Vikings Quotes - Coordinators - September 13

Posted Sep 13, 2012

Vikings Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave

Good morning. We’ve got a tough opponent this week. Good defense, they had a tough one early on with Chicago. We know they started out real well with a pick for a touchdown but then they maybe got a little bit worn down but we’re looking to have our hands full this week with our defense.

Q: To what degree does it complicate things when you have a new coaching staff and you only have one game tape to look at?

A: There’s going to be some unknowns. There’s going to be some unscouted looks that we’ll see on Sunday that they’ve been not willing to reveal up to this point.

Q: Are they still shifting in and out of three and four man-fronts?

A: I’m sure they have the capability to do that. There’s a lot of Baltimore to this defense and a little bit of San Diego and San Francisco with Coach Manusky’s influence.

Q: How big of a difference would it make if Dwight Freeney was not able to go?

A: He’s a terrific player, has been for 11 years. You would think that he would be there on Sunday, he’s been very durable over the years.

Q: When you’ve got a young offensive line, how important is communication this week with their first game on the road?

A: There’s going to be a big emphasis on that. We’ll practice with crowd noise again today and that’ll be a big obstacle to overcome in that building.

Q: Seemed like Brandon Fusco and Matt Kalil held up pretty well in Sunday’s game?

A: Yeah, they did for the first time. Had a number of first-time starters and they held their own.

Q: When you see Christian Ponder excel at the end of the first half, does it give you the inclination that no-huddle more often would be good for him?

A: It does. He’s done a nice job with our no-huddle components. We have up-tempo no-huddle, we have no-huddle where we want to take the air out of the game a little bit, keep their offense stale on the sideline, fatigue the defense. He’s done a good job up to this point in all of those facets of the offense and I think he is comfortable with most of them.

Q: Where did that urgency come from?

A: I think he probably just learned from experience a little bit, those first initial series where we weren’t getting the best production as we expected.

Q: Does he get more freedom in the play calling out on the field when it is a no-huddle situation?

A: I don’t know if there would be more or less than when we huddle up and call plays but he has a bunch of leeway out there to change protections, change runs to passes, change passes to runs. The play that he threw down to Kyle (Rudolph) on the long pass, he amended our protection and made sure he was blocked up and then had the wherewithal to throw a terrific football down there. He’s got a lot of responsibility out there.

Q: How much has the trust factor changed since his first couple of starts last year until now?

A: It’s grown, it’s evolved. It’s definitely been ever-expanding.

Q: What does it take to get comfortable in a no-huddle offense with everybody involved?

A: I think more and more experience, more and more turns. The more things you see from various defenses, you’re probably more comfortable no matter what is thrown at you that you’ll have the answer.

Q: Do you see any problems with him pre-dictating where he is going to go with the football?

A: I think they did a good job of disguising their defense and he made a mistake in terms of recognizing it. Which those mistakes happen each and every day. The more you can minimize them, the better off we’ll be.

Q: Where do you feel Adrian Peterson is at in his progress?

A: We’re looking forward to his second game and we’ll continue to gauge his progress like we did during the game on Sunday. Today will be our Thursday practice, it’ll be more physical, more intense than yesterday’s and we’ll hope that he continues to heal and feel more confident on that left knee.

Q: From what you saw on film, do you feel like he was close to what he was last year?

A: He has a ways to go.

Q: For his size, have you seen anyone run as hard as Percy Harvin does when he has the ball?

A: No. Never have. What would be the term? No fair dodging. That’s Percy’s theme. He’s not going to avoid anybody. He can make people miss, like we know, he’s agile but he’s not going to run out of bounds. He’s going to run through or run over somebody.

Q: Is that why it is so hard to know how much to play him?

A: He’s got a lot of good attributes. He’s done a fantastic job. The kid is so sharp. As you know, we put him all over the place, different personnel groups, different concepts. He occupies different places when we letter our guys in the huddle. He’s really got to immerse in the game plan and to his credit, he does that.

