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Transcript: Coordinators Address the Media Tuesday

Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards

We broke training camp and this week we are getting ready for Seattle. Kind of a short week but the guys have been paying attention to the details. We had to move some moving parts this week, get a chance to evaluate and chart some guys this week. Excited about it going into it. Just grinding through the rest of the week as far as practice.

Q: Do you welcome the opportunity to see the best like Russell Wilson during preseason when the stakes aren't so high?

A: No doubt about it. He [Russell Wilson] adds a different dimension to the ball game as far as making sure that going into the season our rush lanes and our coverages are tight and all those types of deals. Yes, it is a privilege to play against quarterbacks that have a different skillset and are more elite quarterbacks in the league in the preseason and getting the chance to go against them and really work on the things you've been working on in the offseason and hopefully go out and be able to execute those things in a game.

Q: How is Devante Downs doing?

A: Devante [Downs] last week was the first game he ended up playing. You could tell he was working the rust off last week but he has had two good practices here. Getting ready for this week so we are excited about him and where he is at right now. Just look for him to get more experience within the scheme and what we are asking him to do and show consistency from that standpoint.

Q: How have you been able to use Eric Wilson and Ben Gedeon in blitz situations more?

A: They both do a good job. They understand now schematically what we are trying to do in our blitz package. They have become a lot more comfortable as far as rushing the passer and the techniques we are using as far as just not running down the middle of people. Understand the different nuances we are doing blitz-wise. It really showed the other night. They both did a good job of blitzing and getting pressure on the quarterback and getting them down. I think both of them ended up with sacks the other night. They have a better understanding of how we are utilizing our blitzes and really their skillset as we are going through it. They've done a good job. They've been consistent throughout and just keep looking for them to keep being consistent throughout as we work through the process.

Q: For what you have to scheme for with Kirk Cousins in practice and how he sells play actions successfully, why is he so good at it from a defensive perspective?

A: He can make all the throws, that's number one. He is a very cerebral quarterback so he looks at what you have. Looks at the leverage and stuff you have in the coverage and what type of deals you are doing coverage wise against him. Selling the play action and coming out and being able to throw the ball down the field is huge. It's tough. When you run the football on offense and then you have a good play action pass off of it, it's really tough on a defense. You can't get caught in between, especially in those early downs. He does an excellent job understanding of different things that you doing coverage wise, then be able to play off the leverage of corners or DBs, whoever is on the leverage on coverage and being able to get the ball down the field. To put it accurately where they're not having to adjust many routes with his arm. It's been good.

Q: How ready is Mike Hughes ready to contribute in the slot position if he has to?

A: He [Mike Hughes] has had a good camp thus far. We just keep looking for him to keep being consistent. We'll see. We are still in this process of evaluating him. We'll just keep going down the road but he has done a good job especially as a rookie coming in. Grasping the nickel position and understanding what we are trying to do schematically. The matchups and fundamental things he has to learn he has done a good job with so far.

Q: How complicated is it to learn that slot position as a rookie?

A: Especially when you don't have experience playing that position, it's a lot. Especially with the communication and all the things we ask him to do within our scheme. He's done a good job of paying attention to the details of those things. It's helped with Mackensie [Alexander] and Terence Newman doing a great job of working with him and talking him through different things. He has a clear and better understanding of it. He has come in to a position he hasn't played and he's grasped it pretty good. You can tell he's putting a lot of time away from us into the details of his work. He is doing a good job.

Q: How do you set a rotation for your cornerbacks when you have so many?

A: I will just repeat what Coach [Mike Zimmer] says. You never have enough corners. Through this process, there are a lot of things that happen. Mackensie [Alexander] is injured a little bit now. There are a lot of things that can happen over the course of the season. You just coach them like they're your ones and try to keep showing improvement. Uniquely in our system, we've found a way to use the skillset of different guys. Whatever that is and whatever we deem as a matchup from week to week, we will definitely be able to use their skillset.

