Bill Musgrave Talks Ponder's Progress, Jennings/Patterson Relationship and More

Posted Jun 19, 2013

Vikings Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave
Had another good day today and have one more day to wrap it up tomorrow.
Q: What are your initial impressions of Cordarrelle Patterson?
A: They’ve been good impressions. He’s definitely gifted with his size and his speed. He’s really asserting himself in the meeting room trying to learn our system.
Q:  What does he need to do to take that next step and work himself into a contributing role?
A: I think get more familiar with the system and play faster, less thinking, more reacting.
Q: What progress have you seen from Christian Ponder that you’re pleased with at this stage?
A: I think he’s more comfortable, too. I think this is his second orthodox offseason. He didn’t have one initially after he was drafted so there are much fewer unknowns for him at this stage even than there were a year ago. He knows more of what to expect and let himself go a little bit and not be so guarded.
Q: How do you measure him during the offseason?
A: Decision making is one of them. Physically throwing is the other. We always want to be accurate and we’re always working on our feet in the quarterback room. His decision making we’re assessing every day with all these competitive periods. It’s been good.
Q: When you mention less thinking for Patterson, is that a matter of repetition?
A: I think it’s a process. It takes turns or repetitions and we’re trying to provide him as many turns as we can without wearing him out.
Q: How much have you told Cordarrelle to watch Greg Jennings to try and learn from him?
A: That’s definitely taken place. Greg is a super leader in that room and really for our whole offense. Cordarrelle I know has taken a bunch of notes both in the meeting room and on the field with relation to how Greg does it.
Q: How important is it to have a player watch another player as opposed to a coach telling player how to do it?
A: Well that’s one way that players learn. Sometimes they learn by seeing it written, or drawn, or on film, but a lot of guys learn by watching someone else do it or watching their coach, if he’s young enough, demonstrate. That’s an essential part of learning, watching somebody else do it.
Q: For a guy like Jennings, what’s his transition like?
A:It’s ongoing. He’s not going to feel all together comfortable because he was ingrained for those number of years in Green Bay so there’s a process that we’re working through.
Q: Is it kind of rare for someone like Greg to help Cordarrelle and also embrace it and have fun with it?
A: Yeah, it is. I would imagine, and I wouldn’t speculate who it was, but somebody probably took him under their respective wing in Green Bay and he’s returning the favor to the next generation.
Q: How does an offensive coordinator approach the idea of balance when he has running back like Adrian Peterson?
A: Well the more first downs we get, the more we get to stay on the field. Offense is so different from defense, where on defense if you’re successful you get to go three-and-out and sit on the bench. On offense we want to stay out there. S,o the better we become running the ball, which we’re already pretty good with Adrian, if we can be better throwing the ball we can stay out there and everybody can get more touches or more opportunities and that’s our plan, to be more productive in the passing game, to balance the running game with Adrian and then everyone will get their shot.
Q: Is Adrian just getting a day of rest?
A: Yeah, but I think he was doing some work inside.
Q: At this time of the offseason is there more experimentation going on with the offense?
A: A little bit. We want to have a little trial and error at this time of year, but we also want to be effective and efficient so there’s a fine line there with taking chances, but not getting careless. But we are, we have the whole playbook in and some of the guys’ minds are swimming because we don’t have a game plan that we can hone in on. We’ve had a full spring of offense and we’re really pushing them mentally, stretching them.
Q: Is that generally ahead of where you would be having the full playbook in at this point?
A: Well we’ve had a tremendous spring. The way that the offseason is structured with the phase 1, phase 2 and phase 3 we’ve had a lot of good football time and we felt comfortable staying on the gas.
Q: What’s the level of progress at 3rd QB with a James Vandenberg and McLeod Bethel-Thompson?
A: We like both of them. They both have done a good job. They both get the scraps. They don’t get a lot of plays. They stand back there for 15, 20, 25 minutes, get cold and then they get thrown in there and asked to perform at a high level, but both of them are very sharp and they’re working very hard.
Q: Is there anything that impresses you with Vandenberg?
A: He’s got great visualization skills. He doesn’t get a lot of turns, but I feel like he knows our system very well. He visualizes the concepts, he knows protections and when he gets in there the wheels don’t fall off. He definitely belongs up here.
Q: What did you want to learn about Joe Webb throughout the offseason program?
A: Joe just needs time on task. Joe is a great athlete, he’s a team-oriented person, he just needs turns at running routes and catching balls and doing wide receiver jobs.
Q: What’s the best case scenario in your vision for Webb?
A: That he can contribute on game day. We want our best 46 guys dressed on game day and we want each of them to have a role that can help us win.
Q: With most of your veterans at least three years in your system how has the communication changed?
A: There’s been good interaction, good feedback between the veterans and the coaches. We have a great center in John Sullivan who gives us feedback, Charlie Johnson and Phil Loadholt, those are steady guys up front that can really communicate really well so we’re thankful for that. With the skill position, it helps to have Greg here, Kyle Rudolph will be in his third year, Christian is going into his third year so they’re evolving into being veteran guys who can provide their insight.
Q: Do you have to be moldable as coordinator throughout this process?
A: We definitely want to be that way. A lot of players playing at this level are the guys that invented these techniques in the first place so we’d be crazy not to listen to them.
Q: Given your playing days, do you empathize with Toby Gerhart the last four years being stuck behind a superstar?
A: Toby’s done a fantastic job. He stepped up for us two years ago when Adrian got hurt. Even before Adrian’s knee Adrian had the ankle and Toby stepped up and did a great job for us. He’s our Steady Eddie. He’s there every day, he knows his protections, he hits the hole, the ball goes where it’s supposed to and he’s just pining away a little bit.
Q: What’s the difficulty of needing the amount of patience that he’s needed the last few years?
A: It’s hard when you get the butterflies and the anxiety before a game then you don’t get to exercise them. I know Toby has had to do that a lot because there’s a certain build up to every game on Saturday or Sunday and you don’t get to go out there and do your thing, you’re a little bit of a wreck there Sunday night and then he comes back and get ready to do it next week.
Q: Have you noticed him being humbled by being the guy in college to becoming a guy described as Steady Eddie?
A: Yeah, but that is the transition when you’re big man on campus and number two in the Heisman Trophy balloting and you come and you’re not the focal point of an offense it’s a definite transition. It’s hard to scale back like that.