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Skins/Vikings Quotes 12/20/11


The Commissioner
Staff member
BGO Ownership Group
Apr 11, 2009
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Greensboro, NC

Marine Corps Virginia

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On the injury status of the team:
“Jammal Brown did practice with it [a groin injury] today. He was limited. Mike Sellers was out there as well. [Roy] Helu did some drill work, but he didn’t practice. I think tomorrow he will be able to do that. Josh [Wilson] was out there today, so he must have done well on the [baseline] test.”

On if cornerback Josh Wilson was tested on the sideline during the game:
“I think he wasn’t going back into the game at the end of the game, so they kept him out. They must have done the test yesterday.”

On center Will Montgomery’s consistency:
“Any time you’ve got a guy that is a center and has experience like Will has at that position over the last year, he kind of keeps that offensive line together with all his calls. You’ve got to have a guy who makes all the calls. Will does that and gets people on the proper linebacker with all the different fronts and the different looks. He’s done a good job for us.”

On elevating defensive end Doug Worthington and tight end Rob Myers to the 53-man roster:
“Doug’s worked extremely hard since he’s been here. [He’s] given us a great look and we think he’s got a future with the 3-4 defense and we wanted to get him on our squad. And Myers – we’ve liked what we’ve seen in practice. He’s got some excellent speed, some excellent receiving skills. You never know with the tight ends how they block until they get into game situations, but we like what we see. [We’ll] get a chance to look at him this week.”

On evaluating Myers:
“Even though the practices are scaled back, you still get a lot on film because we have a lot of periods that are still full speed both on Wednesday, Thursday and most of Friday. So we get a chance to evaluate him during that time.”

On if he has spoken to tight end Fred Davis and tackle Trent Williams:
“I haven’t, but I will today and I’ll share that with you tomorrow.”

On Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder:
“I like Christian. We had him in here for a visit. [He’s] just a class guy that played extremely well at Florida State. [He has] good speed and he’s getting used to the system. Like most quarterbacks, [he’s] adjusting to life in the NFL.”

On Ponder in college:
“I liked him. I liked his release. I liked the way he handled himself, the way he played the game. I thought he had a good release. I thought he had a lot of good arm strength where he could make the throws and a good sense of timing.”

On changing the practice schedule late in the season:
“What we try to do is get the same amount of reps, but it’s not full speed. We do enough team work against each other where we get game day speed. We’re still getting some good quality reps, but not as many. And so that’s what you try to do. You want to make sure that the team is ready mentally, that they still have their legs and you’re not overworking them. I think we have a combination of both of those things and it’s working out well.”

On if there was more hitting in practices in December earlier in his career:
“To me, it really hasn’t been any different. When I first went to San Francisco back in 1992, they had won four Super Bowls in like 10 or 11 years. Bill Walsh had a way of going about practice that was a little bit different than most people. We only wore pads on Thursday and wore them through our nine-on-seven drills. They won five Super Bowls in 13 years, so it kind of gave me a little idea that you always didn’t have to hit. You could practice at game day speed and save your body so it would help you in November and December. I’ve incorporated that type of mindset since I’ve been a head coach – usually scale back in November and December, regardless of what the record is.”

On if former 49ers head coach Bill Walsh’s practice style was against the norm:
“At that time, it was a big difference, yeah. When I was with Dan [Reeves], he’s from a Dallas background, we had practice two, three and four times a day when we had the rookies coming in. We had 145-150 players back then and he would have two practices with the veterans and two with the rookies. With that many players, you actually had to go through it and we hit a lot. So [there are] a lot of different philosophies through the years and you kind of look at all of them and pick up on the ones that you like.”

On if coaches ever had time to review the film back then:
“You really didn’t when you had that many practices, but a lot of it was kind of just getting those rookies ready to compete in the first exhibition game [and] kind of evaluating through practices to see if they had a chance to make your squad or at least last for a couple more weeks during camp.”