Q: Is it key for Mike Hughes to push himself but also find that balance?

A: Yes, it's critical to the process. The first thing is he wants to do everything, but he has to focus on what we are doing in that particular play and not getting caught up on what happened on the last play, what happened yesterday and let that affect his performance on that particular play. He's done a good job of grasping that. You can tell he is eager and wants to jump some things. But he is learning and understanding what offenses do to us, especially at his position.

Q: What have you seen from Jaleel Johnson and the progress he's made and what he needs to improve on as a pass rusher?

A: Jaleel [Johnson] has really done very good in the run game for us. We've identified the things and talked to him about the things we are trying to increase as far as his pass rush ability. He's been very consistent throughout training camp as far as the run game, playing the nose, playing the three technique. Now we just have to keep pushing him on the work to follow. It does go past as far the techniques of using his hands, not kicking his hips out and those types of things. Not running down in the middle of the guys. He is a very aggressive player. He tries to get his hands on people sometimes and gets locks home in the passing game. Those are the things we are continuing to work with him on and hopefully he will continue to get better at.

Q: What does Hilton Hill need to do to take the next step?

A: I think with all of our young guys is consistently latch on to the techniques and fundamentals we are teaching at the position. It is totally different than what he saw and what anyone see when they're at college. Then understanding the concepts of the coverage. From a technical and fundamental part, he really has to keep working consistency there. You can see the improvements and you can see the flashes but we just have to keep working with him to be consistent with it.

Q: Do you find it a luxury that your defense is pretty much set by the third preseason game?

A: The unique thing is we have a lot of guys that have come back over the four years that we've been here. There is some common thread as far as communication and similar concepts that we are doing schematically. I think their comfortability with what we are asking them to do and how they approach it is bonus. But I will say this, from our expectation and the work that those guys put into it as far as preparation, no one has room to relax. We are still approaching it the same way. We have to go out there, you are either going to get better or worse every day. We are working to get better every day to compete hard, identify the things we know we have to get better at. We always have something we need to improve on.

Q: Do you attribute being ranked low on forcing fumbles on teaching to tackle or luck?

A: I wouldn't say it's luck. I would say in our preparation we identified in the offseason. That is one of the things we tried to concentrate on in training camp. Just like the other night, we caused two fumbles but they were on the sideline and they got out of bounds. Our biggest thing is we are causing fumbles, we just are not necessarily getting the recovery. That is one of the things that we are working on with an effort to the ball and those kind of things to try to improve upon this season.

Q: Do you like seeing a team in the preseason that you will also be seeing in the regular season?

A: Like Coach Zimmer says, we use the preseason really as an evaluation so we are not really concerned that much about them, as much as we are concerned about how our guys prepare and go play so we can evaluate as we get down to the cuts.

*Vikings Offensive Coordinator John DeFilippo  *

I thought it was good that we started off fast against Denver, put up some points, and moved the ball. Obviously that wasn't the case last week. We're disappointed in how we played and executed. We need to do better. We're looking forward to coming out against Seattle and doing that.

Q: What were the biggest issues?

A: A little thing here, a little thing there. The first third down of the game the ball could have been brought down six inches, ball could have been caught. We're playing behind the sticks a lot of the night. I didn't like my call in the naked with Kirk. There's a lot things going on there that we just need to do better.

Q: Do you have any idea how long the starters will go against Seattle?

A: I have no idea. Coach Zimmer is going to handle that.

Q: Do you have a set amount of touches that guys will get?

A: That's a really good question. You try to, but that's not always the case depending on the coverage, depending on the blitz, if the quarterbacks hot. Obviously we want to see guys carry the football. There's certain plays you can design for guys, but at times the defense takes that away so you just have to do the best you can.

Q: How do you and Coach Zimmer balance getting Dalvin Cook reps?

