Vikings Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave
Getting ready for a Thursday practice and ready to bounce back versus Green Bay this week.
Q: How big of a difference will it be if Clay Matthews is not able to play?
A: It would make a difference. He’s a game-changer for sure. They’ve moved him this year to play over more left tackles rather than right tackles and he’s really having an outstanding year.
Q: Does an injury like that make a difference on how much you run or pass it in a game?
A: It does. It affects the schemes that we would want to employ to account for him and make sure that he doesn’t wreck the game.
Q: Is there more you put into the week of preparation due to not knowing if he’ll play or not?
A: We have our plans that we’re ready to adapt based on anybody being able to play physically or not. He’s someone that our focus is squarely on.
Q: Are they easier to diagnose with Charles Woodson out?
A: I think they’ve been doing a good job mixing it up. Charles Woodson used to put his own spin on things a little bit last year and he really posed some problems for us in the second game last year, but with the guys they have playing that position right now, the rookie from Vandy (Casey Hayward), he has his own attributes too. It’s not like we can take a deep breath.
Q: How surprised are you with Casey Hayward?
A: He’s played very well. He’s an excellent blitzer, has a number of interceptions. He’s really proved to be an asset for their team.
Q: When you have a great quarterback like Aaron Rodgers, are receivers interchangeable?
A: I think it goes hand-in-hand. They have a good group and they’ve been together for a number of years. They’ve established a rapport. It probably goes hand-in-hand. There’s good synergy there with experienced guys that have ability.
Q: How frustrating was it on Sunday when you had all of the drops by the receivers? As a play caller, do you tend to shy away from calling passes when there are that many drops?
A: No, and we weren’t keeping count at all. We just know that we had to keep plugging, keep churning and try to keep playing better so we could get back into that ball game. That was uncharacteristic of our group of wide receivers and we expect them to bounce back. We had a good practice yesterday and looking forward to getting out on the field and making a lot of improvements in the catching department.
Q: As a coordinator, was there anything that you said to them?
A: There’s always coaching points that their position coaches make. I make points when I feel like it’s necessary with their position coaches present. We all want to really remedy any mistake that would happen rather than just pointing it out. We really want to get to the root of it and help them improve the next time.
Q: What do you think happened?
A: There are a number of reasons for drops. At times, it’s your eyes don’t follow it. At times, you don’t have the right hand placement. Concentration comes into it. We try to identify the root of each and every mistake so we can really help our players improve rather than just pointing it out. All players know they need to catch or not the throw the ball in the dirt or miss a block, but we really want to do a good job as coaches of explaining what we think was the root of it and how we can eliminate that root.
Q: Do any one of those things stand out consistently when it comes to
A: No, I don’t think so. Not any specific one, and he had a really super day yesterday, so we’re ready to bounce back and make amends for those mistakes in Chicago.
Q: Mentally, do you think the drops piled up on him?
A: No, I don’t. I don’t think anything happened mentally. It was uncharacteristic. We know that and I know he’s really excited to get back out and make amends for it.
Q: What have you seen from
A: Seen some good play-making ability. Jarius is a little bit slight in stature as well all know, but he’s tough and he’s proven his toughness in the last two games.
Q: How has Jerome handled the whole year overall with not having things work out exactly the way he would want?
A: I sense that he’s handled it very well. He comes out here every day and works very hard in practice. Besides the injury bug and the suspension, there have been some bumps in the road, but he’s kept all four tires on the pavement and we’re still going forward.
Q: Does him being in an offense that’s new to him have anything to do with his struggles this year?
A: I don’t believe so. He’s really done a good job in the meetings. He plays our split-end, as we know, and he’s got to know a lot of route conversions and he’s been a tremendous blocker in the run game. I don’t think that’s a factor.
Q: When you had third-and-two and fourth-and-two last week inside the 10 and you didn’t use
A: We anticipated blitz. We didn’t do very well in any of the third or fourth-and-shorts during the game. I think the first two third-and-shorts we threw it if I’m not mistaken for 25 yards each time. We anticipated blitz there. The next two third-and-shorts we did run Adrian and we got stuffed. That’s an area where we need to improve, both conceptually and execution wise. We’ve got to make improvements when we’re in that situation in the future.
