Vikings Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave
Good morning. Looking forward to getting back on the field this week and an opponent that a lot of our guys are familiar with. It seems like the Vikings have matched up with the Cardinals for a number of years now in a row. Here we go again.
Q: How much can you look at tape against them from the past two years?
A: I think quite a bit, especially last year, being that it was our first year here as an offensive staff. We’ve relied on that quite a bit.
Q: How much has their defensive front improved over the past couple of years?
A: They’ve got more explosiveness out there at their outside linebackers, that’s for sure. They’re younger, they’ve got more juice, their inside ‘backers are playing well. Paris (Lenon) is a veteran as we know and the young guy from TCU (Daryl Washington) is playing better and better every time he gets on the field.
Q: As you looked at
A: He completed a ton of balls. I don’t know what the stats were, in the 30s I’d guess. He did a good job of completing a bunch of passes. We don’t like the turnovers, nobody does. For the most part this year, he’s done a good job of taking care of the football so we want to get back in that style of play starting with this week.
Q: Would you rather have them be physical mistakes than mental mistakes?
A: I don’t know if we have a preference. We’re kind of demanding. That’s the way coaches are.
Q: How has
A: Good. He’s made some rookie mistakes which are expected but we feel like he is making strides every week. The more experience he accumulates, we expect those mistakes to be diminished.
Q: Is Calais Campbell the biggest guy he has faced?
A: He’s pretty big, he’s pretty big, pretty tall. He sure knocks down a lot of passes. He’s really, really a good player.
Q: Is that going to be one of Matt’s challenges early in his career until he gets his weight established where he wants it?
A: I think so. Matt’s young. He came out after his junior year and so he’s got some developing and maturing to do physically, which will take place as he kind of enters into his mid-20s.
Q: What is your level of expectation for
A: He had a good day of practice yesterday. We expect him to be out there today, so we’re hoping that the process continues to go in a positive direction.
Q: Did you see any effects of that injury in practice?
A: Not too much. I think once he got warmed up and got out there in the flow of things, I think it was pretty good.
Q: How do you feel about what the offense has done so far in the red zone this season?
A: Not good. We don’t feel good about it, especially this last week. We didn’t get enough bang out of our buck for all the work that takes place to get down in the red area, was it seven times? We want to come away with sevens. We’re anxious to get back on the field, starting with this week and be so much better.
Q: What do you think went wrong in the red zone?
A: A lot of things went wrong, both conceptually and also execution-wise. We’ve really doubled our efforts. We always like to work hard and leave no stone unturned, but this week, it’s definitely a point of emphasis so we can take advantage of those opportunities because those take hard work to get down there in the first place.
A: No, that’s just the way the personnel groups went and that was part of our plan, which we’re not proud of.
Q: Is the fact that Percy is being doubled as much as he is, does that impact how you’re using him in the red zone?
A: Not necessarily. They did a good job. We matched him up on a linebacker one time and we just didn’t have the protection to get it thrown to him there in the first drive. Hoping to use him down there both run game and play action when he’s in the backfield, so we just want to make those plays work better next time or call them at the right time like we didn’t on Sunday.
Q: Are you satisfied with what
A: Yeah, he’s doing a good job, John is. We had another chance or two to connect with him, I believe on our sideline at one point and looking forward to more and more production from him starting with this week.
A: No, he’s done a good job of really battling through it. At times, like all backs, he gets dinged or nicked up and when he does, Toby (Gerhart) hops in there and we don’t miss a beat.
Q: Are you expecting to have him at practice today?
A: You know, I don’t know. He was out at the walkthrough a few minutes ago and we’ll see how it goes this afternoon.
Q: What’s your level of confidence in him being ready for the game?
A: I always have a lot of confidence in Adrian, in all respects. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.
Q: Do you expect
A: Yeah, we’re going to stay on that program. We feel good about both of those guys playing right guard. We’re going to try and keep them fresh and get production out of that position.
Q: For a guy that has been out for a year, I imagine game reps are things that can’t be replaced?
A: Yeah, all of these guys that have missed time last year, whether it be Adrian or John Carlson, Geoff Schwartz, they’re really doing a good job of getting back in the flow and when they are in the game, they’re doing a good job for us.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2012
Vikings Defensive Coordinator Alan Williams
Good morning, guys. It’s a good day to get started. Today’s our short yardage, goal line, third down day. I’m excited about that. We need to improve in both areas. Looking forward to having a good team coming in and preparing for a good team and the challenges that they present with another outstanding athlete, player. The guys are looking forward to the challenge to defend our home turf here in Minnesota.
Q: When you look at their offensive line, where do you see their issues for their struggles in protecting the quarterback?
A: I think every offensive line is going to struggle some just with the number of good pass rushers that have come out of the college ranks because college has turned into such a passing league, we’re getting in the NFL so many good pass rushers. I think, no matter how good the tackles and guards are, that they’re going to need help. These guys are no different. I don’t see it as an Arizona problem, it’s a problem league-wide.
