Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner
Q: Did you learn anything the last few days looking at game tape from St. Louis that you didn't know on Sunday? Did anything jump out at you?
A: We do the evaluation process on Mondays, obviously, and then you just put it behind you. I think the things we wanted to get done, we wanted to play fast and we wanted to play physical and I think we accomplished that. After Week One there are always a lot of things that you can get better at and that has been a big emphasis for us and I think teams tend to improve a great deal from game one to game two.
*Q: Did you envision Patterson to be a big threat in so many ways like he was with Sunday's touchdown run? *
A: Those plays, I think when they happen they are exciting and they are great, and you can't count on those. A guy like Cordarrelle is capable of doing that with his physical ability. The two other runs were more impressive to me because they were challenged runs at the line of scrimmage, they were physical runs, our guys did a good job up front. They are more downhill-type runs where he had to be physical and it's a 12-yard run, a 19-yard run, whatever they were. Those are the type of things that you are trying to get out of it. That's why this league is so exciting to watch because there are so many great players that can do extra after they get their hands on the ball.
Q: So the touchdown run was number three on your impressive list?
A: Well in terms of what he did, yeah. Those first two runs were physical runs where he was challenged at the line of scrimmage, he had to break a tackle. We got them going, the offensive line, backs, Matt [Asiata], the tight ends on that long run, they got them, like a kickoff return, they got them 15, 18 yards downfield before he had to go to work and if you've get him that much room, you've seen him more than I have on those kickoff returns, those space plays where he just takes off and goes.
Q: Does adding Darrelle Revis affect what New England does defensively?
A: It can. Revis is still obviously one of the premier corners in the league. Every week, the one thing about coaching against New England, every week you know there's going to be something a little different. Revis is certainly capable of lining up and matching up one-on-one on a particular receiver and that frees up some other guys.
Q: Does that allow them to overload the other side of the field because they trust him?
A: That's a possibility. People have done that, they've done it before. You have a corner like that, he gives you the flexibility. I don't know if they would leave him completely alone but it does let the safety clue in and help in other spots.
Q: How do you evaluate Cassel's play?
A: I thought he did what we wanted him to do. He made great decisions, obviously we protected the ball, we didn't have a turnover, which is a big part of what we have to do. He was really good at getting guys lined up, getting things done in a real hostile situation. When we went into the game saying we didn't want their front to change the game or disrupt the game. We had a couple of mishaps with the snaps and other than that I don't think they would have. I think our guys did a great job on them.
Q: What do you have to do clean those plays up?
A: It helps a lot being at home, no question. Those were some extreme circumstances. Being together, the more we're together, the less we'll have that happen. But, the first play of the Super Bowl with the team that was the best offense in the history of the NFL took a safety on the first play of the game because they had that same mishap and that's not saying it's right. We've got to work every day out here to make sure that doesn't happen.
Q: How does that jet sweep put stress on the defense when they have to worry about Cordarrelle coming across like that?
A: Well it happens very fast, it happens at the line of scrimmage and the ball is on the edge really fast. It's an outstanding designed play in terms of the way people run it and we're obviously not the only ones running it. From a blocking standpoint, but obviously you're not going to run that if you don't have guys that when they get their hands on the ball do something special. It takes a very fast runner and it's a bonus when you have a guy that is 220 pounds doing it because, the receiver is going to take a physical pounding on that because he's basically playing running back.
*Q: When did you first put that play in your playbook? *
A: We've run it at different places and I don't know if we ever had a guy that could run it. Really I think that the best look at it, Oregon State runs it with Mike Riley and I spent a lot of time talking to him. They ran it against (Southern California) three or four times when they were able to beat (Southern California) and you see Seattle run it. I think Pete [Carroll] might have got it from playing against Mike Riley but I'm not saying Oregon State originated it. People have been running that play at all levels for an awful long time
*Q: What did you see that Miami was able to do against New England in the running game? *
A: Well it was like two different games the first half to second half. They had 60 yards at halftime, they had struggled a little bit on offense and I've been there in Miami and it's a tough place to play in that heat and humidity and everything it takes a toll. In the second half Miami used their no-huddle and kept coming at New England pretty fast and they got some creases and then they started getting some cutbacks. Like we've all been in games, it just went downhill for New England from there. If you watch that first half you wouldn't have thought that was going to happen. I think when you're playing a good team you have to play your best for an entire game and then hopefully you're in a position in the fourth quarter where you can do what Miami did – stay with the run. It makes the play-action pass and let your offensive line go to work.
Q: Do you think that you'll be able to take more of those intermediate deep shots against New England than you were against St. Louis?
A: We didn't go into the game thinking that was a priority in St. Louis for two reasons: the rush, and we weren't counting on getting a 67-yard run but we were counting on getting some plays on those jet sweeps. They don't count as passing yards but when you start getting 20-yard runs, 60-yard runs they do take the place of some of those things you might do in the passing game. We need to be able to use our entire offense. We have been good throwing the ball intermediate, throwing the ball deep and as we go through we just have to be able to do that or we'll have everyone at the line of scrimmage so hopefully the opportunity presents itself and we can execute it.
Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards
Q: What did you see from Anthony Barr in his first regular season game?
A: I think for a first game, him getting acclimated just to the speed of it, he went out, prepared hard, you could tell it showed over in the game. I though he reacted very good. I thought he did a nice job for his first regular season game, I thought he did a nice job.
Q: Has he come along a little further than you had thought at the beginning of the offseason program?
A: From day one we started giving him bits and pieces and just expanding on it as we've gone through the process and I think he's handled the process well. He's able to transfer stuff from the classroom out here to the practice field. We saw him growing steadily and we kept adding a little bit more just to see how much he could handle. Where we are right now we just keep progressing as we keep moving down the road, as he keeps familiarizing himself with a lot of the things in the different packages that we are working.
Q: Anthony Barr mentioned he needs to work on his alignments, what does he mean by that?
A: Different formations, offenses are in so many different formations and there are so many shifts and motions, especially with the team that we just played. You have to bump over on backfield sets, you have got to bump over if it's 2x2, motion to 3x1, that's what he's talking about there. It's just a matter of realizing the coverage is changing as far as his alignments and his assignments.
Q: If he gets the mental part of the alignments down will it make the physical aspects of the game easier?
A: It's just something in his toolbox to help him as far as getting leverage on things that we need him to do by call.
Q: Do coaches get fired up to go against Bill Belichick?
A: I think this is a competitive league. I think week in and week out coaches are going to be fired up for their next opponent. The concentration and focus that it takes just to do each week, for each opponent, to come out here every day to try and get the players better. I think it's more involvement as far as game planning and what you're trying to do to stop what the offense has then really the person that it is.
Q: What did Miami do to slow down Rob Gronkowski?
A: They did a nice job. They did a lot of different things as far as mixing and matching coverages, mixing and matching different people that were matched up on him in the coverage aspect of it. From that aspect of it, they got him off balance a little bit. I don't think he played as much as he normally did in the past. He's still a tough cover. He can really stretch the field vertical, he has nice hands, does a good job of body positioning down the field to get a chance to jump and catch the ball. He's definitely a tough matchup for anybody in this league.
Q: What threat does Shane Vereen pose?
A: He's an excellent back out of the backfield. He has good hands, he runs good routes. He's got the speed to take you vertical. His option routes and things, he does all of the little nuances that you would want out of a back as far as leveraging and being able to beat it. It looks like (Tom) Brady has all of the confidence in the world throwing (him) the ball. He went out last week and you could see they've really got him running routes down the field, a lot of option routes and wheel routes and those kinds of things. You can just tell they're very comfortable with him in their package and getting him out in space, getting him against backers and trying to get him one-on-one.
Q: How has the helmet communication system been with Chad Greenway?
A: It's been fine. We started this process a long time ago. I think he's comfortable with it. I think the guys are comfortable with it this weekend. From that aspect of it, we just keep working. He will continue to get better at it. I think he did a great job of handling it. Chad is a guy that is going to pay attention to the details. We didn't anticipate that being a problem, as it wasn't. He's a true pro, he came out and did a nice job with the communication defensively, up front and in the back-end.
Q: Where does Rob Gronkowski rank as far as matchup difficulties across the league?
A: Each week there is whole different set of problems. From the different types of receivers that you face, the different backs that you face. He's a good receiver for them. He does an excellent job at the tight end. He's one of the top guys in the league at that position. He missed a lot of time last year with injuries. You could see him in the game, he's still a good matchup down the field, a tough matchup for us defensively.
Q: We saw Anthony Barr in the slot in your base packages; do you see him matching up against tight ends?
A: It just depends on what we are doing package wise from week-to-week. What we see as the best matchups coverage wise. From that aspect of it, that's what it boils down to each week as far as our preparation and game plan.
Q: Do you envision the rotation you used along the defensive line against St. Louis remaining the same the rest of the season?
A: We're talking about rotating guys and filling different roles. That's the whole thing. We are trying to take the guys that we have, take their skillset and try and implement them into different packages to get what we are trying to get accomplished. From week-to-week that's kind of what we look at. Coach Zimmer does a great job of before we even get going, talking about play count and those kind of things and watching guys, what their jobs are going into the game and what we are expecting out of them and that kind of thing. From that aspect of it, it's a big picture thing and he kind of controls that as we materialize through the week of what we are using and what we are asking guys to do.
Q: Do you like what you saw from Harrison Smith?
A: We thought he had a good day. He had some missed opportunities, he had another couple of sacks he probably could have had. The interception returned for a touchdown was a big play. Harrison has been consistent throughout the whole process of the offseason, going into the preseason. From that aspect of it, we're pleased with where he is right now, just looking for him to continue to keep growing in the roles that we are asking him to grow in.
Q: What was your evaluation on Josh Robinson?
A: He did a good job. He's a guy that missed a lot of time, he's fought through some injuries so the technical and fundamental part we are still working to clean up, which we knew coming into it because he missed all of that time. Again, we are just challenging out guys to come out here and compete each day, take whatever we are facing that week offensively and who we are matching them against. That kind of thing, just continue to get better from week-to-week.