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Transcript: Coordinators Addressed the Media Thursday

Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer

I want to start off by saying, obviously, Sunday was a tough day for us on special teams. We expect to play at a much higher level week-in and week-out. I think we've established that reputation in our division, in our conference, and I hope in the NFL. You start the game with a blocked punt for a touchdown that puts your team behind the eight ball right off the bat and most teams, when you give up a punt blocked for a touchdown, you normally lose and our team keep fighting; offensively, defensively, and special teams – we responded. I talked to the kickoff return right after they kicked the extra point to make it 7-0. I brought the kickoff team and said, "Hey, relax." Everybody thought I'd be really upset and yelling and all that stuff. One guy didn't do his job, not everybody so we'll get that corrected. We've faced adversity before. Let's see what we can do on this kickoff return and we responded with the 46-yarder. Kirk [Cousins] told me after the game, God bless him, he said, "Coach, hey, that really gave us a spark. We went down there and scored and made it 7-7. We got back into it." I thought overall we played well on teams, other than the one punt, and then of course you've got the field goals. That's an issue I have to address today. It was unfortunate for Daniel [Carlson] because obviously nobody wanted to make it more than he did and he felt like he let our team down. Like I told him, he didn't mean to do it. He didn't mean to miss those kicks. He's a fine young man, he's a fine kicker, he belongs in this league at some point and he just wasn't quite ready for that situation. So, unfortunately for him, unfortunately for us, we had to make a change and the end of the day hopefully we're better off because of it and we'll kind of go from there. It's a big week for us on teams. It's no different emphasis than it normally is. We went in to the meeting Monday and said, "Hey guys, we've just got to focus." We've just got to focus a little bit more. We can't make the mistakes that we've made. We think we left some yards on the table on punt return as well. I think we have to do a better job there, but overall our guys are playing hard they have a great attitude and we have a big game in front us because Buffalo plays hard on special teams. That's one phase they believe that when they come in here on Sunday afternoon they feel they got a chance to beat us. That's where we got to stop that initial charge and we got to get after them for 60 minutes.

Q: Is there any way in-game for someone that doesn't have experience essentially shake it off? How hard is it to restore someone's confidence in the midst of everything going on?

A: Right before overtime started I brought the three specialist together and said, "Hey guys, lets relax. Lets have some fun. Lets go out and do what we do and it's going to come down to us winning this game." Unfortunately, he missed two in overtime. So, my pep talk didn't work very well unfortunately, but that's the kind of thing you have to help a young player with. He missed one and kicked off well and made three PATs. I thought for sure he was going to make that 48, 49-yarder the first one in overtime. I know that didn't end the game there. We had a kickoff and play defense. I was shocked he missed that. I think that really hurt his confidence and he kicked all three same way, he pushed them right. If anything you want to at least overcorrect if you need to. A lot of times young kickers will overcorrect and he misses it left. To miss all three right that was the tough part for me I think those situations there you've got to at least correct the last one it was 35 right down the middle of the field. Dan knows this, Danny know this. He felt horrible. I'm sure it was a very tough, difficult for he and his family and I wish him the best because he was a great kid and fun to be around and he'll bounce back. He'll be in this league again.

Q: What was the mistake on the blocked punt?

A:  It was on our right side. It's a look that we did all week. In fact we did it both games prior to because that's one of their good looks. They executed, we didn't. That's what it boiled down to. We didn't do a good enough job getting our depth. That's going to be corrected.

Q: What have you learned about the psychological part of helping kickers?