A: Yeah, Coach and I are going to talk about Dalvin here in the next day or two about where we see him for this football game and the rest of training camp. I think that will clear itself up here in the next couple of days and we're looking forward to possibly seeing him out there.

Q: What has worked well running the ball?

A: Two things; I really think the offensive line is coming off the football, but we're not always perfect. We're down four starters so it's not always perfect. But they're playing fast and they're playing physical. Number two, I think our backs are really hitting the hole and they do a really good job of [not letting] the first guy that makes contact make the tackle. I think the combination of them seeing the hole and our offensive line coming off fast is a reason why you've seen us run the football with some success here the first two weeks.

Q: Are you looking forward to seeing Kirk Cousins bounce back?

A: Sure. I'm looking forward to myself bouncing back, our whole offense bouncing back. Personally I didn't think it was my best effort. Starting with me in the offense I think that we all need to do better and we will be this week.

Q: Do you judge yourself harshly during the preseason?

A: You should always judge yourself harshly. If you want to get better you judge yourself harshly. I go back personally and watch the game several times and say. "Hey, what calls did I like, what calls did I not like, did I put the team in harm's way?" You go back and you self-evaluate yourself after every game whether it is the preseason, the regular season, or playoffs, it really doesn't matter. I think if you don't do that you're not getting better and you're not putting the football team in the best chance for success.

Q: Is it a big deal that you won't see the starting offensive line together this preseason?

A: It's not ideal. It's not what you want. I would love for us to be able to go out and say, "Hey, all five of our guys are hearing Kirk's cadence. At the same time they're hearing Kirk's line calls." That they're all hearing Pat [Elflein's] line calls, if he was playing center. I would love to have that but unfortunately in the National Football League that's usually not the case. You deal with it, and everyone is going through those issues. So, you don't waste time thinking about that stuff. You just try to make the best situation out of the situation you have. As coaches we're problem solvers, so we keep finding ways to keep alleviating those problems.

Q: When you're in a new situation like this is there some benefit of having Tom Compton in with Kirk Cousins?

A: Sure. There's no doubt. If you're looking for kind of a light at the end of the tunnel type of positive deal here, it's that some of our young players have gotten to step up and play. There's no doubt you look at that Jacksonville front, that front seven that we played last week, that's a really good football team. I mean a really good football team. They're fast, they're physical, they're well coached, and they're disciplined. That was great work for us last week going against them because it was obviously a different scheme than what our defense plays. The combination of our guys, some of our young guys having to go against the number one and the number two defense in the National Football League I think can do nothing but help you.

Q: When you're trying to find the starting offensive line combination, how do you manage finding the best fit for versatile guys like Aviante Collins?

A: Coach Zimmer and I kind of share the same philosophy on that. We want the best five guys out there, so I think that's why you're seeing us move guys around in different places in terms of who needs to go where if this guy's hurt or if this guy's not back we need to try him here. I think that's why you're seeing us try a bunch of different offensive line combinations. I'll tell you, that's a credit to our players because it's not easy playing out position against a team like that. I haven't heard anybody complaining about, "Hey, I haven't played right guard, I haven't played left tackle, or I had to play three positions against the Jacksonville Jaguars front last week". None of our players have said that stuff. That's credit to them, their work ethic, and them buying into what we're doing.

Q: What are you looking forward to seeing from Brandon Zylstra?

A: Just continuing where he left off. We're excited to see him if he does get a chance to play. It's been disappointing for him. I know he's disappointed that he has not had more time out on the field and as a coaching staff we feel bad for that. The kid really wants to be out there, and unfortunately the injury situation happened to him twice this offseason. If that case does present itself that he's out there then we're looking forward to that.

Q: Has Chad Beebe surprised you with what he's been able to do?

A: I wouldn't say he's surprised me because the traits were always there. The quickness, the short area quickness. The thing he's gotten a lot better at is understanding leverage on defenders. For a guy that's not very big he really understands how to lean and lift on defenders. So, I think from when he stepped foot in this building this spring to now I would put him right up there with anybody in terms of most improved. I think that's a credit to him and Darrell Hazell does a good job with those guys. He's an exciting guy to watch.

