Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
Good afternoon. After watching the tape, it really wasn't much different than what it looked like on the field. It was a poor performance, disappointing, we did not play together as a team in most all phases and we've got a lot of soul-searching to get done. Offensively we didn't convert on third downs, sustain drives, things we talked about going in to the ballgame. I'm not sure that we handled the situation as a team very good and the way we started the ballgame. I feel like our team got frustrated and flustered a little bit and did not regain our composure for quite a while. Defensively, too many missed tackles, no perimeter run force, guys in the wrong places, guys getting reached in their blocking schemes. It was just a really, really uncharacteristic performance from our football team and it's disappointing. Questions?
Q: What did you see from Teddy Bridgewater last night? Did he seem rattled to you at all?
A: Yeah, that's the first time I've really seen him like that. Usually he's got so much composure, but he did seem that way. I think he was – a couple times didn't pull the trigger when he had opportunities to. As an example, when it's third down and he goes and slides and almost doesn't get the first down instead of going head first and getting the first down. So things like that that's not typical of what he's done and what we've done in practice as well.
Q: Did San Francisco throw something at him that he wasn't expecting?
A: A little bit. Everybody has some different wrinkles. They had a couple different pressures that they did, but for the most part, we did not execute very well.
Q: Have you talked to him and gotten a sense on why he might have been unsettled?
A: No, I have just talked to him briefly. I haven't seen him today.
Q: Did you ever feel like your team wasn't ready leading up to the game?
A: No, I don't believe that they weren't ready to play. I think maybe they were ready to play like last Wednesday because our practices were high-tempo, the meetings were good, the walk-thrus were focused, everything leading to this was very good. You've got to give San Francisco a lot of credit. They out-executed us, they outplayed us, so no, there was no indication whatsoever. Actually, I was confident going into the ballgame. I went to the walk-thru Monday morning and I said, "Man, these guys are ready to go." So much for that.
Q: What are you going to be looking for in terms of Teddy Bridgewater's preparation and demeanor heading into Detroit?
A: I do not think that Teddy is going to throw another clunker. I have never seen that side of him. I think it's probably just an enigma that this happened. But we're going to have to find out and see. I base it on what I see in practice and things that I do. He had good practices last week, threw the ball. Heck, when we came back on Thursday, he was humming the ball, it was going everywhere. He was pumped up, you could tell. I even walked over to Shaun Hill and said, "He's humming it today, isn't he?" He said, "Yeah, he's pretty fired up." When I made that comment last night, I try to downplay everything going into the ballgame – Monday Night Football, first game of the year, because I knew that these guys would be excited to play. And I also knew that going into San Francisco might be a little bit of a buzz saw initially because of all the bad things that were being said about them throughout the course of the offseason and this and that. I purposely didn't talk a lot, try to get them excited about it because I knew going into the game that we were excited to play. That's why I say maybe we just didn't handle the situation the correct way. And then defensively we got tired, we did some extremely uncharacteristic things. I told the team at halftime, I said, "I don't even know who is out there today. I don't even know who this team is, I've never seen this side of us before, never." I guess the closest one that I can remember is when we went up to Green Bay last year on Thursday night, but other than that I've never seen this team and not this team this year for sure.
Q: Do you think Adrian Peterson looked tentative?
A: No, I don't think he looked tentative. I think he was aggressive trying to get to the hole and maybe trying to get there a little too fast at times.
Q: How is his pass protection dictating your personnel decisions?
A: Well, he missed one protection, but he's been working really hard at it. He's gotten a lot better at it in my opinion than what he was. The one blitz that they run, the one that they sacked Teddy at about the 2-yard line, they see that exact same blitz every day in practice. So I'm like, "Come on, how does that happen?" They see this blitz every single day in practice and we probably run it better, but we didn't touch two guys, so that's what I say like, "I don't even know who this team is."
Q: They came from the A gap on that blitz?
A: And they had a guy on the outside as well. Yeah, they've seen that for a long time now.
Q: What went into the decision to start Andrew Sendejo over Robert Blanton at strong safety?
A: I don't know. It's kind of a fluid situation right there. I'm just trying to [have] somebody give me confidence in that position. Somebody I feel like is going to make the safe play and not the spectacular play. I don't really care about making the spectacular play, I want guys to make the safe plays. When he [Andrew Sendejo] missed those tackles, he got cut on the one force, then I said, "Hey, let's put him [Robert Blanton] in and see if he can do anything."
