Coach Munchak's Wednesday Practice Report

HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on if they are any closer to figuring out what is wrong with the running game)

Well nothing has changed since Monday. We had a good workout and I think that's all we can do. I think we have a good plan to attack Cincinnati this weekend. They have a very good defense against the run, we know that which makes it fun, it makes it exciting and we will be ready for the challenge. We will see on Sunday how we do and we are looking forward to obviously, playing a lot better than we have.

(on if their run defense is ranked too highly because of the teams they have faced)

I don't think so. I think in this league if you can stop anyone in the run game or whatever the stats are, then once you get to about midseason the stats are kind of starting to fall into line with a little more consistency, you are going to kind of find out where you're at for most teams.  We are hoping for us on the other end of that that the running game that when the season is over that we are more in the middle of the pack at least. They are doing a great job and the biggest thing they are doing is they are staying in games. The two games they lost, I think they were less than a field goal both games. They won a couple of games in the fourth quarter and so their defense is keeping everything real close, they are not making many mistakes, and that's why they are 5-2.

(on if he will be more conservative on offense because the Bengals defense has been very opportunistic)

We have to be careful and we have been good with the ball and done a good job ourselves with that and not turning the ball over. Last week they had a couple big plays on special teams that set up two touchdowns for them where they got the lead on Seattle in Seattle, which is a big win for anybody in that crowd noise. They have a rookie quarterback in (Andy) Dalton who we know pretty well from spending time with him during the draft. He has handled him himself on the road and they are being very smart with how they use him, they have been very effective with him, and again, it's going to be quite a challenge on Sunday to win this game.

(on if there comes a point where they will just plan on throwing the ball more because the running game is just not working)

I don't think we would ever say that. I think that we feel we are and we will be a good running team, we are going to have to be or we are going to have some long games. You cannot count on Matt Hasselbeck to carry us the next eight or nine weeks throwing the ball all over the defense. There will be games when, yeah, you will say that. When you are in a game like we had twice when we were behind by three touchdowns we said, 'well we are obviously going to have to throw the ball more to get in this thing.' We are going to go into every game the same, we are going to try to run it, we want to run it, there are going to be parts of the game where you have to run it, and that's what we have to do a better job of doing. We don't just say, 'well, they are good against the run so we are going to have to pass it this week.' We are hoping it's just the opposite. People assume that we are not going to be able it run it so we go out there and have a heck of a day. We have to stay positive and what we know we are good at and we just have to go out and prove it.

(on if he looks at A.J. Green and Andy Dalton and thinks 'that could have been us')

Well A.J. (Green) was gone, we knew we weren't going to have a shot at him. My daughters went to Georgia so I have seen him play a lot so I know how special he is and he is exactly what everyone thought he would be. He is making plays already, he wants the ball in the fourth quarter and in the two-minute drive he is going up and making the great catch. Andy Dalton we liked a lot. I thought that group of quarterbacks, two or three of them were great kids and he was one of them. I thought he had a lot of pluses for the draft. I don't think anyone can predict with any young quarterback how well they are going to respond. Again, it's eight weeks in and he has done a nice job and hopefully we can put an end to that for a week and let him go on from there.

(on what his reaction might have been if he was told before the season the team would be 4-3 after seven games)

Well I think that all of us would have thought just because all of the things going on with the lockout and all of the uncertainties, that's not a bad start. What happened then once the season starts unfolding just like anything, some people are 4-3 and pretty happy about it. Kansas City started out 0-3, so if you ask them about how happy they are they are real happy to be 4-3. I think Philadelphia is real happy to be 3-4 right now from where they were. I guess it's just when you ask the question and how you start the season. The fact that we got to 3-1 in the first four makes this one a little tougher and the way we lost two of our games. We are not real happy with how we have played in two games. The inconsistency is probably the part that we are most frustrated with and we hope that part is behind us and that we come out and play a game. It's going to be a big game for us. Last week we thought was a huge game for us because we couldn't afford to lose that game, and this one is even bigger because one to show that we can take the next step up now and we can win a game against a team that is a very good football team.

(on the effectiveness of the four-minute offense)

There is nothing better than when you can finish it that way, when they know you are going to run it and there is nothing they can do to stop you. When you get a game that falls that way it's obviously hard because teams put eight or nine guys up there and that most of the time, not all of the time, makes it harder. A lot of times it's just making a great run or getting lucky in a spot to where someone breaks a couple of tackles and you are able to manage a first down. That part is nice so you don't have to put the defense out there. If you are up by a couple of scores it's not quite as bad even though you would like to finish the game, but you don't want it to cost you a game because you can't do that.

(on how good the Titans are at the four-minute offense)

Last week we had the ball in the last four minutes and we had the penalty that killed us. We actually got one first down there and the second time we had a nice run by (Javon) Ringer and we had the penalty on (Mike) Otto for kicking or whip kicking or whatever they call it. That killed us right there so it was hard to tell by last week. I don't know if we have had a lot of opportunities to do it this year. Offhand I'm not sure when we were stopped doing it, I can't remember offhand.

(on the importance of Craig Stevens against the physical front of the Bengals)

He is huge for us. I don't think people realize what a good player he is and not having him the last three weeks has hurt us in the run game and in protection, he is a big part of all that. Him not playing last week will hopefully be a big plus for the fact that he will come out this week. He did everything in practice today which is the first time he has done that in a month, so I think that's going to help his confidence and we need him on Sunday. We have to be at full force to win this game.

(on if Chris Johnson's struggles bother him personally)

Well I think you want to have success in every phase of the game. It's better to say that you are in the middle of the pack on things and that you are still trying to get them better, you don't want to be at the extremes where we are in that phase of the game. It does bother us, we don't dwell on it as far as it's going to hurt us going into the game on Sunday. The bottom line is winning, you want to win and we all know that that's ultimately it but you like to look good doing it and have everything working and clicking and we are not in that area yet and we all know that, not to our satisfaction anyway. There is nothing we can do about what's happened in the past, we can just work on going forward and have successful games. We felt that last week and the run game in general, there were some consistent runs in that game that have us heading in the right direction as far as some of the things we are able to do in that game. We know the challenge will be stronger in this one and we are ready for the challenge…When you have one of your best players who is not getting the opportunity to do what we feel he is capable of doing it's frustrating for him and for us. He is one of our star players, we want him to shine. We know that people want to see him do well. Expectations for him are high for all of us, for him, the fans, for his teammates, but I think people realize that it doesn't just happen. You can't go out there on a Sunday and wish it, we have to go out there and earn it and right now we are not and that is frustrating as we all know. We have been frustrated by it and it gives people to ask about and wonder why everyone has an opinion on it and until we fix it, they are going to be entitled to that.

(on if Mr. Adams has voiced an opinion on the running game)

No, I think Mr. Adams just wants us to keep winning. The bottom line is winning football games like we said. Of course he wants his players to play well and like I said, it's not that he is not playing well, it's that we are not playing well in that area as consistently as we would like to.

(on if Earl Campbell ever went through a long slump)

I don't know if he ever did, he carried the ball 50 times a game so he got his 100 no matter what he did. When I was there I don't ever remember him ever having a slump because we were blocking so well for him. Even with Eddie George, we had some droughts, not this long…There is some luck involved and there are some things happen and we are not getting that and we are not being consistent enough in what we are supposed to do at the point of attack.

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