Q: What are you looking for from Kirk Cousins coming out of the gates on Friday?

A: As a whole offense we'd like to start faster than we did. It's tough we you go three-and-out to start the game. Then the defense gets the ball back and you fumble on the first play inside field goal range. The biggest thing I'm looking for is that I felt like we had some flow against Denver. I never felt like we had any flow against Jacksonville. We were playing behind the chains a lot. It was 2nd-and-14 and we had a penalty, chop block, a bad call by me. It seemed like there was something that was always there that didn't allow us to get into a flow. Kirk along with the other ten guys on offense and myself just looking get some flow going, or maybe we can push the ball down the field a little bit more than what we did, and obviously just running the football.

Q: Adam Thielen talked about getting into the flow and rhythm of the game. Is that all about being able to string together more plays?

A: That's part of it. That's no doubt about it, because when you're going three-and-out and then you get a first down and then you're three-and-out, it's hard. It's hard to get into the flow of the game. You want those guys to have in a perfect world eight or ten play drives, six to eight, ten play drives to open the game, but you know unfortunately that's not real football every week because that's just not going to happen. There's guys on the other side of the football that are really darn good too. If we do start out like that at some point this season I know our guys have the character to bounce back in the second half and have a strong second half. But yes, ideally the more plays you run and the more you can run the football sets up your play-action game, which means you can push the ball down the field. Now I can get the ball in my hand a little bit quicker with some quick game, maybe run a double move on the outside like we showed against Denver early where we got a couple first downs. You saw us on that first drive get a couple first downs, and then you can kind of open it up a little bit. I think whenever you're just on and off the field, it just makes it really, really hard to get done what you want to get done.

Q: What specifically didn't you like about the way that you called the game?

A: There's a couple plays that I would like to have back. I wouldn't say that I disliked the whole way I called the game. I think there's always two or three plays, whether you win or lose. There are two or three plays I wish I had back against Denver. I don't know if I said this to somebody, but there's three plays I called in Cleveland in 2015 that for two days I think about it once or twice. Those things always haunt you, but then you got to remember the good ones as well. It's like a player, I think I called 1257 plays or something in 2015, and I guarantee you that if I went out and had 1257 swings at my five iron I'm going to shank a few – not many, but a few. But as a competitor and someone that strives to be perfect all the time even though you know that you're never going to get there but are striving for it, I think you're always thinking that way. Our players are very, very similar.

Q: You mentioned one play that you'd like to have back. Are there any others that you'd like to mention?

A: Just that one was really the one that stuck out. I didn't coach that play well enough. A.C. [Aviante Collins] was playing right tackle and I didn't do a good enough job of coaching that play.

Q: How much have the offensive line issues limited what you're able to do as a play caller?

A: I wouldn't say its limited [me], and I hate to use the word cautious, but I think you need to make sure that you got the right protection on and you're making sure the quarterback is getting the ball out of his hand and you're running the right route combinations to give the quarterback a chance to get the ball out of his hand. Let's call it what it is, this is preseason football. Obviously we want to protect our quarterbacks and everybody as much as we can. I wouldn't say it hampers you, but it definitely challenges you a little bit, there's no doubt. I'd be lying here if I said it didn't.

Q: The Eagles played well in the third preseason game in each of the two years you were there. How much correlation do you put in playing well offensively in the third preseason game and the momentum that carries over to the regular season?

A: I'm going to be flat-out honest with you, I couldn't even tell you who we played in the third preseason game the last two years. I apologize, I just don't remember. I couldn't even tell you who we played. I'd have to go back and look and see that.

Q: So do you not put a lot of correlation between an offense's preseason and regular season play?