Q: Now that Adrian is back, when you look at Toby Gerhart, would you like to get him more involved in the pass game?

A: You bet. Toby did a super job of catching that ball there in overtime and getting us a little bit more manageable field goal. We definitely trust Toby. He’s an integral part of what we’re doing here.

Q: Do you have to get creative with how you get the ball in Percy’s hands in the red zone? Jacksonville was bracketing him there.

A: Yeah, I think that was their red zone defense and we tried to isolate Percy a little bit and that’s probably why runs were effective to Adrian.

Q: How much can you integrate John Carlson this week?

A: He looked better yesterday, I’ll say that. It didn’t look like he was wearing the big bulky brace that he has been wearing since he was injured and looked to be more confident and hopefully today and tomorrow are more steps in that direction.

Q: Have you used the fullback as much as you did Sunday since you’ve been here?

A: Jerome Felton played really well. He was a presence out there. He was also a presence on the sideline in terms of being the leader. He suggested a couple of amendments to our game plan during the game and we took them to heart and they really paved the way for good runs there in the second half.

Q: Do you feel more comfortable with a guy with more experience like him?

A: Depending on how the game went, we’re gauging on the success of various concepts and personnel groups and the concepts that he was involved with were very successful versus Jacksonville.

Q: Ryan D’Imperio never got 32 snaps last season. Are you seeing he was being more effective?

A: Yes, exactly.

Q: How much do you weigh a player’s advice during a game?

A: When a player can give us some insight as to what’s going on out there, it’s invaluable. We take it to heart, we discuss it. At times, it has merit and at times it’s something that we file away and use at a future date. That communication is essential between player and coach, especially during the game.


Vikings Defensive Coordinator Alan Williams

It’s nice to come up here after a ball game and after a win. I got a lot of phone calls from people around the country congratulating us about the good win and I rest assure you, every win is a good win. There are no Homecoming games on the schedule and everyone in the NFL is a professional and they play well. We’re excited about getting that first win and we’re ready to move on and work towards getting that second one.

Q: This is a Homecoming for you.

A: You know what, it is a homecoming. 10 years is the longest I’ve been anywhere in my life and it was 10 very good years in Indy. It will be nice to go back and play in Lucas Oil Stadium, it’ll just be on the other side now.

Q: Does it seem familiar with all the changes they’ve done?

A: I looked at the sheet and I counted the number of people and I think it was somewhere between 19 and 22 guys that are still there so it’s changed dramatically in the past few months.

Q: How do you feel about the safety play overall on Sunday?

A: I was encouraged, very encouraged. No matter what you say, it’s different going from a preseason ball game to a regular season ball game with the preparation, with the amount of reps you play, with the intensity. The intensity picks up for sure in the regular season. I was very, very pleased with it.

Q: With two young guys at safety, is there any hesitancy on your part being able to call anything that you want because of their inexperience?

A: Nope, not at all. The full menu is open. All the safeties are smart, but we have two smart guys in there and they’re working together and we realize there will be some mistakes, but they limited those mistakes they made in the ball game and I always say, if you make a mistake, make it full-speed and let the hustle and let the athleticism make up for that and they did that. I was pleased with them.

Q: With all the changes the Colts have had and the scheme change, are you able to offer any insight?

A: Not a bit. A little bit in terms of the personnel, but in scheme, not one bit.

Q: With the two longer passes that were completed over Chris Cook, is it as simple as geting his head around to see the ball or is there more to it?

A: Nope. We talk about playing situational football. In those situations, you want to be as deep as the deepest and as wide as the widest and keep the ball in front of you. I think they had 17 to 23 seconds on the clock and you just need to keep those balls in front of you and tackling those balls is a good thing because time is on your side and if we did that, we would have been in great shape. It was a good learning experience. There were a lot of situations in that game that it may take three or four games to actually get, but we had them all in one ball game. It was a good learning experience for us and we’ll be better for sure the next time.