Q: Is Antone Exum Jr. a possibility to be in that mix at strong safety?
A: He's a possibility if he could ever figure out what to do. Once he figures out what to do he can be a part of that discussion, but if you don't know what to do and you can't do it when things are moving fast, that's kind of why I started with [Andrew] Sendejo, because I felt like he's a smart guy that knows what to do that will kind of be in the right place all of the time and we can have confidence in him making the correct plays.* *
Q: From your assessment who had the better game, Andrew Sendejo or Robert Blanton?
A: It's 50/50.
Q: What's the emphasis this week with the run defense?
A: We did a lot of uncharacteristic things there. We jumped inside blocks a lot, we ran underneath blocks, we didn't fit in the right place a lot of times, we didn't tackle good, we didn't get off blocks, we had one guy making the tackle a lot of times, which is ridiculous. Perimeter run force was poor by whoever it was, the corner, the safety, sometimes the linebacker where he was, so we've got a lot of work to do there.
Q: Does Colin Kaepernick create a lot of those breakdowns because you have to account for him mobility?
A: Sometimes, this is not the first time this happened, when I was in Cincinnati we played up at Buffalo and they were running a lot of the same thing. I can't remember who the quarterback was, the first half kind of looked like what last night's first half looked like. You're trying to be assignment sound and you've got to do this and it's a little different than some of your normal stuff. So, maybe I put too much emphasis on some of those things. One time I think they ran a zone read. It makes your defense a little tentative.
Q: When you look at the run defense do you think it was more missed assignments or do you think they got pushed around?
A: On the perimeter we got pushed around a little bit. On the inside, they were supposed to be on the outside shade of a guy and they'd go underneath him for no particular reason, when those kind of things happen the integrity of your defense really gets removed. Honestly, they were fairly easy things that we were screwing up.
Q: Was that as bad of a showing as you've seen in your 17 games here?
A: Maybe the Green Bay game, too.
Q: Blair Walsh acknowledge that on his miss he was really tentative, do you sense things are seeping in mentally with him right now?
A: He didn't kick very good in pregame. I don't know, he hit 28 out of 28 in practice last week. He's got to carry it to the game. Yeah, and it's worrisome.
Q: Were you even considering going for the 48-yard field goal?
A: I wanted to see how much we got on 3rd down before we did. If it was nothing, then I was thinking about punting the ball, too.
Q: Are you giving any consideration at this point to bring in competition for Blair Walsh?
A: No. I'm bringing in consideration for him to pull out of this thing and start kicking like he's capable of kicking.
Q: Are you happy with the number of touches Adrian Peterson had or did the game dictate the amount of run plays?
A: The game dictated a lot of it. I know somebody asked me about the first three plays, we had three passes. There was runs scripted in there that we got a look that we got out of. It's not always by choice, sometimes the defense dictates what you're doing. * *
Q: When you gather the team tomorrow what is the message you want them to take out of that meeting?
A: I'll save it for them.
Q: Does last night's performance dictate what you do this week with things that you will have to possibly go back over that you didn't think you'd have to worry about?
A: I would hope I was in a better mood today, as well. Yeah, you do that every week, there's some things that you get hurt on that you've got to get corrected. These are correctable things that we had. We have to play good team defense here, we don't play individual and guys got frustrated, started acting like individuals, started pressing. We got tired and then they get sloppy, then they get poor tackling. Backside, we got cut a bunch of times, guys got cut because they were lazy and tired. The two cutback runs, I was like, 'come on.' Guys just overrunning things, not being in the right place, that's all discipline things, we're working on that.
Q: How did you think your three starting linebackers did?
A: Average… at best.
Q: Why is that?
A: We ran under blocks. A bunch of times the fullback came outside the tight end and we stayed inside and tried to go underneath and make a play. We didn't cover the boot very well. We didn't get off blocks good enough, want me to keep going?
Q: Any consideration to try and get Eric Kendricks into the mix more in the base defense?
A: He didn't play that good either. It was equal opportunity last night.
Q: What was that flight like on the way home, what did you sense from your players?
A: It was quiet but that's not surprising. It was quiet.