A: I wish I would've taken some of the psychology classes courses in college that may have helped me a little bit. I've said this before every kicker, punter, snapper, returner, special teams player, every guy is a little bit different. They're wired a little bit differently. They have different backgrounds, different football backgrounds. That's why I try to get to know them as people. Try to get to know what gets them to tick. Try to get to know what motivates them. How they best learn whether it means video, walk-thrus, going full speed in the practice field, etc. A lot of times it comes down to experience with younger players, especially on special teams, which all special teams coordinators deal with younger players day-in and day-out. It's getting them the reps. It's getting them the technique. It's understanding what makes them tick, like I said. For a kicker or a punter I think you just have to instill as much confidence in them as you can and let them go out there and do their job. When they don't do their job, stuff like what happened this Monday when we made the switch that happens and it's the unfortunate part of our business, but it's a key part of our business and you got to bring in the best guys you can and help us win. Our organization does a great job, with personnel and making changes when they need to be made and hopefully this will be a great one for us with Dan Bailey coming in here and solidifying that position. He's a veteran. This is a guy last off season I would have loved to have brought in here to be our guy and now he's here. Hopefully, some good things are head for our field goal team, kickoff team, and etc.

*Q: With Dan Bailey's body of work, how do you weigh what he did in the beginning of his career to how things ended in Dallas? *

A: I studied all his kicks before we signed him and again after we signed him. I've gone over a few of those kicks with him. He's very, very intelligent. He understands his craft. I think part of that last year at the end was that he was over compensating for his injury like a lot of guys do – kickers, punters, anybody, football players in general, athletes in general. They're going to over compensate when they have a back, groin or something wrong with them. He hit the ball yesterday and he's fine. He is perfectly fine. He hit the ball great. We worked on the side with the snapper and holder. He'll kick some more field goals. He'll kick off with the team today. He'll kick field goals with the team today and then we'll get ready for Sunday.

Q: Considering your struggles in the past with PATs, how encouraging is it to see that he's only missed two PATs during his time in Dallas?

A: he's known for just being accurate and just kicking touchbacks. He's also very good kickoff specialist as well. It's very encouraging. It's encouraging for our football team as well. We're a team that is built on field position – giving our defense good field position, our offense great field position and let them go do their thing. Complementary football is a big thing for us and he's going to fit right into that.

Q: With less than a week to prepare, what are the most important things for a kicker to address before the game on Sunday?

A: Terminology, what we call certain things on kickoff in the heat of battle when I mentioned a liner kick and he connects. He knows what a liner is. That's not hard. That's stuff you have to cover. He came in for about an hour, we watched some tape, went over our game plan, what our strengths are, what we need to do kickoff wise. Then of course the work with the holder and the snapper. That's the key. That's who got a lot of reps in yesterday and we're going to get a lot more in today. Matt [Wile] will adjust just like he did when he first got here with Daniel [Carlson]. Dan is one of those guys. I like his personality because he came in and he's like, "Hey man just put it down, I'll kick it through." He's not being arrogant, he's just being confident. He knows we've got a good snapper, we've got a good holder if we do what we're supposed to do he's going to put the ball through the uprights.

Q: Do you think Matt Wile's holds were good on Sunday?

A: They were. He did a great job. He really did. That's one thing I wanted to look at. I watched the iPad on the way home with my glasses, and I can hardly see anyways, but he put it on the big screen and saw it on Monday morning and he did fine. His holds were pretty good.

Q: Do you think it was important to upgrade the specialists this offseason?

A: In the NFL as you guys know you're always looking to get better. Kai [Forbath], I mentioned this before, Kai had a good solid performance but sometimes he kicked them too low, he missed a lot of PATs, he's not as strong on kickoffs, and Kai again did a great job for us. Again, when he left I thanked him for all his work, but you're always trying to get better. Like I said Dan [Bailey] would have been the type of guy to upgrade that spot. He wasn't available this offseason. We looked at some other guys and some other guys signed big money other places. Rick [Spielman] felt it was the best thing and I agreed with him to bring in a young kicker. The best one we felt coming out of the college draft. He won the job and the he just didn't get the job done on Sunday. I think in the NFL you're always looking to get better with what you got. Which is most of the time or you need to upgrade and you need to upgrade like we did this week.

Q: Had Dan Bailey been available he would have been someone you would have brought in this offseason?

A: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.

Q: Do you think it's easier for a veteran like Dan Bailey to self-correct and know what is going on with their kick?

