Coach Munchak's Sunday Practice Report




(on the chance for players to earn a roster spot after the last preseason game)

There are going to be some spots. Definitely, coming down to some of that, special teams, how these guys play. This is a tough week. The next seven days are toughest probably in the NFL for players. I guess they realize what a business it really is. You tell them when they first come in April that there are 90 of you guys here, and only 53 can make the team. I think it doesn't sink in until this time of year. So today, cutting 12 guys was hard from the roster. Obviously everyone knows that by next weekend or next Friday night we have to be down to 53. So there definitely are positions—there aren't a ton of them, there's a handful that definitely (are), how things end up this week and over the weekend are going to affect some guys who are here or not here.

(on how tough it is to get through practices and games at this point)

We still have numbers. The nice thing is you have 75 guys here. So there's still plenty, where you're not overworking people. I told them, that's the hard part. This is the spot where you have certain guys that are fighting to be on the team. Other guys obviously know they are going to be on the team, but they still have to keep improving. This isn't a down time. As you get into the fourth preseason game, the mindset has to be that we need to get better in this window between now and the next eight or nine days before we actually start our first game week officially. Two weeks from today, we're done already playing. We need to realize that, and we've got a lot of work ahead of us these next few days.

(on how much he wants to play the starters on Thursday night)

I think we'll play the offensive guys more than the defense I would think. We have some guys that are injured on the other side anyway that we're going to end up resting more so because of that. We would like to let those guys on offense play a little longer probably than the defensive side just to get some things going. Again, it has nothing to do with who we're playing or how long they play their guys, it's about us. It's about us being ready and not all that. We just need to go out in a competitive game like this will be to play better on offense and put some drives together. Yeah, we'd intend they play a little longer than the defense. Hopefully we'll have success early to where that will be somewhere in the second quarter we'll start pulling guys out.

(on how difficult it is to have the conversation with a player about why they're getting cut)

It's very difficult because you're telling someone that, especially the first cut, it's usually more the younger guys. Some guys obviously came in that knew it was going to be a long shot, that needed a couple of breaks to make it because of their situation. It's not a surprise probably, but it's still disappointing when you actually hear someone tell you that it's not going to work this year. The good thing is some of these guys have a chance because of the practice squad, positions open up later. They have a chance to develop on that. That's the one encouraging thing you can pass along to some of the guys. But it's hard, no one wants to hear that their dream is ending or possibly ending, or that it's not going to work here. It's a disappointment, but it's not like it's surprising in some cases. But it's still hard to tell anyone that you don't have a job here.

(on changes to his expectations for this year's team)

We're excited. You never know until…that's why people don't go by preseason records and what happens, you go more by how things are looking. I think in certain cases we're looking really good, and we still have some areas to improve upon. I think special teams has played very well for three games, and that's a good sign for your team. I think those guys took to heart that playing on special teams could help you make this football team. We've played very hard, covered well and returned well, so that's been a positive. We all know that the defense the past couple of weeks has really upped their game. Now we just need the offense to be a little more consistent this week, and I think we'll feel pretty good about how we came out of camp.

(on if there are any similarities in preparing for the Saints and Patriots games)

A little bit. There are always some things. That's why we're practicing a lot of different things today. Today was really a day against our defense and a day against things that we want to work on going into the season that maybe we haven't shown as much during preseason games. Tomorrow we'll start talking about the Saints and getting organized for that game. In the meantime, as most teams do, you're looking to add a little bit more to some of the concepts, maybe in the passing game, some things on defense you want to try in coverage you're working on now to see how you like it for possibilities of using them earlier in the season.

(on if he wants to find out about Kenny Britt's status this week)

We're going to have to. Kenny (Britt) is on that PUP deal, so we have to make a decision by next Friday on his status, where he's at and how we're going to go forward with him. That's coming up here in the next four or five days.

(on if Kenny Britt can get some action in this Thursday)

No, even if we felt he was ready for that, we probably wouldn't do that.  We would probably give him the extra 10 days to actually go on the field.  Depending on how it goes, even if he is we would rather him play a dozen or 15 snaps, and it won't matter if he doesn't play until the opener as far as what he will be asked to do.  It is a unique position because at X you are out there by yourself anyway, one-on-one quite a bit at the position he plays.  It is not like you are dealing with the other interior of the line where there are a lot of bodies around and you're lacking confidence.  That gives you hope that maybe it is something that he will be able to do early in the season.

