Notes From Tuesday’s Senior Bowl Press Conference:

NFL Draft

Here is a recap of Tue. Senior Bowl Press conference, including insight into Mike Shanahan, Leslie Frazier, Kirk Cousins and Chris Rainey:

Mike Shanahan:

On the offensive line adapting to his system

-Most people zone block in the NFL, and we are using the base plays. 

-Everyone is doing really well.

On Nick Saban’s coaching skill:

-They have a great system there and he does a fantastic job.

-He knows the NFL system and gets his players ready, which is why so many of them are drafted each year

On the battles between the offensive and defensive line:

-It’s a good match-up because they have some great players.

-83 players drafted from Senior Bowl rosters last year and everyone made an NFL roster

On impressions of Janoris Jenkins and Matt McCants:

-He can give generalities of players, but hasn’t had enough time or watched all the practice tape to say how they are doing.

On trying to stand up some defensive ends to see how they look in the 3-4?

-The principles are similar, but the All-star game is more limited

-Just wants to see player execute against each other, and not ask too much

On moving guys around?

-Sometimes you are forced to move players around, but he tries to give them the opportunity to showcase themselves.

On what he is asking of players this week?

-Accountability is the biggest key, be on time

-People want to see what you are like

-The Skins and the Vikings get an advantage in seeing how players prepare for games and interact in meetings.

How do you evaluate LB’s (specifically 4-3)?

-You have got to be able to run

-Guys need agility and instincts

At this point I got the chance to ask Coach Shanahan a question, which I’ll give in verbatim with his response here:

Q: In terms of QB’s, these guys are all coming from different systems, and now they have to run an NFL system. In this quick of time period, get a good evaluation on who can do that long term?

A: Well the interesting part about the NFL style is that usually it adapts. You know when I first came in the league, everyone said ‘you can’t play the 3-4 in the NFL, that’s college, you can’t play the 3-4 it’s a 4-3 league’ My question was ‘why’, this was back in the early 80’s. I think in terms of QB’s you will see the NFL style change a little bit, with the QB’s who can run the option and a little bit of what they are doing in college with the spread offense, and I think you will see that adapt to the NFL here and there. But the prototype NFL QB is what we are doing here, we aren’t going to do all shotgun, we are just going to do basic stuff so everyone can evaluate players and see how they can fit into a system.

On how he is keying in on QB’s given the Redskins situation?

-Everyone wants a franchise QB, and if you aren’t you won’t be in the league long.

-Everyone wants that guy, but it is easier said than done.

On Chris Rainey and his versatility?

-Impressed with the way he has handled himself. We asked him to play RB and all the WR’s positions. And he has picked it up very quickly. 

Overall Thoughts: Coach Shanahan was relaxed and joking throughout the interview process. He seemed to take seriously the importance for his role in this big game for these players, but showed a lighter side as well.

Leslie Frazier:

-The Vikings have 5 alumni from last year’s Senior Bowl, including Ponder.

-Practice is going well, and the Viking are excited to work with the players on the North Football team.

-Thinks it’s really going to help them to prepare in April for the draft.

On if the Vikings Senior Bowl commitment made them rush their position coach searches?

-Not necessarily, the Vikings made sure they got the right guy first.

-They do believe that they can use this week to develop a chemistry with the new coaches, as well as evaluating future Vikings.

On if the Vikings are evaluating running backs differently due to Peterson’s injury?

-In addition to Peterson, Gerhart was injured. So while it is not expected to affect him going forward it does make looking at the running backs more of a priority.

On if the Vikings will go to more of a two back system?

-How Gerhart performs and Peterson’s health would determine that.

Who has stood out on the North squad?

-Not naming specifics, but a number of WR’s and DL players have stood out.

On what these players need to do to be noteworthy?

-We put them in game day and game week situations, and see how they handle that.

What’s the biggest issue with ‘rust’?

-Conditioning is the biggest issue so far, some guys not in game shape.

What are you telling the QB’s?

-They can really showcase themselves for all 32 teams

What is the one need you have to address?

-I wish the Vikings only had one need, we do have a lot of depth of picks and the 3rd overall pick where we expect to get a really talented player.

What you can get out from the interviews?

-coaching gives a bigger advantage because it is a week long interview

What advantage is there in terms of finding red flags now?

– Its a major advantage to find out now and not waste time later.

On Chris Polk and DeVier Posey?

-Both players have stood out some, are more willing to do special teams, and have versatility. Any rookie that can help on ST’s is key.

Overall Thoughts: I thought Frazier was very well spoken and obviously very excited about working with these players and what it could mean for the draft.

QB Kirk Cousins:

Thoughts: Cousins was extremely likable and well spoken. He handled every question intelligently and with poise. He was honest, but confident. He showed himself to be a leader, and a guy who can be at the forefront of a franchise. He also showed good football intelligence and is well likable.

RB Chris Rainey:

Thoughts: Rainey comes off as very confident, but that shouldn’t be taken to mean that he is arrogant. Sure he could have been a better interviewee, but he was overall respectful and honest in his answers. I know some might not like him rushing answers or not really acknowledging questions about his size or a comparison, but his responses to those questions were fair, as he essentially put it, he doesn’t try to be anyone else, and knows if he works hard, questions about his size will be moot.  Rainey also said he prefers Running back, but is willing to help the team in any area.

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