HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK
(on team’s execution in debut)
Well, it’s fun to finally get started and get in a game atmosphere and nice to have a chance to go against someone else for a change. I think taking the ball and moving down the field the way we did was very encouraging. I think we had a 10-play drive to start. Unfortunately, we had a freak play where the ball got knocked out by the fullback and we lost 30 or 40 yards so it kind of killed the drive. But that was a good start.
The second drive was good, again. I mean the offense really controlled the first quarter, time of possession. Unfortunately, we had no points to show for it. That was probably the only down side of that.
But again the defense stepped up in the second quarter and made a couple of turnovers. We turned both of those into touchdowns and that pretty much got us off and going.
So, I think we saw on the defensive side off the ball. On the third and one, we had the stop which was great to see. When someone was trying to hammer up there with the power on the third and one, I think they lost two yards which was encouraging. I think that got everyone going quite a bit. And then we have two turnovers which led to 14 points in the second quarter.
That part was awesome. That is actually what you want to be able to do. You want to be able to make plays and take advantage of them, (make them) turn the ball over and that’s what we did the first half.
(on rookies’ play)
Excited about the rookies. I think we have been bragging on them the past two weeks saying how well they have been doing for not having an offseason with us and only been with us 15 days. Jake (Locker) came in and made some plays. The one he threw (on) the touchdown, I think he actually fumbled the snap, but goes and makes the play. That’s what we saw in him. That’s the kind of things he can do.
The D-linemen, which we have been bragging on, made some plays.
(on being nice to win his debut)
I think I talked to the players this morning when we met. I just said we all know it is a preseason, but no matter what you do (you want to) win. You don’t think a whole lot about the game until to you put your jersey on. I told them once you put that jersey on and go out on Saturday night and put your hand in the dirt, you want to compete and play. No matter how many plays you are going to get that should be your attitude.
(on the team being disciplined)
For the most part, I think we started the first half we just had a couple of penalties, unfortunately, two holding calls which hurt drives, one in the second quarter and one there in the third quarter. I think that kind of kept us out of the red zone. Those are things you have to clean up. We were good around the line of scrimmage. We didn’t have a lot of offsides, we didn’t have motion, it wasn’t sloppy in that way. Other than the time we caught the ball and I think the fullback ran into the quarterback. Other than that, no, I think it was pretty much what we hoped it’d be. We played hard, physical and no stupid penalties for the most part and that’s a nice start. Long way to go as we know but it’s a nice start. It’s nice to win after being in camp 15 days and these guys realize we’re doing some things with Jerry (Gray) on the defensive side of the ball. He kept it simple and those guys make plays. I think he’ll be encouraged and even more confident going into next week and the same thing on the offensive side of the ball. I know in the first half, we did some really good things moving the ball. We just didn’t get the points. The second half got a little one-sided. It seemed like the defense was on the field quite a bit. We did a great job turning back the Vikings from scoring there in the third quarter.
He’s been that way since he walked in the door. It’s been nice to see him walk into a preseason game and not be really bothered by anything around him. Just going ahead and try to make some plays. He made a couple mistakes here and there but like I said, he can play. He didn’t quite get a good grip on the ball but made a play. Just one time was a blitz. I think he had one more coming that we couldn’t block. He dropped under the blitz and makes a big third-down completion for a first down. So I think those are the things that we saw in him and we saw flashes of that tonight. It’s a good start for him and for Matt (Hasselbeck). They’ll both be out there. Matt took us down and we thought he’d get us 10 plays , 10-12 plays that’s kind of what our thinking was there. He made a couple of nice
throws on third down to keep plays going so that was encouraging too. The offense is really fun to watch other than the fact that we didn’t get the touchdowns we wanted and then the defense took over from there, in my opinion. They set the tempo. They gave us opportunity. Jerry (Gray) got the ball out twice and like I said we turned into points and that’s how you win football games in this league.
QUARTERBACK MATT HASSELBECK
(on the fumble)
I’m not exactly sure. It was probably my fault. The play was designed to go to the tailback (Javon) Ringer and I kicked the ball, it got knocked out back by the fullback, and based on the front he probably got a tight pass and I probably pushed it too wide, so it was probably me.
