Coach Whisenhunt's Wednesday Practice Report



(On game week)

We elected our captains: on offense, they are Jake Locker and Nate Washington. Defensively, Wesley Woodyard and Jurrell Casey. Special teams is George Wilson. Thought they were good choices. We'll keep the sixth captain spot open, of which we'll designate weekly. Going back into Kansas City, a couple of guys have already played there, so there are a couple of good candidates for that spot. Anyway, preparing for Kansas City, a great place to play.

(On electing captains)

Since we voted on it, it's recognition by their peers. It's somebody that fits the criteria of what we're looking for, leadership, how you work. I think we've got a number of guys that are certainly capable of that, and it was indicated by the vote. You have to pick somebody, and that's what we picked.

(On the sixth captain spot)

It will be based on whatever we want to base it on.

(On the intensity going into the first regular season week)

You could sense it in the meetings this morning. You could sense it early in practice. It was hot today, so that took it out of us a little bit, but it's different. We're a 53-man roster, plus the practice squad, so the numbers are down a little bit, and you could notice that. The intensity, especially in the walkthrough in the first part of practice, you could see that. We've still got a long way to go. We've got a lot to learn about ourselves as a team as we prepare, and this is certainly going to be a good test.

(On opening the regular season on the road)

I think obviously you'd love to open at home in front of your fans. That's always what you want to do, but this is a great place to play. It's a lot of fun. If you can't get excited going into this stadium with this crowd, then you shouldn't be playing. We've got a number of guys on our team that have been there. We certainly know what to expect going in there, but it's good, it's fun.

(On Kansas City's offense)

They're going to do a lot of different things. They are a multiple offense, and regardless of whether your linebackers are new or not, they are trying to create matchups in space. Obviously, when you've got a guy like (Jamaal) Charles, he's good in space. It's going to be a test for us, obviously, but we're going to work at it, and we're going to give it our best shot.

(On the scout team against Jamaal Charles)

We'll rotate guys. (Bishop) Sankey can do it, Leon (Washington) can do it, and certainly Dexter (McCluster) can give us looks at it, too. I don't know that there's anybody that can be Jamaal Charles, but we certainly are trying to give them the picture.

(On the defense in the first regular season game)

I hope so. I think that that's the plan. We've still got to execute. The tackling, that's got to get better. Our gap fits, which led to some runs, have got to get better, and that's what we're working on. Some of the things that we're doing are more game-plan-geared, so you get a chance to focus in a little bit more on not really necessarily scheme, but players and where they are and what the tendencies are, so hopefully that will help us.

(On stopping Kansas City's offense)

I think you've got to contain (Jamaal) Charles. He's a good runner, and the quarterback can hurt you in a number of ways. I think one of the things that you have to do is play good, technical defense. In other words, you've got to be sound in your alignments, because they're going to shift, they're going to motion, they're going to go fast, they're going to no huddle. They're a well-coached team, and they try to create those matchups in space. They've done a good job with that. We've got to stay disciplined in our defense, and we've got to recognize looks. We've got to tackle, and we've got to make plays in space. Really, that's what it's going to come down to.

(On Jake Locker's excitement for this week's game and whether he is overly excited)

I've never been around him on a game day other than the preseason. I certainly haven't seen any indication of that.

(On the first regular season game)

We've done that against our defense and against our offense in training camp, so you still have done some of it. To play a regular season NFL game, that's why you do this. The stuff that we're doing right now, this practice, that's not the fun part. The fun part's on the field on Sunday and seeing what you've worked so hard on and realizing some of those results. It's a struggle every week, and hopefully we'll be prepared going in there.

(On staying calm during a game)

I think there are always moments that call for you not to be. I don't know if I do that or not. I honestly don't know. Sometimes you have a hard time remembering even what happened in a game, because you get so much into what's the next situation, what's going on in the game at that moment. I would say I'm pretty calm, I think. That's the report I get back from family and friends. I know that I can lose my temper sometimes, too.

(On the protocol after an offensive series)

John McNulty is on the sideline with the quarterbacks, and I think there are specific things that we want to talk about that happen during the course of the series. I will go talk to Jake (Locker), talk to the quarterbacks, talk to the offensive line, talk to the tight ends and the running backs, depending on what's going on. One thing you've got to keep an ear to is what's going on on the field, because if there's a play that may be challengeable, if there's a situation that requires a decision, you have to be up with that. You can't spend the whole time over there with those guys. You're always going to have a change of possession, a time out, so you've got to get some of that work done during that time out. Then there are going to be breaks where you can catch up with those things, but we have a good line of communication between Jason (Michael) and John McNulty and all of our coaches.

(On players' emotions on game day)

Emotion's a part of this game. There's no question about that, but I think once you compromise your techniques, once you compromise your assignments, you can't lose that. I don't think there's a formula that says you can't be emotional. I think we talk about what we need to do and how we need to do it, and within those parameters, you have to be emotional.

(On the positions of play-callers)

I've been a play-caller on the sideline and in the booth, and I've had them on the sideline and in the booth. I think it's a matter of feel. It's really 50/50 to me, because I like the interaction you get from the players on the field as a play-caller, but I also like the detachment of being upstairs in the booth, away from it, where you can spread your information out and go through that. I think it's really what we feel like is best for us in our communication. I know Ray (Horton) is used to being up there, and I feel between Jason (Michael) and myself and John McNulty, we've got a pretty good thing going, based on what happened in the preseason.

(On coaches and game management)

They know. They contribute as we're going and as we're calling. They have input, have information. I like to get information, even as I'm calling the game. You can process that. We talk about situations all the time. I think one of the things as a play-caller is you always have to be thinking ahead, so hopefully that helps me in other situations, too, about game management. Jason (Michael), I know, is very good with game management. He did that for us last year in San Diego, so that helps from that perspective.

(On the first game as an indicator for how well the season goes)

That's what you want to do. There are no guarantees in this business. Who knows what can happen? I could sit up here and say I've been on teams that have lost the first game and went 15-1, or been on teams that have won the first game and not finished well. I don't know that it's an indicator. I think what's important for us is that we go through it for our first time. It's the first regular season game together. It's the first game all of our starters are going to play the whole game. There are going to be situations that come up, and we're going to be judged based on how we handle those. That's what this league is all about. We're working to make sure that we do a good job with that. Obviously, we want to win. That's what we're here for.

(On what the first regular season game means to him)

I'm thankful every game that I'm involved with this league. I've been very lucky to have been around it a long time. You look forward to opening week, because it's your season. Practice, training camp, it's fun, but it's a long process. When you get into the cycle of a game week and preparing for an opponent, and when you get a chance to play your chess pieces, for lack of a better definition, that's what this game's all about. It's fun. Opening week is just the first game. It's exciting.

(On playing against Andy Reid)

(They are) a well-coached football team. I've played against Andy (Reid) a number of times. He's a good friend. He's a good football coach, and you're going to really be challenged. I think we're trying to impart that message on our football team. You saw it based on what he did with their team last year, and we know it's going to be a tough challenge.

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