The offense seems to function when Moss is involved early and often. Yet the long ball has been taken away by the defenses. It appears when Moss is in motion prior to the snap the defense is out of position to cover him and affects the double coverage. Has there been any discussions about putting Moss in motion to throw off the defense and set up the run opposite the direction he is moving in motion?
Chapman says: When you've got a guy like Randy Moss out on the field, your opposing defense is going to have to game plan for him. And when you do send him in motion, it does cause some matchup problems, because if you get a presnap read and he moves it makes someone else or some other zone have to cover him. So that does tend to free him up. But another thing that would help free up Moss and (Cris) Carter and (Jake) Reed is us establishing a running game so they can't just play zone on us and bracket us. They'd have to play us man-to-man or float seven and leave the eighth man in the box (near the line of scrimmage) and respect the run. As we go on and get a running game established, it will open up everything.
Doug, how are you? I wanted to ask a question that you would probably know the answer to better than almost anyone else. First, in the Lions game when we were ahead 31-6 it seemed we were in total control and should have started using some type of ball control game. From the way it seemed we were not putting a big emphasis on the run here. Was there a reason that we were not using the clock? I was always under the assumption that this is the standard when a team is that far ahead. Or was it due to the fact that the O-line was not giving you guys any running lanes? I know you only got 4 carries, but you were in there and were able to determine the situation better than others could have. And second, is there a reason this season we are struggling with the running game? I personally don't see it as being anything wrong that Michael or you are doing. It seems the line is trying to find it's own identity. Perhaps one answer will take care of both the questions. Good luck as always!
Chapman says: We had a couple nice runs in the first half, but I think the main thing with me and Michael (Bennett) and the rest of the running backs, we feel like — let me give you analogy. We feel like we're Dennis Green's sons and he's kind of trusting us with the car. We've crashed. We've haven't totaled it, but we've dinged it up a couple times and we're asking for it again. And he's kind of hesitant about giving us the keys. I think that's how it is with the running game. We've shown spurts, but we haven't been extremely productive, Michael and myself. I think if we show that we can be trustworthy, gaining 5 or 6 yards, getting first downs, controlling the clock, then we'll open up the running game more. In the second half … sometimes plays go certain ways — you turn the ball over or if you get an interception, sometimes there are things you can't control. But right now, the passing game is our bread and butter. That's where our money players are, that's where the first downs come from. It's going to take time. Rome wasn't built in a day. We're going to have to go out there and get that running game going and show Coach Green that he can have confidence in us. Last year, Robert Smith probably would have touched the ball probably nine or 10 more times in the second half … because he trusted Robert and he could really get first downs, control the clock, stay in bounds. We just have to go out there and re-establish that trust, and the running game will pick up and everything will start clicking.
There seems to be a problem establishing the run. Has there been any talk about using the pass to establish the run? It seems like quick routes would help take pressure off the offensive line and Daunte. Maybe the wideout screen the Bears use could help create mismatches when the cornerbacks are playing off the wideouts instead of just turning for the ball and giving the corner time to recover. Good luck.
Chapman says: First of all, we're going to take whatever the defense gives us. If they stack nine guys in the box, you can't run the ball in the NFL. But if they give us seven guys in the box, we're going to run the ball. We just haven't been as effective as we can be. Personally speaking, I think our offensive line is doing a great job. They're young and a lot of guys from the outside have their opinions, but from the inside our offensive line has done all year and is doing a great job. With new guys in there, they are jelling well together. I think, just like Coach (Dennis) Green says, the running game is timing. We just have to get that timing down. This week is a big test. It's a test for our offense, but it's also going to be some big fun at the same time.
What types of different volunteering have you done (different places, different things, etc.)? How important is volunteering and helping others in need to you?
Chapman says: I think it means a lot. I put myself in most of the kids' shoes, and I see at 10 or 11 years old how I would have felt if the NFL guys that I'm watching on TV would have come to my school and had a conversation with me and shake my hand or talk to me or signs autographs. That's big to be able to do that for little kids. So I know the importance of that. Next Tuesday is the day Michael Bennett and myself are going to a school and discussing fitness (for the American Heart Association). The running backs went out to a golf course and did a little dinner for St. Jude's Hospital for cancer research.
Can you explain how assignments, reads and techniques change from college to the pros when it comes to a running back's responsibilities in picking up the blitz?
Chapman says: Picking up the blitz in the NFL is pretty much 60 percent of being a running back. If you can't protect the quarterback, you can't be back there. The defenses run such complicated schemes these days and you've got teams like the Ravens and Tampa Bay with such aggressive defenses. Sometimes they'll bring four or five guys and there are going to be two guys that are hot reads and you've got to throw off of them, so it's kind of hard sometimes picking up the blitzes and reading defenses the way they are supposed to be read. When you're coming from college to the pros, the game is moving so much quicker and you've got a million other things going on, it can kind of be overwhelming sometimes. I know what I went through last year, just looking at the playbook and the defensive schemes and my mind was going a million miles per hour, so I know what Michael is going through. It's a work in progress; it's going to take time. Robert was a great blocking halfback at the end of his career. But at the beginning of his career he struggled just like we did. VU
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