(on the fumble being the only disappointment of that possession)
Yeah. I knew I was going to play somewhere between eight and 12 plays, so I think that was play 10. I was hoping to get back in, but I also know the goal of tonight and my role and that goal. Besides that it was real good. It was fun to be out there, fun to play at this stadium. I think this is the second time I’ve ever got to play here, just on a different sideline this time. It was fun. It was good to be in there with the offensive line and just get the mechanics down of our communication with a real defense, with real calls, without any coaches out there…also, to work for the first time for real with coach-quarterback communication on the headset because that’s a little different. I think there are a lot of positives.
(on fast tempo and attacking the defense)
This offense has a lot of check-with-me type things where it could be a run left to run right to pass, so the quicker you get to the line of scrimmage the more time you have to make those decisions, the more pressure you put on the defense to hurry up and line up. That worked to our advantage for sure, especially in the running game. I thought we did a great job of controlling the line of scrimmage and running the ball really well the first drive and it’s because we were in great play calls every time because of our tempo and because of the speed of (inaudible) alone.
(on presenting the game ball to Coach Munchak)
Is that breaking news? Loose lips, sink ships. It just was the right thing to do and someone needed to do it so I did it. Munchak’s a guy that has basically been with this organization his whole career, as a player and as a coach. He’s just one of the guys, there’s a ton of respect for him there. I think it was something ceremonial…it was kind of a historic moment in a way for him. I know it’s a preseason game and I know in the record books no one is going to…but this is a big night for him, probably a dream come true for him to get to be the head coach of this football team and to have it play out just like he probably expected. Offensive line did a great job up front, I’m sure that was something he envisioned. We’ve been practicing all kinds of situations and scenarios, a lot of those situations came up and, so I think it was a good thing. I’m sure Hoss (equipment manager Paul Noska) will get it painted up and it will go in his office. He’s got a nice office, by the way.
(on QB Jake Locker’s performance)
He did great and he’s been doing really well all camp. When he got drafted I think everyone talked about his character, his leadership and just one of the guys and all that kind of stuff. But I think that’s what gets lost on him a little bit is that he is a really good football player. He showed it tonight, and he’s having a great camp. He’s doing really well and it was a good start. A crazy way to have your first touchdown pass but that’ll be a great story for him to tell down the line.
(on Jake Locker leaning on him for advice )
I don’t know. I think we are leaning on each other, all of the quarterbacks. We’re just helping each other and really just trying to make it fun. It is football, it is a game, but it’s also a job and it’s a 6:30 to 9:30 everyday kind of deal , so you’ve got to have fun and you’ve got to lean on each other. We give each other a hard time and all of that stuff, but he’s doing a great job.
(on Jake Locker’s fumbled snap)
I think he’s almost more comfortable in that environment. He’s probably the best athlete on the field, when he’s on the field. So when stuff breaks down I think that’s almost like an advantage goes to him.
(on how much work he needs given how long he’s played)
Well, I’ve got to get my work in too. The goal of the preseason is to let younger guys play and evaluate guys and all of that kind of stuff, but yeah, especially with no OTA’s and all of that stuff and a new team and a new everything really, so that’s going to be important also. But I’m sure the coaches are on top of that, so I’m not real concerned.
(on joining a team with an inconsistent quarterback situation)
In my mind, there’s a great running game, great offensive line, good pass call, talented wide receivers, great running back, good defense, I mean, it’s perfect. The worst thing would be if it flipped around somewhere…it’s good. I’m happy.
QUARTERBACK JAKE LOCKER
(on how he knew to bobble the snap on his touchdown pass )
I wish that’s how we drew it up, but yeah I wasn’t ready for that snap count. Luckily we got a fortunate bounce and it went our way.
(on what was going through his mind after the fumbled snap )
At first, I just wanted to get the ball back. Once I picked it up, I felt that we had really good protection and I kind of got outside the pocket a little bit. I was looking to either run or throw it away and I saw Yamon (Figurs) waving his arms back there by himself. Like I said, it wasn’t pretty, but it worked out for us.