On Vikings defensive end Jared Allen:
“He loves the game. I went up against him a lot of years in Kansas City. He just loves playing. One time we were playing, I saw Allen in the offseason. He said, 'Hey, you’ve been trying to get me on this crack block.” I started laughing. I said, 'I’m going to get you sooner or later.’ We were playing in Kansas City and, for some reason, he goes out of the game and we had call a play for the tight end to come in and block him. And so we just kill the guy who’s been substituted for him and I look across the field and he’s pointing his finger at me and he’s laughing as hard as he can. I couldn’t help it, I had to start laughing myself. I saw him in Vegas that offseason and he looked at me and said, 'Oh, that was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. You just killed my substitute. That could have been me.’ He’s a fun guy. He enjoys playing and I was so happy when he left Kansas City when I was there [in Denver] to go to Minnesota. But then, unfortunately, we’ve got to face him this weekend.”

On veterans like London Fletcher losing some speed, but still being able to compensate for that with instincts:
“Well, No. 1, you have to enjoy playing. You have to have the passion for the game. You have to want to prepare. You have to want to work in the offseason. I think that’s what separates older players. A guy like London loves playing football. He loves preparing for game day and therefore, when game day comes, he plays at a very, very high level. When you get guys like that that perform and practice at that level, it’s contagious to the rest of the players. Here’s a guy who’s in his mid-30s or as they get into the upper-30s, all of a sudden you see them doing the little things the right way. All of a sudden, these young guys with inexperience who have never practiced at that level, they learn on how to be a pro. That’s what London’s done a great job of.”

On what he knew about Fletcher’s reputation before coaching him:
“Well, like anything you hear about guys, but until you’re with guys, you really don’t know for sure. I heard he was a great guy, but I really didn’t know anything about how he prepared or really I didn’t watch him that many times. We didn’t go against each other. But when you did play against him, you knew he was an excellent linebacker. To be around him and see how he handles himself, you know why he’s got the reputation he has.”

On if Fletcher has been playing better as he’s gotten older:
“He’s playing at a very, very high level. What I mean is you want him on your football team. You want him out there as much as you can have him out there. And you can’t say that about a lot of players as they get older. I had the same feeling with Jerry Rice when Jerry was playing, the way he prepared and the way he went about his work habits. And you get a guy like Rod Smith that I was around – same thing. You just took your hat off then. Every time that they’re on the field, they represented not only themselves, but the organization. They took a lot of pride in it. They never wanted to put a bad product on the field. That’s what you’re hoping you get with veteran leadership with those type of guys. If you do, then you have a chance to do something in December and January.”

On if it’s difficult to project the future with a guy like Fletcher:
“You never do know. You just know the way a guy plays and, when a guy prepares that way, he’s got a chance to keep that level up. I’ve been around a lot of guys that had success after four or five years and they start going to banquets, they start going on vacations. All of a sudden, two offseasons [or] three offseasons, they’re not in the league anymore and they were in the Pro Bowl. You just don’t know how money affects people and sometimes it’s fame and sometimes it’s one or the other. The true pros you can see how they handle themselves.”

On linebacker Lorenzo Alexander being fourth in Pro Bowl voting:
“To be honest with you, I don’t know how he’s fourth because, anybody that really studies special teams, I don’t know how you don’t vote for him to be No. 1. I think if coaches voted, just coaches because they study the tapes, he’d be No. 1. That’s how dominating a player he is. I haven’t seen a guy consistently get double teamed and go there and make tackles. That just doesn’t happen at this level. People aren’t that physical and he makes those plays every year, at least the last two years that I’ve been around him. It’s really a credit to his preparation and how hard he works and what type of football player he is.”

Quarterback Rex Grossman

On adjusting without tight end Fred Davis and tackle Trent Williams:
“I think it’s gone pretty well. Obviously, we’d rather not, but the things we’ve done have created some problems for some teams, having three wide receivers and two running backs. You don’t see a lot of that in the NFL. They have to make up their mind as far as what type of personnel they want to match with that and what type of plays we can run because we still have a fullback in the game. We can run a lot of our run plays and spread them out a little bit and still have a lead blocker on a lot of things. With three wide receivers, you can run a lot of different pass concepts that we have. That’s been a good formation and we’ve also just stuck with our normal stuff too. Guys just have to step up and make plays.”

