A conversation with Mike Heimerdinger Part I

Q)What has the process been like for you getting used to Vinny?

Heimerdinger: First of all the protections, so he knows where he is protected. Then it's a feel thing – find out what he likes to do. What he can do and what he can't do. I know he likes being in the shotgun. We kind of eliminated some things this week in practice. Things that I thought were good ideas, but haven't looked as good because he's not comfortable doing that. But the main thing for him is to know where he's protected and where the balls has to go, and where it's not. We spent a lot of time on that.

Q)How hard is it to protect a quarterback who doesn't have any mobility?

Heimerdinger: I think it's hard to play in this league without mobility. We have to make sure we keep in enough guys to protect him, and he will get rid of it. The good thing about Vinny is that he will make up for a lack of mobility by getting it out. I know he is not going to hold it. I know you are not going to get real close to him before the ball comes out. He makes up for his lack of mobility. You have a problem with a quarterback, when you have no mobility and no release, and he doesn't know where it's got to go. Vinny will get rid of it. I'm not worried about that.

Q)Brooks didn't get much of chance. Could he have gone again with him this week?

Heimerdinger: He probably could have, but we are in a situation right now where we probably need a shot, and for Brooks, every week is going to be a new learning experience. There were probably four or five things that happened in the game that we had covered, but when you haven't been behind center, and you don't do it live, whether you do it in practice, or not – it doesn't quite click.

I thought we needed to go with Vinny because we don't have time right now for Brooks to develop, and it would take three or four weeks to see everything he needs to see.

Q)Doesn't Brook's lack of experience balance out with Vinny's lack of experience in the offense?

Heimerdinger: Systems are probably overrated. Vinny has been in about 900 systems. It's just a matter of knowing the terminology, and we will take things he's comfortable with and let him go execute them.

Q)Couldn't you do that with Brooks?

Heimerdinger: Yeah, but I think you are better off with a guy who knows where his problems are, and can deliver the ball, and not think – well this is what should have happened. Even though Brooks knows the system, he got a lot of his reps in the preseason, where you don't get a lot of things you see now.

Q)Will you be able to play Vinny in the shotgun and play a spread offense with the protection problems?

Heimerdinger: We will have a hat for a hat. Now whether we do it right, we will find out on Sunday. We had the same thing for Brooks, but we miscommunicated and didn't pick up the right people. We are trying to simplify it this week. On paper right now I'm comfortable with it.

Q)Wasn't Brooks in an impossible situation facing Samari Rolle, Deon Sanders, Chris McAllister and Ed Reed?

Heimerdinger: The receivers have to separate. That is going to be hard for anybody. We played the game last week exactly the way we needed to play it. We were going to run it a bunch, and I didn't think their offense could score a ton of points and I thought our defense would get some turnovers. We didn't get the damn thing in from the one-yard line. If you get the thing in from the one-yard line, you have a different game.

Q)Are you going to have to get the passing game going to get Curtis going?

Heimerdinger: When we protect it, we drop it, or we don't throw it when they can make something happen with it. It's more than just the quarterback. A group of those guys need to work together, and we aren't doing it right now.

Q)Do you feel like Vinny, with the big arm, is an ideal fit for you system?

Heimerdinger: I don't know if he's the ideal fit. With Vinny's arm, the ball has a chance to get down field. We have to separate outside to give him that chance. We have to protect long enough to get them damn thing out.

Our record stinks and we haven't played real good offensively, but if we make two plays in two games, we are sitting here pretty good. We haven't made plays. We just have to protect and give somebody outside a chance to make a play. And we they get a chance, don't drop that damn ball.

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