(on whether coaches teach him to fall on the ball when there is a fumble )
You know, in that situation, like I said, it was my first instinct to just grab it and pick it up. Probably nine times out of 10 it’s smarter to fall on it and cut your losses it at that point. I kind of instinctively grabbed it, and like I said, luckily it worked out for us this time
(on whether or not things will be easier after his first game)
I don’t know, I don’t think it gets easier. You have to continue to prepare and keep working hard, and never settle. I think you always have to expect more from yourself and go out and try to improve on what you have done the week before.
(on the speed difference from college to the NFL)
Yeah, there is a speed difference, definitely. It’s the most talented guys at the college level that get an opportunity to play here, so it was faster, but the guys on your side of the ball are faster as well. I think for the first time it was really good to be able to experience that speed in a game situation. Like I said before, I think the more time you spend with it, the more comfortable you become with it and the game will slow down for you, but that’s a process you have to go through.
(on how exciting it was to get the first win tonight)
It was just great to be out and play football, just to compete and put the pads on and play for real; it was awesome. To come out with a win was icing on the cake.
(on his thoughts on Jamie Harper’s performance)
I thought he ran really well. He ran hard, I thought he extended a few plays making some good cuts and finding holes that were maybe on the backside a little bit. He did a good job running hard and getting what he could.
(on how many people made the trip from his hometown)
I’m not sure on the exact count how many made it, no. I know my mom and dad came and that was all I was aware of. I didn’t know anyone else had come.
(on if he saw his parents’ sign in the crowd)
I don’t believe so. I think I saw them, but I wasn’t able to pick out exactly who it was. I did see the sign though.
(on if he is comfortable with the check with me stuff in Chris Palmer’s offensive system)
It’s stuff that we did last year. It’s similar stuff we did last year with coach (Steve) Sarkesian. There is some carryover there, but again, it’s something that when you prepare the right way and make sure you really understand it throughout the week at practice, then you feel comfortable doing it in the game.
(on if the throw to
I just got a little eager on that one and threw it a little bit too quickly. It was a good play; we had him in the hole there. We got the coverage that we wanted on that play, but I just got a little eager and threw it before he came out of his break.
(on what the defense was showing that convinced him to throw multiple fades)
They were giving us press, challenging us to beat them over the top. They were playing cover-one, 11 in the box, so we were trying to win and score a touchdown at that point.
(on how high he has to throw it to get the ball out of
After that catch, I don’t know. It was a great catch and he ran a really good route. I think that if I put the ball on him, he might have had an opportunity to make a guy miss and score. It was a great effort on his part.
(on how the rookies were able to play so well with no offseason)
I thought as a whole the team played really well today. I think it starts up-front on both sides. Our offensive line did a great job of controlling the line of scrimmage in the run game, and protecting the quarterback in the passing game; that allows your offense to have consistency and move the ball. I thought the same thing on defense. I thought we were able to get pressure up front with just four-man rushes, and they were able to control the running game as well. It allows those guys in the back-end to work a little bit more, so I thought that we did a good job on both sides today.
(on what he specifically wants to get better at)
I think that we’ll go in and watch the film and kind of break it down from there. We’ll see what we can improve on and what areas we need to focus on and get better at. So, I think I’ll have a better idea when we go back and look at it.
FB AHMARD HALL
(on getting the Titans preseason underway)
It almost feels surreal with all the chaos that went on this offseason, just to be back out there for a preseason game. I missed all the action and actually playing football again. Without a doubt, when I walked out there and saw the stadium full, and the fans were ready, and ready to go, and as players were ready to get out there and get back to playing football. Like I said, it was so chaotic and the future was such an unknown as to whether we would play or not. Just to be back out there at LP Field, one of the best stadiums in the League, was awesome.
It feels good. Matt (Hasselbeck) is a consummate professional. We had to get adjusted to him a little bit because he is an upbeat guy. He is a little bit different from Kerry (Collins). Matt is real upbeat and fast, and spitting out the language fast, so we had to get adjusted to it the first day of practice with those who had signed. He’s it now.
WLB WILL WITHERSPOON
(on playing the game tonight)
Getting back on the field was such a great feeling, first of all. To get that first preseason game together, and under your belt and to get back in the groove of things. It’s an opportunity for us to stop beating up on each other and actually play someone else.
