HIGHLIGHTS FROM TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK PRESS AVAILABILITY
Friday, June 1, 2012
(on the start of OTAs)
We're six weeks into the offseason program, and I think we're off to a great start. The energy has been great. The attendance has been great. Then finally (we're) getting into some OTA days where we can compete a little bit offense vs. defense. I think it was a good three days for us. I know these guys are excited. They're enjoying themselves. This to me is where you build your camaraderie and your chemistry, and I think we're doing a good job doing that.
(on the plan to split reps between Matt Hasselbeck and Jake Locker)
Really not a big plan, just more or less getting them working with different guys, having Matt all this week with the first-group offensive line that's playing. The hard part is now we're moving guys around so much. Maybe until camp, it's not necessarily set teams as who's first—not just quarterback, but the receivers are playing with all the quarterbacks, and the running backs are. I think this week we'll just kind of rotate. Our thinking now is just make sure that they're both getting work with our different centers. Eugene (Amano) should be out next week practicing, and so that will get him out there. Kevin Matthews has taken all the reps this week. That's the important thing, that we see them working with the different groups. We'll just start rotating even more so next week and then the third week.
(on if the ideal split of reps between Hasselbeck and Locker is 50-50)
Yeah, I think you're going to try and do it evenly enough to where…Again, this isn't the only position. We're trying to do the same thing with all the positions we have competition at, to give them a fair shake with both groups so you can see how they interact with the same people in the same setting, especially when you get into the offensive line. That's probably the one area where there's a dropoff who you're playing with at times. So we'll be aware of that. We'll make sure how we arrange different practices, who's running first group, who's running second group, and so on.
(on what the reps have been like at quarterback the previous two days)
The reps are the same. The reps they've gotten are exact—they've got the exact same amount of reps. Like I said, we're rotating. It's hard right now because we have two offensive linemen who aren't practicing so you have three (first-team) offensive linemen playing. There's not really set groups out there right now to worry about who's playing with who.
(on if he would like to identify the starting quarterback by the third preseason game)
Sure we would. The quarterback is the one position everyone's going to be honing in on because it's the most important position on a team, but we would like that for all positions. You're hoping that decisions are made as quickly as they can be. You're doing what's best for the team. So when you go into that third game, you would like to have a good feel for what your plan is.
(on Locker's reputation of being more of a 'gamer' making it more difficult to beat out Hasselbeck)
You have to take everything into account. We're not just going to sit here and see how many balls he's thrown and pick the guy who completed the most passes. Or the one on the other side of that is the guy that makes the biggest plays in the preseason game. It's more the whole thing: what we're seeing right now, the stuff that maybe the fans don't get a chance to see, the stuff we're seeing in the meeting rooms, on the field, every day in practice, the adjustments that are made at the line of scrimmage. There's a lot of factors that go into who's the best guy to be on your team. We're going to have to weigh all of that on top of performance, knowing that, yes, on the field, we know Jake can do a little bit more because of the young legs extending plays. Really the only place you're going to see that is in a preseason game. We realize that. We'll be taking all factors into account to do the right thing.
(on if he is the type of head coach that would lean towards a veteran quarterback)
You know what? I feel so good about both of them that I'm not necessarily leaning either way on it. Either way for me, I'm going to have a very good quarterback playing. Either way, it's going to be a good situation for the team. It's a tough situation to be in when you draft a quarterback in the first round. You know that. If you just don't hand him the job when he walks in the door, then you're going to have some issues at some point, some tough decisions to make. We realize that. It's a good problem to have, but it's a tough one, too.
(on Hasselbeck's willingness to work with Locker)
It's been great. I think that's why Jake has come along as far as he has and why last year, when Jake went into the game, why he was ready to play in December when he hadn't played for months, is the fact that he (was) working with Matt. I think that's what makes it an easier situation for me as a head coach, knowing the way Matt handles everything, what a professional he is. He knows. He understands the league and how it works. I think he saw what Jake's abilities are. I think for us it's a great situation to have a quarterback like Matt. That's why we were so excited to get him here and help us last year. We'll see what happens.
