Vikings Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave
Good morning. Looking forward to Seattle. Big Thursday today to keep getting prepared for this week’s opponent.
Q: When teams unload blitz packages at you, what do you do in return to stop that?
A: Well, make plays in the run and pass game. That would be what you want to do to beat that. I think they (Tampa Bay) blitzed about as much as other people did. We hit them a couple times, they definitely hit us a couple of times.
Q: When you look at Seattle, how do they compare as far as how many blitzes they’ll throw at you?
A: That remains to be seen. They’re not going to tell us their game plan. I know we’re not going to tell them ours.
Q: But from what you’ve seen on film?
A: Yeah, on film they haven’t blitzed as much relative to other defenses.
Q: What is the next step for
A: Yeah, that’s going to be part of the process with Christian and our whole offense, is getting better when they blitz and when they don’t blitz, completing a high rate of passes and making some plays and that’s part of the deal, part of the process.
Q: Why do you think it’s been a struggle to get
A: I think the injury played a little bit of a role but he’s getting back to being close to healthy. We know he’s working hard each and every day in practice and we’re looking forward to, like you said, really getting more production out of him and sending more balls his way.
Q: Has separation been an issue for him?
A: Well, if you look at the film I guess you could answer that in the affirmative on a couple of plays, but we need to do a better job also of asking him to run different types of routes as well. We’re looking forward to that starting this week.
Q: By that, do you mean you think cornerbacks are starting to see a tendency of him going long and not respecting it?
A: I think they’re always going to respect his speed and then he’s done some other good things too. Ran some good routes there in Detroit that first week back and now we’re still working through his issue with his foot and I think he’s getting better each and every week.
Q: Are there opportunities to exploit the middle of defenses deep?
A: Most definitely. I think we had a couple good shots against Washington. I know we hit Percy (Harvin) there and we definitely want to do that in the middle as well as on the sideline.
Q: How much of an emphasis was ball security this week?
A: It remains an emphasis, it definitely does. Those plays are tough to overcome, but I thought Tampa did a good job. Both guys made good plays, I think number 71 made the play on Jerome and of course number 20 did it to Adrian (Peterson) after he performed that spin move, so Tampa Bay created those turnovers and we want to do a good job of protecting it, as you mentioned.
Q: With Christian being off target on some of those short passes (vs. Tampa Bay), do you chalk that up to only having one practice during the week and not having the timing on the routes?
A: I think it’s part of the process. We’ve got a young quarterback, as we realize, who is in the developmental stage and he’s done some outstanding things through the first half of our regular season. We’ve also done some not so outstanding things as well, as an offense and him personally. It’s part of the process I believe. He’s going to work through it. We’re going to work through it as an offense and try to be more consistent, as you said, in the accuracy department.
Q: What’s impressed you the most about
A: He’s very intent, as we know, very driven, and just has worked tremendously hard to get his body back in shape. He’s even sharper this year than he was last year in terms of pass protection. All things are really pointing in the right direction with him.
Q: As you look at Seattle’s offense, you guys having a similar West Coast offense to theirs, what’s the biggest thing that’s different now between the old Vikings scheme and what you are doing?
A: I don’t know that I could speak to the scheme before very well. I really tried to immerse myself in the personnel and not so much the scheme when we first got here.
Q: How have players responded to that in terms of making changes and teaching them new things?
A: I’m trying to think back on that. I don’t know that I’d have a good answer for you on that. We do have a great group of players. They’ve had success here over the years and our whole offensive staff is fantastic, the staff that Leslie (Frazier) put together, I’m glad to be a part of it.
Q: Has it been a challenge for you these past few weeks when Christian has struggled to keep him confident?
A: I think he’s on top of that. I think he’s a terrific athlete, as we know, and this process right now that we’re going through is definitely a difficult stage and we’re working as hard and as fast as we can to get through this stage, but it’s part of the process of a young QB and a young offense.
Q: Did you have to go through that in Atlanta?
A: Most definitely, yeah.
