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Coach Munchak's Thursday Practice Report




(on if he's glad to see the regular officials back in the fold)

Yeah, because it will be the last time I'll be asked the question. I'm happy that the questions won't be asked any longer, and now it'll be, 'What do you think of them being back?' I think it's good to have everything in order and have everyone back at their jobs. This way we can just go play football.

(on if the struggles the replacement officials had should remind everyone how difficult their job is)

I think at this point, you just want to look for positives in it. The fact that you had guys that came in and do the best they could do under the circumstances. That's what it was. Now we have guys coming back that haven't had the opportunity to call a game in quite some time, so they're going to have to deal with that, and so are we going forward. Again, it's nice to have all that behind us, move forward and just worry about the game on Sunday.

(on when the honeymoon period will end with the regular officials)

I don't think that there is one. I think it is, 'You know what? We're playing a game on Sunday.' We need to do our job, they need to do theirs. Hopefully theirs won't affect ours.

(on if the replacement officials let calls go that regular officials wouldn't)

I don't think they let things go, I just think they couldn't see as much. It's no different than when the officials we have, the regular officials are back. Certain calls they didn't make for a while either because they didn't see them. I think it's just a matter of the more you do something, the better your vision gets. When you play football and you're a quarterback, you're a defensive back, you're a tight end, you see more. The more you play, the game slows down. I think it's the same for an official. The guys that are coming back obviously have done this many times before. They see the game at a different pace, and they know kind of what they're looking for. I think that was a disadvantage for the other guys. I'm sure the more they did it, the better they'd get. I think the guys that we had week to week were getting better at what they were trying to see and not see. They obviously weren't seeing it all when it first started. From preseason even to the third game, I thought some of the guys we had were seeing more and more maybe that they were missing early. That will be the hard part for the guys coming back. It's just no different when we start playing football games in preseason. If I'm the line coach or the head coach, the game is so fast, you forget what you're watching. You have to get used to watching the game again. That's what they're going to have to do. They're going to have to transition back into that. That's no excuse for making mistakes, obviously, but you know, there's going to be a transition period, I'm sure. We can't worry about all of that, like I didn't worry about the replacement officials. We just have to play. We have to worry about blocking guys and getting a pass rush and running the football. We've got enough problems to worry about rather than worrying about who is officiating the game.

(on if he thinks the number of challenges and reviews will decrease)

I hope so. I don't know. I didn't notice it being a huge problem in our game more or less. To me, I just want to get it right in a game. If it takes some time to get a call right rather than saying, 'Man, they were hurrying, so they missed this and missed that.' I'd rather have the game be 10 minutes longer and get it right than I would the alternative.

(on whether the entire secondary will have the chance to stop Andre Johnson on Sunday)

They know that teams are focusing on him, so they move him around. Just like last week, they moved around their receiver in the second half to try to get him more open and get him in different situations. That's what you have to do. There will be a lot of guys responsible for him and their other receivers. That's going to be the challenge. They've got good football players and you can't get locked into one. We found that out last year. The running back had as many yards receiving as their receiver did I think last year in the game here. They're all capable of making plays, making big plays. They beat us on two big plays last year here which kind of blew the game open last year late in the second quarter. We know what kind of weapons they have, and as far as they are concerned, (Gary) Kubiak will hand it off if you let him every snap if they're running the ball as well as they do in certain games. We have a lot to contain and worry about, so it's just a matter of just doing your job with the play called.

(on what he saw out of Texans rookie linebacker Whitney Mercilus during the draft process)

Well I think he's just one of those guys that's just athletic and can do a lot of things, fits into when you have that type that's kind of like a 3-4, 4-3, that you're asking guys that would be linebackers and defensive ends. He fits different spots for them in that kind of defense. Just another weapon that they have. They've done a good job drafting the last few years with getting good athletes and guys that work hard. They're drafting the same type of guy. When you have success is when you know what to do, and you know what kind of guy to go find to fit your system. He's a guy that should fit their system pretty well.