Q: What’s your philosophy when you see a team struggle like Arizona? Do you throw more at them?
A: No, not at all. Not one bit. We focus on what we do best and we want to make sure that we just lock in on what our guys do best, that we allow Jared [Allen], we allow Everson [Griffen], the guys up front, Brian [Robison], we want those guys to be able to do what they do, rush, and not try to do anything spectacular and not do anything really different. We want to focus on what we do and make the offense adjust.
Q: How much do you look back at the Arizona games the past two years?
A: Every year we look back if we have a common opponent, if we play the team from a previous year, or the year before, we’ll pull out those tapes and see what they do and see how it matches up with the games that they’ve had this year. It helps some, but we only put so much credibility into what they do previously because teams move on, they do different things, they adjust year-to-year. We’ll look at it, but more so we’ll look at what they’ve done this year.
Q: Are they still running bunches and stacks to try to keep teams from trying to get their hands on Larry Fitzgerald?
A: Yes, they are.
Q: How can you combat that?
A: You try to put your hands on him, try to keep him from running free, having free access up the field, change things around to make sure they don’t get the same looks every time, again, without going into a whole bunch of detail.
Q: How do you assess the matchup between
A: I’ll take Jared on anyone. You put him against anyone out there, I expect Jared to win. I tell Jared, ‘When they single you up, on anyone, you have to win.’ If he can’t our defense doesn’t work and that’s with any of our guys up front. If we can’t rush four on five and win, we’re going to have troubles.
Q: What stands out most through six games of Jared’s play this season?
A: He told me before we even got on the field, he said ‘Coach, I’m going to be there for you 100 percent. However many plays you have me in there, I’ll give you everything I have and I’ll get home to the quarterback.’ So far, his word has been good. Now, he’s missed a few that he’s probably made in the past, but that’s OK. We’re not worried about that. I think he said a week or two ago that he would take one sack a game for the rest of his career and he’s not worried about how many he’s missed or the past. He’s been outstanding, run and pass. I’m surprised at how well he’s played this year in the run game.
Q: Have you fell into a comfort level with him wanting to play ever snap and you wanting to rest him?
A: We’re still rotating. Some games, I think last ball game, we had, I don’t, 59 snaps, so there wasn’t the majority of the snaps, which that’s a good thing. We feel good about the rotation and the amount of reps that he’s playing.
Q: In hindsight, is there something that you could have done differently to combat those zone read plays Washington was running or was that strictly execution?
A: Execution. The zone read is going to be tough on any defense because it’s an extra gap. The quarterback adds an extra dimension in terms of running in the amount of gaps that you have and it’s not just – it’s an extra gap with a great athlete in that extra gap so guys will have to two-gap. It slows you down, in terms of having to two-gap it. They have an outstanding athlete running that offense so we just have execute better, tackle better, play faster, but I’m not concerned about it.
Q: Could pressing more on the corner against Washington taken away that in-breaking stuff?
A: You can press, but again, that means someone else is not focused on that extra gap, in terms of the run game, and when you play man coverage against the option, it’s not a good thing to do. They have you kind of in a little bit of a quandary there in terms of guessing and the next play that’s coming up.
Q: How much do you think
A: You’d have to ask him. I don’t think so. I think he’s running hard, playing great, good run defense, he’s rushing the passer. I wouldn’t say at all. I haven’t noticed it at all.
Q: Have you noticed Arizona committing more help to protection in the last game as the sacks have stacked up?
A: No, not at all. I think they’re going to do what they do and I know that the coaches are preaching execution, that hey, ‘we just have to execute better. We have to catch the balls that are thrown, if you have a block, get a block and if you have read, read it out.’ I know they’re probably, when you drop a ball game, I know they’re preaching execution over there.
Q: Are you looking for a statement game from the defense after giving up 38 points last weekend?
A: Nope. We want to hold them down because it’s the next ball game. It has nothing to do with the previous one. That one we put to bed. We learned from it, but it’s gone, it’s done with. We wipe it aside, win or lose, and we move on to the next ball game. We don’t want to live in the past. We just want to come out and Arizona’s our focus and our focus only. Our goals are strictly on Arizona and not in the past. I hate to get caught up in what happened last week. We made our adjustments, we made our corrections, put it to bed and move on and let’s focus on Arizona and not even one percent on last week. One percent is too much, we need 100 percent on Arizona. They’re good enough to beat anybody in the League.
Q: What kind of impact does the level of play
A: I would say, ‘Wow,’ capital W, capital O, capital W, wow. It has a huge impact. That’s as good as I’ve seen anyone play in a long, long time. I think it’s good because he’s an elder that comes out to practice, the way he prepares, the way that he practices, the way he goes about his business, you look at him and you say, ‘You know what, that’s what a professional looks like. That’s how a professional prepares and these are the results of the way a guy prepares.’ I think it has an impact, not just on the young guys, but the older guys, too.
