Coach Munchak's Thursday Practice Report

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HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on if the team is getting healthier)

A little bit, Dave Ball didn't practice. (Gerald) McRath practiced and (Colin) McCarthy was a little more limited, his knee is a little sore.

(on if Colin McCarthy is likely to practice tomorrow)

He should be, yesterday he was a little sore but not having pads on it's a little easier to get through it all. I think today since we were in pads we limited him down to kind of rest him so he wouldn't have too much contact on the knee.

(on if Barrett Ruud's biggest advantage over Colin McCarthy is experience)

Oh definitely, I think he recognizes things well. He has seen so much more and played so much more so he is very comfortable out there with everything he is seeing. That's a plus that any veteran is going to have. Barrett (Ruud) looked pretty good today and it looks like he is back to his normal routine as far as practicing. Experience is definitely huge, the way he watched film, confidence is always going to be there more with the veteran guy than the young guy.

(on if Dave Ball is cleared for contact)

Not yet, I think we wanted to have him come out here to practice and he pretty much just went through individual periods and things like that, non-contact stuff just to get a feel for having a helmet on again and pads on again. He stayed out of the team stuff.

(on if the strong safety situation will be the same as last week)

Yeah, we will continue that probably like we did last week with (Jordan) Babineaux out there with the first group and then just roll in Chris (Hope). Chris was in two or three different packages on the nickel defenses and like I said last week, he played quite a bit. He played about 35 plays last week, so we will just keep rotating them in those ways.

(on if he is surprised that Donnie Avery has not been an impact player yet)

Not really, you bring a guy in as late as we did because of injuries and we knew that we were going to get the young guys reps with Damian (Williams) stepping up to start and (Lavelle) Hawkins doing well and trying to get him time. A lot of times we are only in two-receiver and one-receiver formations so that is going to limit a lot of opportunity there. The young guys have to play if we are going to get better. We want them on the field because they are starting to get better and I think that's helping them. Hawkins has been the guy that has been rolling in for the first two guys mainly so those three have been getting the majority of the reps and that's what we need to do to get these guys better during the season. I think (Donnie) Avery got about 10 snaps last week. It's tough on him but we are just rotating the best way to win football games.

(on if Donnie Avery could be inactive if there were health issues at other positions)

Well we did that earlier this season some, so the possibility is always there with that position, the running back position, the usual suspect spots. The linebacker spot because of injury we have had a guy down there, the DB spot, then you are going to look at the running back and the receiver every week because they are the only spots they can take a position from. Offensive line you do the bare minimum and you do the same with the D-line, quarterback, you are already limited in those spots so those are the areas that you are looking to every week if there are no injuries.

(on if there is any reason to think that Donnie Avery will be inactive in the future)

Not really, not any more than any other week. Like I said, we will see on special teams also and who can help us there and who is the best fit. Usually that last spot, and the good thing is that we are getting healthy, so there are some decisions to make the last few weeks that we have had to make on game day as far as who we want up.

(on what the mindset needs to be to play against the Falcons)

I think just that we control the ball early and try to do something in the first quarter or the first half of that game where we don't let them get into that type of game because when they do they are hard to stop. They have lost two games this year at home which is very rare for them. That's why it's so important on the offensive side of the ball like we have been talking the last few weeks and be productive early. We can't blow opportunities, we can't blow good field position. We have to do something with it because when you are playing good football teams like this weekend, all of the sudden you get in a hole, so we have to be very aware of that.

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