Vikings Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur
Q: What did you notice in the differences between Case Keenum's first start and his second?
A: I think it crossed over to the whole team. He was one of a bunch of players and coaches that we just did a better job of executing. We took the ball down the field on the first drive and scored, which is a huge boost for the team. I thought, generally speaking, he was very efficient. Although, there were some deep ball opportunities that we hit on for the most part. He went out and executed. He had a good idea of what we were trying to do and I think he played well.
Q: Will Sam Bradford practice today?
A: We'll have to see. I don't know where that is at right now. We'll just have to see.
Q: Does that make it difficult to divide up snaps and plan practice?
A: Nope, you get guys ready to play. I think that's what we're learning about an NFL team, really any team in general, you get the guys that are able to play ready to play. That's sort of our mindset right now.
Q: What does C.J. Ham bring to the offense?
A: Well, he's really not talked about often. We probably don't use "21" personnel as much. I think "21" personnel is probably not used as much in the NFL, period. When he's in there, he does a really, really good job. You saw the other day, he caught the ball on a check-down and made yards after the catch. We threw him a screen pass. He can catch the ball, that's number one. That's a huge comfort for a play-caller. Obviously, he's very good at blocking. That's been his role to this point.
Q: Do those deep throws to Adam Thielen add another wrinkle to the offense?
A: It can be, it depends, each team is different. The so-called deep balls that we're all kind of enamored by, they show up against some defenses. Some defenses legislate against them and so you've got to be more patient in your approach. But yeah, we hit it right on a couple of them.
Q: What did you see that made you anticipate that a quick-snap would work against Tampa Bay?
A: It was just a feel, we were in the right part of the field, right down and distance for that play that we've practiced in the past. Tempo is part of my DNA and our players have embraced it, our coaches have embraced it. It ended up being good on both ends. Had we not completed it, we got them with 13 guys on the field. It's part of what the NFL is all about now. The NFL is a substitution league and a matchup league. Sometimes when you get to a certain down and distance people just substitute. It's like anything, we just hit it right.
Q: Was going quick on that one part of not letting them review the previous play?
A: No, not really. In fact, I was frustrated by the fact that there was a pileup there because I wanted [Stefon] Diggs to get lined up. No, that didn't go into it. Although, we have mechanisms to get a play run to challenge it. In that case there, we weren't thinking that way.
Q: Did you think there was a fumble on the previous play?
A: I didn't see a fumble.
Q: How advantageous is it for the offense when Stefon Diggs or Adam Thielen get one-on-one matchups?
A: I think they're both very fine receivers. We've seen them make plays on the outside and the inside. We've seen them make plays down the field and crossing the field. They're two legitimate NFL receivers that are making plays for us. That's important. They're doing it in all kinds of ways. It doesn't get talked about much but when we're running the ball, they're doing a very fine job of blocking as well. So, it all ties together. Again, we hit it right.
Q: In your eyes, have they developed into one of the best receiver duos in the league?
A: That's probably better for you guys to compare. We like it when the ball is in either one of their hands regardless. That's comforting for the quarterback.
Q: What has the addition of Riley Reiff brought to the offense?
A: Well, Riley is a pro. I think that's the thing that I really appreciate about him. He's very critical of his play and trying to make sure he does things the right way. He's really, really good at what he does. Because he's good at what he does, his ability to lead and to help bind that group together is kind of a value added there. I have a great appreciation for him. Even this week, now we're playing the Lions, his former team. When you listen to him speak about his teammates that he used to play with with the Lions with great respect. Talks about how good this player is and how good that player is. I certainly admire that because there should be a respect for the game.
Q: Do you consider him the leader of that offensive line?
A: Yeah, certainly. Again, I've said it before, it doesn't take anything extraordinary to lead, you've got to be good at what you do and you've got to be willing to show courage and be tough. He does all those things. I think the words and the speaking part of leadership is over-talked about in my mind.
Q: Is there one thing in the offensive line that you saw last week that you weren't happy with two weeks ago?
A: I think they've battled throughout. Sometimes a bad play in there gets magnified in some way or another. You're talking about a scenario now in the NFL where the defensive fronts that we all face are all good. Our guys battle in there. Every once in awhile they get beat, then it's up to the skill players around them to do something with their feet or get rid of the ball quicker. I think as a unit they're fighting hard. As you go through the season, because they're able to work together week after week after week, they'll continue to get better in my opinion.