Q: Were you looking for
A: We had some options on that play. None of them materialized and looking back on it, you always wanted to do something different with the result we got, which wasn’t what we had hoped for.
Q: What were your thoughts on the hit that Lance Briggs put on Kyle on the crossing route?
A: That’s typical of zone defenses. When someone crosses your face there and you’re within five yards, you can knock them off the route, as long as you’re within five yards. That’s a common occurrence. You just have to handle it.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2012
Vikings Defensive Coordinator Alan Williams
Good morning. We just finished the walk through with short yardage, goal line and third down situational football. The guys were pretty tuned in. For myself, I’m looking forward to preparing for my first experience with the Minnesota Vikings, Lambeau Field, Green Bay rivalry. The guys are excited, ready to go and are preparing well for Sunday’s ball game.
Q: When you look at what Aaron Rodgers has done against the Vikings on film, has there been anything that worked?
A: You know what, it’s worked, it just hadn’t worked consistently enough, in terms of the defensive execution. We’ve done a good job of game planning and probably taken away what they like to do best, which is getting the deep shots down the field, we just have to do it more consistently, in terms of when he does scramble, when he does get out of the pocket, make sure we play deep-to-short and take away the deep balls. If he scrambles for a first down, if he throws a check down, let him have that and line up and play again rather than it being a touchdown, a big play and that hurting you.
Q: What are the risks when you blitz a guy like Rodgers?
A: When you blitz or bring pressure, it’s always, or usually, a high-risk, high-reward type of thing. He can hurt you just because he has so many weapons back there, the tight end, the wide receiving group, even the running backs are excellent in the screen game, in terms of getting out and getting extra yardage. They get the lineman out and they make big plays. It’s an explosive big-play offense that makes you defend everyone, not just one phase, one aspect of the football game.
Q: Is playing Cover Two becoming the way to defend the Packers?
A: I think most teams are trying to defend it that way, but if you do that you have to make sure that you can still rush the passer with four because if you can’t, and he’s back there long enough, no matter what you do, he’s going to find an opening. He has an uncanny way of finding open guys. I don’t know if they practice it a ton, and they must, the scramble drill, because guys get open, guys catch the ball and it seems like someone’s always in the right spot.
Q: In general, where do you stand on blitzing quarterbacks? Do you feel like you’re an aggressive coach that way or do you prefer to just rush four?
A: Aggressive when necessary. We look at the tape and we see if, protection-wise, they can get home. I don’t want to blitz just to blitz and to say, ‘Hey we look sexy on tape. We’re bringing guys and we’re shaking it up and doing it different.’ We want to blitz for a reason. Some blitzes are designed to knock it out in the run game, to back them up, to get the offense out of phase and some blitzes are to attack a protection. We’ll look at tape and see if we can get home and see if we can change up the routine and see if it’s effective for us.
Q: As great a quarterback as he is, it seems the last three or four meetings with the Vikings he’s even better. Is that a familiarity thing?
A: I’m not sure if I’d say better. Ultimately, whatever happens is, whatever the quarterback rating is, we want to make sure we win the football game. Now, whether he’s better or worse, I’m not sure about that. You’d have to look at stats and kind of see that. Our job is to make sure that he doesn’t score and the number one goal is to make sure we come out of the ball game, as a team, winning the football game. So if we do that, whether he’s better or worse, we’re looking for a win.
Q: How big of a test is their receiving group for your secondary?
A: The biggest test that we’ll face all year, from a group standpoint. Again, you have to defend everybody they have on the football field. You can’t just take away one guy. If you take away one guy, another guy will hurt you. We’ll have to be honest, we’ll have to play sound, fundamental football and everyone will have to stand up and do their job this week because they can hurt you.
Q: When you look back at the Chicago game, what could you have done differently to get more pressure?
A: I don’t know if it’s even more pressure, but we just have to be better on third down. That’s where we faltered. When you let a team consistently have another set of downs and other chances to go down the field, that’s where you have to be better on third down. We have to get off the field on third down and that’s always our focus, but we have to pay special attention to the third down and we have to get off the football field.
