THURSDAY, AUGUST 22, 2013
Vikings Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave
Game week, exciting for us to go through a dry run of our routine with the new players, the rookies, the free agents and so far it’s been very enjoyable.
Q: How you process the uncharacteristic errors?
A: Not differently. We want to get them corrected and of course we take note of them and want to work especially hard so they never happen again, but I don’t think we look at it any differently.
Q: Do you expect that game planning for Sunday night will change the way that you look?
A: We do. We broke camp from Mankato so we have more man hours to devote to game planning as coaches and then we can present it to the players in a more organized form and try to give them a little insight as to what to expect once we get to September. So definitely we’re treating it as a regular season routine this week.
Q: Do you think that having Adrian in the game will change the way defenses attack this offense?
A: Hard to predict, hard to get inside their head. We always try to do our due diligence. But we’re excited to have Adrian out there to get him acclimated to game speed and game contact.
Q: What are you looking for from Peterson this preseason?
A: Nothing that you wouldn’t expect. We want him to do his job like we want the other 10 guys to do their job.
Q: How has McCloud Bethel-Thompson progressed?
A: He’s acquired a good knowledge of our system. He’s really immersed himself in it from day one. He’s one of those guys you would refer to as a gym rat, hard to get him out of the building. He’s here working on his own, we have buckets that you can set up in the offseason and throw into buckets for target practice and accuracy. He’s always out here in this building doing that and then he’s always in the film room. He really works at it. He’s got the right attitude.
Q: Could Joe Webb possibly move back to quarterback?
A: I’d say anything is possible. That’s a lot of speculation here in August. Joe has played quarterback, Joe has played wide receiver. You know we’d have to go to our contingency plans if we ever got into that state of affairs.
Q: What about with the way cuts shake out?
A: We’re not looking at the cuts. We’re not looking at the cuts right now, at least I’m not. I’m sure Rick (Spielman) and our head coach are but right now we are really focused on putting together a game plan for San Francisco and getting through a week and having a better performance than we did in Buffalo.
Q: Do you expect Jarius Wright to play on Sunday?
A: It still remains to be seen. He’s going to try to do some things I believe today. Eric Sugarman could speak on that more than I could but we are looking for him to get healthy number one.
Q: How do you think Christian Ponder’s chemistry with the new receivers is coming along?
A: Good. We’ve had a good camp, we had good OTAs and we want that to transfer to the games and we’re looking for more turns at it this third preseason week. I think they’ve had a quarter and a half out there together and we’ll get a couple more quarters and a half to see if we can get some more turns with everyone so we can be ready to go at Ford Field in September.
Q: What are your expectations for Greg Jennings?
A: Well he’s been a fantastic player ever since he set foot in this league. So we expect him to do his job and we are trying to construct a lot of concepts that fit his strengths and fit our quarterback strengths, our offensive line strengths, so we can be effective out there. Looking for production, which is kind of the bottom line.
Q: Is he everything you thought he’d be?
A: You bet. That and even more. Hard worker, like everyone in this league, very tough, tough mentally, tough physical, so glad he’s here.
Q: What have you seen from Jeff Baca and Travis Bond on the offensive line?
A: Both of those guys have shown really well. I think back to two years ago when Fusco was a young guy like that, drafted about the same time. They make their mistakes where you wish that they knew more than they did but they are young, they are young players that are exerting a lot of effort and we’ve just got to keep working with them which we will do and hope that they improve and learn from the lessons that occur both on the practice field and in the games. But both of those guys I think have a chance.
Q: How do they differ in skill?
A: Well one dude is huge. Travis is just a big man and he can move really well. Jeff Baca is a little bit smaller but both of them are very tenacious. We like that they both finish to the whistle and impose their will on defensive linemen.
Q: Is Bond more of a guard and tackle and Baca more of a guard and center?
A: We’ve repped Baca there at center quite a bit at practice and in the games. Jeff Davidson does a good job of moving those guys around and really cross training them.
Q: How does Brandon Keith look after a year off?
A: He’s looked really good. We’re glad to have him as well and he’s played both right and left tackle and done a nice job for us. Again we’re looking to accumulate more information on those guys both this week and then in the third and fourth preseason games.
Q: Is he one of your leading candidates for that swing tackle position?
