's not like it's a surprise in some cases. Players understand what's going on to some degree and know that there is a possibility because of numbers, or who is here before them and those kinds of things. No matter how you do it its difficult.

(on how impressed he is with Colin McCarthy's play )

He is getting better, like part of that rookie class that we have been bragging on that has continued to contribute. He played more on special teams last night. The young guys got a chance to play more because the veterans didn't, so he is a guy that just each week has gotten a little bit better. He is figuring out what has been asked of him, figuring out when he is blitzing and doing things, how to fill some gaps, get off blocks, drop into pass coverage, just a lot of things that are different than what he has done in college. Him and (Tommie) Campbell, and Akeem Ayers, and (Karl) Klug gets a safety last night. (Jake) Locker, (Jamie) Harper, you have a lot of guys that have done some good stuff in this short period of time. He is progressing like we hoped he would or you hope a young player would. It's nice to see players just continue to do something just a little bit better, they don't flash and then start going the other way. These guys have maintained, at worst case they have maintained what they are doing, and in most cases they have continued to improve.

(on Rennie Curran's roster situation)

Well he is in a tough spot no doubt with bringing in a couple linebackers, we just talked about (Colin) McCarthy and Akeem Ayers, and all of the sudden one of those linebacker spots being on the line of scrimmage and the emphasis being a bigger linebacker. So there is no doubt that it has affected the linebacker position, especially when a lot of our linebackers are big-time special teamers. That is another competition thing going on there because if you are not the starter that becomes a huge thing for us. Can you help us in 12 to 14 plays on special teams? That's definitely going to be interesting decisions to be made at that spot.

(on the health of the defensive line)

Right now we are thinking that everyone other than (Derrick) Morgan should be available for us next week. 

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