A: I think so. I think so because he's done it for a little bit longer. It's like any other profession, if you are a pro, Dan Bailey is, you're always trying to get better. You're always trying to tweak things to make yourself stronger, to make yourself more accurate, make yourself follow through better whatever the case may be. With a guy like Dan, with a veteran of course. Yes, absolutely. It's like you guys the longer, you're in your profession if you work at it like you all do you're going to get better at it. It's like myself and the rest of us that the more experience you have as long as it's good experience, as long as you tried to get better, in any part of your life I think the more experience you have the better off you're going to be. So it applies to kickers, punters, anybody else as well.

Q: What are the challenges that face Kevin McDermott with the constant changes?

A: Kevin is a pro. He's so good and he's such a good person, too. He's easy to get along with. He's very, I don't want to say he's mellow, but I think he's a guy you can easily get along with. He's a good person and he just takes it in stride. He's been that guy. He's been a little bit of a journeyman early in his career until he got here. He's been a pro. He did a great job with the young kicker. He'll do a great job Dan. He's done a great job with Matt [Wile] so far. He's adjusted very well because he's a pro. He gets it.

Q: After a game with breakdowns like Green Bay, how do you bounce back from that?

A: I've been through worse. What I try to rely on is like what I told our guys on Monday is that yeah we had a break down on punt protection. That can never happen, but we responded with a big return. They challenged us at the beginning of overtime, which I was shocked and we were a shoe string tackle away from having a walk-off kickoff returned for a touchdown. Holton [Hill] did a great job. He was blocked up really well. We just couldn't get to the backside safety. We had tried but we couldn't get there. It was a nice return. Marcus [Sherels] had a nice return to mid-field earlier in the game. We punted really well after that, after the glitch. It was a big glitch obviously, but we punted and covered well. We did somethings for our football team to help with field position. So, was it a total loss? Of course not. I've been in games where it's a heck of a lot worse. That it was play after play that we just couldn't get on track so we had a horrible play. We got on track with the core phases and then you know what happened with the field goal kicker.

Q: With how high you drafted Daniel Carlson and time you put into him, how surprised were you that this happened? Was there any confidence issues?

A: No. I mean he's young. I hate to use that as an excuse because we drafted Blair [Walsh] and he went to the Pro Bowl his rookie year, so it's kind of the two sides of a coin. I was shocked that he missed three in a row. I'm shocked that he missed the first one to be quite honest with you because I have a lot of confidence in him and his ability. That was a tough pill to swallow because I really thought, me being me, I felt partially responsible. Could I have done something different? Could I have reminded him of something else on the field? And that's just kind of how I'm wired. Of course I didn't miss the kick but at the end of the day that's part of my job is to help this young man and help the young men that I coach to be confident when they go out there and preform.

Q: You've tried several different people at kickoff return. Are you still unsettled with who will be your kickoff returner?

A: No. I haven't really been unsettled at all. I've wanted Mike Hughes to be the guy and he's playing a lot of defense and so Holton can step in. If Holton's playing more defense or if we need another guy, Aldrick Robinson could be another guy. We could put Mike Boone back there I train a lot of guys for that reason because they're not just returners they're playing other special teams. They're playing on defense some of the guys play on offense. I haven't been unsettled at all. It's going according to plan. I've just had to use more guys because Mike Hughes, especially because it was hot Sunday as you know. So he was getting a little bit gassed because of the other special teams he was and because he playing so much defense.

Q: When Matt Wile became available on waivers was his holding something you evaluated?

A: When he first entered the league I think he was a little below average because he had been the place kicker at Michigan his senior year so he hadn't held that whole year. But he's worked really hard. He's got very good hands. He's a very good athlete. He's very conscientious. He's very hardworking and he's only going to get better I believe as he goes. Again, Sunday he did a great job against San Francisco he did a great job. So hopefully, he'll do what Dan [Bailey] needs him to do – get the ball down and let Dan work his magic.

