Coach Munchak's Sunday Press Conference

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HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(opening statement)

We just got back a little while ago, so, as a staff, we haven't had a chance to sit and talk about the game yet. We will later this afternoon. Overall, picking up from last night, it was unfortunately a more typical preseason game where we start off not being very sharp in certain areas, especially at offense with the turnover right off the bat. We had some dropped balls and penalties. Even on that first drive on offense, we dropped about four balls, a couple screens that could have been big plays early in the first quarter that could have got us going. Then, you have a holding call on the first-and-10 that kind of took us back behind the 50. Things like that made it a little sloppier than you'd hope. Then, on the defensive side of the ball, I thought the first half the guys really made some plays on their side, but we gave up three points. We had two sacks and got the turnover by McCarthy. So defensively, you saw them coming together as they played more and making plays, making plays in the backfield. I think we had three or four tackles for losses on runs, so guys were starting to get a feel for that. So that was fun to watch. Like I said, that group was pretty solid there. At the end of the game, you have a four-minute period in place. Yeah, we had a lot of young guys out there, which we would have liked to see a stop and give the offense a chance to go win the football game. There is a lot of good. It was good watching the guys play. It always is. I thought the guys from last year were getting ready to start showing up again, the rooks. Karl Klug got a sack and had a tackle in the backfield and Jurrell Casey was the same way. Just those guys, Akeem Ayers. Jake Locker playing. Just those guys picked up where we left off as they got into the games. For the first [game], the tackling was decent. It was solid, I thought. You didn't see a lot of missed tackles throughout the game which you usually see early for the first time having a chance to do that. So that was good to see. Obviously, in the second half, we started making some more plays on offense and got ourselves in the game and tied it up. We had a chance to at least tie or win it there and we just didn't get that done at the end.

(on Jake Locker in the second quarter)

I think the second quarter he played, he did a good job with what he was presented with. He got us moving a little bit there on two of the drives. We got halted on the fourth down and four. We were close to making two or three plays in that series. We just couldn't make them, which would have been nice to keep that drive going. Then, we drove down for the field goal kind of before the half, which had chances to have plays and [we] didn't finish the drive. I thought he made some good decisions. He sat in the pocket nice. He made some good completions. Kendall Wright caught two or three passes on that drive. We struck the momentum there. We didn't hurt ourselves on those couple drives. So, I think he was pretty solid. He had some balls that were dropped and a ball that was tipped, but overall, I thought he did a good job with what we asked him to do.

(on the play-calling being more basic with Matt Hasselbeck than with Jake Locker)

Not really. I think it was real similar. Matt Hasselbeck had a couple nice plays. Again, throws after that first play, he came out and had a couple first downs and threw a couple nice balls to Nate Washington. Jared Cook caught a couple balls right there. We were driving down and get a holding call. That takes us back and then we drop a screen, so then all of a sudden, we are off the field. That kind of took away from Hasselbeck's opportunity. Then, he's forced into a third-and-15. He throws a deep ball just trying to make something happen and it ended up being like a punt because it's inside the five yard line. I think the play-calling was very similar. There wasn't any reason. We were doing the same things with both of them. That's just what happens when you are in there for the two-minute drive or the semi-two-minute drive. You are going to get more opportunities with things being more spread out than what Hasselbeck got since he started. Jake Locker, like at the end of the second quarter, we were basically in two-minute mode in eight or nine of his plays. [It was] kind of an almost hurry up mode.

(on the two-minute stretch being a critical time to assess a player's talent)

Well, I think you want to see how they handle it, how they can handle the offense when things are happening quicker. The good thing was there was noise there yesterday. It was a good crowd as it always is there. So, we had a chance to work the silent count all throughout the game. All three centers had to deal with that, which I thought they did a good job of handling on both sides of the ball, offensive and defensive line. I think we had one motion the whole night right in the fourth quarter on our left tackle down where we had the five-yard penalty. Other than that, I thought they did a very nice job with that. That was good work for us, for those guys' experience. No doubt that you want to see how they handle all that with the commotion in the huddle sometimes, the hurry up get on the line of scrimmage, getting the ball spotted, calling timeouts, all that kind of stuff. Matt Hasselbeck has done it forever, but since Jake Locker has been here, he has a good feel for that.

