Coach Munchak's Thursday Practice Report


(on if Jake Locker is ready to go and how he handled practice)

I think so. We'll see how he feels tomorrow. Today was a good practice with pads on, a lot of two-minute and some plays to win the game, good competition periods where he got as close to live fire as you can get I think, with the pocket closing around him, getting bumped a little bit. I thought all that was real good for him to get a feel for that. Having crowd noise out here, I think all those things are just elements of kind of getting a little feel for what it's going to be like on Sunday. I think it was good work for him. We'll just see if it bothered him in any way, but it looked pretty good.

(on Jake Locker getting knocked down by Kamerion Wimbley in practice)

We told (Kamerion) Wimbley to be smart, just to shove him once or twice and see if we can knock him to the ground unexpectedly. He got up, which was good. Like I said, he was in there. The defensive line does a great job, I think, of going around the pocket. He got bumped into there. It was good. We didn't really want that, but we got that. So I think that's good for his confidence too. That didn't really bother him at all. I thought that was good. It was good and competitive. It was live around the pocket, which is what it's going to be like on Sunday, other than they can tackle him. I thought that was good work for him to at least experience that.

(on if Jake Locker was sore after Wednesday's practice)

So far, so good. Again, I think just because he's been doing a lot of the same things for the last two or three weeks. It's not like he's been standing on the sidelines not doing anything. He has been active in football activities, so I think that's helped him. That's why we're confident that he should be able to get through this week.

(on if he's planning to dress three quarterbacks on Sunday)

Probably not. We'll think about it. We haven't decided that yet. Unless there is a reason of concern, we probably wouldn't, unless there is a spot we felt we had extra. Then we would suit Rusty (Smith) up. Rusty could play a little tight end he said, run down for kickoff. He's been volunteering for all of those things. He's a father now, so he's feeling pretty good about himself, pretty confident this week. Maybe we will use him somewhere else, but right now, we haven't decided that for sure yet.

(on if he expects that Jarius Wynn will see action this Sunday)

He'll have to be in the rotation. You suit eight defensive linemen up. (Jarius) Wynn will be suited up. It's going to be warm. Hopefully, again, we'll be able to do a little better with the time of possession, where the defense won't be out there like they have been. He'll have to help us in the game. You're hoping that he can give you that eight to 12 snaps, in that area. If you have just an average 60-play game, that's something he can come in and help us in that eight to 12 range.

(on if he expects Jake Locker to start on Sunday if he responds well from practice)

Yeah, that was our thinking all along. If things go well after today and into tomorrow, I think we feel good about giving him a chance to take it back over.

(on the decision to have Jerry Gray coach from the box)

He was up there last week. We thought we'd try it somewhere throughout the season. Last year, the first year, we really didn't want to do that because everything was so new on both sides of the ball. We feel we needed them on the sidelines. This year we talked about it in the offseason, if they had a preference of doing that. We thought somewhere during the season he'd move upstairs. Last week, we thought it was good. He liked it. I think he liked what he could see. He could make his calls quicker. I think it was good that Frank Bush, the linebackers coach, was able to talk to the linebacker, his player, (Colin) McCarthy, who was wired, so he could give him some other comments other than just the defense. I thought all of that worked well, so we'll stick with it. You can see more, you don't have to rely on other's information. You can process things quicker, and then make quicker decisions. I think he liked it, so I think we'll stay with it.

(on if he'd like to see Chris Johnson be more productive in the passing game)

He's always a weapon. That big thing is getting good at getting out of the pocket, especially on third down, so we get the ball to him. That's where he can really be a big weapon. If the quarterback gets caught up, he has somewhere to go. He's kind of like a sack beater. He has somewhere to dump the ball off. He's a weapon in any way, and this is going to be another big challenge in the running game to have him keep it going, which I think we will. I think we feel confident in what we're doing, and have been. He can be a weapon in a lot of ways. I know Jake (Locker) would hope to give him the ball a handful of times, which would help us make plays.

(on if Chris Johnson has made as many plays on third-down, check-off situations as he would have liked)

I don't think we've made enough plays. I think that's something we have to try to take advantage. Unfortunately, a lot of times, he can't get out because they're bringing linebackers, and he's been forced to block. It's not always under his control. The more we can do that, when we've done that in the past, it's helped us. You realize he is a weapon. Some games it's there, some games it's not. If Jake (Locker) is playing, then you also have a guy that can extend the play with his legs. He brings another weapon to that also.

(on what he's seen from Akeem Ayers as a pass rusher the last couple of weeks)

I think he will. I think last week they didn't have a whole lot of nickel reps because of the lead. There wasn't a lot of third down for them throwing the ball. I felt that way since last year. That was a big part of when we drafted Zach Brown, not only to start as a Will, but to play nickel linebacker so Akeem (Ayers) could be part of that rotation. I do think he'll continue to get better. You probably will see him rotating in there more on third down and two-minute, that kind of stuff, when we are pass rushing because I think he can make plays for us.

(on if he's seeing improvements in certain areas on defense)

I know they do. I know it's hard. I think the biggest problem has been the time of possession. I think the fact that the offense hasn't stayed on the field for a lot of reasons, if it's turnovers one game, or whatever it may be like last week. You can't be last in that category. That not only hurts the offense, it hurts the defense in a big way. It means that somewhere in that game, usually if you look at most of our games, even the games we lost, Houston, the Patriots, it was all late third quarter, fourth quarter when points got piled up on us. I think it's just that. I think we're doing a lot of things better. There are things that are going well inside of the games. Overall, we have to get off the field, and we have to stay on the field on the other side. I think that will help with a huge part of what the defense is doing. They've been out there way too much, some of their own fault and some of the offense's fault. If we could just fix that category as a team, I think we're going to win a lot more football games.

(on why Karl Klug's snaps are limited this season)

I think when you're a rookie, sometimes you sneak up on some people. They're not expecting you to have some quick moves, and people study it now. He's getting as many reps as he did last year, there are a lot of things. We're in games where we're not getting the opportunities to pass rush like we were last year because of the score. Just like with the running game, like we talked about earlier, unfortunately, there are a lot of factors that go against things not happening. Like the run, not having opportunities, well we didn't run the ball very well. Now we're fifth best in run-per-carry. That's come a long way. I think that's the same thing. If we can get in games like last week, if we could have gotten after (Jay) Cutler. Believe me, if that was a close game, we would have had six or seven sacks probably, had a chance at it. When you fall behind like we did, all those chances that other teams get we didn't get in that game. That's kind of what's been happening I think for the defensive side of the ball quite often, that offenses have been able to dictate to our defense because of the scoreboard. A guy like Karl (Klug) gets caught up in that because he's not on the field as much because that package isn't in there because teams are running on us a lot more because they don't have to pass and they're trying to kill clock. The mentality changes a lot. His opportunities have been less and less than they were last year. I don't think it's a reflection on him, as much as the situations we've been in this year.

(on if Karl Klug has to make any improvements in his game)

No, I think he's still good. He will, he has. He works hard, he's a great kid. I think it's a combination of that more. I think it's more than just not having, like last week, he played eight snaps or 10 snaps. You're not going to do a whole lot in there. I think he had three pass rushes the whole game. That's hard. Other games there are the same kind of numbers because, again, the scoreboard has been taking us out of situations, where unlike when we're in those games and we're throwing the ball 55 times, the other side gets the chance to rush the passer pretty much. This is a lot different than last year. We've had too many games that have been lopsided on the scoreboard at times, where different phases of the game can't really show what they can do.

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