Q: What pointers did you pick up from that?
A: You’ve got to keep working, you’ve got to keep working hard and remain focused on the opponent each and every week and work as hard as you can and come out the other end better off for it.
Q: During the time you spent with Russell Wilson in January (at the Senior Bowl), what do you recall about that?
A: That was a very beneficial week for our staff and Russell was one of the real standouts on the offensive side of the ball in terms of leadership and awareness.
Q: What specifically leadership-wise stood out?
A: I think his command of the huddle, his work ethic at practice.
Q: What do you see out of Seattle’s secondary, especially their cornerbacks?
A: Good size, good size and they contest each and every pass, so we’re going to have to be very precise and very attentive to detail to be efficient in the passing game.
Q: Are they as physical of a pair of cornerbacks as you’ve seen this year?
A: Yeah, and they’re playing well, the whole defense is really playing well. You can sense they have confidence and momentum and believe in what they’re doing.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2012
Vikings Defensive Coordinator Alan Williams
Good Morning. It’s good to be back here at Winter Park to get resettled and get ready for another hard fought ball game. Seattle’s a team that rushes the ball well with a physical running back as well as a good quarterback, a guy that is efficient, a guy that handles the offense well and, of course, the added dimension, an escape artist in terms of getting out of the pocket and using his feet to beat you, as well as him arm. We have a big challenge ahead of us this week going out to Seattle.
Q: Is Russell Wilson a guy they design to get out of the pocket or does he just want to get out on his own?
A: I don’t think he wants to get out there on his own. I think it’s a necessity when it breaks down. When the protection breaks down, he does get out of the pocket, but he is not a running quarterback. He scrambles to throw the football. When all else fails, he will run to pick up first downs or to stay out of negative plays.
Q: Do you feel like you have additional insights on Wilson because of the Senior Bowl experience?
A: Just that what you see is what you get and he’s as good as advertised. He showed those same sparks at the Senior Bowl. Even then, he was a poised, confident guy that you couldn’t rattle at the Senior Bowl. He’s a guy that picked up the schemes very well, not that we did a whole bunch, but what we did do he picked up and showed great leadership even then so we know the things that we’re seeing on tape now. We expected those things.
Q: Is there anything you can learn from playing Robert Griffin a few weeks ago when preparing for another mobile quarterback?
A: Don’t let them run for a long touchdown at the end of a ball game to win the game. No, really, just make sure that we keep him in the pocket and don’t take that for granted, whatsoever, and try not to let him get out and when he does, make sure that we have guys that don’t have their backs turned to the ball and we hustle and get him down on the ground.
Q: Leslie Frazier said you went through your basic run fits with the guys earlier this week. Was that something just to hammer home the importance of gap discipline?
A: A little bit. We always go through our run fits and last week’s ball game was just a factor of guys trying to do too much. When you try to do too much, usually you don’t take care of first things first, which is your gap, your assignment. The point is to, every week, hammer it down just to be consistent. It’s part of the process that we play good run defense, that guys are in their gap, the importance of it. The thing is, you can point to tape and say, ‘Hey guys, this is what we’ve been talking about all year long. When you’re not in your gap, this is exactly what happens.’ We have their attention, for sure, and we’ll see how we function on Sunday.
Q: Is that something that quickly becomes contagious, where one guy is trying to do too much, then the second guy, then the third guy?
A: It is because guys are saying, ‘You know what, we’re in an eight-man front. You should be able to stop the run. It got out. What happened? Maybe I should do something else to stop it.’ But that’s not the case if guys do their job and take care of their assignment. We’ll be fine
Q: Is that easy to be corrected at this point in the season?
A: So easy it’s hard. And really, every coach in the NFL, I think, preaches it, but you don’t see it show up every weekend so guys really have to buy into it. I think our guys do, especially when you have those big negative plays and you just shouldn’t. Again, we do have our guys’ attention and we’ll get it fixed.
Q: Is there anything to take from having some time off and being able to look at yourself instead of constantly game plan?
