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Frazier on Sunday's Struggles, Patterson's Playing Time and More

Posted Sep 9, 2013

Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier

I had a chance to go back and look at that tape with our staff and we’ll get a chance to talk through it a little bit later with our team as well. It was a tough day for our football team. We just didn’t play the way we needed to play on the road to be able to get a win. There are some things that we’ll definitely have to work to correct if we want to have a chance to be successful when we travel. Injury-wise we came out pretty good. The only guy that is a little bit banged up, and should be alright for practice, is John Sullivan. He suffered a left knee contusion, but he should be able to do some work on Wednesday when we come back and start preparation for our next ball game. Kevin Williams, we’re hoping to get some work out of him when we get back as well. We’ll see how he progresses as the week goes on, but other than that, we’re a pretty healthy football team. We know there are some things that we’ll have to get better at. I think we have the right people on our team and the right staff to get it corrected, but we have some work to do, without question.


Q: What are your thoughts on the hit on Sullivan?

A: You just hate to see guys get hit below the waist. You just know that can result in some serious injuries so you just hate to see it.

Q: When you looked at your offensive line, was it a physical thing or schematic?

A: There were times they physically did better than we did. We had our share of wins at the line of scrimmage, but their defensive line did a real good job. They did a good of handling our front at times. We have to get better in some areas, but as I mentioned we won some battles, but they won a few as well.

Q: Why were they so successful in the screen game?

A: We have to do a better job of getting in position for the screen. We were kind of blocked out on a couple where we needed certain guys to fit in certain postions and they didn’t and it resulted in the one big play, the 77 yarder, the others maybe a six yarder or eight yarder, but the 77 yarder was the back breaker. We have to do a better job of fitting it. That play should not end up being a touchdown, a 77-yard touchdown. We have to do a better job of fitting up screens.

Q: Did Ponder have the confidence that you want him to have?

A: He made some good plays. You’re really excited to see the throws out to Jerome (Simpson) down the sideline that was a great throw, the shot to Kyle (Rudolph) as well. He did some good things. You just have to develop that consistency all the way throughout. He did play with a lot of confidence at times, but you want it to be consistent throughout the course of four quarters. There were a lot of good things he did and there were some things that obviously we need to improve on and get better at, but he did some positive things as well.

Q: Was Cordarrelle Patterson’s back the reason we didn’t see much of him yesterday?

A: No, he’s healthy. We’re going to try to get him a few more snaps, but we have to get a few more first downs so we can stay on the field a little bit longer with our offense. But we want to get him more snaps for sure.

Q: Is he where he needs to be as far as knowing the system?

A: Yeah he is. It’s not an issue, just a coach’s decision.

Q: With the defense struggling yesterday, was it a physical thing or were people not where they were supposed to be?

A: We didn’t do a good job getting off of blocks against their run game. It wasn’t a fancy run game, but trying to defend the run you have to be able to sometimes, when you’re playing seven-man fronts, like we were yesterday a lot because of coverage, you have to be able to get off of blocks and somebody has to win the one-on-ones and we didn’t do a good job of that enough yesterday. They ended up rushing for a little over 100 yards and we have to do a better job of getting off of blocks and winning in those situations.

Q: Is easing Christian into a game with play calling still part of the process with him?

A: Not really. We were aggressive in what we were trying to do down the field. We wanted to take some shots and have some success in the passing game over the top of the defense. We found some ways to do that and some of the other things we did as well had some success. We just had some plays that hurt us at times, but it wasn’t because we didn’t want to be aggressive because of Christian. We wanted to be aggressive in the passing game.

Q: Was Sharrif Floyd a little tentative against the run?

A: Not so much tentative, but his technique at times was an issue. You have to be a little bit more technically sound in some of the things he was doing. There were times when they were running the football and you could see that he was trying to pass rush and that makes him a little bit softer and creates problems for us. He made some good plays in there, but there were times when his technique wasn’t what we wanted it to be and we kind of expected that with this being his first start after some time off as well, but we have to get some consistent play out of him at that position with the number of snaps he’s going to be getting over the course of the year.

Q: How much did you miss Kevin Williams?

A: Kevin’s a stalwart for our defense and has been for a long time. We missed Kevin. We definitely are a little bit different on defense without him and hopefully we’ll have him back this next week.

Q: When you were looking at Greg Jennings prior to signing him, did you look at him in regards to third downs, being an experienced guy who can help convert? Did that come up at all?

A: Yeah, that’s one of the reasons we acquired him, to help move the chains and also for his ability to run after the catch. That was a big factor when we were discussing whether or not to go after him. We’re looking for him to make an impact on third down as well as early downs with intermediate routes where he’s catching the ball and getting positive yards after the catch.

Q: You struggled on third down yesterday, how do you work him in there?

A: There are some things we can do to try to uncover him if people want to play him similar to what they did yesterday. Sometimes bracket him, also playing some man, but a lot of zone mixed in with some man, but there are some things that we can do a little bit different and we’ll look at that and try to have a better plan when we line up against Chicago this week.

Q: What do you think about Jerome Simpson’s performance from yesterday? 

