HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK**
(on the addition of Mitch Petrus)
I'm excited about seeing how quickly he can kind of catch up to what we're doing. Obviously, he was part of the Giants last year, part of a Super Bowl team. He's going to get caught up on the offense and be available in case something else happens on the offensive line. It's good to have a guy that has experience.
(on getting Chris Johnson more involved this Sunday)
I think you always want those guys involved. There's no doubt you want Chris (Johnson) to get more carries than he did in the game. Again, like we said, unfortunately when we got behind, and not having as many possessions as we knew we wouldn't have, we tried to stay within the offense for as long as we could, probably until late in the third quarter. Then we pretty much had no options other than to throw it more and try to find a way to get back in. You don't want to get behind like that. I think we have a much better chance of winning this week if we can pretty much do what we did last time. He had about 100 yards last time when we played them. I think we have to have a balanced attack. We're playing at their place. It'll be noisy, I assume. Again, I think it's something that we have to be as balanced as we can. If he has a big day, I think that would lend a big chance to us winning.
(on changing up the practice schedule)
We just changed today, kind of the same thing we did the last quarter of the year last year. Looking at what's best for the team as far as where you're at after playing 12 games plus preseason. It's a long year. I think in the weight room with the strength, we changed the schedule in the morning where we didn't have to have lifting every day or some of the things we did conditioning-wise we thought we could adjust the last quarter of the season. When we did that, it allowed us to start meetings and practice earlier because we have our lifting in the morning. That way, we moved it up. When you move it up, it gave the option. The biggest thing with schedules all the time is when you have lunch. Do you have lunch before practice or after practice? When you move it up like we did, it allowed us to have lunch now. The guys are having lunch now then meeting, rather than having lunch before practice. We've flipped it that way because we adjusted a few schedule things. It changes it up, so a Thursday is a little different. Wednesday was exactly the same as it always is, tomorrow will be exactly the same as it has always been. By tweaking the schedule, it allowed us to kind of adjust Thursdays.
(on where he thinks the team is physically right now)
I think physically, again, that's why you adjust things. I think they're good. I think they're about as good as they're going to be. I don't think there's much more we can do to get them ready to play on Sunday. We're into the 13th week; we've obviously had our share of injuries, so you have a lot of young guys, new guys I should say, out there. I think we're rallying that way and tomorrow we'll have a good workout. Today, like I said, we're off the field earlier, but we're still in the building with film watching and things like that the rest of the afternoon. So, I think we're ready to go. It's a division game, it's a team we felt we had a good chance to beat last time, so yeah, I think we'll be excited. We should be, I mean there's no reason not to be and no reason not to think we can't play well and win this football game, and that's how we're approaching it. I think the attitude has been good and we'll have to see how we do on Sunday.
(on if the number of guys on injured reserve feels unusually large)
Yeah, it is large. I think when you lose four out of five linemen to injured reserve, that's never happened since I've been here. When it's one position, it makes it harder than normal, but yeah, we've lost quite a few guys, which is rare. I can't remember the last time it's happened. I'm sure it happened before here but not in a while, and it just makes things a little more difficult, and we lost some guys in some key spots that made it difficult, but I think we're in good shape going forward and it gives the younger guys a chance to step up and see what they can do, and it's forced us to change the roster a little bit, so we'll see how it goes on Sunday.
(on if he's worried about everyone on the offensive line getting on the same page)
You have to be smart how we handle the game. Even the last game, the last time we played Indianapolis, we had two linemen out that day. (Michael) Roos didn't play; (Mike) Otto started, Kevin Matthews came in early in the first quarter, Leroy (Harris) got hurt in the first series last time, and both those guys played pretty well against Indianapolis, and now they're both back in there. So, you have to be smart. Roos is not practicing all week, he's kind of hobbled, so it's not like he's healthy either but he'll play. You're playing in their building, with noise, against a team that usually does well pass rushing with (Robert) Mathis and (Dwight) Freeney, especially when they get a jump on you off the ball. So yeah, you have to do formation things smart, do things the right way. Hopefully, again, the first question you guys talked about was the run game, and that needs to be a big part of this so you're not dropping back and throwing the football 40 times. We're not going to win the football game if we have to do that.
(on how much rests on Jake Locker to know his protections)
I think he just has to settle for completions, not get bored, throw the things that are there, throw the two-yard pass and let the receiver go make the five, six, seven, eight-yard gain, things like that in a game like this. Not holding it to make something happen bigger down the field, I think you have to be smart with that. It's a team-protection thing. When you play a team, again if noise becomes an issue, that's where they have made their living over the years, the two guys I talked about (Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney), as far as getting a jump on the tackles. You have to be smart with formation things, where there is someone in their way, there's a tight end in their way, the running back, to kind of let the tackle catch up. It's a team effort with that, the quarterback, obviously, a big part of that, the receivers, the way Dowell (Loggains) calls the game. Again, but if we manage first and second down with running the ball well and doing some things underneath, then the game is totally different, and that's what we have to do. We can't get into a game where we feel we have to throw as much as we did last week.
(on if run blocking or pass blocking is going to be more difficult for a new offensive line)
Pass blocking generally is going to be, especially if a team gives you a lot to think about because it's crowd noise, it's silent count, It's those things. Usually, on run downs, you can hear. Again, to what level is it going to be that loud there? Who knows, but when you're in a dome, it doesn't take that much to get that going. Probably for an offensive line, it's not only that, you're on the road. We have a new center playing, there are a lot of things going on here that I think we'll handle well. There are some challenges ahead because of those things that come up when you're on the road.
(on the success of the Colts)
The best thing happened to them, they went from having a record of one win or two wins last year. It worked out probably as good as it could have for them to be in a position to get a quarterback that everyone knew had an opportunity to be a franchise quarterback. It worked out really well for them. It doesn't happen too often that it would work that way, but it did. They're going to take full advantage of it, and they have been this year. A quarterback like that doesn't come in, you saw what happened last year when they couldn't settle the quarterback spot, how much they struggled. We knew they still were a good football team last year and could have won a lot more games than they did last year. They have been very lucky.
(on the idea that losing out would give the Titans a higher draft pick)
No, it doesn't mean much to anybody. There's no way around it. Every team plays to win every Sunday. Maybe at the end of the year when you're playing other players possibly when you're out of it, to see the younger players, there may be more mistakes that way. Ultimately, when you play on a Sunday and you prepare during the week, there's only one goal in mind, and that's winning for everybody. I know that the talk starts this time of year when you start positioning yourself because if you don't make the playoffs, April 20th is more important to be picking in the top five or the top 10. But this time of year, that's something that obviously you don't want your name associated with. Does it affect how we play? No, we're going to play to win. Our goal is to be 8-8. Obviously, that means that our pick won't be what it would be, but we need to get to 8-8 because that's what we're working for.
(on what he wants to see out of Kenny Britt the next four weeks)
I thought last week he ran about as well as he has in a game overall, for playing as much as he did in that game. He had the one nice big pass. I thought there were a couple other catches he could have had if he was a little sharper with his route running. He needed to see too that he could make some plays. Last time we played these guys, he got called for pushing off, he had a couple big plays. He has to be smart with how he handles that contact part with the DB so he can avoid those calls. We'd love to see him continue, and have the opportunity for him and Jake (Locker) to get something going there and make some big plays. You saw a couple things last week, and we just need more of that this week.