Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier
Good afternoon, guys.
Q: Are you looking at Injured Reserve for Chris Cook?
A: Yeah, more than likely, where we can bring him back at some point. That’s what we would like to be able to do towards the end of the season.
Q: Can you switch that to other players or do you have to designate one player?
A: You have to designate one player.
Q: What is the recovery time for Cook?
A: He’s going to have surgery, so I’ll know for sure once they go in, but they’re estimating about seven to eight weeks.
Q: So you would get him back for the playoffs?
A: That would be the only way. We only have eight weeks left.
Q: Have you met with him?
A: He’s distraught. It’s tough.
Q: Was he turning the corner again like he was last year?
A: He was doing well. I think I mentioned it a couple weeks ago that I thought he was really coming along and he had a good game yesterday in the time that he was out there. He was playing well for us, so it’s unfortunate.
Q: Did he break it trying to make a tackle?
A: That’s when he broke it, yeah.
Q: How much of those third and long conversions when he was off the field was the result of not having him on the field?
A: I don’t know. You have other guys that are out there and you want them to make the play, but some of those guys that were out there may not have been out there in the secondary if he were healthy, but other players have to step up. As we all know, everybody has injuries in our league and we’re going to play games in the future, now, without him so somebody else will have to step up and make those plays for us.
Q: Will it be Josh Robison and
A: Yeah, we’ll talk about it some more, but right now, it’ll more than likely be those two.
Q: What are your biggest concerns with what went haywire last night?
A: There were some many things that didn’t go right. There are a number of things we’ll have to address to get ready to go on the road and win a ball game. I don’t know if there’s one specific thing.
Q: How do you keep this mood from lingering during this 10-day stretch here?
A: If there’s anything from last night, that would be it. That’s what I’ve been wrestling with last night after the game and this morning because it’s one game, it’s a tough loss, but it is only one game and you can’t allow that to carry over to other games because I know we can play better. There are some things we have to correct, but if you don’t move on from that game, you’re right, it can linger and it can have negative effects on future games so we have to get everybody back to where they should be mentally.
Q: Given how successful you’ve been in the run game, are you surprised it hasn’t opened up the pass game more?
A: Yes and no. Some of it, when you’re having as much success as we’ve had running the football, you would expect more explosive plays sometimes. But it’s not for lack of effort. We tried a number of times yesterday to hit some plays against their defense down the field and they did a good job and some of it depends sometimes on the defense you’re playing. Tampa did a good job coverage-wise and we weren’t able to get as many explosives as we would have liked. We did have some explosive passes and runs, as well.
Q: Are you limited with
A: We’ve been working with him from the time we got him for occasions like this because we know injuries occur so we’ve been bringing him along and we’ve been putting him in ball games in nickel situations and dime situations. He’ll have to be ready now. We have an extra day or so to help him, but he’ll have to play and probably have to play a lot.
A: We’ll talk about it some more over the next few days to determine what direction we want to go.
Q: On their last touchdown drive, there was a holding penalty that you declined. What was your thought process there on taking third and 10 instead of second and 20?
A: Third-and-10, with time on the clock, you’re believing you can get off the field on third-and-10 and get the ball back to our offense. We needed the ball.
Q: Was sticking with the run one of those things you felt like you got away from?
A: Not so much got away from, more things we’ve done well that we’re not doing as well right now. Earlier, when we were having success on a consistent basis, we weren’t turning the ball over quite like we are now, we were doing a little bit better from a field position standpoint than we are right now. And our run defense, we have to get it back on track. There are some things that we have to get back on track that will help us be successful and play the way we’re capable of playing.
Q: Is the problem with the run defense tackling or gap control?
A: It’s more a combination of the two. We’ve had some missed tackles the last couple weeks and we are not as forceful in our gaps as we need to be across the board. It’s correctable and we have to get it corrected in a hurry because we’re going to play other teams that can run the ball well, even better than the two teams we just faced who ran the ball pretty well against us.
Q: What has taken
A: Yesterday they did a good job matching [Ronde] Barber on him at times, which is good on their part, and he did a good job of covering him in isolation situations. But sometimes it’s more what we’re trying to do, trying to get the ball to other people and understanding what we’re trying to do from an offensive standpoint, not so much what other teams are doing to take him away. But yesterday what they did made a difference, but it allowed us to get the ball to other people, we just weren’t always successful doing that.
Q: What can you point to in the passing game that has been the issue?
