Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner
Q: What was it like coaching Jeff Fisher at Southern California?
A: Well I coached Jeff his freshman year, he was a wide receiver and then he moved to defense and I moved to defense. He claims he coached Ronnie Lott and Dennis Smith and I coached Joey Browner so we go round and round but Jeff was obviously a very talented player and a very smart player and you knew that if he wanted to be a coach, he'd be an awfully good one.
Q: What's the tone that you want to set in the first couple of series?
A: Our whole deal is that we've got to play fast and we've got to play physical, that's what we've talked about from day one. We've got to give our guys some things that they can go out and not overthink and go out and play fast and be physical. That's going to be a 16-week deal. We want to set that tempo from our mindset.
Q: Is it possible that Rhett Ellison can be a backup to Kyle Rudolph in that pass catching role? Or will he be more of the H-back blocker?
A: Well hopefully we don't need a backup in that role. Everyone, as we go through this, everyone's role is going to be defined and it happens as how guys play and I was telling them the more good things you do, the more chances you get to go out and be a part of it. We have a lot of playmakers so there's no way that we're going to get all of the guys involved every week. If we have production, that's going to be the key and they understand that and I hope they do and it'll be hard some days. The way the defense is played, someone is going to get their number called a lot more than someone else and the next week it'll be different. You just have to be ready for when your opportunity gets there.
Q: Does that go for MarQueis Gray as well?
A: Well he played tight end last year and our tight end and H-back, I don't even know what an H-back is because I think of them all as tight ends. Our guys have to play both positions, they know both positions. MarQueis has some catching up to do. We've added and adjusted some things. We keep growing, try to keep growing, so his head is swimming a little bit but the stuff that we did a year ago, I think he's comfortable with and we'll just go from there.
*Q: What was it that you liked about Shaun Hill when you were in San Francisco? *
A: Well Shaun has always been a very productive player. He was a quarterback that took the University of Maryland to the Orange Bowl as a senior, that's playing pretty good. He's had an unbelievable career. I know people think of him as a career back up but to play whatever he's played, 14 years in this league, and have the respect he has of the number of coaches that have coached him and he does some things extremely well. He gets the ball out real quick and that's the number one thing you want in a quarterback.
*Q: How would you describe St. Louis' pass rush and the challenges that it will bring? *
A: It's documented. Their front four led the league in sacks, I think they had 45 of their 53 sacks. When they're not sacking the quarterback they are hitting him and hurrying him. Sacks are only a part of it. We're going to have to work together as a group at an unbelievably high level and then we're going to have to have individually really outstanding efforts from everyone in terms of our pass protection. I know everyone thinks that pass protection is those five offensive lineman but our tight ends need to be involved in the pass protection, our backs need to be involved in our pass protection, the quarterback has to do a good job of getting the ball out. We don't want to make this a pass protection test to see how we well we can do against them or see how long we can hold up because there is too much evidence on tape of people not holding up against their rush.
*Q: Is this an important week for Matt Kalil in that aspect? *
A: Well Matt's really a good player and he's worked really hard and I know he had some injuries a year ago that I think took away from what he can do. He's one of five guys in there, then again the tight ends have to be aware of what we're doing in the protection so when we can help over there we can help. To me it's one of 16 games, it's a big week for every guy that goes out and takes a snap.
Q: Are you anxious to finally call a play for Adrian Peterson?
A: Oh absolutely. I'm excited to see Adrian and he's been so impressive in all of this. I've seen him first hand from the other sideline. It's nice to be on the same team as him and he's anxious to get going and we're anxious to make him part of what we're doing.
*Q: As a head coach how did you know it was the right time to make a change at the quarterback position? *
A: I think I've been lucky that I didn't have to do that very often. I've had very good quarterbacks and guys that it was clear that they were the right guy to go with. I think anything that Coach Zimmer would have to do it's got to be a feel of where your team is and how you're playing and if you need a change, a boost, something like that. I don't anticipate us being in that position. I think we're in good shape where we are at right now.
Q: Do you try and change a little bit and get the ball out quicker against this kind of pass rush? Or do you like those intermediate routes?
A: Well the misnomer on the intermediate deep routes is some of those you can throw quicker than the underneath crossing routes and we take a lot of pride in how quickly the ball gets out and all our deal is based on the quarterback's feet and we watch his feet and if he's back there getting set and taking a quick hitch step, one hitch and throwing it, the ball is coming out as quick as you can get it out. It doesn't matter if you stop at five or you stop at seven, we don't want to hold the ball and let a guy get open on an intermediate deep route. When we throw the ball in the intermediate zones, we're turning the ball loose way before he's open. I don't think we hold the ball as long as people think we do. There's no question whoever you're playing in the National Football League you want to get the ball out quick and that's something we work on all the time.
Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards
Q: What did you see from Robert Blanton and Jasper Brinkley that got them the starting nod?