(on how strong you are leaning to have Jake Locker start on Friday)

We have not had chance to meet, we will talk about those things for next week for a lot of guys this afternoon and that is something we will decide early in the week.

(on what did you mean by saying, "Locker closed the gap")

That is not the phrase I used. That was the question asked of me. It was phrased that way. I really would not have phrased it that way. If they are competing there isn't a big gap. If I tell you someone is competing then going in they are close enough to where they are competing. If there is a position where the backup cannot beat the guy out, then there is a big gap. We feel that they are competing because they both are close enough that we can win with both of them.

(on when he wants to name a starting quarterback)

I want to name a starter as soon as possible. We are not looking at a calendar. There is a deadline where one needs to be named by, the sooner the better as we go through our process. We are not giving ourselves a deadline. I have not looked at it that way. We are moving forward like we have been.

(on whether the receiver congestion contributed to the interception)

I think that is the detail of not having in a preseason game is the small things make a difference. I think Matt (Hasselbeck) was uncertain about the distribution and how it ended up with Kendall (Wright) being a little deeper than he needed to be so it affected the throw. Does that mean the play should have happened? No, but you hope that play would not have happened but it wasn't as clean as you would like it to be. Because of that sometimes other things can happen and in this case it happened.

(on whether the Seattle game was a step back for Chris Johnson)

No, he had five carries. That is the hard part because you still want to have success if you're in one play or 50 plays. But it's hard to get excited over five carries. When the first carry is a mistake on a blitz and our guys cut him free he loses four yards on his carry, so take into effect that is counted as one of his five carries. His next carry he has a 10-yard run so you have to look at what is happening and hope that if he had played more he would have gotten better. I would think if he would play a game he would have continued to have gotten better throughout the game; just like the others guys did. When you go into a game you have a game plan. They were attacking the line of scrimmage with eight guys to make sure Chris (Johnson) didn't get going. As we got a feel for what they were doing we adjusted our calls and the running game started busting open which I assume would have happened if Chris was in there. When you saw Darius (Reynaud) take off for a 25- yard run you saw adjustments made to take advantage of what they were doing in the first quarter. You are not sure what you are going to get because we have no film so that effects the running back position as well.

(on Chris Johnson's two drops on the screen passes)

It is disappointing; guys don't do it on purpose. That is the whole point of preseason and that is the value of preseason. People say, 'preseason you only need two games,' but I think you can point out a few reason why guys needs to be catching that ball with getting hit now. In practice, you're not thinking about getting hit. It is a different mindset. Why a guy drops it? I don't know. Obviously we do the same kind of work each week and we work on catching balls and we do it over and over again. So why it happened that particular play? I don't know but hopefully we won't see it again.

(on was there enough sampling to see if Chris Johnson has made improvements in his running from last year)

No, like I said earlier we have to go by what we see in practice because we have seen more of that then game play. Hopefully this week he will get 10 carries. I don't think there is a change in style, it's more about running confident and that your comfortable in the system and the scheme and your abilities. I think the more you do that in preseason the better we will all do.

(on did Taylor Thompson learn anything about ball security)

Yes, I think he realized that they try to hold you up and try and knock it out. That is exactly what happened to him. We have been working hard and making a big deal about that in camp, they have to bring the ball back after they catch it and make sure it is secure. That is an example where he got held up. I'm not sure if he was hoping the whistle was going to get blown before he got tackled but it wasn't and they punched it out and it was a good learning experience for him and all the young guys about how they do that in this league.

(on what do you want Mike Martin to do when his helmet comes off)

I think he didn't know what to do, he kind of stopped, and the play was away from him. With the ball carrier the play is dead with the new rules, but as a player you just have to be smart. He was fine because the play was down the field so he hustled down the field. He normally hustles anyway but since the play was down the field he didn't have to get involved. I'm sure he would have gotten tackled if he was close enough to the play. You just have to use common sense to avoid getting hurt.