A: One of the things we need to do a better job of is making sure that our quarterback feels comfortable in the pocket. We do have to do a good job of running good routes and making ourselves available to the quarterback and then when guys are there, we have to make sure we get the football to them on time. In the passing game, that’s generally the way it is. It’s not any one thing, it’s a combination, and that’s what we’re seeing when we’re looking at the tape. We have to improve on what we’re doing and we’re talking about some ways to do that. It’s going to be hard for us to achieve our goals if we’re not able to improve our passing game.
Q: As you watch film, how is Christian playing right now?
A: He’s actually doing some things that you like to see, but at the same time, you know that you’re working with a guy that’s in his second season. There are going to be some ups and downs and sometimes during the course of a game, and the good thing about Christian, he’s shown the ability to make those corrections as we go. But, we have to make sure that we’re getting everybody on the offense to play up to the standard that we’re asking and not make it all about the quarterback and that’s one of the things we’ll center on this week in practice. There are some areas on our offense and on our team that we have to pick things up so it’s not all about the quarterback.
Q: What are the one or two things on offense besides Christian that need to be worked on this week?
A: We’re going to work extensively on blitz pickup, because I’m sure that other people will see what happened last night and say, ‘You know what, that’s probably the blue print. Let’s put a lot of pressure, put some extra guys in the box and make the offensive line have to adjust and the quarterback throw on the run a little bit,’ so we’ll have to do a better job of blitz pickup and when we have an opportunity to make some plays down the field with our receivers, we have to find a way to connect.
Q: Has Christian missed some opportunities these last few games to just take off and run when he gets outside the pocket?
A: I don’t know if it’s increased at all, I think there are occasions with any quarterback where if they feel the rush in their face, they’re going to move around a little bit. I don’t think it’s abnormal what has happened with him over the last few weeks. It’s going to happen sometimes, and sometimes we want him to move to the left or move to the right to avoid a sack or to throw the ball out of bounds, so I don’t think it’s unusual at this point.
Q: Are you worried that his psyche might be fragile?
A: No, I think he’s begun to understand the nature of the business and the nature of the quarterback position and I know when we drafted him, when Rick (Spielman), myself and the scouts all talked about the person that we were selecting, that was part of ascertaining whether or not that’s the guy you want to take because there are going to be days like this, there are going to be games like this, there are going to be even sometimes seasons where you have to be resilient at that position, you have to be mentally tough and we think he is and he’s shown that he is. I think he can handle some of the things that are dished out, but he’s going to have big days for us. We know that, he’s done that and he’ll lead our team to success.
Q: Do you believe his confidence is shaken a little though?
A: I don’t think so. I think when you play a good defense like we played a week ago, a team that had a good plan last night, it can make you look a little bit off, but he’ll grow, and he’ll learn, and he’ll continue to get better. I don’t think his confidence is shaken to the point where he can’t succeed at all. I think he’ll bounce back from any ups and downs that he has, but we have to help him. We have to do some other things around him offensively that will help him be more productive.
Q: Do you feel it’s more miscommunication with the offensive line against blitzes or are they just physically getting beat?
A: Sometimes when people are blitzing us, it’s not so much because of the pass, but they want to blitz the run game as well. They’re trying to get everyone in the gaps to thwart our run game because Adrian is really coming along, so it’s not so much about confusing our offensive line and I don’t think they’ve been confused, it’s just at times, some people call some good pressures at the right time and they’ve had some success. But, I don’t think it’s anything about the confusion part of it. When I look at the tape, I see situations where it’s clear that it’s designed to stop the run and not necessarily pressure the quarterback and we do the same thing, we do the same thing at times.
Q: Would getting Adrian more involved in the screen game help take some of the pressure off?
A: We had a nice screen set up for him last night and we were off just a little bit, ended up being like a four-yard gain but we thought we had a chance for a big play. We do want to utilize his ability to catch the ball and run with it in screen situations.
Q: Are you looking at bringing in a cornerback for a workout on Monday or do you want to bring one in this weekend to get a head start?
A: We may bring someone in tomorrow to work out. I know Rick and George (Paton) are scouring the wire and looking at names they have on a list and we’re going to talk about it this afternoon and determine when we’ll bring a guy in to take a look at.
Q: Would there be any scenario this year where if Christian did continue to struggle, you’d make a change at quarterback?
A: Barring injury, Christian is going to be fine. We have complete confidence that he’s going to do a good job for us and we’ll keep working as a group to improve as a whole, but I don’t foresee that situation.