Vikings Defensive Coordinator Alan Williams
Q: How do you guys make the adjustments with coming indoors?
A: It’s not much of an adjustment. Actually, it’s kind of a good thing in terms of not having to deal with the rain. It’s a walk-thru and we’re more concerned with the assignments than actually getting out. It’s not taxing on the body whatsoever and running around. It’s probably a good thing just to come in. No adjustments whatsoever.
Q: What are you hoping to see from your defense tonight?
A: The same things we hope to see each day, a little bit of improvement. We look to see that we’re a little sharp in our assignments, that we’re still running around and flying around to the ball, consistency and those types of things. We want to be smart, situational football players. Every game has its own situations and we want to make sure that we handle those situations correctly. We want to be physical, a physical defense that flies around and we’re looking for consistency in those areas.
Q: What have you learned about these guys working with them for the first time now that you’re five days into pads?
A: They like to work. Having pads on for five days in a row is tough and there hasn’t been a drop off whatsoever and how they are running to the ball. They fuss about it but when the coach blows the whistle, they show up and we tell them that’s the first rule to success, to show up and be ready to work and they’ve done that. That’s a good step in the right direction.
Q: Is there any player in particular you are going to take a hard look at?
A: Not really. Right now, and it’s still early, everyone wants to make us make decisions in terms of who should be in and who shouldn’t but it’s still early in the process where we’re still evaluating, we’re still installing, we’re still putting things in, we’re still learning. They’re still getting used to the staff, the defense, us as a whole. We’re going to wait. Really, we want to wait until we get up over to San Francisco and then we’ll start making some decisions, moving guys around based on performance but it’s still very early in the process.
Q: How many cornerbacks would you like to keep?
A: I’d like to keep all of them and two days ago, three days ago, the secondary turned over a ton of balls and you can never have enough good corners and enough healthy corners but we’ll see how the makeup of the team goes because ultimately, it’s not just about the defense and about how many corners we want to keep but what will make the defense and the team more successful. Usually you keep about five, sometimes six. We’ll see how that shakes out when it’s all said and done.
Q: Are the guys at the bottom of the cornerbacks list making it hard for you? Will you end up keeping five or six?
A: I’ll see what our GM thinks and what Coach Frazier thinks about that but they’re really making it hard on us and that’s a good thing. Anytime you have competition, that means guys are working, guys are stepping, they’re making plays. It’s a good problem to have, to have guys make you make decisions about who stays and who goes and ultimately, I think that there will be one or two guys that go and will go on to play with some other teams.
Q: Can you compare the cornerback position now to what you saw on tape from the end of last year?
A: I’m not sure how the preseason went and how those things went. I know there were a lot of injuries last year so that’s always a tough situation to form your defense, to be successful when you have that many injuries. We’ll kind of wait to see how things shape up. Last year was last year and this year is a whole different year in terms of how the guys are playing, the depth we have at corner. I’m happy with how things are shaping up.
A: No, I didn’t need any reassurance. Being new here, I’m just coming in and seeing how guys work, making evaluations fresh and new, a clean slate so to speak and evaluating Jasper here going forward, those things that he does and we’ll kind of see where he’s been consistent throughout these five practices but it has only been five practices. We’d like to see how he does in the ball game and go from there.
Q: What have you seen from
A: He’s smart, he’s intelligent, he communicates well, he knows the defense, he flies around, he has leadership qualities about him. The list kind of goes on and on. You can never have too many guys who can fill in different spots and that’s a good thing to have and Erin has done that pretty well. In the base defense, he has been at the Will linebacker and in nickel, he can go in our sub-packages, he can go inside and Erin can really play every one of those positions and so that’s good for us if someone misses a day or goes down, Erin can fill in all those spots and the big thing is when he does fill in those spots, he plays winning football.
Q: What is
A: He did a little bit yesterday. We’re bringing him along slowly. He did some individual, he did some group work, limited team and each day we’d like him to do a little bit more and see how fast he can get up to full speed. We want to be smart about it. The hamstrings are a delicate thing and when you’re a skill guys and you have to use your legs and you have to run and run at a high level or high speeds, you don’t want to mess around with that. We’re a little bit cautious with that.
A: You know what, I have to wait and see what the trainers say about Blanton. If they’re there, we’ll use them. Again, we’ll be smart about it. If they’re not, we’ll just hold tight and someone else will hold down the spot until they get back.
Q: Coach Frazier mentioned the slight tweaks in the offensive line due to injury. Are there any tweaks in the defense because of injury?
A: When you have camp, and you are in pads and you are practicing every day, when you’re practicing hard, I don’t think any of the guys are going to feel 100% after the first practice. So, it’s something that guys just have to work through and once you get to the season it’s the same way, you never feel 100%. The whole NFL is like that, we’re no different so we just have to work through it and keep being consistent.
A: There’s always a fine line, but we’re dealing with highly tuned athletes, we’re dealing with guys that put a lot of work in the offseason. Our older guys are used to it, they’ve been through camps, they know how to manage their bodies, they know what their bodies are like, they’re in tune to their bodies. They’re listening to their bodies and their bodies are telling them kinda how they feel. Coach Frazier is an ex-player, along with a coach, so he is in tune to the players and he’ll know when to push them, and when to back off and his coaches and players will follow his lead.
Q: What more are you waiting to see out of
A: We’re just waiting to evaluate him just to see what kind of player he is and what he does. We want to evaluate a guy on a broad body of work and not five days worth of practice. And it’s not just Harrison, it’s everyone. We’re waiting to see what guys do in a live situation. Then we will look at the film, grade the film, evaluate guys and then move them around based on performance, long term performance, not just one or two days, and then make decisions there.
Q: Are you being cautious about what you are showing in the preseason?
A: No, we’re not, we’re not. We’re going to worry about ourselves and if we can execute our defense, we’re not worried about what other guys are seeing and if we’re trying to hide something from the first game or the second game, or hold something back. We just want to make sure that we are fundamentally sound, technique sound and we’re not trying to trick ourselves. So, we’re just going to go out and do what we do and make sure that other teams can execute against what we do.