On Tuesday afternoon at the Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center, Minnesota Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards got an opportunity to address the media. Quite a few subjects were talked about, including the progress of Mike Hughes, the upcoming joint practices with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and some reasoning for why Marcus Sherels will probably be on this roster for a long time to come.
Below is the full transcript of Edwards’ remarks on Tuesday, courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings PR Department.
Coming back from our first preseason game, getting back to work yesterday and today. Then we’ve got Jacksonville in here to practice against the next two days. Guys are coming back in after the game, we got the stuff corrected. We’re looking forward to try to get better over the next couple days.
Q: What are your thoughts on Mike Hughes performance?
A: Mike did a lot of good things. The attention to detail that he displayed schematically with what we’re asking him to do, for a rookie, was impressive for the first outing. We just look for him to keep continuing to compete every day and keep working on the fundamentals and techniques that we’re asking him to do. Just look for him to be consistent as we keep working down the road.
Q: Is there anybody that you like to compare Hughes to?
A: Well, I’m not really in the comparison business but I’ll say this, for everything that we’re asking him to do, to play inside and outside, he’s been as good as any that we’ve had in here with the attention to detail with what we’re asking out of him as far as an inside nickel and outside corner. He really has excelled. You could see it carry over from practice right to the game, it wasn’t big for him at all.
Q: Do you like the joint practices and if so, why?
A: I think it’ll be good work against a good football team that had a lot of success last year. For our guys to come out here and we’ve been working against our offense since we started, I think it’ll be a good change of pace. Definitely going to be good work against their personnel and schematics of what they try to do. We’re excited about it. For us, it’s still an evaluation to get out here and work the techniques and the fundamentals between each group. Just tie it all together that way. Rather than going against our offense, which we’ve kind of been going against all offseason and here at training camp, it’s kind of a break from that and working on something new schematically.
Q: How do you limit the tension and altercations that have occurred in other joint practices around the league?
A: I think coaches explain to our guys what the purpose of this is and we can’t let emotions be the driving thing as far as our reactions and our decisions. It’s going to be competitive but you also have to control your emotions. During the course of the game, we don’t want penalties. So, we try to simulate all those things out here at practice and try to get them to understand how important it is and that it’s imperative that we don’t have penalties that hurt ourselves.
Q: What did you make of the new rules in the first preseason game?
A: I think our guys, going in we have emphasized it, we’ve always kind of emphasized looking at your target and keeping your head up. So, we didn’t really have a lot of problems with it. I know the other team had two penalties called, one of them was that. We just keep emphasizing the fundamentals. The point of emphasis is that for the preseason and going into the season and rightly so. So, we’re just going to keep preaching it, we’re going to keep working on it, keep coaching it. Hopefully we don’t have any problems with guys ducking their heads.
Q: Do you think it will have an impact on the game?
A: I think it will but I think it’s a necessary means, it’ll clean up some of the guys that do lower their helmets. But, at the end of the day, I think everybody is teaching to keep your head up. We just have to keep emphasizing it. They know that it’s going to be called so hopefully we can take out helmet hits to the head, we can take that out of it.
Q: What kind of transition do you think it will take for guys across the league?
A: All I can do is talk about what we do. What other guys, how they’re coaching it or how they’re emphasizing it. There are some really tough calls when you look at it. I think a part of that is because it is such a big emphasis. But, at the end of the day, for player safety, I think it’s a tool that we need to make sure we are on top of as far as our coaching and our teaching.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge for Jalyn Holmes?
A: I think Jalyn, right now, is just adjusting to a new technique, new fundamentals as we’re playing him inside. Just being more consistent, I think, is the biggest thing with him right now in the run game and the pass game. He really flashed some good pass rush for us in this past game. He’s a lot better against the run in this ball game. The consistent factor, looking for it out here in practice. I don’t think the game was too big for him. He kind of parlayed what we’ve been teaching him to the game and really did some nice things for us this past week.
Q: How come Anthony Barr didn’t play in Denver?
A: Those questions coach is going to have to answer for you. I refer all those to him when it comes to the injuries or who is up or who is down.
Q: How has he looked so far in camp?
A: He’s had a good camp. He’s done a good camp. We’ve asked him to do some things pass rush wise and he’s really taken it and really excelled at it as we’ve been working through the process this offseason and through training camp.
Q: What has it been like as a defensive coach as every year these point of emphasis seem to regard defenses changing the way they play the game?
A: Well, they’re doing a lot of things for player safety, which is great. Then just the different things that we’ve had to adjust to. I mean, let’s face it, this is an offensive driven league when it comes to that. I’ve been doing it for 21 years, over those 21 years there’s been those points of emphasis every year. Whether it’s been contact down the field, whether it’s the helmets now. Whatever it is, we’ve had to adjust to it, you have to adapt your coaching to it. Because it is a point of emphasis and we don’t want penalties to set us back and stop drives and do all those things as we progress during the course of the season. I think it’s all been good for the game and we’ve just got to keep working to clean things up and make it the best so they can compete at the highest level that they can.
Q: Where do you think Marcus Sherels is at as a cornerback at this point of his career?
A: Marcus has done a tremendous job for us. He’s worn a lot of hats for us defensively since we’ve been here. You talk about his punt return ability but he plays the nickel for us, we have no problem sticking him in there to play nickel, and he plays outside. So, Marcus is an asset to us defensively. Also, as far as going into the game, having him on the roster, the capabilities if something happens or package-wise if we want to use his skill set, we know that he’s right there. It’s been a blessing to have him.