(on if the Titans have been following the Goodlettsville little league team)

Definitely, you always follow anyone local and that is a great story.  Watching that game yesterday, we were all watching the last couple of innings, and what a great ride for those kids.  Having a 10-run lead and losing it and then coming back and putting nine more on the board.  It just shows you a lot about those young kids, how competitive they are and how much it means to them, watching their team come together and being the best in the country is a pretty darn good thing for a 12-year old to boast about.  It was encouraging to watch that, hear about it, follow the story.  It is a great story not just for Tennessee, but for the country to watch young guys play that well at that young age.  We are excited for them.

(on if he played little league baseball when he grew up)

That was my last level.  I think I was 12 and made the All-Star team at least.  We started playing teams that the pitchers were a little bit better than I saw.  They start throwing the curve and some of those other deals where the ball moved a little bit and then I realized that wasn't my sport.  They made me look real bad.  That is why when I watch baseball, the eye-hand coordination to me is amazing, when they can stand in there and make those decisions that quick and you see young kids doing it.  It is exciting that they have that talent to be able to do that.

(on if he is surprised at Colin McCarthy's ability to be around the ball and make plays)

I just think it is his work habits, his study habits.  This guy is in this building constantly studying how to get better, what he can do better.  If he plays 90 snaps in a game, he is worried about the four or five on what he missed and what key did he miss to tell me to be in the right spot.  When you have a guy like that, only good things should happen for him and they have been.  Hopefully they will keep working that way for him and our team but he is a great example.  He was like this when he came in the door and it pays off.  He has a good feel for what they are doing before they do it and it has helped him be in the right position.  He still has things to learn obviously, but he is a guy that you assume will be real good at that position for a long time and develop into one of the leaders on your team that you want to have for a long time to come.

(on if this is what he hoped to see from the defense with the pass rush and getting turnovers)

We'd love to.  The Tampa Bay game was similar as far as how we got things going early with the rush and getting after the quarterback and making him uncomfortable.  You turn that film on and I don't care if it is a preseason game or not, if I was watching that as an offensive line coach on the other side, you are concerned.  When you can get after the passer and create problems and put him on the ground and hit him, that is something for them to worry about and that is a good thing.  You have to keep that going.  Obviously, offenses are going to start chipping like they did and try to take that away from you, so we are going to have to be smart on the other things we do.  I think the last couple of games is definitely a good confidence (builder) for the fact that the things we are working on are working in games.  You are seeing not just one guy or two guys, you are seeing quite a few guys have success from the first group to the last group that is playing the game have had success rushing the passer.  I think you are seeing the results of these guys working so hard during OTAs and now and it is paying off in the games.  Hopefully we will finish up strong on Thursday and then we start doing more things with linebackers and pressures it will hopefully make their job even easier.

(on if Kenny Britt is close enough to possibly be cleared from the PUP list this week)

That is exactly what … we didn't do it now because we think that he does have that possibility.  This is a week of really pushing him hard and doing a lot of different things to see how he responds.  If we feel good, you have to make a good decision because you don't want to have a situation where the player all of a sudden has a setback or they are not quite ready and then you have him active but you can't ever get them up.  That is a decision we will have to make by the next five days with where he is at on Friday.

(on the importance of signing Jason McCourty to a long-term extension)

I think that is exactly the example of what you want to do.  You want to take care of guys that have been here playing.  You want to take the homegrown guys that you have drafted and that have come in and played well and have earned the right to get a new contract and not let them get to free agency.  I think it is great that he wanted to get it done.  I think Ruston (Webster) did a great job getting that done.  That is what we have been doing kind of plodding along getting guys done, getting Griff (Michael Griffin) done.  We made the decision on Griff and got him signed.  I think he is playing very well and he is responding well to that.  I think other players see that and go you know what, if I work hard here, they are going to take care of me.  You can't get everyone done obviously, but you like to get the top guys that are playing and performing and that deserve to be done if you can.  Sometimes players just don't want to do that.  It has to be both parties that want to work a deal and in this case he wanted to get something done too.  We are thrilled obviously getting him locked up for a long period of time.

(on if Jordan Babineaux could play in the slot or nickel role)

Yeah, he played last week in some of that. He was out there playing for matchups, just like teams do with us to cover tight ends rather than the linebacker, so you go with a bigger guy than a corner to do it to where he can come out. Some teams do it versus a two-tight end offense where he's the kind of guy that can come out and do that for you, take over the linebacker position because he's a good enough run stopper to play in the box and also to cover for us. Those are the things, the versatility that he has and some of the other guys have to use in that way.

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