A: The big thing you saw was consistency, a good job of communication with the group on the field, I think that was a big part of it and what they exhibited. They came in and were consistently consistent in practice, they were consistent in their reps that they got in the games, from that aspect of it, that's where the decision was made. We look forward to keep progressing with those guys down the road.
Q: How important is it to have two safeties that can cover receivers?
A: Just because the way offenses are playing now, formationally, you don't want to have one guy that is always down (around the line of scrimmage) and one guy that's always deep, having the flexibility to be able to have two guys that can play on either side of the coverage is the whole thing, from that aspect of it, it just makes things a lot easier as far as adjustments from the offenses each week.
Q: Is there an unwritten rule to not hit Adrian Peterson in practice?
A: I think what you get is, anybody that is a proven veteran, that's been through this league and has a lot of the accolades that he has, you want to be smart and know that you want to get that guy to the game. From that aspect of it, I think that's part of it. We're just trying to protect him as far as hits in practice, that kind of thing.
Q: Is it hard for defenders to get out of his way in practice?
A: He hits that hole pretty hard now, from that aspect of it, you know he's going to come to practice every day and go 100 MPH, which is a good thing, that's a good trait. It makes all of us better that way. For us one defense, taking good angles, realizing that I have got to be able to come out of my hips as soon as I get there because when he hits that hole, he's hitting it at 100 MPH.
Q: Has he ever run over a guy trying to get out of his way in practice?
A: No, I hadn't seen him run over a guy trying to get out of the way. Usually, we just kind of tag off and get on the side of him, rather than get in front of him.
Q: How much does it help the defense having veteran coaches that have been defensive coordinators before?
A: The experience in the room helps out. I think that says a lot, any time you have guys that can draw on things that have happened in the past and just to make adjustments and those kinds of things during the week a lot quicker. I think that's a plus for us. Any time you have got some guys that have some experiences, especially, against other coaches and offensive coordinators that you're going against in the league and just the thought processes as you're getting ready for the week helps any room.
Q: What have you been able to see from Josh Robinson the last two weeks?
A: Really the last two weeks you could see him starting to feel a lot better coming off of the injury with the hamstring. You could see the consistency starting to show up in practice, see the competition starting to show up in practice, just the things that we thought coming in. Although he hasn't had as many reps as we would have liked in the offseason and throughout the preseason, the one thing, he's made the most of the opportunities that he has had, from that aspect of it, from what we've seen, we're pleased with where he is and we hope to keep increasing with the technical and fundamental issues that we are going to work through as the course of the season goes on.
Q: What is it about him that built your trust in him?
A: His skillset, it was a matter of looking at his skillset, things that he brought to the table. Then complimenting what we wanted to use him as, as far as the position we wanted to use him as. From that aspect of it, it kind of matched and we kind of knew all along that that's what we anticipated on seeing, then like I said, the reps that he was able to take out here in practice that maybe he didn't get in those first couple of preseason games as we progressed down the road. We just saw those things keep building and getting better. From that aspect of it, we kind of had a picture, we just wanted to make sure it was solidified when we got into some games, that's why he ended up playing those last two preseason games a little bit more.
Q: Is Josh Robinson your third corner?
A: As we're go into it, again, we're not trying to give out who is going to be where, that kind of thing, so from that aspect of it, like I said, we are pleased with what we saw out of him. We know that we will be able to use him this weekend in the game.
Q: What went into your decision making at the safety position?
A: That came down our evaluations through the preseason. Like we talked about before, it was going to be an evaluation through the offseason, through the preseason and it will continue to be evaluated as we keep moving down the road. We want competition to even continue even as we go through the season. We don't want guys all of a sudden, "I've made it, I'm the starter," then all of a sudden relax. We want to keep that competition going as we keep progressing down the road because we feel like it's going to make all of us better at the end.
Q: What do you like about Anthony Barr and Chad Greenway in your pass coverage?
A: You like the athleticism, you like the experience. You have one guy that hasn't had experience in this league yet and you have got another guy that has a world of experience in this league. From that combination, I think they play well with each other when they are in there at 'backer together. (Gerald) Hodges has come along, he's done a good job throughout the offseason. Audie (Cole) has been in there some, Jasper (Brinkley) in the last ballgame, who really hadn't played in it (nickel), in those earlier games came and played in it. Again, we're just trying to take the skillsets of the guys that we have got and just match them in the different packages and know what we are asking them to do.
Q: Are Anthony Barr and Chad Greenway your nickel linebackers?
A: It depends on what package we are in. Like I said, we have a lot of sub-packages, from that aspect of it, it just depends on what package and what jobs we're asking each of them to do.
Q: What tape are you using on Shaun Hill?
A: He's had quite a few reps through the preseason. We've got a chance to look at him, we've had a chance to look at him back in Detroit. We've got a good feel for him. He's an experienced guy, he manages the game well, he does a good job in their offense of getting the ball out, not sitting back there holding the reads. From that aspect of it, we think they'll continue on philosophy-wise with what they're doing schematically offensively.