Hi Doug! I would like to ask the question that is bothering many of our posters: "Did the O-line give you guys enough time to pass and holes to run (against Carolina)." I only remember seeing you having three carries, but you did have 5 yards per! A lot of these guys (and it is possible they are right) are complaining the line was not playing up to snuff. Being the RB I figure you would have a good idea about this. Thanks!
Chapman says: The offensive line was playing fine. We have some new faces on the line and, contrary to belief, it's hard for an offense to just jell when you make changes like that. It all starts with the offensive line, and when you've got new guys out there playing new positions and new roles, it's going to take a little time for it to jell. The offensive line is not like the defensive line, where you can kind of just play with reckless abandon. On offense, technique has to be used and a lot of thinking. When you're not playing a position you are accustomed to, sometimes it can take some time to get comfortable at that position. No one is worrying about the offensive line. We know we have a lot of great linemen in front of us, with Matt Birk being the anchor. We know that everything is going to be fine.
Do the blocking schemes and the holes change quicker in the NFL than they did in college, from the first step you take to hitting line?
Chapman says: Of course the speed of the game is a lot quicker in the NFL than it is in college. The more you play, the more things will slow down. I know they slowed down a lot for me from last year to this year. You just have to get into a rhythm on offense and not be forced to do anything. We shouldn' t feel like we have to run the ball or we have to throw the ball. We should be able to come out and say, ‘We want to run the ball on this down' or, ‘We want to throw the ball on this down,' and we should control the defense, not let the defense control us. This week we're going to go out there with a different game plan and put our offense in a better position to score points.
First off. good luck this year. In watching the Carolina game you seemed to get it going when you got in the game. Did it frustrate you that you didn't get more carries? It seemed to me that you were finding running lanes that Michael Bennett wasn't. He looked to be out-running his blockers a bit. Being a rookie, that is somewhat expected. Did you feel a little slighted by the lack of carries?
Chapman says: No, I didn't feel slighted. It's easy to watch from the sidelines or television and see what someone should do, but when you're down there in the heat of battle and things are moving about a thousand miles per hour for the coaches and for the players ... I'm just patient. (Running backs coach) Carl Hargrave always uses that term, ‘Sitting on ready.' I'm always just kind of sitting on ready right now. I kind of feel like our reserves in the military right now. We know something is going to happen, but we don't know when. They have to be patient right now because they never know when they're going to get that call. Every day in practice I just make sure I know my assignment. When it's my turn to go out there and play I just want to be sure there is no drop-off in the game.
You were the smoother runner in the opener. Do you think it is that extra year of experience that helped and do you know if Michael Bennett is having the same things swirling through his head as you might have last year as a rookie?
Chapman says: It's a new environment. At the running back position, I don't care what kind of year you have as a rookie, whether you have 1,000 yards or 200 yards, it's going to be a lot different. You've got different things going on, bigger guys, faster guys, you've got people around you that have been playing for maybe 10 or 11 years, you feel you're letting them down. Everything that's going on, you've got blocking assignments, you've got more complex blocking schemes, pass routes to remember, checks you have to remember. You've got so much to remember. Like in college, I was the star back at Marshall and he was the star running back at Wisconsin, our basic job was to run the ball. They simplified everything around us. It's not like that anymore when you're around guys like Randy Moss, Cris Carter and Daunte Culpepper. The offense is not going to be formed around one man. So you have to learn to play in the system, and it can be overwhelming ... There's just a lot to learn. I'm still learning myself, but I can feel the game to me has slowed down a bit. Last year when I got out there, I kind of felt like everything that happened to me was something that never happened before. And now when I get up I can kind of say I was expecting that, I knew that was going to happen. I think Mike just has to get in there and learn and get a feel for the game and everything will be fine.
What do you consider to be your biggest strength(s) as a running back and what area(s) would you like to improve in?
Chapman says: I think I've improved all-around from where I was last year. There is always room for everybody to improve, but I don't feel that I'm lacking in any area. I feel that I have good vision in the hole, I feel I have the speed to get outside and I feel that I have the strength to break tackles. To make a move and make people miss and to catch the ball out of the backfield when needed. I think one thing that I've got is my game sense, just knowing where I am on the field, knowing down and distance. I think that is what has helped me out a whole lot. I just go through every week in practice preparing myself, preparing for anything. I never know what's going to happen that weekend, but I know when they say, ‘Chapman, get in the game' I'll be ready to roll. VU
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