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Coach Munchak's Thursday Practice Report



(on if Jake Locker is frustrated)

I think he was frustrated at the time when things happen, like we all are. I think he gathers himself really well during the game, going back to when he first got here, preseason, the Tampa game when he had a bad throw. He gathers himself quickly and moves forward. Like I said, I watched tape with him the next day after the Indy game. Same thing, you're watching plays where the best decision wasn't made. His first thing is, 'What could I have done differently? How could I avoid something from happening again?' That type of thing. That's what you have to have in this league and not dwell on it and let it take him down for this week. He still has three great opportunities coming. This is a big one on a big stage on Monday, and I think he wants to come out and play his best, and I think he will.

(on playing the role of spoiler)

That's just one of the consequences of the game if we happen to win, that we put them in a tough situation. Obviously, we're playing for our own reasons and for what we need to do as a team. We want to represent Nashville, we want to make people proud that, you know what, we have a pretty darn good football team here. Yeah, this year is not where we all hoped it would be. Since the Titans have been here, they've been pretty darn good. We're going to show people, that's our goal, really what we're all about here. All we can do is win this one and go from there and build off that for next year.

(on Muhammad Wilkerson's play)

He's a good football player. We had him in here during our first draft. Just a good-looking, big guy, moves well for a guy his size. He's doing a nice job with them, he can win the one-on-one over the guards, which he has. We didn't get to see him last year because we didn't play them. From his tape this year, he's definitely becoming the player we thought he'd be.

(on if Muhammad Wilkerson is one of the most underrated defensive ends in the NFL)

I think him being so young, he's in a great market, so when he does start posting numbers…Unfortunately, people stare at the sack numbers and things like that, I think he only has maybe three. That's a number that's going to grow. Obviously, we're concerned for him on Monday and he's a guy that can obviously give Jake (Locker) a tough time if we don't keep him away from him. He's a big guy that can bat balls and things like that. He's definitely a concern of ours, even though he's not necessarily getting the recognition right now.

(on if the Jets blitz as much as any team they've faced)

Base downs, it's no different. It's real similar to when we played them, the Ravens' system and the Jets when we played them a couple years back up there. They're aggressive on third down. If you get behind, then you're in trouble with a team like this that will start digging deep into the blitz playbook and come after you maybe a lot more than other teams would on third down or passing downs. If you get into a situation where you have to get into a two-minute-type offense, they're going to do some unconventional things and take some chances to maybe hit your quarterback. We understand that. We have a young quarterback and most teams have to decide, 'Do we want to try to confuse him and go after him, or make him read coverage?' I'm sure they'll do a little bit of both. It will be a challenge up front, as it always is with the backs and with us to do a good job there. We're usually pretty good at that. It'll be a challenge, but it'll be a fun challenge.

(on if he thinks there is a difference playing quarterback in New York City with relentless media versus Nashville)

That part adds to it, no doubt. There is probably three times the group that is standing here right now talking to the quarterback, so you have a lot more different opinions and a lot more different angles on stories. You still have to play, and you get more attention good and bad. That goes with the bigger market teams. Ultimately, it's how you play on the field. If you're playing well or playing poor, everyone will know about it. When we do things well here, it becomes a story. When you're 4-9, it's not going to be as much of a story. In New York, if you're struggling, it's going to be such a beat down that everyone listens to it, even though you're not a Jets fan. There is definitely a little more pressure there off the field than there is in some markets.

(on if it surprises him sometimes how brutal the headlines can be in New York City)

I really don't pay attention to it. As a player, I saw it. I'm from the East Coast, so I've seen it all the time in all sports, not just football, that they go after you pretty good. Once I started coaching, I really don't read it all or pay attention to it. I'm more concerned about what kind of attention we're getting and what our problems are here internally. You just know it goes on and it's part of the deal, it's part of the sports world. I think the players understand that.

(on if these last three games will be a good opportunity for Taylor Thompson to show more in the passing game)

Hopefully so, you have to find some positives in a huge negative that is, with Jared (Cook) getting hurt like that. I think him and (Craig) Stevens will get a chance to do a little bit more in a three-wide receiver package. Brandon (Barden) will get a chance to suit up and see where he's at. We were excited about where he was before he hurt his hamstring in training camp. We still feel we're lucky to have a guy that can fit right in and help with the rotation. It would be nice to see Taylor (Thompson) get a chance to get some receptions, take advantage of his size, and really see where he's at in that phase of the game.

(on how Taylor Thompson has done in the passing game)

He's done well, just like you said. There just hasn't been a lot of opportunity. He hasn't been put in situations where he can show us what he can do catching it because you have a guy like (Jared) Cook, you have a guy like (Craig) Stevens that have been there, done that, and you're trying to use your best weapons. He just hasn't had an opportunity. Hopefully, like you mentioned, the next three weeks he will get more shots to see what he can do with it and see what he can do when he catches it, and see how he does under pressure.