A:  He played really good football for us. That catch he made on the stutter-go, that was a spectacular play and that was something we saw a year ago when we got him and had him in training camp and we’ve seen it this offseason as well. He has that bounce, that spring back in his legs and it showed up on Sunday. He made some great plays for us, even created an interference situation for us. So it’s good to have him back at top speed. Those big plays make a difference.

Q: Where there any third-and-longs or third-and-mediums you ended up in that you thought you maybe you’d have a better shot at if you had passed on first down?

A: There were times that we did try and throw on first down and we didn’t have a lot of success at times. That interception before the half, that was a first-down pass, so we had our moments where we threw on first downs, we didn’t get our shares at enough second-and-shorts, which made it hard for us on third down, whether we were passing the ball on first down or running the ball on first down. We had too many negative plays on first down.

Q: When you didn’t give the ball to Adrian Peterson on third-and-one and instead rolled out and to pass, was that because you hadn’t been successful running the ball?

A: No, just the decision we made. We could have done either-or if we ran it, but we didn’t. We chose to pass.

Q: What does Desmond Bishop have to do to get on the field ?

A: I don’t know if there is anything more he needs to do other than just to stay healthy and just continue to work as hard as he can. We do have a plan for him and we’ll see how things go this week, but nothing different that he has to do other than just continue to learn and continue to work as hard as he can.

Q: Do you think that the offensive line has been a little more slow to develop?

A: Played a good front yesterday. We think we have a very good offensive line as well. We didn’t play as well on a consistent basis as we need to to win a game like we played yesterday. In order for us to do what we want to do on offense, we count on our offensive line to be a dominant factor for us and we were not yesterday. We didn’t win sometimes in pass situations, we didn’t win enough times in run situations. We’ve got some things that we’ll have to work on that we’ll get better at and our guys know what has to be done for the offense to be successful. But no particular one, there’s not one thing that you could point to and say this is why we didn’t perform as well as we should have yesterday.

Q: Can you pinpoint what Matt Kalil is struggling with right now?

A: There are some things that we’ve got to work with him on. We’ve got to go back and look at his technique, just some basic things that he did so well that we’ve got to get him back to doing on a repeated basis. We’re going to have to do some technique and fundamental work to get him back to a good foundation because we need him to play well on every snap.

Q: How big of a play was it when Ponder tripped on the handoff which resulted in a lost fumble?

A: Big play. We’re down three with the ball in our hands and we felt like we had a good play call there. It was a big play. It put them on a short field again and you don’t want to keep doing that putting, them on short fields.

Q: If there are more games in the future where turnovers pop up, can you win?

A: You know you have to be exceptional to win those games when you finish minus in the turnover ratio. And we haven’t shown that we are exceptional to be able to do that. Even a season ago we didn’t win any games where we were minus in the turnover ratio department. We don’t want to finish minus, we want to be positive, and yesterday was not good. I think that they were plus-2 and we were minus-2. So that’s not the way we want to go into the ball game, feeling like we’ve got to overcome that. We don’t want to turn the ball over. We want to take the ball away, but not turn it over.

Q: Do you think it was a difficult debut for Jeff Locke?

A: Difficult? You mean the results? He wants to do better. We all want him to do better. So much of what we do is based on field position. We’ve got to do better, we’ve got to do better.

Q: How do you think Zach Line performed?

A: He did an okay job. There were some moments where he did some good things and there were some moments where he’ll have to learn from. But overall he did pretty good.

Q: After Rhett Ellison had that first lead block on Adrian Peterson’s touchdown did you think about him using him more in the backfield?

A: No. We felt like we had enough snaps with him along with splitting them with what he did Zach. We even let Rhett line up at tight end as well, so no second guessing on the number of snaps he had at fullback. 

Q: With the defensive backs spending as much time in the nickel, would it have been nicer to get a little more pressure on the quarterback to force him to make decisions?

A: They didn’t have a lot of drop backs. It was so much checking off to the backs, whether it was (Joique Bell) or (Reggie Bush). Not a lot of drop backs so they were getting the ball out of their hands fast. We knew that would be the case going in. We saw their offensive line and we felt like we had an advantage there, but a lot of quick throws. We did get some hits on him but there were not a lot of drop backs over the course of the game.

Q: How much did it affect you guys that they basically took away your pass rushing, your strength?

A: We’ve encountered that before. It’s not the first team to use that strategy. There are some things that we’ve got to do better to help us when teams do that. I would not be surprised if we saw some of that this coming weekend as well. We’ll have to devise a better plans for teams that do that, that don’t let us rush the quarterback.

Q: Was that about as bad as the defensive line has played in some time?

A: Our defensive line didn’t play a bad game. Some of the things that Detroit did wasn’t so much because our defensive line wasn’t playing well. We didn’t handle that screen game as we should have and we didn’t get off our blocks as well as we needed to, sometimes at the second level in the run game. But our defensive line, our ends I thought they played a very good football game. Fred Evans did a good job, Letroy was a little bit inconsistent, kind of up and down, Sharrif did about what we’d expect him to do as a rookie but overall our defensive line wasn’t necessarily the reason we didn’t play as well as we needed to play on defense.

Q: How do you think Erin Henderson played at middle linebacker?

A: He did okay. He did a good job. He was sound in what he did. The interception was a big play for us and he was where he was supposed to be most of the time, so he played pretty good. Just got to keep giving him more snaps to get better playing the middle linebacker position.