Q: Overall, how would you evaluate Chris Cook’s performance?

A: Promising. He tackled well. For the most part, he covered well. A lay person may look at the ball game and say, ‘Oh, wow. Not good.’ But we don’t look at it that way at all. We still have a ton of confidence in him and I think that when you see the jump from the first ball game to the second ball game, you’ll see what you would expect.

Q: Did the line rotation accomplish what you wanted it to, especially on the interior?

A: It did and we don’t want to be on the field that long. I think the first drive was maybe 19 plays and you don’t want to go on a 19-play drive, but yeah, I think it did. We got guys in there and we expect to get guys more reps as it goes along, as they earn the reps. We were pleased with the rotation at this point and we’ll see how it develops as we go along.

Q: What did you think of Jared Allen’s performance? He didn’t have any sacks or many pressures.

A: Not sacks that counted. He got off the ball unbelievably the first or second pass that they had. It was tough with their hard counts, the way they were using them and what they were doing and how they were doing it. He had pressure. Whenever they have to chip you, turn the protection to you, do those types of things, it leaves other guys one-on-one and it helps the defense as a whole. It may not have seemed like he had a huge effect on the ball game but he does every time he lines up.

Q: Did they give a ton of help on Allen?

A: They did.

Q: When he’s getting chipped as much as he did, how important is it for Brian Robison to do what he did?

A: Always important and not just Robison. Our thing is, if you have a one-on-one, you have to win. It’s all the way across the line. Throughout the defense, if you’re matched up on a guy one-on-one, we expect guys to win. That’s coverage, that’s linebackers and that’s up front rushing the passer.

Q: When you say sacks that counted, I take it you felt Jared was not offsides?

A: That’s a no comment. Really, it was close. We looked at the tape and he had a good jump on the ball and they called it as it was and that’s what it is. We have to live with it and move on and make sure that we don’t get those types of penalties.

Q: What did Chicago show you in terms of how to defend against Andrew Luck?

A: When we looked at the Chicago film, what we saw was, and I know Lovie Smith and Rod Marinelli and they would say that they weren’t going to do anything different than what they usually do. What you saw on tape was a defense that flew around fast and played incredibly hard. When you do that, good things happen, and you had a quarterback that threw some balls that were not really bad balls, there were just really good plays by Chicago’s defense. I think he may have thought he had a free play on one of them and threw it up thinking it was a free play and it wasn’t. Again, it was a great play by the cornerback. I think it was Tim Jennings making a play on the ball. It wasn’t so much Luck playing bad or the receivers playing bad, or the running game, it was really more about Chicago.

Q: What did you think of Brian Robison’s game?

A: He played well. There are some things that we have to clean up in terms of assignments, but overall we were pleased. I was pleased with his hustle. He is running to the ball unbelievably. He made the tackles he was supposed to make and there are one to two plays that he’d like to take back in terms of his assignments but other than that, I was pleased.

Q: How about Josh Robinson’s game?

A: Josh was physical. We wanted to see, again, when the lights came on, how he was going to be there and he did that. He had a few technical errors where he wasn’t quite in the right place fundamentally, but we liked what we saw. He primarily played in the Nickel situations and again, pleased with that also.

Q: Did Jasper Brinkley play the way you were hoping?

A: We think he’s playing a lot better. He feels comfortable, by his own admission. He feels comfortable with the defense, he feels more comfortable with the rust being knocked off and he’s moving better so his body feels better. Anytime your body feels like it’s 100%, I think it has a big mental boost for you. Again, you saw the stop down on the goal line. What we want to see from him is that he’s directing the defense, he’s calling the defense, getting guys lined up, directing it, and he’s doing that. When he had a chance to make a play, he made it.


Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer

Q: As good as Blair Walsh was in the field goal aspect of the game, his kickoffs seemed to all have good hang time?

A: All but the last one. He didn’t come through in the overtime kickoff but other than that, he kicked off extremely well.

Q: Was that supposed to be a deep kickoff?