A: He definitely is, you bet.
Vikings Defensive Coordinator Alan Williams
Good afternoon. On a day like today I’ve got to think about a good buddy and old friend Tom Moore. Days like today he would say “you have to love it”. You have to love it when you are preparing for a team and you are getting out of the routine of camp, and you are preparing your guys for a specific ballgame. So it is good to be preparing today for the San Francisco 49ers. They are a good, physical football team that runs the ball and throws it equally as well. As we all know, the quarterback will be a challenge, getting him on the ground, defending him, and also those two running backs that they have. It will be a very good challenge for us all the way across the board, run, pass, and playing assignment football.
Q: With that preparation under way, what is the value of seeing Colin Kaepernick, seeing that offense, and seeing the read option at this point in the season?
A: It is a dry run through for what the season is going to be like. I think that the option game is here for at least another year, and we have a lot of teams that we play that have it in some shape or fashion in their offense, so it is good for us to test run, test some ideas out, and test some things out that we would like to do and see how they fare without it counting. It will be good for us.
Q: Do you say there is at least one more year for the read option offense because teams need to prove that they can shut it down before it will go away?
A: They do. If the defenses do not, then they prove it as a proven weapon that teams can go in and use it as a weapon to win ball games. Until you shut something down it is here to stay. I do know that it is here for this year and see how long it stays in the NFL.
Q: How much film have you watched on the read option preparing for this season?
A: We looked at the read option in the offseason, but also, with that, you do not want to fall into the trap when you actually count the number of times that the play comes up. It is not as much as you would like to think, but at the same token, if they run it four times, you do not want it to be four touchdowns or four big plays. You do have to pay attention to it, and teams, if you do not stop it, teams will run it again and again and again. You do have to make sure that you shut it down, but not at the expense of stopping a team’s bread and butter type plays.
Q: What areas will you judge your players at on Sunday at San Francisco?
A: Really the same ones, even though we are talking about the option football and the zone read and these type of things. We still want to stay to our core values which is our players playing smart. Are they recognizing situation football? Do they recognize situations in a ball game? Are they playing disciplined? We always talk about being a disciplined football player, hitting your gaps, playing assignment football, no pre or post-snap penalties- that type of thing. Then, are we playing fast and physical? I just want to see are we more physical than the team we are playing against, and are we living up to the Vikings standards of running to the ball, hitting, and creating turnovers. Those three things are really what we want to judge our guys against.
Q: What is the biggest thing to keep in mind getting ready to face a read option offense?
A: Really just letting our guys know that it is a facet that you do not want to just not pay attention to. First of all you also do not want to get caught up in the trap that this is all they do. You also want to make sure that guys are taking care of their assignment, whatever that is, within the zone read, and then running to the football. If you just take care of your assignments, some of the guys that are running are good enough to beat their guy that is responsible for man-to-man, so you still want to get 11 hats to the ball, but after you take care of your assignment.
Q: How much is Sharrif’s injury going to set him back preparing for his first season and during the season?
A: I am not quite sure about that just yet. The one thing that Sharrif is doing is studying tape, and paying attention out there on the field, he is listening to the veterans in terms of what they are saying, he is studying at home. He is doing everything that he is supposed to do to get himself back. But the one thing that he can’t do is see the live reps, so we are just going to have to wait till he can get back onto the field to do that, and then once he gets back he is just going to work himself into seeing those blocks that he will see in the ballgame. We will see. I do know this, when he came in, he didn’t play and he didn’t practice like a typical rookie. He was a little bit further ahead. When he had a problem he solved those problems and he moved on quickly. I expect that he will be okay, but again he is still a rookie. We will just have to get him up to speed once he can get back on the field.
Q: Does an opponent like the 49ers help you see where your communication is at as a defense this early in the season?
A: Not any more than any other opponent. They don’t do a whole bunch in terms of shifts and motions. You will see some unbalanced, you will see a few shifts and motions, but nothing exotic. Not any more than any other team will it help, so we are just looking to see what type of communication that our guys have, and see if they can execute their assignments based on the looks that they get.
Q: Are you using the Jon Bostic fine as a teaching point with your players?