(on preparing for the Jets' run game and their addition of WR Braylon Edwards)

You prepare for both. There's no doubt their success has been coming by (running the football).
They've turned the ball over a lot this year. They're a team similar to what we are: they thought they'd be a lot better than they are now, as far as record-wise. They've had injuries, which has added to that also. They've done a good job winning the last two and they've done that by going back to the run game, which has allowed them to cut down on turnovers and stay on the field, and I think they're going back to the old fashioned, great defense and run the football and don't turn it over and make the other team make the mistakes. They beat Jacksonville last week kind of in that vein, and obviously I couldn't imagine that you'd think it would be any different for us when they come in here. Yeah, they still spread it out, they're still going to take their shots. You have to prepare for all that, but I would think when the smoke clears, they'd love to run it 40-something times and control the ball and win it 7-6.

(on how much he respects Jets coach Rex Ryan for his complex defense)

I've always thought he does a great job. I mean, as a line coach, that's a chess match of protection. He did a good job, I thought, when he was a coordinator. I know he's helping—that's still his defense of when he was at Baltimore of attacking what you do well and trying to take it away and then adjusting during the game. You hear about the game within the game. I always thought he did one of the best jobs of adjusting if he was doing something and we were blocking it, the next couple of times he was going to come back with something that was going to beat what we were doing and make us see if we were going to make an adjustment. So he was one of the guys that really makes some good game-time adjustments of how to attack what you're doing on offense and shut it down and take away what you do well, and if he finds it, probably similar to the way his dad was, if he finds an answer to that, he's going to keep hammering you until you prove you can stop it. I think that's why he's been so successful and that's why the defenses wherever he's been have played well.

(on if he senses a certain amount of energy or excitement from players by playing on Monday night)

Definitely. We're going to be, like I said, we played very inspired last week. I thought we went into Indianapolis with a lot of energy and came out of the locker room ready to play. I thought you saw that in how we played, so that's not the problem. And I think you amp it up when you say you're going to play on Monday Night Football, at home, with a sell-out crowd. I know we're going to have the support. If we play well, I know that place is going to be rocking because that's what it's like here. LP (Field) is a great home-field advantage, and it could be for us, especially if we get a lead and make them have to throw the football, that noise could be huge for us, and I think we all want it to come across that this is a great football city that's behind their team. We need to play better, but this is a game where we're going to play our best of the year, and there's no doubt they're going to be fired up, hopefully similar to how they came out in the Pittsburgh game. You can't guarantee that. You have to work hard this week to get to Monday night, but I think it's something that, you know what, every Sunday, in this case Monday, the records don't matter when the game starts. I mean, no one is worrying about 'What does this game mean?' It means that we have a team that's going to come in here and try to beat us up and walk away with a win and we're going to prevent that from happening.

(on signing Suaesi Tuimaunei and how to pronounce his name)

I'll let you know when I learn all that. We haven't even talked yet. I didn't think he was going to get in. (He's) from Oregon State, a defensive back. After that, I'll get a chance to meet him when I go inside. That's how the year's been going, with replacing guys, and scouring who's out there with the injuries, but he'll help us on the scout team with the defensive backs and he was running some receiver routes today, so he's a guy that we'll count on on both ends that way.

(on if TE Brandon Barden will be active for Monday's game)

Yeah, he'll definitely dress. I mean, no doubt, we're a tight end offense. We definitely think he can help us. He can play the fullback position, move, he's been doing all that stuff. He's been doing a lot of the same stuff for all season. He knows what we're doing. He's a smart kid, a local kid, so I think it's exciting for him to get a chance to suit up. It shows, guys like him, guys like (Michael) Preston, guys like Fernando (Velasco), watching these guys over the years work hard. These guys are young. Brandon's young, but he's getting an opportunity to find out where he's at. Preston, the reps he got, he was 100 miles an hour last week, excited, had a nice catch and looking forward to the opportunity (to do more). So, it's good to see those kinds of things, even though 4-9 is not what you want, at least you get some good stories within the big story that are fun to watch.

(on what he's seen out of Brandon Barden on the practice field)

He looks good, he's a big kid, strong, moves well. I mean, until he gets out there and we see him in the real deal, like preseason, he was very limited so we didn't get a chance to see him compete. He's going to be in the rotation. How many reps he gets, we'll have to wait and see, depending on the personnel packages we stay in throughout the game. All he cares about is he's on the active roster and he's dressing, and I think he'll take that and see what happens.

(on if it is difficult to prepare for how Braylon Edwards will fit in the system since he just re-joined the Jets after being in Seattle)

I don't think so. I don't think it's going to be a mystery there. The guy comes in this week, they'll put him out at 'X,' I assume and keep it simple and let him go make plays and get open, so he'll be out there, and I think in this kind of situation, really all you do is play within their system and probably do the simple things they think he's good at and we'll get tape of where he's played last and where he's been and watch some of that and Jerry (Gray) has already done those things, so we prepare for what kind of player he is when he does get on the field.      

(on rumors that Jerry Gray interviewed for the head coaching position at Texas Tech)

I don't know about that. That's not something I'm going to really talk about. This time of year, with all the rumors that go on, all the speculation that goes on with players and coaches, what's happening. For me, I really don't want to comment on any of that.

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