MONDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2011
Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier
A tough loss last night, we had a chance to go back and watch the tape with our staff. There wasn’t really anything that you can point to and say ‘that’s something we can build from’. It was just a tough night all around, for our special teams, our offense, our defense, it was a disappointing loss. It’s something we are going to have to bounce back from. Our coaching staff and players are going to work extremely hard throughout this week to prepare for Sunday. But without question that was our most disappointing loss in a lot of ways for our team up until this point. We will work very hard this week to get it turned around. I’m sure there will be a lot of questions about where we are going with the quarterback position. Our staff will discuss that today and tomorrow and on Wednesday we should come to a conclusion as to which direction we want to go and I will be able to provide some insight, one way or another, as to why we chose to go in the direction we are going. Injury-wise,
Q: What will the specifics be on your discussion and evaluation of the quarterback position in the next two days?
A: We are going to talk about a lot of things, but the primary point will be what’s best for our team going forward as we prepare for our next opponent. That will be the determining factor.
A: Donovan did a lot of good things in that ball game; took us down and got a scoring drive. Christian came in and provided a spark when he was in there, but when you score 10 points as a team it’s hard to find anything that brightens you up. It was a disappointing loss for our team. So someone or something here or there that was positive gets overshadowed by the way our team played.
Q: At what point do you have to start looking at 2012 and looking at some players that can help you in the future and will that be a part of your decision when looking at the quarterbacks?
A: I don’t think we are at that point, this next game is at home against the defending World Champions, and we still have some things to play for in this 2011 season. Right now 2012 is not on the radar as we prepare for this next ballgame.
Q: Does the reaction that Donovan got at the last home game from the crowd factor in to the decision this week?
A: No, like I said a moment ago it will depend on what is best for our team. That’s going to be the overriding factor when we make that decision.
Q: Can you talk about how Ponder handled the game situation pressure?
A: For a guy who gets limited reps in practice it seems like he had a good grasp, like we thought he would, of our offense. He was able to move the team when he was in there, he made some good throws. There were some he would like to have back, but considering how many game-situation snaps he has had, I thought he did a good job of moving the team.
Q: Where does
A: Joe is someone who we want to get some snaps, he got a couple yesterday and did OK. He is always a part of the discussion, but Christian is our number two quarterback.
Q: Did you see any lack of effort from the team last night?
A: I didn’t see a lack of effort, but we were not nearly as physical up front, on either the offensive or defensive line, as we needed to be, and that is unexplainable. That’s what we pride ourselves on, our o-line and our d-line, being the driving force that drives our defense and we were not the most physical group out there last night and that is a concern.
Q: What do you do about that?
A: Well, you have to do some things to challenge the guys to play better, and myself and the other coaches have to get them to play better than they did last night.
Q: How did the offensive line for the Bears become so good; the way they handled
A: It wasn’t a good showing by our defensive line last night. We did not play well and it definitely showed over the course of that game.
Q: How much does an opponent factor into whether you want to start a rookie quarterback or not?
A: We’ll try to make that decision based on what we think is best for our team. The opponent is the opponent. They’re going to be a good team whoever we line up against. It’s going to be a very good team whenever Christian gets his chance to play. It just so happens this week we’re playing the defending World Champions who are a very good football team but whenever that time comes, whoever it is, they’re probably going to be a good team as well.
Q: How many times as a coach have you been involved in a game where your offense, defense, and special teams all let you down?
A: It’s happened before. It’s a tough deal when all phases struggle in a game that we looked at as a key game as we were moving forward in this second quarter and to go out there and not perform very well across the board, it’s very disappointing. But, I do know we have a bunch of prideful guys in that locker room and coaches who are going to work their tails off to get it fixed as we prepare for this next game and that’s what has to happen in order for us not to be in this situation again.
Q: Are you concerned that if you do start Christian Ponder, you’ll send a message to the locker room that you’re looking towards 2012?
A: The only criteria and the only qualifier will be what’s best for our team and that will be the criteria that is used when we sit down and continue these discussions over the next couple of days and that’s what it will be based on.
Q: Do you consult with your veteran committee on if you start Donovan McNabb, they will still have confidence in him?
