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Alan Williams on Tackling Issues, a Possible Return of Kevin Williams and More

Posted Sep 12, 2013

Vikings Defensive Coordinator Alan Williams

Good day today. Walk through is short yardage, goal line, red zone in terms of what we are practicing and the big thing is third down, making we get off the field on third down so we don’t let teams have sustained drives. Again, I think the guys are tuned in, wired in, especially with the opponent that we have, a division opponent and close to us so we are looking forward to a sharp practice today, one that’s spirited and the guys are dialed into their assignments.

Q: What do you think happened in the middle of the defensive line against Detroit?

A: I’m not sure if it was necessarily just the middle of the defense. The safeties, the linebackers, everyone is really responsible so you’d have to ask me what call or what play specifically and I’d let you know, but overall I’d say each one of them it would be the entire defense that’s responsible.

Q: Was there anything on Bush’s touchdown that stuck out that maybe you guys could have done better?

A: Really just get it on the ground. They had a decent play dialed up but we had some free bodies that took some poor angles to the football and that’s important. We always talk about hustling to the football but you want to hustle and run smart with good angles and that’s one thing we can improve on is the angles that we take to the football because there are some free hitters on that play.  

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Q: Do you think facing Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall is a similar challenge to facing Reggie Bush and Calvin Johnson?

A: I do. Very similar. Marshall is in his own right a very good wide receiver and does it all for them, certainly Jay Cutler’s go-to guy when he needs a play and Forte is equally as good. He runs the ball effectively, he’s a slasher insider and outside, he’s a tough runner. The one thing that he does well opposite the run game is he’s a good route runner. He has soft hands. They split him out wide and in this case he is not a decoy. They throw the ball to him underneath and up over the top so that’s one that both guys are guys that you have to account for.

Q: Do you think that some of the struggles this team faces at Chicago has to do with the environment of the stadium?

A: We have to tackle better, keep our gaps better. Any time you let a team run and throw the ball effectively usually it’s a long day and that’s what happened against Detroit. We have to try to make this team one dimensional. We can’t let them throw the ball any time they want and run the ball down our throat. So we have to do better in the run game. We’ve always prided ourselves here in playing stout run defense and we didn’t do that last week. So we have to make sure we tie up some loose ends and get back to stopping the run and not giving up big plays in the passing game.

Q: Do you see rushing numbers being as low as they are to continue as a trend?

A: I’m not sure. I know the fans like it a lot but I think when you’re one dimensional and you leave yourself out there to be exposed, and I’m a defensive guy and I still think you need to run the football, but we’ll see how it goes. I still think teams would like to be balanced so that they keep the defenses off track.

Q: How do you change the approach to coaching guys that just don’t have a lot of experience in the league?

A: You try not to change it a whole bunch. You still want to be able to run your defense but you’re always cognizant of not overloading guys with just too many tips, too many things that bog them down. You don’t want paralysis by analysis, you want a guy to be able to go out there and use his athletic ability, use his God-given abilities. So you just have to be careful about how much information you give them, how many tips you give them in terms of alignments and what the offense does and the word we use is “habitized”. You want a guy to build some habits so that when they go out and they’re playing that they know that, “Hey my assignment, my keys will take me to the ball and I don’t have to think about too much”. So really just be careful about how much information you give a guy.  

Q: Does that affect your play calling?

A: No, not at all. I would say that like an older guy you can just give him more keys and different things but not in terms of what I call. Our defense is pretty standard in terms of what we do so we don’t have to change that around.

Q: How did Josh Robinson grade out in the Detroit game?

A: Pretty well. I thought he tackled well, he carried out his assignments well. There is room for improvement with those things that we just talked about. Teams have some keys, teams have some tips that will take you to the play a little bit faster and I think the more reps that he gets the faster that he’ll carry out his assignments. He’s getting comfortable in there and every week is a little bit new in terms of what teams do. He has a ways to go in terms of I think just feeling completely comfortable in there and letting his athletic ability shine.

Q: How do you think the Bears offense has changed under the new coaching staff?

A: It’s tough to say how much is going to change because we don’t have a lot of data to say what they’re going to do and how they’re going to do it. They still have concepts that are in place from last year that were good for them and they have some new concepts that (Marc) Trestman used previously as well as the offensive line coach that’s there now. It’s tough to say what their true identity is going to be and what they’re going to morph into so to speak. So we just have to see what the four games in the preseason and this last ball game as well as kind of try and hunt and peck for some of the things that they did previously when he was a coordinator and just see. The number one thing is that we have to really worry about ourselves and again tackle well, pursue to the ball, play situational football and I think if we do that we’ll be in good shape.

Q: Does Cutler’s quick release negate the pass rush?

A: He gets rid of the ball whether it be the ones that are down the field or the quick rhythm three-step plays. He does an unbelievable job of getting the ball out of his hands and when you’re close and even when you have a hand on him, he’s Houdini. He escapes and gets out of there and runs the ball as well. He’s a formidable opponent.

Q: How much will it help potentially having Kevin Williams back?

A: I think he will be ready. Just having the experience of a guy out there that has seen it before and not only that but Kevin is still a good football player and his leadership and when the guys look at another guy like that in the huddle it gives them confidence that we’re going to get the job done. I can’t measure it, Kevin being back. We’re glad he’s there. I talked to him when we came back from Detroit and he said it was hard on him to be out of that ball game and I think as hard as it was on him it was harder for me not seeing him out there in the middle.   

Q: What were your thoughts on Marvin Mitchell in the Detroit game?

A: Did well. I wish there would have been a little bit more base [defense]. I’ve liked what Marvin has done for us at the Will linebacker spot. I know this is not going to be that type of ball game so Marvin will be on the field more with this group. They want to run the ball and they want to make sure they are a balanced attack so Marvin will get more snaps this week. 

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