A: We do. Obviously we want to go out and score on every possession we have, but that's not always going to happen. Obviously we want to be at our best, and to get to our best when we open up against the 49ers we want to play really good preseason football. We need to do that and get better, but to say that we're sitting here and treating this as a normal game, from a mental standpoint, absolutely [we are], but from a game planning standpoint it's not going to be as in depth as it would be in the regular season.

Q: What can you do with personnel groupings to help Kirk Cousins sell the play-action better?

A: Whether its play action, drop back, quick game, or run game, I think you try to eliminate as many decisions for the quarterback pre-snap as you can. You do that by formation, you do that by motion, and you do that by shift. So case in point; we line up Kyle Rudolph outside at number one, closest to the sideline. If a safety goes out with him, it's man coverage. Little things like that, or on a shift, does the corner go over? Those type of things. With motion, and you see us motion a lot, we call an "orbit" motion just to give the quarterback a man-zone tell. I think the more you can eliminate pre-snap decisions for the quarterback, the better off you're going to be.

Q: Is there a silver lining that Kirk now gets to gain confidence and trust in some of the younger rotational players?

A: I think it's definitely the case, absolutely. I'll be honest, we didn't block them bad the other day. We ran for 128 yards against the second best defense in the NFL. It's not like they were manhandling us. They didn't manhandle us in protection. Did we have a few hiccups? Sure, but like I said, the play Kirk got sacked on is the one I wish I had back. Put that sack on me, that's not on the offensive line. I wouldn't say we didn't block them the other night, I just don't think we executed as well as we should have. I think our players are probably thinking the same thing.

Q: But that trust is important, especially for some of the younger players who may often not get the chance to prove that to Kirk, right?

A: Sure. Trust with Kirk, in themselves, and confidence building for themselves. They go out against our defense every day, Jacksonville's defense, and we run the football very, very well and we block them well at the first level and got up to the second level. We do that against our defense and we did it against Jacksonville. The challenge of playing those two teams was great for us in the long run, and hopefully it will pay off when we play the Seahawks on Friday night.

Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer

With Kai [Forbath] leaving yesterday, I had a great meeting with him afterwards. He handled it like a pro, like I expected he would. He had a great camp, I think he and I both feel like he left here a better kicker than he was when he got here about a year and a half ago. He improved, he really gave Daniel [Carlson] a run for his money. The competition probably went on a little bit longer than I thought it might when I first drafted Daniel. I thought Kai did a really good job, he is a NFL kicker and I think he is going to be kicking somewhere this year at some point.

Q: How good is Daniel Carlson?

A: He's got great length strength, you're right, he's got a great skill set. Big time leg, he's got a great demeanor. Kicking in the SEC, he kicked in front of 90,000 or 100,000 fans every week. So, I don't think kicking in front of big crowds is going to be a bother for him. It's not going to both him. He's a very composed young man. He can make any field goal kick you need him to make distance wise, he's just got to continue to work on his consistency. He's very much a weapon on the kickoff team. Hopefully he can put it out of the endzone when we need him to, especially indoors, outdoors as well. Indoors he can do, what I call a bag of tricks, the tools in his toolbox so to speak. Where we can keep people off balance with these new rules and kick it high and short like we did the other day. Put pressure on the kickoff return team and give our defense great field position or even get the ball back for that matter. He can do all those things. He's very talented. We're going to continue working on his onside kicks, his surprise onside kicks. There's just a lot the young man can do. Along with being a big leg, he's very composed and he can handle these pressure situations quite well.

Q: How do you create a pressure situation for Carlson over the next two weeks?