Vikings Offensive Coordinator John DeFilippo

It is good to see everybody. I appreciate everyone coming out. Obviously, it was good to get back to work yesterday after a tough game on Sunday. I am really proud the way our guys came back and fought. It showed a lot of character and heart for those guys. Big game for us on Sunday. We have a huge challenge against the Bills and looking forward to that opportunity.

Q: Did you learn anything about Kirk Cousins in that fourth quarter?

A: No, I'd seen Kirk do those things before. It just solidified what type of leader he is and the type of "You're never out of the game." That showed our team to play to the end. Play for four quarters. I think it showed our whole team a lot from Kirk's standpoint.

Q: What was your perspective on Kirk Cousins' throw to Adam Thielen?

A: There is a fine line. There are certain points in a game situation you have to take chances. If that was a random second down in the middle of the second quarter, I would've been like, "Hey, that one is a little tight." But if you are trying to drive down and win the football game. There is less than a minute to go in the game. Those are the chances you have to take. You want your quarterback to feel comfortable and feel confident in themselves throwing those types of balls in those situations. Depending on the situation you're in, in my mind, I didn't read Kirk's comments, but in my mind that is a situation you need to take a chance.

Q: How encouraging was it to see Pat Elflein get a full practice in yesterday?

A: It's great. It's great. We are ready for him to be back out there. It's just a matter of the medical stuff and none of us are doctors except the doctors. Unfortunately, that stuff is out of our hands. We are ready for him to be back out there.

Q: Is there anything you can do for Laquon Treadwell to rebuild his confidence after a tough game on Sunday?

A: Sure. I think you are supportive. I think you are supportive. As coaches, we are always looking to get every player better every single day and striving to hold guys accountable and doing the right thing and being in the right spot. I think to me, I went back and reminded Laquon how far he's come since we've started. Obviously, he scored his first touchdown of his career in that game in the first quarter. That was a huge play. Crossed the corner's face. It was a great adjustment. Kirk put a great adjustment on the route which I thought was great. Great read by him. It was just a great play all around. I think people now tend to focus on the negative all the time. I try to focus on some of the positives. Without having my head buried in the sand, there is areas of improvement. We are staying positive. We are staying positive. Are we happy with what happened with the drop and the interception and those things? No. That can't happen. The whole world knows that can't happen. At the same time, the kid did some really good things in the game on Sunday.

Q: What did you see from Laquon Treadwell's body language yesterday?

A: Yes, he is ready to move on. There is no doubt. Obviously, he was disappointed on the sideline during the game. I told him to pick his head up. He has bought in to having short term memory. That is something I preach to the offense since the day I got here was that none of us are going to have success in this league if you don't have short term memory. He has bought in and we'll see this week. He had a good day of practice yesterday and obviously we'll see on Sunday.

Q: What did you notice that made the third-and-short game so effective in the fourth quarter leading to those two touchdowns?

A: A couple things. We knew Green Bay liked to load the line of scrimmage on third-and-one. We thought we could do a few things schematically to take advantage of that. Obviously, they were very aggressive at the second level. We thought that, I think we had four third-and-ones if I'm not mistaken. It was either three or four. I know we had a couple throws and ran one to Hammer [C.J. Ham]. Obviously, we felt like we could get on the perimeter on them. Obviously, it worked out. It worked out well.

Q: What do you see from Kirk Cousins' ability to be aware of the pass rush but also how he performs under pressure?

A: It was really, really impressive on Sunday. The throw to Thielen, going away from the tunnel, on the third-and-seven, on what we call a circus route, which is basically two step inside release up vertical to 15, roll it out to 18. It was against 22-man. He just had two guys just bearing down on his face. He stood in there, stepped and threw. Knew he was going to get hit. I think that shows everybody, not only our team but a football world, how tough a guy Kirk is. That is not easy to do. Not every starter in the NFL can do what he did on that play. I think you recognize that. I think you show that. I think that it obviously earns him respect as a legitimate tough guy. That is what you need to have success to play this position.

Q: How impressed were you with Brian O'Neill coming in the fourth quarter and how he was able to handle things in pass protection?