(on the Titans defensive effort)
I think we did well, overall. Big stop on third down. Couple of turnovers that turned into points for us. It’s just what you want out of your defense. Even the guys that came out later in the game. The young guys were playing well and making plays and doing things on the field they needed to do. Everyone is growing and moving forward. It’s just kind of a place for us to put our foot in the ground, and get started.
RB JAVON RINGER
(on offensive backs making a statement tonight with
Yes, definitely. Of course, there’s no replacing somebody like Chris Johnson so all of us just wanted to go out there and be able to show that we’re able to be capable running backs in the NFL while he’s off taking care of what he needs to with the contract thing. So we just wanted to make sure that we were able to go out there and show what we could do and make the most of our opportunity. I feel overall, it was a pretty good night for us. It gets old going against the same guys every day. It was good to be able to finally go out there and perform in front of our amazing crowd and be able to most importantly, get a win. It was a really exciting night for us.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS QUOTES
HEAD COACH LESLIE FRAZIER
(opening statement )
It was good to be back out playing football again, just encouraging to see the guys running around and early on we had some difficulties with turnovers. Our tackling wasn’t up to par and it hurt us in the first half. We picked the intensity up a little bit in the second half and played a little bit better but it was good seeing the guys flying around and just getting back into football. Now we have some tape, some things we can go back and look at and hopefully improve.
(on the team’s heads being into the game quite like it should )
That was the goal. Just give them a small menu to try to let them show what they can do and try to look at as many people as you can. We’re trying to figure out what guys should be on our roster. I thought for the most part we played fast. There were definitely some things we can improve on and work on next week. In general the goal was to allow them to play fast without throwing everything at them.
(on the offense being a work in progress )
Yes, for us with our offense, definitely. We have to do things incrementally and that’s understandable. I think most teams in the league are doing something similar just because the way the offseason was. We are not any different in that regard.
(on the limited reps for defensive starters being precautionary)
We wanted to be able to take a look at some of the other guys and this game was a good opportunity for us to do that. Now next week they will play more but this was an opportunity for us to look at some young guys and just try to determine if they can help us or not.
(on what happened on the play with Chris Cook )
It looked like when he fumbled Chris hesitated and the whistle hadn’t blown and a good lesson for him, keep playing no matter what happens, just keep playing. That’s what their receiver did and ended up with a big play.
(on how quarterback Donovan McNabb looked tonight)
It was just good to see him get into a rhythm. He got us out of a backed-up situation, taking some snaps with our offense, hearing the cadence, in the huddle and communicating with our players. I think it was a good start for him, just a good beginning as we move forward.
(on if the team needs to work on tackling technique after missing some tackles tonight)
I don’t know if it was necessarily technique—you’ve got to wrap people up, move your feet and you’ve got to knock them back and we didn’t do a good job of that in the first couple series.
(on if they are still trying to get a feel for the battle at the cornerback position)
That is exactly right. We’re going to play them as much as we can in this preseason because when we line up against San Diego, we’d like to feel good about what guys are going to be our guys—whether we’re going three corners and playing nickel or if we’re going four corners and playing dime. We’ve got to keep letting those guys play and make that determination.
(on if the lockout had an effect on the defense’s ability to execute tonight, specifically with tackling)
You’ve got to keep working at it, and for us the way to work at it now in our league is what you saw tonight—preseason games. You’re not going to do a lot of head banging in practice, so the next game you hope that tackling is going to be better. It was better in the second half, so that is an indication of the long layoff and being away from football because it did improve. You hope it will be the same next week and it will continue to improve until we get to
(on balancing quarterback Joe Webb’s running and throwing in the game)
That (scrambling) is a big part of his game, so you don’t put the clamps on Joe in that way—you just don’t do that. You let him be Joe Webb, and that is a part of what he does and you have to let him play. That is what we want to see, we want him to be Joe Webb.
(on if quarterback Christian Ponder will be working with the second-team offense next week)
Yeah, he’ll work with the second team next week and he and Joe (Webb) will flop and just get a chance to get a look at Christian with the second group.
(on if Christian Ponder is more comfortable throwing outside of the pocket)
Maybe at this stage, but there is a lot more football and a lot more offense to come. He is going to get more comfortable as he gets more reps in our offense and different parts of it. That was his comfort level, maybe, tonight in some areas but there will be other things coming.