On the offensive line’s play against the Giants:
“Our offensive line is doing a great job. [Maurice] Hurt has had a real good season filling in for Kory [Lichtensteiger]. He’s played well and they’ve been solid. They definitely have talent and they’re getting experience. They’re going to be good players in this league. Physically, you don’t worry about them at all. I’m not worried about them at all. Once they gain more experience and really start to understand what they’re doing wrong and correcting that, they’re going to be good players.”

On how much the three-wide receiver and two-back formation confuses defenses:
“It definitely helps. Most of that stuff is first and second down where you can run the ball or throw it and they don’t quite know what’s going. If they want to be conservative, we’ll run the ball and obviously when we start getting consecutive run plays going and starting to feel good about our running game and hit them with the pass. It’s just another way to get to our offense. We don’t have a lot of brand new plays for that formation. We can run our normal base plays with it.”

On if his familiarity with wide receiver Jabar Gaffney makes a difference:
“I think a lot of that has to do with just play calls and the defense dictates if the ball goes to him. Confidence level helps when you know that’s somebody you’re familiar with and you trust. I don’t necessarily trust him more than anyone else on the team. I feel like the receivers we have on our team give me a chance to play great every play. I have trust in all of them.”

On what he likes about Gaffney:
“He’s just a very smart route runner and he understands timing. A lot of our pass concepts are timed up with your drop – one-hitch throws or no-hitch throws. You can always count on him to be in the right spot to where you could throw with a blindfold on because he’s going to be in that area. He’s big. He’s fast. He’s fast enough to run every route. You don’t worry about him on a go route or a post route. You know he’s going to set up the defender and get open. He’s a good player.”

On blocking out the early interceptions against the Giants:
“Basically what it turned out to be, after the first one, our defense did a hell of a job. They started on the 18, had a three-and-out and had to punt. We ended up getting the ball on like the [32]-yard line. It was a 12-yard gain [laughs]. Obviously, you want to play smart and not turn the ball over. It turned out to be not much different than a three-and-out on our own.”

On if it was easier to move on after the interceptions because the defense stopped them:
“Yeah, there are situations like that where the defense definitely bails you out. Any time you turn the ball over not in scoring position and it puts them backed up, it’s not exactly a devastating play.”

On if the wind was a factor in any of the interceptions:
“Not really. The timing of the flea flicker was little bit of a factor, but the second was just a misread. The safety, in my opinion [when I was] in the pocket, was at the time was starting to come out of the middle and he spun back and was able to make a play on it. I was definitely too aggressive, but that’s a mistake and again our defense bailed us out. Both those turnovers were sandwiched between scoring drives. At least we responded and made some plays after that.”

On if the interceptions stick in his head:
“[They] stick in the papers afterwards, but it doesn’t really stick in my head.”

On approaching practices in December:
“It takes a lot to get ready for a week. You put so much effort into that, when the game comes around, you have the same butterflies as you would if you were playing for the NFC East. I don’t think that’s a problem. Our mindset doesn’t really change. You have to have that mindset or you’re going to get destroyed. The NFL is very tough. Everybody goes about it and matches that level of intensity.”

On if he enjoys practice:
“I do. I don’t have to run around and run all day. I get to drop back and throw to targets. I enjoy it. It’s kind of a unique position though.”

On practicing at the level he wants you want to play during games:
“Yeah, preparation is key. There were a couple times in the game against the Giants that I had the same exact look that I had in practice. I was able to execute it all week in practice and the game came around and I was able to go back to that muscle memory. Practice is a lot more important than the casual fan would understand. It can go both ways though because that second interception, in practice, I had that safety cutting every time and maybe I just need to train myself for all sorts of different looks. We want to have a good week of practice this week and go out and execute.”

On wide receiver Donté Stallworth:
“As a quarterback, you trust that he’s going to be aggressive when the ball is in the air, especially over the middle. He’s a strong receiver that’s going to snatch it and might do something after he gets it. Sometimes, you have to throw those type of balls – the safety is coming down on it on an in-route and he’s going to come back to the ball and go get it with a lot of strength and determination. So he’s definitely stepped up his game. He’s a great receiver and I’m glad we have him.”