A: Well, I don't want him to put undue pressure on himself. I just think every time he goes out there for team, like we're going to kick six field goals today with the team. Every kick is a pressure kick. Every kick he's kicking in front of his teammates, he's kicking in front of his head coach, his GM, myself and the whole unit. But every time he goes out there the next two weeks, it's an NFL regular season game kick for him and it has to be. That's how he prepares for the regular season. To be quite honest, like I tell all the specialists, you're competing against everybody in the league that doesn't have a job. Everybody that's been in the league or could be in the league that doesn't have a job right now. So, he can never relax. He can never take a deep breath and say, "Hey, I've arrived." After we released Kai I had a really good meeting with Daniel as well. We said a lot of those things. We said, "Hey, be confident, there's a reason why you're here. There's a reason why we drafted you. Now you just have to go out and perform like we need you to." Like any young player, I think you're always going to have some hiccups. Hopefully those happen in practice and not in games and we'll kind of go from there.

Q: What is the key for kickers handling pressure?

A: I had the opportunity to be around Jeff Feagles many years ago when he was already a 12 or 13 year veteran. He played with ear plugs in, oblivious to everything, it was wild. I asked Jeff one time if he knew what a three-technique was, this was after a practice. He had no idea. He had been in the league 13 years and had no idea what a three-technique was. He was a joy to coach because he just didn't care. I want Daniel to be aware of certain situations. I want him to understand kickoffs and why we do certain things, the method to the madness as we say. I don't want him to feel pressure per se, I just want him to go out there and do his job like he's prepared to do in practice, like he did in the first two preseason games and the next two preparing for San Francisco. Do I want him thinking about pressure? No, just going out and doing his job at a high level and continually learning and working on his craft.

Q: Why do you think the competition went on longer than you thought it would?

A: Because Kai [Forbath] kicked so well. Kai really had a great spring, I thought Daniel [Carlson] out kicked him by a little bit in the spring, it was close. Then he came into camp and I think he made a couple more field goals than Daniel did. I think they both kicked 34-35 field goals and I think Kai kicked a couple more. I could see Daniel continually getting better every day. The kickoffs played a big part of that as well. So, the combination of that and being a young, hopefully up and coming kicker that can kick in this league for a long time, one game at a time, obviously, or one practice at a time. At the end of the day, there's a reason why he's here. He performed well and well enough to beat out Kai.

Q: Was Forbath's miss on Saturday a factor in the decision?

A: I don't know if we wouldn't have made the move anyway. I don't know if it helped make the decision. We know who Kai is and we know who Daniel is at this point. I think releasing Kai now does Kai a little bit of a favor. Because now, the teams that are really struggling, I don't know who they are because I don't study that right now, but it gives him an opportunity to try to at least get a workout and maybe latch onto a team instead of getting cut two weeks from now or after the last preseason game and now he's competing against 10 or 11 kickers that have been cut at the same time. I think Rick [Spielman] did Kai a favor by releasing him yesterday, in my opinion.  

Q: What does Carlson's size do to his mechanics as a kicker?

A: Daniel is built like a punter, like an ideal punter. One of the things that Daniel and I talked about back in the combine in February and then when I went down to visit him at Auburn, was that his foot is so much bigger than a smaller kicker's foot. He's got to have a little bit more discipline than a smaller kicker in terms of how he strikes the football. Once he's consistent with that, he's really, really good. That's when that pendulum, that big, strong leg comes through the ball on kickoffs, field goals, PATs, everything. There's benefit to being a bigger guy and there's a benefit to being a smaller guy. I think Daniel has really trained himself and been coached up well in the years before he got here, and hopefully we'll continue in that direction and coach him well so that he can be an effective kicker for us.

Q: Do you think your experience with other kickers allows you to read a player, psychology wise, a bit better?

A: That's why I went and spent so much time with him. I interviewed him twice at the combine. I took him out to dinner the night before I worked him out. Then watched tape with him for an hour and half and did the workout with him. So I probably spent maybe six total hours with him down at Auburn. I think that's important. Personality of a kicker is very, very important. How he handles pressure and how he handles success and how he handles failure for that matter. Watching his college tape and seeing how he handled certain situations and seeing how he's handled certain situations throughout May, June, July, August and the preseason games. I feel really good about his demeanor and how to approach him. I'm completely different, I don't think I could be an NFL kicker, I'm a little off the reservation sometimes. I think he's so calm, I can learn how to coach a guy like that because I can be calm with him as well. That's the way I need to approach that.