A: Brian's situation was like coming in with a full count, bases loaded, World Series game 7 and I thought he performed well. I thought he performed well. That was a tough time of the game to come in and your first time as a rookie. I thought he handled himself well. There were a couple times he got bulled a little bit and the guy came down the middle of him. I thought he settled in after the first play or two. I thought he did a really, really nice job.

Q: What do you take away from the running games in the first two games?

A: It is what it is. We are trying to run the football, try to stay patient with it. The first half I thought we had some good runs that got called back. You get to the first-and-twenty, you have to throw it a little bit. I think our limited opportunities in the last game, I think that the Niners got under us a few times in terms of their length up front. I think the Niners defensive linemen are really long and tall and got on us a little bit. We didn't get to the second level as good as we could have. I addressed last week I thought we did a much better job Sunday. It's just the opportunities weren't there. We got behind the chains in the first half. We had the missed field goal, then came out and drove it a little bit then had the punt. Then you get in the game where now it's 20-7 in the middle and late third quarter and you're like, "Better go here." I think it was more the situational deal on Sunday.

Q: What goes into a play call when Green Bay was bringing the rush?

A: That play was game planned. We knew in that situation that more than likely we were getting man coverage. I don't want to talk too much scheme in here because we have to play these guys again. I think NFL film is so readily available now-a-days that if you really, really watched it and saw what we were trying to do, I think it got executed to perfection. I'll tell you Adam Thielen did an excellent job on that play and he wasn't even in the progression. I'll leave it at that. That play is designed to leave the end man on the line of scrimmage free for the quarterback. You're hoping, it doesn't always happen, but you're hoping that he crashes down on the line of scrimmage. Crashes down with the run fake. Clay [Matthews] did a great job of getting up the field in Kirk's face. Obviously, Kirk did a great job executing that play, throwing off balance. Rudy [Kyle Rudolph] did a nice job of finishing.

Q: How do you anticipate them thinking certain things in certain situations?

A: We knew they were probably going to be in man coverage. That play we called was man coverage in that situation. It just worked out in our favor. That is what you do. There is no perfect play call. There is no perfect play call. Here is how you call plays. You call plays by using the information you have. The numbers you have of what they're going to be in, the potential, and you put the best play call in that situation against that situation against those numbers out there. A lot of times they hit if you do your homework and do a good job and you're not a briefcase coach and head out of the building at 5:00. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes they don't. You take calculated risks in what you think is going to be your best play to put your team in the best situation to have success.

Q: How is the communication when you are deciding in overtime to take a shot or set up the field goal?

A: When Latavius [Murray] got down to the 20-yard line, what are you going to do? What are you going to do? If there is a mis-exchange, if there was an interception, if there was a fumble. There are two sides of the coin to that. Obviously, the kicker was struggling. But to echo Coach [Mike] Zimmer's words, using his exacts words, "We are expecting him to do his job." I am not using my words. I am using the head coach's and he was right. I thought Coach Zimmer made a great decision there to be quite honest with you.

Q: How have you felt Dalvin Cook has ran the ball this season?

A: I thought he's run the ball well. Again, [he's had] limited opportunities. I would love to have had more rush attempts than we have, but that's just the way the game is played out on Sunday. Obviously, when you are having to limited rushing attempts I think that there are other ways to get your really good playmakers the football, and I think we've shown that we can do that with him in the pass game. We're going to continue to do that in the pass game with him, because you'd be foolish not to use a guy like that that has good hands, is explosive, can make guys miss in space, and not use him in the pass game. There's a lot of different ways to get your playmakers the football. We're going to continue to find ways to do that.

Q: What does it say about Dalvin that he can line up on the perimeter and run different routes instead of just being limited to screen passes?