RB ADRIAN PETERSON
(on offense in the preseason)
I feel things are coming along good. We’re just, two weeks ago, getting this offense installed. I feel guys are picking it up well. For us to come out, obviously, we have things we can work on, things we can improve upon. But, I feel we had a good start so far.
(on limited carry and playing time)
Initially, I knew I wouldn’t be in there long. We have a lot of young guys that are trying to get some looks. So, I wasn’t expected to do too much. I got in and got my feet wet a little bit, stuck my toe in the water. Hopefully next week I will get a little more time.
(on Donovan McNabb at quarterback)
I feel like he is doing good. I feel like he is a great leader. He is coming in and he is running this offense and being efficient. We’ll see how things pick up gradually.
QB DONOVAN MCNABB
(on playing in his first game for the Vikings)
It felt good. I thought we had a great flow with the offense. Our timing and chemistry was where we needed to be. As an offensive unit, we were in and out of the huddle with enough time to make checks if we have to. And that’s kind of what you want to start with in the first preseason game. Obviously, with the short off-season and then coming over late when we probably had to wait for about four days before we practiced, I thought we did a good job. A lot of things we have to work on obviously, but it’s a great start.
(on working chemistry after the lockout)
Obviously, there is a lot of things you can work on. Spending time actually with the receivers, communicating with the offensive line, and obviously with Sully (John Sullivan), the center. Being on the same page. They have to get accustomed, obviously, the way that I play. Just like I have to do the same. That’s not just for us, that’s for every team across the league. For me, I’m just excited about the opportunity. The guys we have on the outside, as well as our running back situation, so, I’m excited for the first start.
VIKINGS LINEBACKER ERIN HENDERSON
(on his 10-tackle performance)
I think I played alright. I think I have a lot of work to do. I have to stay low and continue to try and be explosive like the coaches are asking me to do. I think I came on a little bit stronger towards the end. I had a rough start. I was flying around a little bit. I’m just still trying to get adjusted to the speed of the game again. But, I think it went pretty well.
(on the performance of the defensive unit as a whole, especially in the first half)
There is still a lot of work to be done. But, we’ll look at the film, look at the tape, and just check it out. We can see what they we’re able to do against us, and what they were able to have success with. We can see what we did well and just go from there. We’ve got to get better every week and just continue to improve in order to be the defense that we want to be.
(on finally getting back to football and being in a game-type atmosphere)
It’s great. We relieved a lot of stress out there. You get a chance to go out there and hit some people and take out some anger and frustration on somebody else, other than your teammates. That’s always fun. I’m looking forward to next week.
VIKINGS DE BRIAN ROBISON
(on the defense’s execution early in the game against Tennessee’s offense)
I mean, it’s early in the season. So, there’s going to be some things that we need to correct and we’ll go into the film room on Monday and try to make sure that we make those corrections going into next week.
(on his individual performance and the opportunity to move into a starting role)
I’m happy with the way that I played. My main thing was going out there and making sure that I had good technique. I think I did some things well. I think there are some things that I could do a lot better. Obviously, I’m going to be a little bit harder on myself this year, especially since I’m trying to move into that starting role. I just need to go in, watch film and make sure that I’m doing things that I need to do in order to be a complete player.
(on the difficulty of playing at game speed after a limited amount of team practices)
Well, you can’t really call it tough. Everybody has the same amount of practice time. So, it’s really an even playing field for everybody. It was very nice, though, to actually be back in a game environment and it really gives you that sense that football really is back. It really makes you excited.
(on getting the Titans preseason underway)
It was super exciting. The fact we can go out there and hit somebody else. It really meant a lot. I even hit my own teammate one play. Like I say, we were out there having a good time and just knowing what we were doing was a big thing. It’s the first one. It’s the first time to hit somebody in a different colored jersey. Everyone was raring to go and everyone played well tonight.
(on defensive chemistry in first game under Coach Munchak)
It felt good. We’re just going to continue to build on it. Chemistry takes time and that’s on and off the field. And that’s something that Coach Munchak is definitely preaching and we’ve taken to. So hopefully, as we go further along in this process, the chemistry builds.