A: We always want to take a look at ourselves. Each week we self-scout ourselves. We take a look at our tendencies to see what we’re calling, how we’re doing it. Sometimes when you have a breakdown or a game like that, you have a tendency to jump off the deep end and say, ‘Whoa, it’s broken.’ But what we did, we went back and looked at ourselves for a couple of days and the things we’re doing alright, we just, I hate to say the same to say the same old song, but it’s still about guys doing their job, executing the defense and making sure guys are in the right place. And when you go back and take a look at the tape, you say, ‘Well, we’re supposed to win right here and we didn’t.’ It usually comes down to technique or guys doing exactly what the coaches are asking them to do.
A: We are. We do the same things. We’re not going to adjust the defense. We didn’t build the defense around Cook. It’s a collective effort in terms of the players that we have so when one guy goes down, we don’t change a whole bunch. Really, we don’t change at all. We do what we’re going to do and guys have to execute the defense.
Q: With Chris Cook out, does that hurt you going against the bigger, physical wide receivers like Sidney Rice this week?
A: Everybody has a bigger-type receiver and it’s going to be a challenge no matter who it is. Sidney is a big guy that catches the ball well, he shields guys off, he can go up and get the ball, but even the guy on the other side of the field, Golden Tate, he’s a speed guy and he gets down the field also. Each receiver has unique challenges to what they offer physically.
Q: Is there a play or two of Marshawn Lynch’s that stands out when you’re watching film?
A: More than a play or two. There are a bunch of them and usually his best plays are ones that are 10 or 15 yards where there’s nothing there and he may side-step a guy, jump-cut, jump-cut, shimmy through a hole and maybe run over a guy and pick up an extra four or five yards. He does a great job after contact and after that, you see him hit the edge and he outruns defensive backs to the end zone. He’s a fantastic back. It’s not just two, he has a couple every ball game.
A: We’re going to ease him back in just to make him feel comfortable. At this point, I’m not sure if he can go out and play a full ball game. Conditioning out on the field and in practice is a little bit different from playing in a ball game. We want to be cautious with him and we would rather be conservative than be really aggressive and put him out there for a full game and him not be ready. We’ll ease him into it and see how he does and see how this week goes for him. If he’s feeling great at the end of the week and says, ‘Hey coach, I’m ready to go.’ We’ll ease into it faster, if you will. If he says, ‘You know what, my conditioning isn’t quite where it was and I’m getting my feet and my legs up underneath me.’ Again, we’ll take it easy on him.
A: Jamarca’s strength is against the run, but all our safeties tackle well so I’m not concerned that if Mistral’s in the ball that he can’t get the job done. We’re very confident in him and that he will tackle and can tackle. If he’s in the hole, he’ll get the back on the ground so that part is not a big concern.
Q: How do you pick your spots for Mistral?
A: When, at the end of week, he tells us how he feels and how much he’s ready to go. We’ll make a game plan based on that.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2012
Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer
Q: What stands out to you about Leon Washington?
A: He’s a really tough guy to bring down. He’s got great vision, I call it running back vision because that’s what he is. He runs so hard, and once he finds a seam, which a lot of guys can’t see, he can see it and he hits it downhill so fast, he’s extremely hard to tackle. Great quickness, great toughness, he’s a formidable threat.
Q: What’s his strength, punt or kick return?
A: Right now, he’s better at kickoff and I think although he’s very good on punts, I don’t want to take that away from him, I think his best trait is kickoff returns because he’s downhill, faster. He’s already got the ball, he’s running downhill 15, 20 yards before anybody even gets near him and that’s where he’s a big-time threat, because again, he can see that seam, hit it full-speed and we’ve got to do a great job keeping leverage, great job tackling him, great job wrapping him up and getting him down.
Q: Do you want
A: Probably a little bit of both, depending on the situation. Last Thursday night, we were hoping they’d bring it out because we felt we had a good opportunity to get him tackles inside the 20. With this guy, if we get some touchbacks I’ll be pretty happy.