A: I try to include those guys in on a lot of things we do as a team and some things I’ll tell them and some things I’ll share with them after the fact but I do like their input. They have the pulse of the team, they know what’s going on in the locker room and I do like to include them on some of the decisions that we make as a team.
Q: Will this be one of them?
A: After we talk some more as a staff, then I’ll make that determination.
Q: Was there any doubt it was a safety in the end zone during the first quarter?
A: No, when we looked at the tape it looked like a safety to us.
A: We’d like to get our feet out by about eight yards and not have to back up unless he feels they may have a chance to down the ball inside the five but we’ve really coached to let the ball go over our heads and take a chance that it might go out of the end zone and become a touchback. Marcus will get better as time goes on.
Q: Where are things at with
A: He’s had a tough few weeks and we need him to play better in order for us to improve as a defense and as a team. He’s one of those guys that we have to get to come, and come fast if he’s going to help our team win.
Q: Is he not where he needs to be, physically, or do you think it’s a confidence thing?
A: He played well last week against Arizona. He did a good job in that ball game. We really thought that he had turned a corner, physically. But he’s had some up and down moments over the course of this season, so we have to continue to look at where he is and what he’s doing and see how we can help him and whether we can help him. And we’ll just continue to evaluate his progress.
Q: How important is it that if and when you make a decision on Ponder, you only make it once so you don’t go back and forth between quarterbacks?
A: It’s very important. You don’t want to have to do that. You don’t want to be week 8 or 9 and flip-flopping quarterbacks. Once a decision is made, if we were to decide to go with Christian, you’d like to be able to say that this is the way to go. You don’t want to be, in my mind, going back and forth.
Q: You said there is still a lot to be done with the 2011 season, do you get the feeling that maybe some of the guys in the locker room don’t feel the same way, that there has been a, kind of, morale shift?
A: I’ll get a better sense today. That was a game that we were pointing to last night, on the road, that could really put us in a position to do some things as we get ready to enter the 2nd half of the season. So, to fall short in the matter that we did last night, it’s going to have some effect on our team, and it’s my job to not allow the morale to dip to the point where we can’t compete with the rest of our schedule. That’s what myself and the coaches will have to get done to make sure that guys are still on board and we go out there and play a real good football game on Sunday in front of our home fans.
Q: You have to lift the players up. Who lifts you up?
A: I just look at our season and just know that there are still some things that can get done with this team. If we can address certain areas and get certain things fixed, we still have a chance and I’m glad we’re playing at home Sunday. So glad about that, regardless of who the opponent is and we got a lot of work to do. Between myself and the coaches and the players, we’re going to get that work done.
Q: With the trading deadline coming up, do you see the Vikings being active?
A: We’re going to discuss some things throughout this day and we’ll see what happens when it comes to that.
Q: Last night
A: Yeah, he was an active guy last night and we were finally able to get him some balls and he made some nice catches for us and we’re going to need more of that as we go forward but it was good to see him involved. He was really into it during the week in practice. It was good for our football team. We need more catches from him, we need more throws targeted to him.
Q: You would have thought the players would have had a lot of confidence coming in after the win last week against Arizona and the Bears falling to the Lions.
A: That may have been part of the problem. It didn’t seem like we handled prosperity very well as a team. We didn’t go out there with the type of energy and focus that you have to play with on the road as an opponent in your Division and that comes back to me. I’ve got to make sure they are on point when we’re playing a Division opponent on the road like we were last night.
Q: Looking back at the game, do you feel there were any adjustments you could have made to what the Bears did?
A: When I looked at the tape, the biggest thing was we did not play the physical football game that we are accustomed to playing up front on our defensive line and our offensive line. They didn’t do a whole lot of things differently than what they did against Detroit. We did not physically take over the line of scrimmage like we are capable of doing and like we have done on other occasions. For them to run the ball as effectively as they did, for that quarterback to stand there and take time in the pocket and for their defensive line to stuff our run game the way they did, they’re not the only team that plays eight-man fronts against us, but for us to not get any movement against their defensive line, that’s unacceptable and we have to get it fixed.
Q: Did the push not come from the inside on defense?
A: It was a combination. We didn’t get enough out of our defensive line in its entirety. We need more out of everybody.