Q: Is poor punt coverage a concern schematically or can it be credited to having backups in there?

A: No, I hate using backups [as an excuse] because watching tape in years past, we've never had an issue covering punts in the preseason like this. I'm very disappointed in our punt coverage thus far. Is it some young guys? Sure. But those young guys should know what to do and I have to coach them better and they have to prepare better. We have to do a better job with lane integrity. Now, I'm going to go off the reservation because I'm very upset about the way we've been covering punts. We're better than that. We need to punt the ball more consistently. Ryan and I have talked a lot about that because when he hits them good, he's really good. When he hit them poorly, our mishits need to be 43-4.4, not 39-3.9. So, we have to improve there immensely in punt coverage. Going forward the next two weeks, that's been a huge emphasis. I don't know if you guys were at practice yesterday but we worked a lot on that, lane integrity, punt coverage, a little bit extra. We've always worked on that, obviously, because we've been pretty good at it here over the years. We need to fix that quickly before we move on.  

Q: Is there a reason a lot of the longer returns have occurred on the right side?

A: I think the reason they ran those rights, the Denver game and then the one last week, really they had two, one was called back. Thank goodness, I might not be here today, I might have just taken a nice long vacation. That stuff drives me crazy. It was just poor lane integrity by those guys, different guys, different young guys that were out there. They know better and we have to get them coached up better and we have to punt the ball better.  

Q: Is that why Adam Thielen was a part of the punt return drill yesterday?

A: No, he was just out there to help run the drill. He was just giving us a look because the other returners were working with Coach [Ryan] Ficken, with the gunners. So, I had the interior of the punt team. We split them up, as you know.  

Q: How do you feel about Carlson's nerves compared to Blair Walsh's in 2012?

A: That's great question because they're two completely different people. Blair, I like Blair a lot. I think Blair is a very, very good kicker. Blair was kind of, I don't want to say a nervous personality, but Daniel is very calm. Because I think it worked for both guys. Blair, obviously had a phenomenal first year and he's done some great things in this league. We hope Daniel can repeat the first year that Blair had. But, they're two different kids and two different people. You were talking about the psychology of it before, that plays a part into it. You just kind of get to know them as a young man and what makes them tick and how'd they get coached up well. When they miss one, do I put my arm around them or do I rip his tail? Everybody is a little bit different. I do like Daniel's demeanor and I like where he's coming from and the direction he's going.

Q: Did you get the result out of Carlson's backspin kick that you wanted?

A: Probably a little deeper but that's the kick I want. I wasn't necessarily trying to get the ball back, although that could have happened. We're trying to use him and use his hang time, I would've preferred a little bit more hang time and a little bit more distance but that was the type of kick we wanted.

Q: What have you seen from Mike Hughes? Are you still leaning towards Marcus Sherels as punt returned and Hughes as the kick returner?

A: Marcus, in my mind, is still the top punt returner and Mike will be the top kick returner. He's so talented. He's got good vision, he's got such a great quick step. If he sets the return a little bit better on Saturday afternoon we might have had a big play. He just didn't help his blockers enough. That's something he's learning. He's coming here with all his God-given ability. Now he just has to refine it. He's catching punts better, he's catching kickoffs better. Just the little things that we work on every single day that he's never been taught before. Learning how to set up his return, set up his blockers. Do the little things that are going to help him at this level. He used to outrun everybody at college. Here it's a little bit different because there's a lot of fast people out there. I'm pleased with his progress thus far as a gunner, they didn't touch him last week in the game. He played corner on punt return, did a great job on one of the reps that Marcus had. He can play on kickoff and he can be our kickoff returner. Until he becomes a big time player for our defense, which could be sooner than later, I have no idea. He'll play a lot of special teams for us.

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