Coach Munchak's Thursday Practice Report

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HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK 

(on a little 'chippiness' at practice )

I know it's good, I think we need as much of that as we can get. I think they were competing and that's what you want. We had pads on like we do every Thursday so we have had a little bit of that every Thursday so I think the guys are anxious, obviously, to play again and play better.

(on if anyone 'crossed the line' in practice today)

No, I think it's just competing, I think guys were just irritating each other. The defense was giving a good look, the offense was giving a good look and there are just frustrations at times when the other guy was making a play. Just competing, no big deal.

(on how this team is at handling criticism)

I think they have handled it well. I think the coaches have done a good job of holding guys accountable,  more so than I have seen and not just because we have lost two games. Guys were being held accountable when we won games also, when we won our three games in a row. Nothing changed, but when you lose there are more plays to point out so I think that's the hard thing to take versus when you win. I think the players are used to it, I think if you are consistent as coaches and the players see that then that is good teaching and that's good learning and that's how it should be.

(on the frustration level of seeing the same mistakes being made according to Matt Hasselbeck)

I think it's guys taking turns making mistakes, I don't know if it's the same guys making the same mistakes every week. I don't know that that's necessarily the problem. It's more or less that we are making mistakes that we shouldn't be making. Any mistake is obviously one that is not acceptable, and obviously one that is over and over is a problem and if it is then the guy shouldn't be playing. I don't know that that's necessarily the problem, the problem is that we are just making mistakes at the wrong time and they turn into big plays on defense, or the lack of a big play on offense. I don't know if you call a drop a mistake, or running the wrong route, but we have some of that going on and that contributes to why teams lose in this league or in any league, college, high school, it doesn't matter what level you are at, it just gets magnified more at this level.

(on if he thinks the passing game may get going more against the Colts)

I think we have to do both. We played them at the end of last year and Kerry (Collins) had a 300-yard game against them in a game that they needed to win the division for sure last year. We know we can make plays in both sides, we just have to play a complete game on offense, which we haven't done in a while. Maybe the Cleveland game because we ran the ball better that day but the running game has to catch up tothe pass game. My concern was that we were leaning on the pass game so much when we were winning and that catches up with you and I think it did a little bit the last couple weeks. You can't count on one phase to carry you through the season and that's why you have to get a little more balanced in what we do and that will be our goal in this game. Once you do get balanced, then you go one way or the other if one is working better than the other and stay in the game so you can come back to the run later. You can't be in a panic and go out there and say we are going to run the ball in the first quarter and a half just to find out if we can run it or not, we want to win the game first. We have to find what the best way to do that and the other things will happen. The carries will come, the passes will come depending on what is happening.

(on how critical offensive balance is to slowing down the Colts defensive ends)

Well it's been huge and when teams beat Indianapolis it's because you can do that. When they were winning the division the past so many years, it's because they got way ahead and their defense can do what they are built to do. They struggle more when you put them in a dog fight and you run the ball and have success running it. Going against this defense you are still only going to get three and four-yard runs quite a bit, then it will start breaking for you if you get enough opportunities. You definitely want to get in a situation especially for your offensive line against this team where you have a lot of third-and-ones otherwise you are going to be in for a long day.

(on if Matt Hasselbeck's experience makes him comfortable giving him the time off yesterday for his thumb)

Well that and sometimes players need someone to tell them they can't do it, so I think we did the right thing by telling him he couldn't do it even though he is a guy that is never going to come over to you and say, 'hey, can I rest my thumb for a day?' I wouldn't expect him ever to do that even if it's hanging off of his hand, I know he would want to practice and it was up to us to do that. He is better today, he threw well today and I'm sure the next couple of days will be good so he is in great shape. You hate to be the opposite and say, 'man we shouldn't have thrown him because now he is real sore today,' because then we would be going, 'well why didn't you give him a day off.' I think it worked out the right way.

(on if the rivalry with the Colts has changed this week because of the Colts record)

I think it's kind of changed a little bit for both of us. A division game is huge, but with the situations we are both in coming off of bad losses and not playing well, I think we are concentrating probably more on ourselves. I'm sure they are more concerned about them, we are more concerned about us. I think obviously it will be a big rivalry because we know each other so well. We know them, we know the personnel, these guys know each other. Their defense isn't going to do a whole lot different than what we have seen, just like last week was. When you come in after losing a game last week you wish you could say that they did all of these things we didn't expect, but they did exactly what we expected but they just executed better than we did. When the game starts it will be the normal rivalry, but I think this week is more about each team getting ready to play.

(on the message to keep from getting off to another slow start)

To me the defense has started off well in most games. Last week, they started off well the first two or three series. Offensively, I think that's more true that we have not started off well enough most of the season to where we put pressure early on the other team in the first quarter. We got a little bit of it in the Browns game, but even that wasn't real early in the game. There is no doubt that would be a nice change of pace for us on the offensive side of the ball. It would help the defense quite a bit I think if we could get off and play better early in that game.

(on why Jason McCourty has so many tackles)

Will he has been tackling well but he has had too many opportunities. A lot of teams, that's their philosophy of let the corner make the tackle. They are going to have the receiver come off and block the safety and let the corner free. Most corners don't tackle very well and we are lucky to have two corners that I think tackle pretty well. That's usually most teams philosophy that the guy they are going to let go is the corner to make tackles and he has done a nice job doing that.

(on if teams are throwing to his side to avoid Cortland Finnegan)

I think you see some of that but I don't know that there is any of that going on as far as going away from one guy or the other guy. I think a lot of it is in the run game really. I think that when they run to his side he has done a good job of fitting to where he is supposed to fit and making the tackles. I don't know that anyone is necessarily targeting one side or the other in the pass game.

(on if he adds new wrinkles to the defense because Curtis Painter is an inexperienced quarterback)

I think they are not doing anything differently, they just have different guys running the show. I think he is a very smart quarterback and he knows exactly what to do usually put the ball to the right person. It's just a matter is he as accurate as (Peyton) Manning is and making the big plays and just like any quarterback the first time out it's going to take a little more. These guys have been in five of their games going into the fourth quarter where they were three-point games one way or the other and they lost all five. They put themselves in position to win football games, they just haven't finished them off.

(on what Michael Roos does well against Dwight Freeney)

He knows that he is probably the best player he will ever play against or ever has and he prepares for it and he is smart. Offensively we have done a decent job over the years of formations correctly where you are not…especially up there where both he and (Robert) Mathis are more of a problem. They can get off the ball and they can beat you off the ball because of crowd noise, so you have to have someone hit or chip in or get in the way of these guys to take away that advantage. He rises to the occasion and I think that's what you need. (David) Stewart has done the same thing with Mathis and over the years those guys have battled hard and there is familiarity and they know each other pretty well. Believe me, I'm sure David (Stewart) and (Michael Roos) will be very happy if we can run the ball 40 times and pass 15 or 20. I'm sure they are shooting for that type of football game because you don't want to get into one lately where you have 40 or 50 passes because that is going to be a tough day for our two tackles against those two guys.

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