A: Zero. It just has to do with the game plan, how many Nickel reps that a team may have versus base reps, what we’re doing that week, so it had nothing to do with whether it be good play, bad play, indifferent, just the game plan. He’s coming along fine. He’s still tackling well. Each week I think he’s feeling more comfortable with the game plan and the adjustments that we’re making and he’s making good progress.
Q: Is there still the line of thought that you want to get Josh more reps and back off of Antoine’s reps?
A: It depends on Antoine. We want to make sure that we have him for the long haul. The way he played last week, again, wow, in terms of how he played. We want to make sure we have him for the long haul so whatever the staff, coach [Joe] Woods, the head coach thinks, in terms of pitch count - we mentioned that earlier in OTAs and camp - we just want to make sure really that we have him for the long haul. It just depends on how he feels from week-to-week and how he’s playing and how his body’s holding up. That will answer those questions more so than what Josh is doing.
Q: Does the opponent have anything to do with how much he plays?
A: It does. Antoine plays when they bring big people in. You would think because he’s a smaller guy when you bring big people in, he would go out, but he’s fantastic in the run fits, he has a feel for the run game, so it does, it just depends on what personnel they have and how we want to match it up.
Q: You mentioned the impact of press coverage in run support, was Robert Griffin’s long touchdown run an example of that?
A: It’s really linebackers, our safety running the alley, Chris [Cook] keeping outside leverage, yeah, It’s an example. Maybe if you’re in zone coverage or you’re playing a different leverage, guys will get the guy on the ground. I wasn’t concerned about him getting out necessarily as much as him taking it the distance that he did. Quarterbacks are going to get out, we want to make sure we get them down on the ground.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2012
Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer
Q: When you first starting working with
A: Pretty quick in terms of the results because we knew and I knew after going down and working him out, we knew from the Combine and from all of the film study that when he did step back and slow things down, he was much more effective, much more consistent. There are still some things with his approach and his footwork we tweaked a little bit but like I said before, he figured most of that out on his own. Because he figured it out on his own and we slowed him down, that combination, because he saw the results early, that combination really helped his confidence early on.
Q: By minicamp, did you think he was on his way?
A: Even the rookie minicamp, you saw some things and we were like, ‘You know what? He’s going to be just fine.’ And because he is a smart kid, he is confident, he’s very humble because he knows he still has to continue to work and there are still things he’s going to have to work on his whole career, but that is more the consistency rather than trying to tweak a whole bunch of different things of his technique.
Q: When he was as sick as he said he was Saturday night, were you concerned that you might not have him?
A: No, I knew he’d be okay because I talked to (Head Athletic Trainer) Eric Sugarman and he texted me early Sunday morning and I went and checked on him and I was down watching a little bit of tape and then I went up and checked on him and they have like a little sick room I guess and he didn’t look very good but I knew that he’s a pretty tough kid, he’s a mentally, physically tough kid and then once I saw his pregame, I knew he’d be fine, because he had a great pregame believe it or not. It just kind of helped him focus, get locked in a little bit more. He didn’t think he’d have the strength he did, he ended up having, especially on kickoffs. He had a great pregame, he was locked in. I thought Cullen (Loeffler) and Chris (Kluwe) really handled it well, tried to help him out, grab him a water, making sure he was okay, talking to him, and helping him lock in and I thought he did a great job, obviously.
Q: On kickoffs, it wasn’t the wind. He was putting them in the front row on both sides right?
A: Yeah, the other kid was kicking touchbacks one way and then to the goal line the other way and he was just really striking the ball well and I was real proud of his performance, obviously.
A: Yeah, Kluwe. Kluwe has kicked field goals before and we would have had another holder obviously and Christian (Ponder) has held for us before in practice. It wouldn’t have been pretty, well, not as pretty as you’d like but its been done before. Obviously, San Diego did it against us last year and did a great job and they hadn’t even practiced it. It’s one of those things, those guys are pros and they go out and do the best they can and hopefully end up with good results.
Q: Does it get to a point where guys covering kickoffs almost relax because they are thinking it’s not going to be returned?
A: That’s my job. I was hollering because I knew (Brandon) Banks was frustrated, I knew he wanted to take one or two of those out and if he got one that was even close, if it was seven, eight deep, even with good hang time, I think he wanted to take them out. You could just see him as the game wears on and that’s what I’m looking for because any good returner is going to get frustrated by that and so my job is remind guys, ‘You got to keep covering, you got to keep flying down the field. You got to make him think that if I do bring it out, I’m still going to get tackled inside the 20,’ and that’s got to be our mentality every time we kick off.
Q: What concerns you about Patrick Peterson?
A: He’s big, he’s strong, he’s fast, quick, elusive, hes got great vision, everything concerns me about him in terms of whenever the ball is in his hands, he’s a viable threat every time he catches the ball to make a big play. We’re going to hopefully punt like we did last year and cover like we did last year with our gunners and the interior guys and they still rushed the punt too. They’ve got a great package, they’re well coached. They know how to utilize Patrick in terms of the returns and how they return and they can rush the punt well too, so we’ve got our work cut out for us.