A: Oh yeah.

Q: Was that as close to a perfect game as a special teams coordinator gets?

A: You look at it and hoped we would have done better in the return phases. We have a little bit more punt return, maybe a little bit more in the kickoff return because we had our chances. I thought we had some good things happen. On the kickoff return, Percy (Harvin) ran so hard and we need to block better for him going forward and then on punt return, we had a decent return on the 15-yarder and the other one was good field position. I think we got seven yards out of it. The last one, we were going to fair catch regardless because it was a two-minute situation and we were up at the time and we were going to fair catch that one. To me, it’s a perfect game. You’re always hoping for more in every phase but in terms of helping our team win, we did that and our guys played hard and I was real proud of everybody’s effort.

Q: You came up to Blair before the 55 yard-kick and asked him what his range was and he said 60?

A: Yeah, we talked about it because we knew we were going to have a shot and especially after the return that Matt Asiata had, which to me, that might be the play of the game, to give us that shot, that little shot in the arm that, ‘You know what, we might have a chance here. We have 14 seconds, got the ball at the 31,’ and then Christian (Ponder) and Devin (Aromashodu) came through with a big play and the one that Kyle (Rudolph) had. I was thinking game-tying field goal the whole way and to be honest with you, anything in that situation inside of 65, I think you have to go for it to tie the game and send it to overtime.

Q: Do you teach the up-guys that if you get the ball, just go north and south?

A: Yeah, and the good thing was it happened earlier in the game on the very first kickoff return and Matt, it was a different return, but he tried to hit it inside and the guy that he was supposed to block on that return made the play. I said, ‘Well, you have to try to make him miss and try to get outside and that’s what he was thinking on the last one and we got to the 31, which is obviously a big play.

Q: How comforting is it to have a guy walk up to you and tell you he can hit a field goal from 60 yards away?

A: I already knew the answer, I just wanted to see his mindset basically and I was trying to keep my heart rate down as much as I could at the time because we’re all pretty excited at that time of the game.

Q: He seems like he is low-key, he’s not going to get too big in situations like that?

A: You’re right, he handles it very well. I think he does a good job with tempering his emotions and he’s got a very good mindset for a placekicker in this League.

Q: With Jamarca Sanford not starting on defense this season after starting last year, did you have a talk with him and tell him he has to be the guy?

A: We’ve talked in the past and he is such a pro. He’s handled everything better than anybody could have expected because I know there is going to be some disappointment in not starting on defense. The fact that he went out and played as hard as he did, that didn’t surprise me at all because that’s just the type of pro he is.

Q: Other guys seem to have their energy level go up and down but he isn’t that way?

A: No, he’s unbelievable. I love coaching that guy.

Q: Throughout camp, Blair was earning a lot of respect but what do you think Sunday did for his credibility in the locker room?

A: As I told him, I think that game’s over. It’s where you go from here. In terms of how guys look at him, I think you’re right. In the spring and training camp, they knew who he was already athletically and with his big-time leg on kickoffs and field goals. How good does he get from here? He’s still not polished enough for me. He’s still not consistent enough on kickoffs or field goals that we’re going to continue to work just like we’ve been working and for a young guy, because of his youth, he’ll be able to work extremely hard to get where we need him to get to be the total, consummate kicker that the NFL needs and to win at the NFL level. Going forward, I’m just excited about where he is at and I think that helps his confidence more than anything, that he knows he can go out there and help win a game like he did and that’s what he was most excited about, not that he won Player of the Week or anything like that. He knew that he helped his team win and that was the bottom line for him, that’s the type of guy he is.

Q: Have you judged how far the field goal would have been good from?

A: My son, Wilson, was the K-Ball ball boy underneath the goal post and he said, he came to me right before overtime and said, ‘Dad, that was good from 60.’ According to my 14 year-old son, it was good from 60.

Q: With all of the time you spent working with Blair on his timing and approach, is that a thing of the past to you now?