A: It's a credit to him for buying in to what we're trying to do with him. I told him our first week on the job to just get ready to line up everywhere. I told him that from the first day I met him, because I had watched him on tape obviously and saw the explosiveness in the first three and a half games, I forget what it was when he went down. I said we need to find as many ways as we can to get this guy the football, and I think you saw on the first drive of the game we ran the double wide receiver screen, where he was an option there. They gave us better leverage to Adam's [Thielen] side, so we threw it to Adam for a gain of nine, but he was involved on the other side of that play as well. There's all kind of different ways if you get creative to try and get your guys the football, and it's not always going to work. It's not always going to work, because obviously at the same time he's a full-time running back, so he's not going to get as much time outside as Adam Thielen would, or Stefon Diggs or Kyle Rudolph would, those guys. But there's enough you can do to make it pretty good as well.

Q: What do you take away from what the run game has been able to do, creating those one-on-one matchups?

A: I thought we've been running it good enough, to where we can still run our keeper game. When I say keepers, we're faking the run and booting out. That's still effective. Our play-action passing game has been effective, the deep ball to Diggs, the 75-yarder was off a play-action gun formation. So I think we're running it just good enough, we're not where we want to be yet by any means, but it's just good enough where I think where it's keeping our other things honest, if you know what I mean.

Q: What has Tyler Conklin done to earn your trust and be in the game with 42 seconds left?

A: Here's the thing with that; I don't know how many players we have on offense, its maybe 26? 25, thank you. I trust all 25 guys to be on the field if that time came. Since the day I've gotten here, all these guys that are here now and that were not here that unfortunately are not on our football team anymore have totally, 100 percent bought in to what myself is teaching and our coaching staff is teaching. So I have confidence in all of those guys to be out there in that situation. You have to be, if there's an injury, if a guy needs a blow, all those things. I'm confident in any one of our players being out there in that situation.

Q: You mentioned that good play calling is built off of the homework that you do. What do you do in a situation like the one coming up this week, when they have a different play caller taking over and there's not a ton of film of McDermott's defensive play calling?

A: Great question. I just put myself in that situation. Believe me, I'm not speaking for Coach McDermott at all, I have a ton of respect for Coach and the Bills and all that. I'm putting myself in that situation. There's only so much wholesale change you can do in one week. That doesn't mean that they're pressure numbers are going to change, instead of pressuring 14 percent of the time on third down, it may go up to 25 percent. There's only so much you can do when you've had OTAs, training camp, two games of the season so far, you can't just wholesale a change and say, "Hey, we're going to go from a 4-3 to a 3-4." Obviously we're expecting their best shot, we're ready for anything. I talked to the players about just following our base rules in protection, be ready for the unscouted look. I'm sure they're going to have something for us that we haven't seen, there's no doubt. Coach McDermott has got the reputation he has for a reason, and he's a darn good coach. Hopefully we'll be ready for whatever he throws at us.

Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards

It's good to get back, got a home game this week against Buffalo. We're excited about getting back home. Our home crowd and the noise and those things affect the game, so we're excited about that. Just working through the week with the concepts and different things that they present offensively.

Q: What are you seeing from Josh Allen on film?

A: I see a guy that's got a strong arm, he's very mobile in the pocket. He's got a lot of scrambles where he's picked up first downs throughout the course of the preseason and these first two games, so he'll be challenge for us. We're excited about the challenge, but again, this is going to be his second start. They've got some things offensively that they gear towards his skill set. He's very impressive in his ability to get free in the pocket. He's got a pretty good feel for it and being able to throw the ball down the field.

Q: It seems like Allen likes to run, and they scheme around that. What kind of challenges does that present?

A: Any time you got a mobile quarterback that can move in the pocket and extend plays down the field, it's definitely a challenge for us. We've got to do a good job and be disciplined in our rush lanes and in our blitz angles and all those different types of deals as we prepare through the course of the week.

Q: What did you see from the two minute defense at the end of regulation last week?

A: I think the biggest thing for us is to just stay on top of the situations. We practice situational football I guarantee as much as any, Coach Zimmer puts us in a lot of different situations. I think guys understanding the situation, number one, understanding the details of what they have left offensively, and then going out and executing whatever we got called as far as the leverage on the coverage. We've got to continue to work to impress upon us and stay focused on those things and go out and execute it in a game.

