Coach Munchak's Monday Press Conference

HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on Chris Johnson and the running game in the first half and in the second half)

I think what you saw in the first half is what we hope we continue the rest of the year really. The second half we had five opportunities, he had four or five carries, there wasn't a chance to do a lot. We came out in the second half, the defense did a great job of getting the ball back for us on the other side of the field at the 49. We came out with plays that we ran well out of different formations in the first half. The first run we called was the one that he ran for 20 yards and he ends up getting a yard on it. Whatever happened in the play was a good look and we got a yard on the play. The next play was another play he ran well and we get a holding call. There are two of his runs and we are at second-and-19 we are throwing the ball for a couple downs and we punt and go off of the field. Their emphasis in the second half was to make sure that he didn't get going, they were going to put eight in there every time. It was a chance to run the ball, which we knew, which most teams do anyway. The second series that we had the ball as a run-check-pass and they were going to make us have to pass the ball rather than run it. So that kind of took (Chris Johnson) out a little bit early where we didn't get as many opportunities to run the ball as we like. A couple of penalties hurt us and then the way the game was going and not having the ball as much for the offense and he had less carries. I don't think you can judge four carries on a guy in the second half and that he didn't do well, we just didn't give him the opportunity to do well.

(on if any different blocking schemes were used against the Bengals)

No, we didn't change how we block plays. We were the same as we have been. A lot of teams run the same plays, you just show them different formations. It doesn't matter how a defense adjusts, you should have an adjustment to their adjustment. It's not like they came out in the second half and did something that we didn't expect, they came out in the second half and did what they have been doing the last five weeks and won football games. There wasn't any surprises there and when you play a good team there aren't going to be a lot of surprises. They are a good defense, the law of averages would balance it out and they stuck with what they are good at. They made sure they had the eighth guy in there and they had a little success and the penalties kind of hurt us that they called on us that kind of took us out of the run game.

(on players playing through pain and injury)

There are a lot of pluses in the game and that's one of them, that whole group. (Jared) Cook getting hurt, (Lavelle) Hawkins with the finger. He dislocated his finger, an open dislocation and he came back and finished the game. Nate (Washington) fought through it. The game is important to them, they want to win, they are playing hard. I know people know they are and they should be playing hard obviously. They know how important that game was yesterday, the game wasn't decided until the last play of the game as far as we are concerned. We had some opportunities there at the end. They wanted to be part of it and they knew that we needed them. The young receivers have been stepping up each week getting a little better at certain things. Damian (Williams) has had some great catches, he had another great catch for a touchdown yesterday so hopefully those guys just get better the more we play.

(on if any of the injured players may miss next week)

Nate (Washington) has the hip bruise so it's just a matter of soreness. It's nothing that should keep him out but it's just a matter of the soreness and how he does Wednesday and Thursday with that.  (Jared) Cook had more of a knee injury they are going to call it I guess. He got kind of bruised on the outside of his knee and he just got sore as the game went on, especially those last couple times we had the ball. Lavelle (Hawkins) just has to deal with the hand. Unfortunately, when you catch a ball for a living that's going to make it a little tougher for him but we expect him to play.

(on the efficiency on the last drive of the game)

There were some opportunities there. Getting the run-off and getting the injury hurt us. Nate (Washington) gets hurt and we lose 10 seconds on that. We have a penalty and we lose 10 seconds on that, on the kill that was sloppy and that should have never happened. The injury we can't do much about. When you don't have timeout and someone gets hurt and the clock is running there is a 10-second run off. That was unfortunate that Nate got hurt at that time and couldn't get off of the field. Lavelle's (Hawkins) was just not being smart, you just don't move. You stand still on a kill to make sure that there is not a problem so that worst case if there is an illegal formation there is not a run off, just a five-yard penalty but you don't lose 10 seconds. Things like that, that was probably the sloppiest of the things we did, that run off shouldn't happen. Other than that, Matt (Hasselbeck) is trying to find guys and it's hard when guys are dropping deep and it's about making decisions. There were some opportunities I would think to get down the field better than we did, but we didn't. We didn't make plays at the end, they stopped us and they get the credit for the win.

(on the passing game not clicking between Matt Hasselbeck and the young receivers)

In most games that you watch that's going to happen at times, there are going to be a couple. There was one with a pass-check tied to it, or a two-step throw to it and they just didn't make the eye contact correctly. They thought one was going to break off the route and one was going to take off and go down the field so there was a little miscommunication on that there in the third quarter. There is nothing drastic and sometimes for the quarterback, unfortunately the timing is thrown off pressure or pressure that he feels coming and all of the sudden he has to move and all of the sudden the timing is off. To someone watching the play it looks like they are on the wrong page but it was more about something happening up front or maybe the receiver got knocked off his route and Matt (Hasselbeck) made a decision. There are a lot of factors that go into that. Yes, we do have a young group, yes we are getting better. Yes, you are going to have some communication issues, but it's not some glaring problem that's going to cost us the game by any means.

(on if they are worried about the concussion to Dave Ball due to his history)

Yeah, any concussion you do. He will be checked and follow the procedures that he needs to the next couple of days and we will kind of see where he is at.

(on if Chris Hope will be back this week)

Yes, he should be able to start practicing again, we will see where he is at as far as if he can help us on Sunday or not.

(on if Chris Hope will be the starter when he returns)

I think a lot of that has to do with how he is doing health wise. He hasn't played since the Cleveland game so it's hard to say. He hasn't practiced yet or done anything on the field yet, so he is a little ways off in determining how much he can help us. Again, he is at a position where he can be worked in a certain amount of plays also. It's not like he is playing offensive line or quarterback where you can't just roll him in there, he is playing a position where depending on where his health is, like (Jordan) Babineaux did for him when Babineaux rolled in started working plays. It will just be a matter of what Jerry (Gray) wants to do. First of all Chris's (Hope) health will be the number one deal this week and how much he does practice this week, and is he ready to come in and actually play and help us win an actual football game or not.

(on his level of concern with what is going on at Penn State and if he knew Jerry Sandusky from his days there)

I guess the information on it started coming out this weekend. I don't know much about it. It's the first I have heard of it and so I don't feel comfortable talking about something I don't know much about. I would like to wait until I hear more of what's happening or what's gone on…Yeah, he was the coordinator.

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