Q: Do you need anything more out of
A: Nope. Jared just has to do his job just like everyone else on the team. It’s not just one person. When we’re not getting off the field on third down, it’s coverage and rush, it’s rush and coverage. No different from two weeks before that when we were playing Detroit and we got off the field. It wasn’t one guy, it wasn’t one scheme, and it wasn’t one coverage. It was the whole package. We covered well, we rushed well. It’s both.
Q: Jared has been at his best against the Packers. Do you think he relishes playing against Aaron Rodgers?
A: You want to play the best. If you want to be considered the best, you want to be able to play well against the best and Aaron Rodgers is considered one of the best quarterbacks in the League at this time. I think anyone that plays at a high level wants to see if they’re playing against the best there is and Aaron Rodgers is playing at an extremely high level. I imagine, and I’m not speaking for Jared, that he does want to play well, and for a variety of reasons. It’s the next ball game, we need to get a win and it keeps this phase, and this is the third quarter of our four quarter phase, and this is the last ball game of that quarter, so we need to play well.
Q: When you have a great quarterback like Rodgers or Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, are receivers interchangeable?
A: I hate to say that. You have to give the receivers some credit. I think those receivers would make any quarterback look good. They catch the ball, they run good routes, they’re good after the catch, so I think it’s a little bit of both.
Q: What have you seen from Randall Cobb on film?
A: They move him around in a variety of spots. He lines up in the backfield, they run toss cracks with him, they move him outside, he runs screens, he’s great after the catch. It’s going to be a challenge for us just to identify where he is and know how to use him and get him down on the ground. He does a good job.
Q: Do you view Cobb like a
A: I don’t think so. Trap question there. He’s good at what he does. He’s exceptional at what he does as Percy is. They present a challenge because they run like running backs when they’re in the backfield and they run routes like receivers when they’re out wide. Anytime a guy can do that, you have to decide whether to put a corner on him, put a linebacker on him, put a safety on him. You’d like a linebacker on him in the run game and you’d like a corner on him in the pass game and you can’t do both so you have to pick your poison.
Q: Do you think Jared’s injuries have been a factor in his sack production?
A: I don’t know. I think everyone in the NFL at this time of year, when you’re at the end of November going into December, I’m not sure that anyone in the League is healthy. Every player is working through some bumps and bruises and every player is a little leg weary. It’s just a matter of who can sustain it and who can function well mentally and physically while they’re a little bit beat up. I think Jared does a good job of doing that. He’s a professional, he shows up every Sunday ready to go. They just have to work through those aches and pains during the week. Every player is going through the same thing Jared is going through right now.
Q: What was your view of Jared’s block?
A: I don’t know. I haven’t read the official report. He’s trying to get a block to spring our guy through to get a touchdown. I’m not sure. You can’t see it great on the film, but it is what it is. The NFL gets to make the final choice on that and we respect their decision.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2012
Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer
Q: If Percy Harvin is available to go, would he be available for kickoff returns?
A: We haven’t really discussed it that far yet. That’s a good question because at the end of the day, he means so much to our football team and offensively he gets more reps but I’d love to have him back there. If that’s how it goes, that’d be great.
Q: What was your assessment from what you saw from Percy in practice yesterday?
A: He didn’t do anything for me, so I didn’t even see him, to be honest with you. We went out and kicked in the weather, in the cold weather so we had the punter, kicker and snapper out there for about a half an hour doing some work in the cold on the grass.
Q: How did
A: Good. He’s a mentally tough kid, he really is. That’s one of the things I’ve liked about him since day one when I first met him. He’ll be fine. The other day he did not get underneath it enough. He drove it a little bit too far. It was great protection and they knocked it down. We told him, [Julius] Peppers’ is the guy. He did that to us last year and he’s done it his whole career. I think he’s got 13 blocks. They had really virtually no penetration and I thought we blocked it up pretty good. He jumped straight up and timed it up perfect. On a little kick, you’re going to knock it down.
Q: What did Blair do on that one?
A: It was 30 yards and instead of getting underneath it like he normally does, he drove it and he didn’t have to drive it. And I don’t think he meant to, I just don’t think he hit it exactly right.
