HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK
(on how happy he is with what he has seen two days into minicamp)
We are, just putting them in a lot of competitive periods, and you can compete quite a bit even without having your shoulder pads on. Moving the ball, putting them in situations, a lot of looks, and I think it's been real good for us for all three groups. We've been able to get reps for everybody. It's not just the first two groups. We've been getting all three groups a lot of work out here, which has been very good for us to evaluate and for the players to feel like they're getting a feel for what we're asking of them. Yeah, we're getting exactly what we hoped we get. It's just a matter now of finishing up strong tomorrow, keeping everyone healthy, coming back and going to work in late July.
(on how much they will pare down the offense after installing so much during the offseason)
I don't think we'll have to pare down a lot. I don't think we've gone over the top. The things we've put in, they've absorbed very well. We've had nine weeks with a lot of meeting time, a lot of field time, a lot of teaching time, and so I think they feel good about it. Now for us as coaches, it's just a matter of maybe taking out things that we don't like as much, or maybe some of the things they did struggle with. But the big concepts and the things we did last year and adding to that, I think it looked very good. We're excited about where we're heading.
(on Matt Hasselbeck and Jake Locker exceeding expectations)
Those two guys, since the day Matt walked in the door, and Jake, I think they've been more than we thought they'd be. I didn't expect Matt to come in and take control like he did a year ago. Same thing with Jake as a young rookie coming in the way he's handled himself. We're really happy, from the day they've come in, how they've handled themselves, how they compete, and really how their interaction and their relationship has grown. It's hard, when you're competing to start in the NFL and you want to have one of 32 jobs in the league, and one of the guys you're getting to be good friends with—especially in Matt's situation, where he's helping Jake quite a bit—I think that's fun to watch as a coach, to see that competitive nature, where they help each other but they're competing, knowing that only one of them can start. I think it's been great. It's a good situation right now. It's going to be a tough one, obviously, when only one of them gets to play. That's obviously coming down the road. But so far, so good with how they're handling it.
(on if he gets asked in public when Locker is going to play)
Yeah. Everyone is always excited about the new guy. I think that's how it is, especially in the quarterback world. I think they've really taken to Matt, especially the way he carried this team last year, especially early in the season. I think people really enjoyed watching what he brought to the game, being a Super Bowl quarterback and the things he has done. But everyone always wants to see Jake. As soon as Jake started playing a little bit, it was, 'Yeah, let's see the young guy.' I think that's just going to be, no matter what happens at the quarterback spot, people are still going to want the young guy, want the old guy, and it's going to kind of go back and forth, I'm sure.
(on what Locker can do to equalize Hasselbeck's experience)
The only thing the young guy can do is the fact that how he handles himself, how he makes plays when maybe nothing is there and things break down. That's probably where he has a little help, the fact that he can move and make plays with his legs and extend the play when maybe he does make a mistake or two. So yeah, there's things he can do with his energy level and the way he runs the team. Those things are all very helpful. That has a lot to do with it—how he commands the huddle, how he handles not playing well, how he handles not practicing well. When he's making bad throws, how does he come back the next day and compete in practice or preseason? … But nothing can make up for Matt's experience. That's something he won't get until he gets a chance to play.
(on if he will have to address the young players about being smart during the time off)
That is something that I have kind of had many talks along the way, Memorial Day weekend. Every time we have a little break in the action I think you just want to remind guys that they get caught up in a little bubble here, in football land here during the nine-week program and even during the season when you are in the season so long and all of a sudden you are back out in the public again on a daily basis. I think guys just need general reminders of what to be careful of and the fact that this isn't a long break and before you know it the four weeks are going to be up and you want not to lose what you have worked so hard for to this point to get. In the other breath you want to get away from it a little bit. I think these guys have been handling themselves very well, the players have been in the past 12 months, and have done a great job of making decisions. They just have to keep doing that.
(on if he will have a chance to take some vacation)
Oh yeah, the thing with the coaches you have to get out of town or you will keep coming in the office. I think most people that enjoy their job or like their job, it is kind of hard because you feel like you keep getting called in because there is always something you could do. I think the further you get away from it, the more likely you are to take a break. I will head back to the Northeast to my hometown for at least a week or two to see family like I usually do. When I was a player I always went back to the Scranton area and the Northeast Pennsylvania and the Poconos and New York area and kind of just get away from it and have fun with family and do some other things.
(on the potential for veteran players to be more likely to get in trouble compared to the young players)
I don't know. It is up to all guys to make good decisions. I think it is a general reminder for all of them. They are all in different situations. They get opportunities when they have free time off and travel more. You just have to be careful; which they have been. I think guys have done a great job here and they have to continue what they have been doing.
(on Collin Mooney and if there is still a position in the game for a traditional fullback)
Collin has really done a nice job for a young guy that has been out of college for a couple of years. He has been competing. We thought we would bring him in and what a great kid he is, strength level, he adjusts to the ball and he is more athletic than you think. It is hard in that position; the pads really matter. You want to see physically how he is when he does hit the linebackers and do things and he can run the football. He ran for 1,400 yards at Army. He is a guy that if he does make it, that another thing he adds to the equation is he can carry the ball if someone got hurt and he is comfortable doing that. There are things he brings; he is a special teams guy. That fullback position always is like it would be for Quinn (Johnson) is can you help us at other areas because how much are we going to be in two-back. We don't know that, so you don't have a guy playing three snaps a game. What else can he do for you? That is what helps him I think as a young player that he can maybe run the ball if needed. He can play special teams. I think that is what gives him a great opportunity to compete with Quinn for that spot. That is another spot that will be fun to watch.
(on having another guy in Mooney with Armed Services background)
They are great to have. I wish I had more of them. You come in to work and this guy is here at 6:30 and he is sitting upright and he is ready to go and yes sir and no sir. You know he is ready to put in a long day. I think sometimes he is disappointed when he has to go home by 3:00. I think the more of those guys you can have the better. He is awesome. He has been great since he has been here and I think the guys have really taken to him. Like I said that is a position where he will get to show even more what he can do once you are actually in pads.
(on if the break is tougher mentally or physically for the players) I think it is more just them organizing how they want to handle their time. The hard part is you have to remember that it is almost like it is hard to relax the first week when you get away and all of a sudden you kind of get in a relaxation mode. I think it is more of having a plan for doing your workouts and what you are going to need to do to stay in shape because you want to maintain what you have. I think you need a break but you have to find that fine line between maintaining and finding an hour a day to do some running or lifting, but in between all that have fun with your family. I'm sure most of the guys will have vacation and get away and that is a good thing, but we will be back here pretty quick and it is 95 degrees out so they want to make sure they are doing some conditioning.