(on how much Darius Reynaud impressed him last night)

Well, that stuff always helps. You make two huge plays. He had some runs that were good and some other areas that he needs to clean up, as a young player learning our system, but we knew that coming in. Certain guys you watch have big-play capability. You see it during practice. When you guys all watch practice, you've probably seen him do things and go, 'whoa.' When you have that kind of speed, and you're as competitive as he is, he has a chance to make plays. So, he's definitely someone who we pretty much is what we thought. He had a chance to do that once he got out there, that is, make plays, and he did.

(on whether Pannel Egboh's play from camp translated to the game)

I'm not sure about plays yet, exactly. Again, I'll have to talk to Jerry. Nothing stood out bad, at all. I think he did what he was asked to do last night. They came out like we normally do in preseason for the most part. They were throwing quick stuff. If they were going to throw it down the field, they were going to seven-man protect. They were ready to cut-block and then get the quick throws out, which they did early. As you know in the second half, there were a lot of boots. They were leaving the pocket and an active quarterback who was able to get out of trouble. It's hard to evaluate some things, because guys are winning up front, but obviously you wouldn't see that, because the quarterbacks or the balls were getting out or the quarterback was rolling out of there.

(on Derrick Morgan's future playing time)

He's not being limited in playing time. We see him as a starter and playing a lot. It just depends which package is on the field. That's why defense is so different. If they're going out there with three wide receivers then you're going to have a different corner starting, because that's just how it is. Klug could be starting one game and the next game he's not because it's not four wide. So, he's a guy that we consider a starter. He played in a lot of situations last night. He won a couple times when I saw him. It's hard to evaluate guys on 10-15 plays, 18 plays and decide.  Nothing, that I saw, he did poorly. When I saw him, he won one-on-one at least two or three times. The ball was out, so it didn't become a big deal. One time he flushed a quarterback. So, I think he is and they're all progressing, like we hoped.

(on whether Derrick Morgan's previous knee-injury is a current issue)

No, I don't think so. I think it is just one of those things where every so often when you're doing practice every day and on the field twice a day that we rest him. No, I don't think that should factor into how he's planning on playing.

(on Kendall Wright's performance on the field)

Yeah, it's going to be the little things for him and for all of these guys. I remember my first preseason game that I played in, as I was telling the guys the other night, I thought I played a great game. I came into watch the film, and my footwork was horrible. The technique was terrible. After watching these guys, it's routes, the little things that make the difference. You guys will see two guys together and that's when you'll realize, 'oh something must be wrong.' Well, there are other times when guys aren't in the right routes or in the right spots. He had a couple of those, like all of those guys did, but you saw him get going. He had three catches, and he's a guy, again, if we had probably played him four quarters, he would have had seven or eight catches and a real good game. It was his first time out. He's been with us ten days, so I think he's on the right track.

(on whether he is impressed with the yards after Wright's catch)

Yeah, I mean, he did what we expected of him. We've been talking about him since the day we drafted him. So, we expected that of him. We know how competitive he is and how much he loves competing. I think you'll see him get better and better, as he understands the offense and how he fits. The fact that we move him around and ask him to do a lot of those things is what preseason is for. It's to get through these things, to find the best combinations, and to settle on the routes that we do run very well and combinations that we like and the ones that create the most problems for the defense. That's kind of what you're doing when you're going into these games. You're trying to find those right fits.

(on whether he is happy with the team's response to last night's officiating)

Yeah. I think no matter who's out there officiating that you can't let them affect your game. Officials, no matter who they are, and on any level, you are going to feel that they miss calls, miss things that they shouldn't, call things that they shouldn't call, or miss calls that they should've made. So, I think that's just an on-going deal in the NFL. I thought we handled it well. Hopefully, we'll always handle it like that, and we don't get caught up in what they do. If they do make a call, then we don't do more of it and try to get educated on why they called it so it doesn't happen later in the game. I think that's the approach we took, and I thought overall that it went pretty well.

(on whether he expects Ryan Durand to get out of space again in the future after his trap/block)

Sometimes, in that formation that we're in, a lot of the DB's are up close and that confuses the guys, and then they don't fit their gaps correctly. So, that was a case when he came around and the guy whom he normally has to block was already blocked, so he took himself out of the play. So, he continued up the field, in that case, at a defensive back, which I'm sure he much preferred. It was a chance at a big play right there, and that's what you have to get when you're there. I thought you saw that opening up, as we changed packages. You saw running lanes getting better and runs getting better. Yeah, they had different guys as you go through a game but also the plays we were calling helped that too.