On the quarterback being the focus of the fan base:
“Sometimes, I think that any time you’re in the position as quarterback, it’s not much different than any other market. Quarterbacks are the focal point because it’s just what people like to talk about. They have the ball in their hands every play, so they determine the outcome a lot. I don’t think it’s any different than any other team. I try to go about my business and I don’t really try to avoid watching or reading things, but I don’t go out of my way to see what the pulse is.”

Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier

On quarterback Donovan McNabb’s tenure in Minnesota:
“I really wish it had worked out. A lot of good things came out of the time he was our starting quarterback. Our young quarterback, Christian Ponder, learned what it means to be a pro, especially not having an offseason. Although we didn’t get the wins when Donovan was leading our team, he helped us in some other ways.”

On quarterback Christian Ponder’s development:
“He’s had his ups and downs, particularly in the past few weeks. We just expect him to get better. We knew that there were going to be some peaks and valleys as a rookie quarterback in our league, especially by not having a chance to experience a true offseason. We knew there were going to be some things that he’d struggle with, but we have to let him go through it and we know he’ll get better because of some of the experiences he’s getting right now.”

On the overall play of the Vikings:
“At 2-12, you can’t be too pleased about that. We have a lot of work to do. We have two more games left in our regular season and we have to try to find a way to play a lot better than we’ve played in the games prior to.”

On some positives in the 2-12 season:
“There have been so many games where it has come down to one play in the fourth quarter. There have been eight or nine games where it could’ve gone either way. The fact that our guys have battled throughout the season and we can kind of hang our hats on that and just believe that if we can just add a few more pieces to the puzzle, we’ll improve dramatically next year.”

On why the team is 2-12:
“There are a lot of factors involved. You’ve got to make plays when you have the opportunity to make plays. We’ve got to coach a little bit better to put them in a better position to make plays. Sometimes you just need the ball to bounce your way and we have to keep working hard and keep trying to improve in these next two weeks.”

Minnesota Vikings Defensive End Jared Allen

On how he feels about his play this season:
“Very good. This has been the best year of my career. Unfortunately, that hasn’t accounted for more wins, so it’s kind of bittersweet.”

On the Vikings’ defense:
“It hasn’t been what our standard is I guess. Our standard has been set pretty high and I think we’ve fallen short of that. I don’t know what our overall numbers are. I think we’re still top 10 in rush defense. I don’t know what we are overall, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s been a severe drop off to what our standard use to be. So that’s been disappointing to say the least. I think in the last couple games, we’re going to try to right that ship a little bit and finish on a high note.”

On why the team is 2-12:
“I would say lack of consistency. I think we’ve lost a total of I think eight games by less than a touchdown. We’ve been in a position to win a lot of games and we just flat out did not finish. We’ll come out and play one half lights out and then we’ll come out and won’t finish in the second half. So it’s been the consistency in our play and… we’re just not finishing right now.”

On if the team has done things to show that they will have a better season next year:
“Obviously, you try to focus on your last two games. When you’re 2-12, you don’t really have much to play for, so you really find out on your team who’s self-motivated and who actually loves football and who just loves what football gets him… Right now, we’re trying to identify guys on this team that are going to be here for next year and the only positive thing that comes out of being 2-12 and whatever it is going to be when we’re finished is your weaknesses are exposed. It’s all on the table. There’s nothing masked. The rest is going to be on the table and how to fix it and we’ll get it done this offseason. That’s what’s great about our organization is the wheels are never in a rebuild [mode] or [that] we’ll win in the future. They want to win now and they want to win today. That’s why I love being a part of this organization. The offseason should be interesting and we’ll come back next year and be contenders again.”


The All-Time Great
Jul 19, 2009
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Bethesda Md

You can tell Jammal Brown and Ryan Torain to go home and rest, we won't be needing them for the last 2 games.

My guess is they won't be on the 2012 roster.

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