A Q&A with Vikings coach Mike Tice

'I think our defense is growing together and getting better and starting to understand what we're asking them to do.' <BR><BR>

Q: What is making Daunte Culpepper so effective this year?

A: It's like any quarterback, once you're in a system a number of years you feel very comfortable in what the coaches are asking you to do. He's surrounded by some very solid offensive lineman¦probably not great but solid offensive linemen. He has some weapons on the outside and some running backs that are able to take some of the pressure off the passing game at times. I think most importantly, though, he's been in the system, he's worked with the same coordinator now for three years, they understand each other. The coordinator understands what Daunte is comfortable with. Daunte is getting us out of a lot of bad situations, not only with his feet but also by calling audibles. I think the comfort level that he has with the system is really a big thing.

Q: Is he making better decisions across the board?

A: Well, I think you need to look at his turnovers and I think that'll answer that for you.

Q: Is your defense better than your defense last year at this point?

A: I think we have more speed, more playmakers on defense. Last year we were creating more turnovers, but you know once the turnovers dried up, we went on a little bit of a losing spell there. I don't think this year we're relying on the turnovers as much, but at the same time, we're giving up some yardage in the second half of some games based on some of the leads we've had, so I think our defense really does not have that personality that'll end up at the end of the season nor do the statistics indicate how we feel about the defense. I think our defense is growing together and getting better and starting to understand what we're asking them to do.

Q: When you drafted Mewelde Moore, did you expect this much out of him or was he just going to be a third down kind of guy?

A: Well, he wasn't even going to be that. We had a plethora of backs back there with Michael, Mo, Onterrio, who we were really, really high on, and we even liked Larry Ned, our special teams guy. He was available to us in the fourth round. We had third round grades on him as a staff, as a personnel staff. Our running back coach had a third round grade on him. You look at the players ranked the highest on your board and you take them¦you know late third round, great guy in the fourth round. You think you got yourself a solid player and you're going to give him the ability to return kicks, punts and kickoffs. As it turned out Michael got hurt in preseason, Onterrio got suspended and Mo has been nursing a strained calf, so the kid got a chance and he's done the best I think possibly you can do with the opportunity that's been afforded to him.

Q: From what you've seen so far, what has jumped out at you about the Giants?

A: They're playing with a high level of confidence. They're a very disciplined football team. They've got some playmakers on the team. 21 is playing excellent football, the quarterback is still a rhythm thrower. If he gets time and gets in a rhythm, watch out. I think their line plays very well together¦their offensive line¦.the tight end is starting to come on, looks like he is starting to get healthy. Their defensive front is solid. I think it's a very well coached football team.

The Giants Beat Top Stories