(on if Hasselbeck gets credit for his performance last year in determining the quarterback this year)
I think the credit you get is we saw what he's able to do in a Titan uniform in this offense. Yeah, at least we know better now. When Matt came in last year, we knew about his past, but we never saw him doing what Chris Palmer wants him to do or fitting into our offense. There's no doubt. It's comforting for us in the back of our mind how Matt handled things last year and how much we relied on him and hoping this year that whoever the quarterback is, we won't have to rely as heavily as we did last year on the offensive side of the ball on the quarterback, that we'll have other phases of the game. Losing Kenny Britt last year, the running game struggling…Hopefully, if Matt is the quarterback, or if it's Jake, obviously, that we have other weapons to help them.
(on the play of Kendall Wright the last couple of days)
Like I said, when the rookies come in you draft a guy and that is what you saw and that is what we bragged on when we drafted him and people were wondering what exactly our thinking was in the first round, well that is a guy we think is going to be special. It is a long way to go and we know that and we are not in pads or anything but he just loves to compete. The guy makes plays and he brings a lot of energy to the field and I think the veterans have seen that right away. We all knew we added a weapon when we added him and it is just a matter of seeing where the best fit is going to be for him as we get towards the beginning of the season. I'm excited about him and the other young guys that have come in; so far, so good. It is a good thing to start off on a good note and he has, so we will see how he develops as we move forward.
(on the play of Chris Johnson and the importance of him being at the OTAs)
I think Chris (Johnson) has been great. I think Chris is a leader. Chris doesn't have to say a word to lead. I think just the fact that he is here every day and the fact that he is out there working hard and in the weight room. He is probably about eight or nine pounds heavier than he has been. He looks good and he has a great attitude, so he is doing everything he needs to come back and have a great year. I think that is encouraging for everyone to see and that is what you want from one of your top players is that kind of attitude which he has had. He has been awesome. He has been here five days a week, not three, not four. A lot of the weeks he has been here all five when that is not even necessary to do. I think he is realizing the benefits of being here and the benefits of being around his teammates. Like I said right from the beginning that builds a lot of chemistry and a lot of camaraderie and I think that is one of the biggest things that he has helped us with.
(on the development of Tommie Campbell)
That is the fun part; I think we have a lot of young competition. I think when everyone gets worried about … well we lost (Cortland) Finnegan, do we have to go get veteran? A lot of the time, we have felt comfortable with the guys that we have that can come in here with (Chris) Hawkins and Tommie (Campbell) and drafting a guy. We like what we have, we like the speed we have. He is a perfect example of a guy that has so much upside and the question is how quickly can we get it out of him? This offseason, like we always talk about, OTAs and stuff, and the importance, well we are a young football team, especially on the defensive side of the ball. To me these days the last six weeks have been huge for a guy like Tommie and Hawkins and those guys and the young guys on the defensive line from last year. They are spending so much time here in the building, so I think that will pay big dividends for those guys and the depth that we will have at those positions.
(on the injury to Eugene Amano)
Eugene should be able to start his individual work. He has been running on the field and we have just held him out of the offense, defense stuff. He should be practicing next week, we assume, by next Tuesday and Wednesday he should start doing not full reps, but maybe half the work.
(on the status of Leroy Harris)
Leroy has been out here with his helmet on. We have to be careful with Leroy's shoulder. He is pretty healthy and he wants to practice, but that is one of those things where you decide after so many months, that is one of those surgeries where you wait four and four and a half months because if someone ran into his shoulder, he will probably be limited for a little longer until he gets involved in the offense, defense drills.
(on the status of Kenny Britt)
Kenny is doing great. You see him out here. He had the scope which I think made a huge difference for him. I think it made him feel better about his knee. I think he is going to jump ahead again and start to run again here soon. Everything is as positive as it can be I guess for a guy coming off an ACL. We are hoping it is like camp last year where he practiced with us and did a lot of stuff and did all the team work and then we just held him out of the games until the third or fourth week. We are excited to have him back and I think he has been here every day working too, so there is no reason to believe that he wouldn't be ready to play this year.