Q: What did you see from Mackensie Alexander on Green Bay's 27-yard completion?

A: In that coverage right there you'd like to see him see number two. He got locked in on number three, but that's one of those experience things that we got to count on to be able to see that and be able to adjust to it in the course of the game.

Q: Are you still trying to solidify who's going to be taking most of the snaps at nickel, or is that based on specific matchups?

A: Everything we do is kind of geared around a matchup from week to week, and also with the players as we go through the week, what we're comfortable seeing them do with their skill sets. That's something where we're fortunate enough to have two young guys that are able to play the position, so right now we're using both of their skill sets from package to package.

Q: How do you see Tom Johnson fitting in?

A: It's great to have Tom back. He's a player that we definitely wanted to keep last year. We didn't get the opportunity to, but what he brings as far as the pass rush and things inside, just with the rotation inside, he'll help us tremendously as we progress down the road. We were elated to get him back, Rick [Spielman] and his staff getting him back in here, and he's hit it running. We're just working through this week trying to get him prepared for this game.

Q: Coach Zimmer said that that move would probably dictate Jaleel Johnson being a backup to Linval Joseph at nose tackle. What have you seen from Jaleel to know that he can play that position well?

A: First of all with Jaleel, we've had to ask him to learn both as we progressed through the offseason. It just depends on how many tackles we end up taking to the game on Sunday. There's been some situations where he's had to play both, backup both when we took four ends in the first one and we only had three tackles inside. This past week it was the opposite. I think that solidifies that he can concentrate more on one position than the other, which I think will help as he progresses down the road and as we keep going. But we still have to work them both, because that situation comes up when you get to the 46 it comes down to on Sunday.

Q: Does having Tom Johnson increase the defensive line's ability to rotate?

A: Yeah, I think right now we're just feeling out exactly where he is. He's been going through the offseason and he's just been here for practice one day. He looks good, he's working his butt off, and he's got pretty good recall for what we've got going into the game plan this week. We're just looking for him as we progress to see where he's at towards the end of the week, and just see what different packages we'll be able to use him in.

Q: How did you feel about substitution pattern along the defensive line from Week 1 to Week 2?

A: I think we got better at it this past week, and I think we'll continue to get better at it. Last week it was a little bit tougher, because their offense doesn't allow you to sub quite as much, because they're on the field and if they see you sub they're going to run out there. So from that aspect we just have to be careful, because once it's out there it's out there in that game, and that game will be a little bit different. That will change from week to week as we keep progressing throughout the course of the season depending on who we're facing from week to week.

Q: Last year you had a lot of success defending running backs coming out of the backfield in the passing game. What can you carry over, especially facing LeSean McCoy?

A: We definitely got to do a good job there. One thing coming out of last week's game that we were trying to put and emphasis on was tackling in the open field, and this guy [LeSean McCoy] makes a lot of people miss underneath in coverage. We've really got to do a good job with our vision, keeping our head up, the angle that we take in the open field, and getting to the football with a reason and wrap up tackle and get him on the ground. He's [McCoy] their number one receiver when you look at it at the end of the day. Him being able to catch the ball and pick up yards after the catch is indicative of his skill set, so we've got to do a good job that way.

Q: Sean McDermott took over play calling duties last Sunday. When you had to do that a couple of seasons ago for one game on short notice, were there any challenges that you encountered?

A: I think we do a good job as a staff and I think Coach Zimmer answered it yesterday. It's whatever we come up with as a staff in situations. We go through every situation and kind of narrow it down by personnel for what it is we're looking to do. When you get in the course of the game you always have to adjust. I think from that aspect we do a good job of planning and preparing, and we're all on the same page no matter what ends up getting called and what we have to adjust to throughout the course of the game.

Q: Coach Zimmer has been honest about why he's handled play calling himself, but you've also handled play calling in the preseason before. What are those conversations like between you and him?

A: I keep those conversations private. I think Coach Zimmer has explained exactly what he thinks and what he feels. I'm here to do whatever it is to help us win ball games at the end of the day.