A: That’s what we have talked about since Day One and I’ve told him, I said, ‘Blair, you have the leg strength to hit those on a consistent basis so you don’t have to worry about rushing it. You don’t have to worry about lunging into it. You don’t have to worry about attacking the ball more because you attack it plenty.’ I think that, because of all of that work and all of that training we’ve had since the spring and talking to him about that same situation, he knew going out there he didn’t have to do anything extraordinary because he had the leg strength to do that and that’s my point. I think that was probably his smoothest field goal of the day, believe it or not. The other ones, maybe a little bit we’re going to coach off of. That one, I can’t find anything wrong with it. That thing was perfect in terms of his technique, the snap was perfect, the hold was perfect, the protection was outstanding and it just made it look easy.

Q: Did you hear about Adrian Peterson twisting his helmet around before that field goal?

A: No, I didn’t hear about that. I heard about it afterwards. I’m kind of glad I didn’t hear about it to be honest with you.

Q: How hard would it be to sell kicking a 64-yard field goal as opposed to throwing a hail mary?

A: I think a little less hard now, to be honest with you, because he has shown he can handle that situation.

Q: Is D’Aundre Reed still figuring out how to play special teams?

A: He did some good things. D’Aundre has a great desire to get better and he is light years from where he was last year. He had never really done it in college and I’m excited we have him out there because he is going to continue to learn. He is a backup on some phases. He starts on kickoff return and to be honest, he could start on all four core phases if we needed him to and field goal block and even field goal. He’s worked in there as a sub because he’s such a big body. He’ll continue to improve, I know he will.

Q: It looked like on a couple of those returns, he was feeling his way and trying to figure out where to be?

A: We were all worried, to be honest with you, because Jacksonville did something, we thought they would come out and do some things that the special teams coordinator, who was with New Orleans for a year last year and I actually worked for him in Jacksonville back in 2002, my first year in the League so I knew him pretty well, I knew we were going to get something out of the ordinary and they came out quick and I thought our guys responded well. I thought we had pretty good field position all day but it’s hard to get a consistent look because they were changing everything and we didn’t practice every look, which is hard because you’re kind of guessing anyway, especially in the first game. D’Aundre was blocking the right guy, but his technique was not good because he was thinking too much, which normally happens on special teams. If you think, and I told you guys before, we don’t think, we react, he didn’t react the way we needed him to but he’ll get better.

Q: On field goal block, is there anything Matt Kalil does well that has made him successful?

A: Yeah, the Lord made him 6’7” and 300-plus pounds and he’s such a great athlete. If you guys saw that on tape, and maybe you did, it was just a phenomenal effort by the entire field goal block team. Erin Henderson was pushing, Letroy Guion got a great push, Jared Allen came down and got a push, Kevin Williams got a push, we came off the edge. My father told me he saw it on TV, he thought Chris Cook blocked it. He had such a great jump off the edge. Everybody did a phenomenal job and Matt did such a good job at jumping up and timing his jump so perfectly.

Q: With Blair on kickoffs, is the idea just to bang away every time or are there times when you want more hang time?

A: We’ll change it up by game plan, depending on who the returner is, what their strengths are as a return team, if we want to directional kick it. Whatever the case may be, we’ll have a game plan every week, we’ll tweak it, try to keep people off balance.

Q: How common is it that you’ve had them at an average starting position inside the 20?

A: I think because of the new rule, it’s going to be more common place. I remember two years ago, the lowest drive start average was like 24 for an offense, for a kickoff return team. Now, it’s the 21 or 22, or maybe even less than that. We hope that anytime we kick it deep, we want to tackle them inside the 20 or it’s a touchback. That’s our goal every time and that’s not going to change all year long.

Q: Marcus Sherels on punt returns this week or will you look at Jarius Wright?

A: It depends on if Jarius is ready. He’s done such a good job in practice and he had a good day yesterday for us catching the ball. He’s continually improving and we’ll see where we’re at.