Q&A with RB Coach Tim Spencer

Tim Spencer saw his group combine for 120 yards on the ground in the preseason opener. Spencer took time to talk about the tightest battle for a roster spot and more with Bear Report.

Adrian Peterson had 52 yards on 10 carries in the preseason opener. What have been your impressions of Peterson as you break training camp?
"He is a different runner. This offense can really kind of fit a couple of different runners. For instance with Anthony Thomas and Thomas Jones, those are two different backs but they both fit well in this offense."

How would you assess the battle between Peterson and Brock Forsey?
"For those two guys, Brock and Adrian, special teams are vital because of Anthony Thomas and Thomas Jones so I think that's going to factor into also. Brock didn't have quite as many opportunities that Adrian had last week, but I think games two and three will show some signs, hopefully they'll be some separation."

How have they looked catching the ball?
"Both of those guys are excellent receivers. I think they catch the ball very well. I think they run good routes, underneath routes. All my guys catch the ball well. That's all part of this offense for the running back and that's to be able to be moved around and be able to catch the football."

What is difficult about the blitz pickup?
"I think it would be tough for a new guy, but I think a guy that's been in a good pro style type offense it should be relatively easy. The only thing different for a lot of guys is sometimes we may have them scanning from side to side. But I think if you make pre-snap reads it's pretty easy. If you know what to look for in the beginning it makes it very simple."

Who is the best at it on the team?
"The best guy at scanning and picking up protection is Thomas Jones. He's been in a system similar (to this) and he's been exposed to a little bit more of scan type of protection."

Do you consider Bryan Johnson an offensive threat?
"Bryan can catch the ball. He's an excellent blocker, he's (always going) 100 miles an hour, but he can catch the football. You saw him in the game and if you've been out to practice you've seen him catch quite a few balls and he can be a vital part of this offense. The F's (fullbacks) always want to run the ball a little bit more, but our offense is more geared toward the H (halfback), but there are some ways we can get the ball in his hands."

As a former running back would like have Johnson block for you?
"You'd love to have a guy like that because you really want a fullback that really wants to do it. A lot of times you get guys who have converted and they've been the H and sometimes they're in it and sometimes they're half into to it. In his case, he was a linebacker and switched over so he takes pride in his job and has the mentality."

Is the chemistry between Jones and Johnson important?
"You'll see those guys talk a lot. Both of guys are very intelligent guys and they're always on the same page. A lot of times in pass protection even if they may be contrary to the offensive line, if those guys are on the same page we can get blitzes picked up and if they're not talking you won't get it done."

At 5-foot-10, 220 pounds is Thomas Jones too muscular?
"Thomas is a workout freak. If you watch him in practice he wants to take every rep. He wants to do everything because he knows that it's going to get him better. Yeah your legs get better and all, but I think he's a guy that I have to watch because some of those guys can do too much. And you have to sort of back them off for their own good because they like to be in there every snap, they like to get everything and you just can't get it all."

Can you be too muscular?
"As long as you aren't given it (the football) up they can be as big as you want."


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