Q: How much has Stefon Diggs developed as a route runner?
A: He's a really good player. He works every day to develop that. So, yeah, I think he's getting better. Again, it's a coordinated effort with the receivers and the quarterback.
Q: Was Matt Ryan baited into an INT against Detroit?
A: Typically, safeties get their interceptions on tipped balls and overthrows. I don't know, you'd have to get into the mind of Matt Ryan. You're talking about a great football player and they obviously made a great play on it. I couldn't tell you.
Q: With Riley Reiff, how much do you rely on somebody that played against a team you're facing?
A: That happens every week. Trust me, I'm one of them, we've all moved around enough where we've got insight on every place we've been. But things change, people change. I think what's important is we as coaches and players have got to attack and really game plan for what we see on film. Obviously, you can get some insight on personalities and what not. I personally don't think too much into that. If there's a code word maybe. They're going to maybe change it because they know he's here. I don't look into that too much.
*Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer *
Good morning everybody, sorry to make you wait. We had a little something called walk-through going on. Had to finish up there, had a couple questions, guys trying to get better. How can I help you?
Q: When you draft a punter and know his skill set, how does that help with game planning?
A: I think it helps our guys because they know. They know Jeff [Locke]. They're asking him to do a couple different things than we asked him to do here. His second and third years here we kicked outdoors, so we asked him to punt a little bit different. Jeff, it was a good four years. He did a lot of good things for us. He's a find young man, I enjoyed working with him.
Q: Do you have a good read on his kickoff leg?
A: He did a couple times. If you remember his rookie year when Blair had a hip-flexor injury that he kicked off a couple times. He was just kind of line driving it down then. He came out of UCLA he was a good kickoff specialist, he could do both, but at the time obviously Blair was one of the top kickoff guys in the league. We never asked him to do that. I mean he has a good enough leg, he'll try and kick touchbacks against us, try and kick them high and deep, keep us off balance. He's done a good job for them so far.
Q: What was your assessment on the long kickoff return?
A: We lost leverage on the ball on the outside, that should never happen. The way that coverage was designed we never should have let that ball get, it was inside Anthony Harris did a good job. He actually leveraged it towards the sideline to keep it inside. But we lost leverage inside and that should not have happened on that play. In fact the one play before that when we let the ball hit the ground we tackled him at the 11. It was a similar type deal. We covered that one obviously extremely well and we just didn't do a very good job and my hats off to them. They did a nice job blocking. We got to do a better job of covering. It was a good kick, we just got to do a better job.
Q: How do you explain Prater's consistency on long kicks?
A: Matt, I had the pleasure of coaching Matt in Denver for a couple years. He was a younger kicker back then trying to figure things out. Always knew he had a phenomenal leg. He's so consistent because he does the exact same thing, his approach, his jab step is the same, his approach is the same. He's done a very nice job and he's carved out a really nice career for himself. Unfortunately he's made some big ones against us that I hope he doesn't make this weekend, but being that I worked with him and I worked with him for a couple years, I'm kind of proud of him in way, but I just hope he has a bad weekend this weekend and I'll tell him that before the game.
Q: How often does it happen when you coach against players you previously coached?
A: That's kind of weird. I don't know how often it happens. I think it's the first time it's happened to me in that regard but the cool thing is that I've been around long enough now that last week Josh Robinson, their top special teams player for Tampa I coached him for four years. Coached some other guys around the league that I've gone against. Unfortunately, they always want to go after us pretty good. They enjoy it and I enjoy the competition and camaraderie with the guys in the league. But it is kind of different when you think about it.
Q: What were you thoughts on Kai Forbath's kick that landed on the 4-yard line?
A: We were trying to pin them over on the right side. We were surprised he couldn't get there, he couldn't get there in time because I think you can read Kai's approach. Kai is a hard guy to read because of his approach but sometimes you can get it at the end. Our guys just did a good job of covering it. Obviously when the ball hits the ground it's going to help our coverage tremendously. If he would have caught it on the fly we would tackle him maybe on the 22-yard line, but fortunately he did not catch it on the fly. We call it effective hang time; ball hits the ground, goes back up in the air. By the time from the start of the kick until when he finally got the ball in his hands probably six or seven seconds which is huge for our kickoff team.
*Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards *
Good to be back home, playing against a division opponent. Hopefully it will be a home field advantage for us. Our fans did a tremendous job last week of helping us in situations with the crowd noise. We are looking forward to competing against Detroit who is an excellent football team in the division, so it will be a tough battle this weekend. We are getting ready and preparing for it.
Q: Watching Matthew Stafford over the years, how has he developed as a quarterback?
A: The thing that he has really done the last couple years, he has always had a strong arm and always been able to make all the throws, but his ability you can just see how comfortable he is in the offense. The other thing he's done is moving around in the pocket a lot. He's scrambling to run and scrambling to throw. The control and the feel he has for their offense and execution, he's doing an excellent job for them offensively.
Q: What are your impressions on Danielle Hunter moving into that starting role and how has he handled it early on?
A: I think Danielle is going to come to work every day. He is going to work hard and try to do the things we ask him to do. He pays attention to details of what we are trying to accomplish from day to day, from week to week, from game to game. What you see is what you get out of him. He is working tremendously hard to do for what we're asking him to do. He is doing a good job of everything we've asked of him. He comes in to work, works hard every day and executes what it is we ask him to do. He is a true professional. That's a good room to be in because there are a lot of guys in there that are true professionals, so he falls right in line with that group and does a good job.
Q: Is Danielle drawing as many double teams as you expected or more? What is that doing for Everson Griffen?
A: I think with his success that he had last year, a lot more people are aware of who he is and do certain things protection-wise, whether it's helping with a chip or protection going one way or the other, so from that aspect I think it does help. Every week is a different week. Every week is a different matchup. It just depends on who we are playing and what they are deciding to do protection-wise.
Q: Is there anything in particular against the run that Danielle has done that you've been impressed with?
A: He's done a good job of not only holding a point, but his ability to be able to get on and off a block. He is very athletic and sometimes he can get in of positions and out of them that everybody can't do. Like I said, his attention to detail in the run game has been good. Him understanding of what we're asking by certain defenses that we run has been pretty good so far to start our season.
Q: What has been the big key for you guys defending the run?
A: I think it starts with our front four. Those guys have done a great job of not only holding their gaps but being able to get on and off a ball, block and make the play on the ball. Our linebackers are coming down hill, being able to punch and get off blocks. And really, a good job by our secondary as we get things to bounce to the perimeter of crack and crack-replacing and doing a good job of tackling in the open field. I think collectively it has been a group effort in the detail that they put in from week to week.
Q: What do you think has aided you in 3rd-down defense so far this year with the numbers that you have?
A: We always talk about good pass rush and good coverage always go hand-in-hand and we've been able to have both. To be honest with you, I think it is the detail that the guys put in the work going into the game of knowing the different matchups and what people are trying to do against us from week to week. Then going out and executing on Sunday. I mean, that is the one thing they've been able to do is go out and execute the plan on Sunday. We've been able to get off the field on 3rd down. It will to be tough this week. This is a good team on 3rd down. I think they're 41 percent and I think [Golden] Tate is the leading receiver right now in the NFL on 3rd downs so we'll have our work cut out for us with the matchups they have this week, and the quarterback getting the ball out. We are looking forward to the contest this weekend.
Q: How would you assess where Tramaine Brock Sr. is at in getting comfortable with the defense?
A: I think the more work we are able to get him during the course of the week and going into games has helped him but he still is in the process of learning all the different nuances of the position for how we play certain techniques and fundamentals, and also schematically what we are doing from week to week. He is working real hard to get those things polished up from week to week, asking good questions and you can see his work out there on the field. It's just going to boil down to continuing to work within the techniques and fundamentals that we have going and preparation during the week.
Q: What's the biggest change Brock Sr. has to get acclimated to your defense versus San Francisco and Seattle?
A: He's done a lot of the similar concepts of what we do coverage-wise. The technique and fundamentals may be different. What we call certain things may be a little different. I think the more reps he continues to get, the more comfortable he is going to feel in those situations.