(on Fernando Velasco's performance at center against Seattle)

I thought he did well. I thought watching him, again, I haven't talked to Bruce (Matthews) or to the coordinators or to the offensive side yet, but from what I saw watching it and during the game, I thought he was pretty solid in protection. I thought the protection was good all night. I thought we did a good job, we took one sack late in the game there, but for the most part, I don't think the quarterbacks got hit all night. We did a good job with noise and not getting beat off the ball. It's a lot harder than you think to go to a place like that as a tackle, and you're looking at the ball for the first time—some of these guys, the first time ever, or the first time in a long time and still blocking a guy over there. I thought that was very encouraging, you're playing 12 or 14 offensive linemen and they did such a good job of keeping the quarterbacks from getting hit. I thought overall they did a good job.

(on if Tommie Campbell needed to find a way to keep the ball away from Braylon Edwards)

Definitely. He knows that. That's the life—you play corner, that's the battle. You're going to have some balls that are up there, and the more opportunity that you get a chance to do that, maybe you win more of those. Again, that's something you can't experience in practice, you really can't compete to that level in practice. There he is with a chance to make a play, and instead they made a play. When you go through games, that's what makes a difference from a preseason game to a regular season game is there's a chance on a seven-point play. They made it, and we didn't. You look at the four-minute drill, you look at a missed field goal, there are opportunities to make plays and catching a pass versus dropping it. That fluke play the first play of the game, those things happen and when they go against you, there's only so many of those opportunities during the game. We didn't make enough of them yesterday.

(on if the call should have been offensive pass interference)

It's hard when you watch the tape. I wish they did call it. There was no doubt there was pushing going on. There was pushing going on once he went up for the jump ball, there was no doubt. That stuff was there, but a lot of times it's incidental, they're both doing it, and they let them play. So bottom line is get the ball out.

(on if the fluke play to open the game is one for the books)

It's one of those rare ones you don't see very often—the way it happened, the way his hand happened to be right there, the ball wanted to hit the ground, but it didn't. Just the way the whole thing happened. First play of the preseason, and we're giving up seven points. I wouldn't mind getting all of these out of the way in preseason. I'll take the losses in preseason if we cannot have them happen during the regular season.

(on how much Will Batson's missed field goal had to do with the snap)

Yeah, I talked to Alan (Lowry), just to ask his opinion on it. The snap was low, it actually was low, but the ball got placed, you have to make the kick. You can always blame it on a lot of things, but bottom line is, you have to make the kick.

(on if anyone was injured in the game)

No, very lucky. I think for the most part, guys will be sore. But no one had to leave the game because of injury. Some guys will find out today when guys actually get up and get in here. But for the most part, we got through the game in pretty good shape.

(on if he'd like to see a few more touchbacks on kickoff returns)

Yeah, we would. For preseason, I like the fact that we had to work them. Especially because they didn't return them too far, we didn't have a big play out of it. We're trying to evaluate a lot of guys, so it was nice, even though we'd rather Rob (Bironas) kick them through, definitely, and avoid the play if we can in the future, which we did such a good job of last year. It was good to see guys get to go down and cover, and make plays and make the tackle. We got an extra three plays of work there, which we didn't expect. Even on their side, I think we brought out a couple. I think quite a few came out last night. I think that was good work for us, that we did get them on the ground. So hopefully going forward, yes, we let the defense start at the 20 or inside the 20 if they decide to bring it out.

(on if he has a timetable for the return of Dave Ball, Kenny Britt and Markelle Martin)

No. That's something we'll start looking at today and tomorrow, where they're at. Obviously some of these guys aren't going to play next week. That won't change, but their activity may change as far as how much stuff they do as far as football stuff, type of work.

(on if Dave Ball will be getting back on the field)

We just got back, so I'm not sure how he did the last couple of days with doing physical activity. That's kind of where he's at with riding the bike, getting on the treadmill and seeing how he responds, if he has any dizziness or any of that stuff. He's kind of in that mode. Before he comes back, he's obviously got to get through that and see the doctor, so he's in that process right now.

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