Q: Has he hit that trajectory before?
A: Not really, no. We’ve given up a little bit of penetration on kicks this year inside, not very many, but every now and then you’re going to get guys who get a couple yards of penetration and he gets it up so quick that he’s basically negated them getting any pressure because they can’t get there. They’re not going to be able to get their hands on it. It’s too high.
Q: I imagine it’s not going to rattle him after kicking a 55-yard field goal his first game.
A: He’s not rattled at all. The great thing about Blair is that, first of all, I’ve been around young kickers and punters and young players that make excuses, ‘I didn’t do this because the grass.’ Whatever, he made no excuses. He went over to the bench, ‘Great protection fellas. It’s my fault. We’ll get it corrected.’ And this next one, I think it was the PAT, that thing was straight up in the air. He corrected it right away.
Q: Do you feel you got exposed on that two-point conversion with one side heavily stacked?
A: I’m pretty aggressive guy and we’ve blocked four kicks this year. In fact, the next one we went, at the end of the first half, to an eight-man overload again. That’s who I am. We ended up blocking that one and we tipped another one earlier. We’re going to be aggressive and we’re going continue to be aggressive. Coach Frazier wants us to be aggressive. Do I need to do a better job in situational awareness? Probably, but it’s nothing that they schemed. They got us on an extra point. Obviously, we lost by 18, it didn’t matter, but it could have mattered. Do I want to correct it? Absolutely. Am I going to do some things differently? Of course, but we’re still going to be aggressive, we’re still going go after people and we’re still going to block kicks.
Q: Is there something that the players did wrong there trying to defend that?
A: They did it right. In fact, Jamarca Sandford almost made the play. If that’s a fake field and they have fourth and four or more, we’re going to stop it. You run the risk anytime you do that. If you’re going to have your punter go in there and do that, well good luck. You can get an ACL, you can break your collar bone, you can do something bad. If they want that extra point, that’s up to them. That’s fine. Whatever, I’m cool with it.
Q: It’s just a matter of you thinking there was no way they would try that on a PAT?
A: No, not that there’s no way. Obviously, I’ve thought about it and over the course I’ve tried to mix it up, I just didn’t mix it up enough and they got an extra point on us.
Q: What happened on
A: I think the snap took him a little bit right and he rushed it a little bit and apparently the ball was dropped outside. I don’t know if the wind blew it, he said the wind blew it. Whatever, I don’t know. It shouldn’t happen. It wasn’t that windy. Were you guys there at the game? It was a beautiful day. You kidding me? Chicago in late November? It was a gorgeous day.
Q: Is there concern there with the drops on his punts?
A: The first punt he had was probably a little bit high for the hang time but we covered it really well. It was a good enough punt. It was outside of the numbers and then his last punt was fantastic. I’m trying to think how many he had, four? Yeah, he had four I think. Three of the four were pretty good punts, just the one and we have to eliminate those at all costs.
Q: On kickoffs, were you trying to pin them inside the 20 or was Blair just not kicking them as deep?
A: I figured they were going to bring it out and (Eric) Weems is aggressive just like (Devin) Hester and we were going to kick it as high and as far as we can. I’ll take touchbacks against a team like Chicago any day because I think they’re outstanding in their return game and their coverage game. We’re looking for touchbacks against a good team always. Earlier in the season, Tampa Bay, we’re trying to get them to bring it out. Couple of other team, come on, bring it out, we’re going to get tackles inside of the 20. Against Chicago, I’ll take touchbacks all day long.
A: I was trying to get him a rep and we didn’t block it and I felt bad for the kid. I was teasing him today about his career kickoff return average was not very good. It wasn’t his fault. He should have brought it out. It wasn’t that high of hang-time. It was probably three, four yards deep and we did a terrible job inside of blocking that one. I felt bad for him, because we’ve been blocking up pretty good all year.
A: No, I don’t think that’s the concern. Maybe it would be after a long drive but he wants to. We have the luxury of having a few guys that are able to do it and want to do it, so I’m pretty lucky there but he’s definitely in the mix.