Alan Williams On Vikings Middle Linebacker Spot, Cornerback Competition and More

Posted Jun 19, 2013

Vikings Defensive Coordinator Alan Williams
Q: Are you okay with what you have at the linebacker position?
A: I’d be just fine with it. We have a great linebacking corps. We have a good mix of veterans and young guys that we’ve infused into the group and they seem to be coming along fine. They are gelling well together, making calls, making plays and I feel great about them.
Q: If Erin Henderson sticks in the middle, what are your wishes for the outside?
A: A guy that’s going to be physical on the lead block. A guy that can drop into pass coverage in our three-deeps and two-deeps and overall a steady football player. We are looking for a guy that’s steady and they’re sound and doesn’t make a whole lot of mistakes and makes plays when the plays come at them. I don’t have a wish list of who that is just whoever steps up and plays the best. The tape will tell. I’ll just wait until preseason and see what happens and it all shakes out, it all shakes out itself. The coaches very rarely make any decisions about that. The players make all the decisions in how they play.
Q: What have you seen from Gerald Hodges?
A: He has great feet. It looks like looks like he has good instincts. I can’t wait until the pads get on to see how he hits and how he runs around and mixes it up. I think that’s what all the coaches are waiting on to see. Right now we are just in shorts and they all look great so I’m trying to temper my enthusiasm and wait until we get pads on.
Q: Is it encouraging when Xavier Rhodes is getting his hands on the ball like he is?
A: It is. It really is. The one thing, I don’t know how much you watched today but he got his hands on some balls and he’s not giving up deep balls. That’s the big thing because a lot of guys like to sit on passes and you see them intercept balls and you say “wow” and then a lot of balls are going over his head. And he’s not giving up either. He’s tough down low and up top.
Q: Did you guys get to look at Desmond Bishop at all today?
A: We did. Good workout and we’ll see. We are doing our due diligence in terms of bringing in guys that are free agents. The neat thing is I don’t have to make those decisions. I just have to coach them once they get here. Coach Leslie Frazier and Rick Spielman are the ones that make those hard decisions.
Q: How hard of an adjustment would that be for him in terms of defensive schemes?
A: I don’t think there is much. It’s not rocket science. It’s football and it’s still about running to the ball, tackling and reading your keys and making plays when the ball comes to you, so I don’t think it’s a big adjustment.
Q: Would he play on the outside or the inside?
A: I’m not sure. I haven’t seen enough tape on him. That would be Coach Frazier and Rick Spielman, they would answer that a lot better than I could. From what I hear, he’s just a good football player.
Q: How much do you miss Chad Greenway in these situations and what does he bring?
A: Experience. Chad has seen just about everything the NFL has to throw at you, so a new guy that comes in every situation is a new situation. Chad has seen it before, he’s seen the adjustments, he’s made the calls, so a new guy it’s new to him. Every experience is new. The plays are new, the situations are new. One thing that you can’t over emphasize is the situation football. Chad has been in all of those situations and he understands and he knows how his technique marries up with the situation.
Q: How did Chad get to the level that he’s at? Is it work, talent, or a combination of both?
A: A combination of everything. Chad is an unbelievable worker, a student of the ball game and he pays attention to detail. That’s a big deal to pay attention to the details of the technique, the details of the situation and Chad does that. The one thing that Chad can do is if he makes a mistake in practice he can correct it himself without having the coach correct it for him. That’s the mark of a true veteran when they can correct themselves.
Q: Are there different things that you can do with Chris Cook and having Xavier?
A: Both guys are tall. They are long. They can go get the ball, unbelievable ball skills so to be able to have two guys outside and don’t forget about Josh, don’t forget about the other guys that can really run. They’re physical so you’re not limited to one type of defense. You can play a variety of things and when you can take the outside guys away it makes it easier for me to make the calls and mixing up the coverages.
Q: How did you feel when Sharrif Floyd fell to you guys and the process with that?
A: Nervousness that he fell and how much we were going to have to wait. We had a little space in there and he kept falling and falling. Boy I tell you when it got to down to close to us that nervousness. Hey he’s right there in our grasp, but is he going to be there when we pick? Jubilation, you name it, we felt it when we had it. He’s a good, good football player.
Q: What makes him the optimal fit for this defense?
A: He’s quick twitch, he can anchor in the run, he’s very disruptive at the three and he has good pass-rush moves. I know his stats may not have shown it, but he’s been tremendous in these OTAs and he’s another one where we can’t wait to get the pads on to kind of see what happens when we get the pads on and if he’s still as productive. The one thing with him, and I just mentioned it a second ago about young guys playing situational football and the situations are new to them and they make some mistakes, he’s game ready. He had a good coach at Florida and they prepared him well and it’s not too much different what we’re doing here. So a lot of things translate over to what he did in college, so we’re looking for good things from him.
Q: What happened with Mistral Raymond today?
A: I’m not sure what happened to him today. He came out today and I guess he figured he couldn’t go. We’ll wait to see what the trainers say about why he didn’t practice. Yesterday it may have been a leg issue and we’ll see if that’s still hampering him from coming out and playing. The one thing about that, you saw him on the sidelines. He’s paying attention, he’s coaching up the young guys, so even though he’s not on the field getting reps, he’s getting mental reps and also coaching up the young guys.
Q: What are going to be some deciding factors in who wins the starting spot between Xavier Rhodes and Josh Robinson?
A: Production as well as not giving up big plays. The thing that happens on defense is a lot of teams don’t necessarily win ball games. They give up ball games or get beat or beat themselves. We are trying to make sure first that we don’t beat ourselves and then we take the next step and win ball games. We want to see if they can execute within the defense, take care of their assignments and play consistent football. When you play consistent football you always have a chance to win, so whoever does that will be the starter. The good thing is when you have a lot of DBs you can play multiple packages. In today’s NFL pass-happy world, the nickel is a starter. He’s playing almost 50 percent and sometimes more than the base package. You need three, four, five corners to function in today’s NFL.