(on if it's impressive that the Texans still have one of the best defenses in the league despite the departure of Mario Williams)

I think people forget Mario (Williams) got hurt early in the season last year, and they posted one of the best defenses. Mario was hurt in the first couple of games or so. They moved on, from that point on, that just shows you the stockpiling they've been doing over the years. They've had high draft picks, they've taken good picks. They've been waiting their time to play. They've been waiting for a system to make sense for the guys they've been drafting and they have that now.  They have a very good defensive coordinator that knows how to use what he has. You're seeing the result of that. It's like Pittsburgh, teams like that. You lose guys, and if you have a good system, good players, you fit another one in and you move forward. They wouldn't let those guys go if they didn't feel they had guys to back them up. That makes it a lot easier to let guys leave when you know you have guys that can back up and play well.

(on what makes J.J. Watt so effective)

He stays at the same spot. He plays defensive end on the strong side, so he'll flip flop and play both sides. So he's doing one thing over and over again. I think that makes it easier when you're doing the same thing. You get used to seeing blocking schemes, protection schemes when you're seeing it from the vantage point every snap. Work ethic—that's what stands out about him. When I watched him coming out and we interviewed him, I'm like, 'This guy is special. He loves football and he loves what he does.' It shows in how he plays. He doesn't know how to go half speed or take a play off, relentless, athletic. He's all the things you want. Like we said, we knew when he got picked, we were just hoping if we didn't get him, he wasn't in our division. Unfortunately, he is. He's been doing very well. He's making plays, he's batting balls down, he's sacking the quarterback. He's doing everything I thought he would.

(on the toughness of Matt Schaub after taking the hit that cut his ear)

Luckily nobody was hurt, either one of those guys. He knows what he missed out on last year. He doesn't want to miss out this year. He got hurt last year, and maybe that's a difference. Who knows if they could have gone further if he was healthy? You have small windows in your career, and I know he's thinking this is his window to do some special things with the offense they have and the defense. When you match up at the same time, it's hard to do that. They're doing it right now it appears. He's going to do everything he can to be part of it. He's proven now how he can handle the hit, take it. He came back in the game and threw some good balls and made a huge play on third-and-four, which if they don't make, they may lose that football game. They could have easily have lost that game last week as easily as they won it. They had a big lead, they blew it. They made a huge play on third-and-four to keep the ball or they may lose that thing. He made a great throw. He's special, he fits their system well. He was exactly what (Gary) Kubiak was looking for, a guy that runs their offense so well.

(on if this is the most diverse offense they've faced so far)

They have all the weapons. They have it all going on with the play action, the run game. Other teams take the run if you give it to them. These guys go try to get the run off of you, then they don't have to wait to see if you're giving it to them. They go and try to just get it. Their plays all look the same. They get in a lot of the same formations. All of a sudden it's a run, now it's a shot down the field. Sunday they scored on two huge plays because of the run game and the play-action game. They can max up protect and guys are biting on the run fakes and get beat down the middle on two big plays in the second quarter which kind of blew it open there for a while. We've known that for a while, they've been this way. It's (Gary) Kubiak's offense, he's been running it since he's been at Denver. It's something that he's very familiar with, and he's very good at calling a very good football game. With him there and (Rick) Dennison there, they're doing exactly like they've done it for 20 years between coaching and playing. It's something that they've worked out all the kinks, and it's been very successful.

(on if he's pleased with the pass rush pressure Derrick Morgan is getting)

They all want more. Last week the only sack was Akeem (Ayers). Yeah, any D line…I'm sure Detroit wanted more sacks than they got. That's just part of being on the D line, you're never happy until you get there. We're three games in, and I think we're happy with a lot of the things he's doing, the way he's playing, the D line in general is. This will be evaluated when it's all said and done, but we need those guys to play well obviously this weekend. We have to go control the line. The front seven have to do a great job up front so we can stop their run game.

(on the status of Colin McCarthy)

Still sore, so again, we'll have to see where he is tomorrow. But obviously, it's getting harder to have him available if he can't get out here.

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