A: The NFL sends someone in to talk about the safe way to hit and what is going to be a fine and what’s not. Our players have done well to adjust to the new rules that the NFL has, and also with being able to tackle and being safe. With that, each and every day our guys are being schooled up on the fundamentals, and making sure they are keeping the head and the crown out of contact, and making sure that they are keeping themselves safe as well as their opponents. I think we will be fine. I think that our guys have adjusted to how the NFL wants us to play.
Q: What was your initial intrigue with Bobby Felder a year ago and where is he at now?
A: I think that Bobby is an instinctive football player. But also Bobby is still learning. Even though he was on our team last year as a practice squad player, he still did not play a whole bunch. Bobby was injured last year for some of the camp. This is still Bobby’s first year, so to speak, of being able to get live reps, so I am not going to put too much on his plate but I have high expectations for Bobby. He is a good football player. He is a physical football player. He has extremely good ball skills. So I’m just waiting to see how he is going to do in the live situations. I am a wait and see guy, so I am just going to wait and see how he plays. But in the back of my mind I do have high expectations for Bobby.
Q: Is his versatility an asset?
A: It is. We were joking over there, the more you can do, the more you can do, and the longer you will stay around. Versatility is always a plus.
Q: What are you looking for in the back up safeties this season?
A: The same thing that we talked about before. Can they play smart? In safeties, that is very important because they are an extension of the Mike linebacker and the play calling, and the checks that we do. Can they play smart? Can they see, talk, and communicate with the rest of the defense? Can they make the right call? Safeties have to be tough. They have to run to the ball. They have to show the characteristics of our defense, which is that we got to play fast and physical and they have to be disciplined ball players because they are the last line of defense. That is what I am looking for from them specifically. Then, can they make plays? You want safeties that can be playmakers without giving up big plays.
Q: Would like to keep five safeties?
A: We will see. It just depends on how the numbers shake out and who you keep it terms of linebackers and defensive line as well as the offense. I am a team player. I know that if we are scoring a ton of points, then we do not have to defend. So if we need some extra receivers or extra running back, or whatever we do it is a team. We will see how is shakes out and I’m sure it will be the best for the team.
Q: Now that you have had more time to evaluate Josh in the slot corner position, how has he looked so far?
A: Much more comfortable and really much more comfortable than I previously thought because he had never been inside before. To his credit, he is really working at it. He is coming along faster than I even think that he thought he would because he hadn’t been inside. I think that he is embracing it, in terms of liking the position in terms of what we allow him to do, and the plays that he can make. I feel good about Josh being inside.
Q: What is your impression of the progress Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges have made in the preseason?
A: Good, but I still don’t think quite there yet. That is to be expected with rookie guys and rookie linebackers, especially with the Mike position where you have so much responsibility on you in terms of play calling and checks. A good Mike linebacker can make a coordinator right. That is what we look for, that when I mess up, they make it right. He is heading in that direction, and Mauti is a natural linebacker. I throw that word out there and I am not sure if I can define what a natural Mike linebacker is, but he is that. Hodges is an athletic, physical linebacker. So they are coming along, but they still need more reps, they still need more seasoning. They still have a ways to go. I feel good about where they are at right now. But they still have a ways to go.
Q: What do you mean by ‘making it right’?
A: If I send in a call that may not be what we had practiced, or what we want, or for that situation, they say, “Coach has talked to me about this, I know that this is this certain call, and we may not want this call with this coverage”, and they can make you right. Or it could be a two-minute situation and they can make a call without me having to send one in because we have talked about in this situation, what we actually want, in terms of coverage, front, and they can go ahead and make the call. They are heading in that direction, but with that it takes some time to also know that this is what coach wants, this is the situation, and I can go ahead and make that call without it coming in because we may not have time. Erin is at that stage where he knows what we want, the younger guys might not know right now.
Q: How has Everett Dawkins looked?
A: He looks good. Learning. A little bit different from what he did in college in terms of what we are asking him to do to penetrate to get up the field. This is going to be another test for Everett in terms of what we are asking him to do. He is coming along. Sometimes that may seem like it is a slight on a guy, but it takes a while to feel comfortable with what we are asking guys to do. When you are in college, and you get habitized for four years, those habits may not be easily broken in a month or two. Usually the better the player was in college, the more habitized they are, and it takes them a little while to get them out of those habits. So he is coming along.