Coaches Q&A, Part II: Fazio Talks Personnel

Defensive consultant Foge Fazio is just getting used to the players the Vikings have on defense. He talked about some of the established veterans and what they bring, along with some of the up-and-coming talent.

Foge Fazio recently joined the Vikings as a defensive consultant on a part-time basis last week. Fazio still works for CBS radio.

Fazio is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, where he played linebacker. Fazio and his wife, Norma, have one daughter, Kristen Anne and one son, Vince.

Most recently, Fazio was a special assistant in the Washington Redskins' front office. Before that he was the defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns in the 2001 and 2002 seasons. Prior to that, he was a linebackers coach for the Washington Redskins in 2000. He was the Vikings defensive coordinator from 1995-99. He also has been an assistant for the New York Jets, Atlanta Falcons, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Cincinnati, Harvard University and Boston University.

Q: Looking from strictly a personnel standpoint, is this a defense that by the end of the season should be one of the NFL's top 10?

I think when everyone's healthy. The secondary guys are all excellent and they've all proven it. (Fred) Smoot and Antoine (Winfield) are both No. 1 picks. (Darren) Sharper has played with a winning team before and Corey Chavous is one of the smartest football players in the NFL. The defensive line is hurt a little bit, but when they develop somebody they're good enough to win the division and that's our objective — to win the division.

Q: Who, from your standpoint, has had a solid season on defense?

Against Chicago, I thought Pat Williams reminded me of John Randle in terms of getting in there and disturbing things all day.

Q: What concerns you more, the Vikings' pass defense or the inability to stop the run?

That's a tough question to answer because usually if you can't stop the run you're going to try to do whatever you can, which leaves your corners one-on-one and susceptible to long passes. But basically if you can make a team one-dimensional — it goes hand in hand. Against Chicago, if we get up 13-0 or 14-0, it would've made it very tough for them to run.

Q: Have you seen anything that would explain Kevin Williams' slow start?

I don't know about that. I thought that he had a very good football game. I thought against Chicago No. 93 (Kevin Williams) and No. 94 (Pat Williams) played very good. I thought they were disruptive. He pressured the quarterback and made tackles. Other than Pat, Kevin had the next best game.

Q: Raonall Smith played well Sunday at Chicago. Could we see more of Raonall on the field Sunday?

I think so. He has good speed. He's hungry. Naturally, as far as playing experience, he'll get better and better.

Q: On paper, a secondary with corners Antoine Winfield and Fred Smoot, and safeties Darren Sharper and Corey Chavous appears to be one of the best in the NFL. Is it?

I said that earlier. Being associated with defenses for the last 16 or 17 years in the NFL, this secondary is very solid. The only other one that good was when I was with Washington in 2000 when we had Deion (Sanders), Champ Bailey and Darrell Green.

Q: What would Keith Newman as a starting strongside linebacker add to the Vikings defense?

Keith is physical. He has good size. He's smart and he's played in the 3-4 before. He can rush the passer and he can offer a lot. Plus he seems to me to have a lot of leadership out there.

Q: You had been disconnected from the Vikings for a few years. What were your thoughts when you heard Randy Moss was traded to Oakland for a first-round draft pick and linebacker Napoleon Harris?

I was with other teams and watching the Vikings. I wasn't in Philadelphia, I wasn't at the Redskins game and I don't know what kind of things set Randy off or what happened, but that goes along with being a great athlete and what he can contribute to the team. But I know that he was a big part of getting into the playoffs and helping them be successful. On one hand, you say maybe they got rid of a distraction. On the other hand you might say maybe they shouldn't have done that because he's such a great player. But the ownership might have gotten pressure from season-ticket holders or seat holders; I'm not sure about that part. I don't know. But it kind of surprised me, though, especially when they paid him all that money to be here.

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