Lunchbreak: Hartman Highlights Kubiak’s ‘Head Start’ with Cousins

In six weeks, Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center will welcome back the Vikings for offseason workouts, and Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Advisor Gary Kubiak will get a chance to meet the players he’ll be working with this season.

Kubiak may be new to Minnesota but certainly is not new to the NFL; the experienced coach has four Super Bowl championships under his belt.

Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune delved into the connection that Kubiak has with former Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan, who drafted Kirk Cousins in 2012.

“I had a head start on [Cousins],” Kubiak told Hartman recently. “I talked to Mike and [former Redskins coach Kyle Shanahan] a lot, because we run a lot of the same systems, so I watched him in Washington play a lot of that system.

“This will be my first time to work with him personally,” Kubiak added, “and the key thing is I think we can make up a lot of ground very quick because we talk the same language.”

Hartman detailed Kubiak’s coaching history and mentioned that he’s worked some “quarterback magic” with big-name passers over the years. He wrote:

Kubiak has coached a lot of QBs in his career, including three of the best of all-time in Steve Young, John Elway and Peyton Manning, and more recently players such as Joe Flacco and Matt Schaub.

“I have been very fortunate with some of the guys I have been around,” Kubiak told Hartman. “It is fun, because these great quarterbacks are very bright and they ask a lot of questions, and it is very fun to go to battle with them and try to put them in the best possible position to be successful. I have been fortunate to do that.”

Kubiak explained to Hartman that he has a leg up on working with Cousins because of the familiarity with the Shanahans and their offensive systems.

“Mike thinks the world of him,” Kubiak said. “[Cousins and I] can talk football because we use the same terminology. It will help us talk football real fast. It won’t be anything new. We can go to work.”

Bucky Brooks tabs Combine ‘winners’ after day 3 of on-field workouts

Sunday gave defensive tackles, edge rushers/defensive ends and linebackers a shot to strut their stuff on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Following the third day of on-field timing and testing drills at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine, NFL Media’s Bucky Brooks posted a list of “winners” and “losers” from the workouts.

Topping his list of winners was Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat, who set a new combine position record in the 40-yard dash, clocking in at 4.41 seconds. Brooks wrote:

No one has crushed the pre-draft process better than Sweat. The former Mississippi State star opened eyes in January at the Reese’s Senior Bowl with a dominant week of practice, and he’s kept the buzz going with a spectacular performance at the combine.

[…]

He moves like a wide receiver through the bags, exhibiting outstanding lateral quickness and change-of-direction ability. With Sweat also showing disruptive pass-rush skills on tape, he might have put himself in the discussion to be picked in the top five in some meeting rooms.

Brooks next highlighted Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams. He said fans should not “dismiss Williams’ chances of finishing as the No. 1 overall player on most boards” after he impressed on Sunday.

The 6-foot-3, 303-pound defensive tackle has a rare combination of size, speed, strength and power, as evidenced by his effort throughout his workout. Considering his high-quality tape and nasty on-field demeanor, Williams is making a strong push to be the first player selected on draft night.

The other two players who Brooks believes helped their draft stock with impressive on-field performances this weekend both hail from Michigan’s program: edge rusher Rashan Gary and linebacker Devin Bush, who tied for second among linebackers in the 40 with a time of 4.43 seconds. Bush also led his position group with a 40.5-inch vertical jump.

His showing confirms his exceptional sideline-to-sideline range and enhances his chances of making a jump into the top 20. If he’s interviewed well behind the scenes, Bush could convince the right team that he’s ready to be a franchise-caliber traffic cop in the middle of a defense.

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