Q: Are you surprised that Tampa Bay was kneeling down two yards into the end zone?
A: Very surprised.
Q: They put a handful of kicks through the end zone themselves?
A: Yeah, he had a great day. Michael Koenen, he can kick the ball now. He’s got a phenomenal leg. He did when he was in Atlanta. That’s why they signed him in Tampa, because he’s a dual-threat punter and kickoff guy and of course can hold for field goals, so he is a very talented guy.
Q: How frustrating is that for a return guy like
A: It’s very frustrating for all of us and then we kept preaching though in the huddle, ‘He’s going to give us one.’ You hope you don’t kick off that many times but when you do get an opportunity, I don’t know if you guys felt it but you see it on tape, the crowd. As soon as the ball is in the air, they know he is going to bring it out, all the crowd starts standing up, the hairs on the back of my neck because I know we got a chance and he darn near broke it. He got up to the kicker.
Q: Would you have been okay with the one where he was tip-toeing along the backend, if he gets it and brings it out?
A: Tell me in your opinion what would have happened, then I’ll tell you whether or not I would have liked it. I’m just kidding, I’m only kidding. Because at that point of the game, you want the ball in Percy’s hands and I know he was trying to bring it out, and I wouldn’t have said anything. If he gets to the eighteen, nineteen, at least we’re giving it a shot because he has a chance to break it every time, and our guys are feeling the confidence right now, we think we have a pretty good kickoff return team. We just have to keep it going.
Q: Would something like that have disrupt the timing of the blocks up front?
A: It may have a little bit, but we kept telling them, ‘Hey, you have to keep your relationship.’ The backline’s got to be their relationship, the front line, it’s a longer block. We kept preaching, ‘Hey, you’re going to be on your blocks a little bit longer. Keep your feet moving, the little things we talk about.’ But yeah, you’re right. The timing would have been a bit off because it was so high and so deep.
Q: We didn’t get to ask you last week. Was the penalty legitimate that brought back Percy’s touchdown on the opening kickoff against Arizona?
A: It was a good call. You have to call that, because where our guy was, his hands were right here, I don’t even know if he hit him, but because the guy dove for Percy and Percy was going to make him miss anyway so I don’t even think we needed to, but because in relationship to where he was, the official who called it was back here and it looked like a block in the back.
Q: Is that something that is easy to correct?
A: It’s very easy to correct. We’ve been in that situation before and we all felt bad about it and you just go on to the next play and learn from it and move on. You can’t really harp on it, you just have to move on.
Q: What’s your level of concern with where
A: He’s been in the League a long time. He’s fixed problems before. I know Coach (Leslie) Frazier said it yesterday and he’s exactly right, he’s a pro. He’s got to come out of his funk a little bit. He hurt us the other night. He knows it. He felt bad because we think we have a pretty good punt cover team and he hurt our team momentum-wise, he hurt our team field position-wise, and I know he’ll come back from that. He’s going to have a great week this week. He had a good day at practice yesterday and we just have to get him to bounce back, just like any other player and any other position. We have to bounce back and continue to get better.
Q: Is there any problems mechanically?
A: I think he mentioned his drop and that’s probably what it was. When studying it on tape and looking at it myself, and looking at it even on the practice tape, when he mis-hits them, it’s usually the drop that’s inside. He kicks it across his body, like a lot of punters. It’s all based on the drop. He’s got a tremendous leg, we all know that. We’ve all seen it. It all comes down to the drop and if he’s got a good drop, he’s going to hit a good punt.
Q: What is your reaction to theory that his outside interests might be distracting him?
A: The only thing I’ve focused on this week, that’s a good question, but the only thing I’ve focused on this week is how we’re going to beat Seattle. The other stuff, I don’t care. I don’t care about his opinions, I don’t care about his off-the-field stuff. All I care about is beating Seattle and how he can help us beat Seattle.
Q: But he’s putting in the time here?
A: Oh yeah, sure. Absolutely.