HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK
(on improving the run game)
I thought yesterday was better than it had been. I thought there were more lanes and that we did a good job of spreading the field and gave the backs an opportunity to make some cuts. We got to the second level on a lot of the situations and the safeties had to come up and make tackles which was good to see. We only had one run early where there was penetration where there was a linebacker in the first quarter on the fullback where Chris (Johnson) had someone interfering with him before he could even get started. Other than that for the most part there were opportunities to do things. It looked better than it has been, more consistent than it has been. As we all know it has to continue to get better.
(on if the plan was to alternate two drives at a time for Chris Johnson and Javon Ringer)
No, like I said yesterday there wasn't. We went into the game like we have all games, this game we just had more opportunities with the ball like we hoped we would. We called more runs than we have the last few weeks and like I have said the whole time, I have talked about Javon Ringer for a long time during training camp and how much confidence we had in him and what a good runner he was. We always felt that when he got in the game he did some good things for us so we felt that during the game as far as rotating guys in because that's one we wouldn't mind putting in the game because he is also good on third down pass blocking. A lot of times we would put him in on third down situations because he knows what we are doing well and it just gives us more options. We knew going into the game that we had to find a way to get something going running the ball and we were going to give him some opportunities along with Chris but there is really no more to it than that.
(on if the plan was for them to split carries)
As far as splitting carries, no. Like I said there was never…it worked out that way, I didn't know that it worked out that way during the game. We needed to win a football game, the last thing I was worried about was who was getting more carries. We were running that ball at times and having some success at times throughout the game which we needed to do. That was not our thought process, our thing was how do we win this game and keep our lead and do those kinds of things. I wasn't really caught up in who was playing and there was no effort to accomplish…they ended up having the same amount of carries but that wasn't something we planned.
(on what the plan is moving forward on the running back workload distribution)
It's no different than it was this past week. (Chris Johnson) is the starter like he has been. He will start the game and Javon (Ringer) will roll in there at times depending on how the game is going.
(on if he saw a change in the Colts defense depending on which running back the Titans had in the game)
No, they don't play a whole lot of defensive fronts, they don't do a whole lot of blitzing, they just play their deal and then run it. As far as would they call something differently when they see who is in there? They might, just like you do when you have tight ends in there. If Jared Cook is in there you may call a different coverage because Jared is in there versus Mike Otto playing tight end. On their end, there may be things that eventually they may do but as far as in that game I would say not.
(on how Daniel Graham did filling in for Craig Stevens)
Well it's nice that he got to play more. Here is another guy that in a lot of games hasn't played much football. He played almost 40 snaps I think, which was the most he has played. I was happy for him to be out there. He did some good things. He hasn't played much unfortunately, but he passed blocked when we asked him to pass block and he run blocked and he was fine. As the game wore on he was blocking linebackers well, the defensive linemen, getting good fits with the tackles on their combination blocks and in spots. All of that looked a lot better than it had been.
(on is starting Derrick Morgan was more of a reward for Derrick or a message to Jason Jones)
I think they all played well and like we have said going back to training camp, our philosophy has been that they are all going to play. All eight of those guys are going to play and they know that going into a game. We just felt like changing things up. We weren't happy with the way things went the last couple of weeks, it wasn't necessarily against any of those players, and it was more of changing the mix of guys and who is in there with each other at what time on defense. (Derrick) Morgan is getting healthier and getting a better feel for what he is doing and we want to get him more reps, so we thought we would start him to get him more in that role of starting to get more reps as far as being on the field more than he was a week earlier or the week before that. We thought he was ready for that and we still knew that Jason Jones was going to get a lot of reps, and he had a very productive day. He had a sack, he hit the ball that really put the game away for us with the interception at the end to get to 27-10, a lot of pressure, a good job in the run game. Just like we do in other phases of the game, it's just a matter of finding combinations that may be more productive even though all of them are going to contribute. Jason Jones still played a lot, Derrick Morgan still played a lot so it worked out well on the defensive side.
(on if he is happy with the decision to move Jason Jones to defensive end)
Yeah, I think Jason Jones likes it. I think the fact that he is still on passing downs inside where he is most productive rushing the passer, and he is not getting beat up. He is holding up physically pretty well and that was part of the reason behind that, he just gets good pressure. His energy level was great, on the sideline he was into the game, he was running on and off the field. They had 80 snaps and I thought that (Tracy) Rocker did a great job of rotating his guys. Those guys were fresh, they were working hard, and they were chasing hard and heck, at the end of the game Derrick Morgan was sprinting around chasing the quarterback. Those guys play with high energy and again, we are all still getting to know each other, the coaches and the players, we haven't been around each other a whole lot so we are still trying to figure out what guys can do. Someone like (Derrick) Morgan who was hurt and missed a lot of training camp, last year as we all know he tore his ACL. He is just starting to come into his own. He is a first round draft choice that is finally getting a chance to get a feel for what it's like to be on the roster playing for seven games, so you are starting to see him come around. It's fun to watch these guys develop but they are all a work in progress so we are kind of moving guys around to get guys in the best spots and find the best combinations right now. You are going to see changes probably throughout the season to for that reason to get the right guys on the field and get them working with each other, different combinations working stunts together and just of that goes on behind the scenes.
(on Jason McCourty's play)
He has consistently played well all year. Last week he had 14 or 15 tackles, you don't want your corner to have to make that many tackles, but like I have said, most teams are going to leave the corner free. They are going to take the receiver off to block the safeties and let the corners make tackles, and he is making a lot of good tackles and not missing many. In the coverage area, he is covering well and making plays. It was a huge play right before the half to tip the ball up there that we intercepted the (Michael Griffin) got. That's what he has been doing for us all camp. In the preseason games it was the same thing. He had plays in preseason and had interceptions, so he is just going to get better the more he plays.
(on if William Hayes was close to playing)
We weren't sure if he would hold up during the game. It was one of those things where he started practicing last week and had the back spasms and was trying to fight through that. We knew that we were going to only suit up eight defensive linemen so we didn't want to have the chance of going through a series or two and having trouble finishing the game and be down to seven guys because of our concern for Jake Scott, we wanted to suit up the extra offensive lineman. When we knew that (Craig) Stevens wasn't going to suit up we went with eight offensive linemen just in case Jake had a problem. In case Jake has another stinger or something early in the game, we didn't want to be short linemen. So we carried the extra offense lineman and we did the same thing on the defensive line. We carried eight healthy ones because we didn't want to take the chance with him. Stevens being down kind of gave us the chance to cover ourselves on the offensive line part.
(on if Craig Stevens will be able to play this week)
We are going to find out, my hope is that is can practice on Wednesday for the first time and we will see from there. That was the plan so we are hoping that we have him back where he can practice this week and feel better about his opportunity to play on Sunday.