Coach Munchak's Wednesday Practice Report



(on if it's hard to believe that this is the first time that these two teams will meet with first place on the line)

Yes and no I guess. Indianapolis has done a great job over the years making it hard for this to happen. It just adds more to a game that is always big anyway when you play within the division. It always has a little something special, especially when it's Houston. The fact that we are both sitting here with a chance to stay in first place makes it a lot more fun.

(on if there is more pressure on the Texans to win this game because they were picked to finally win this division)

I don't think so, I think there is pressure on both teams to play well. We both want to win, it's a great situation for both teams. It's still early in the season like you said, there is still a lot of football to be played but we need a division win. They have won a division game already, we haven't. We know how important this game is going to be for us, so there are a lot of reasons for why this is a huge one for us to win.

(on the Texans pass rush without Mario Williams)

They are doing good, they are in the top three or four in sacks playing the under-front, similar to when we played the Cowboys last year, same type of defense. They are just getting a lot of pressure on the quarterback. Last weekend they had three or four sacks, but they must have hit (Joe) Flacco 10 or 12 times in the first half. I think as a line coach or as a head coach, your concern is more about those hits. You don't want Matt (Hasselbeck) taking those kinds of hits because those things add up just like a boxing match. When your quarterback is getting wacked and eventually it takes a toll on his throws and his confidence. They are doing a nice job up front bringing four and five man pressure kind of like what Pittsburgh and teams like that do. They have been having some good luck with it, and we know how good their personnel has been over the years, we play them twice a year, so we are not surprised by it.

(on how much losing FB James Casey hurt the Texans offense last week)

I think their biggest thing is for the last couple weeks their running game has been slowed down, and they feed everything off the run game. They were number one in the league last year in rushing, this year again they are very scary with the way they run the ball the way (Arian) Foster runs it. He has been slowed a little bit by injury and the last two weeks the other teams defense has done a good job of making it hard for them to do and its affected their offensive output.

(on if there is a sense that this game could really put a good distance between the rest of the division)

I think we know how important this game is, we play these guys twice. We have to finish the season in Houston so we know a lot is going to happen between now and then, you don't know how things are going to go on your schedule the next couple of weeks, but for all of the reasons we are saying, it's a big game for us. It doesn't mean the season is over if we lost it, and it doesn't mean that we have things taken care of if we win it. Obviously, you want to win them all, this is one that adds more meaning to it because it's a division game plus both teams are shooting to first place.

(on if he reminds the players that this game is more than just "the next game on the schedule")

They don't have to be reminded, we all know that. You are not going to dwell on that aspect of it. We are, media will, but the players don't. They know it's a team that they know well, that knows us well, they know what kind of game it's going to be and they know that in order for us to continue to be in the conversation, and we have to win games like this, especially at home. It's a big game for us, no matter who the game was it would be a big game after a loss. If you lose to Pittsburgh you want to come back and win no matter who it is, but the fact that it's a division opponent has more meaning to it. It just adds more to it, but you still have to go play well.

(on relaying the message that even if they have suffered injuries, they still need to bring our "A" game to win)

Yeah I think we know that, I think we had that conversation about Pittsburgh a couple of weeks back and that didn't go so well either. I don't think NFL players really look at that, they realize that whoever is on that roster can come in and beat you any Sunday. I don't know about the quarterback thing, but their receiver…our receiver has been out for two weeks also. We have lost our receiver for the year. Every team has to deal with that, but we know we are going to have to play our best to win the game.

(on if he kind of enjoys they fact the Houston team has not had a successful season since his playing days there as the Oilers)

The only time that the game really is big for me and probably Bruce (Matthews) is when we go to Houston. I think playing there is kind of strange because this organization used to be there so I think that's when it really comes into focus. I'm more worried about us not being in those playoff games than them. I know if they are in than that means we are not in our division so I haven't really given a whole lot of thought to that.

(on if this is the biggest Texans vs. Titans game ever)

I don't know about that, we have had some big ones. To me we have played these guys in big games as far as us having to win games to make the playoffs over the years. The Monday night game we played there I thought was a big game when we played the Texans a few years back, a couple of other games were big. Maybe looking back we will say it was, but it's too early in the season to say either way to say what this game will mean to us, we know how important it is to win it. 

(on if he can gage Jake Locker's progression with the amount of work he is getting)

It's hard, he has handled himself I think as well as you can. We were real happy with where he was when the season started, but it think it's hard when you go this long without playing it's hard to sit here and say that he is getting better or how he is doing. He is involved mentally, he gets limited reps as far as the offense, he runs the scout team. He still looks sharp and all of those things but he hasn't been under fire now for six or seven weeks. Its frustrating for not just the quarterback, but any position at this point in the year when you are not playing.

(on if last week was big for Jake Locker because he was able to work with the offense more during practices)

Yeah, he is a great kid and he is going to be a great player for us when he gets his opportunity. Right now Matt (Hasselbeck) is doing real well and he is learning a great deal from Matt and that's the plus side of it. He is in the games mentally, he talks to Matt all the times during the games giving him thoughts of what he has seen from the sidelines, so that part he is doing real well with, and he will just have to wait for his chance to play.

(on if Jake Locker wants to be on the field)

Yeah, of course he is going to be frustrated but that's part of it for any young player that is in his position.

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