Lurtsema's Reaction: Tice Gets Ultimate Compliment

When a former Packer compares Mike Tice to Vince Lombardi, you know the rookie head coach is doing a lot of good things.

You probably think you've got me all figured out. Before you even started reading this, you were probably saying, "Bob can be predictable at times, and I know his first Reaction to the Action at Vikings training camp will speak to how great new head coach Mike Tice is, especially since he had written so many times over the years about the great potential Tice has as a head coach."

Wrong (but close). I'll let someone else do the talking for me — a man named Max McGee, the ex-receiver for the Green Bay Packers who was a part of that dynasty under the great Vince Lombardi.

On a local radio show, Max stated that the first time Vince Lombardi came in to give the team a talk, the Packers had been losing for quite a few years. So when Lombardi finished his first speech to the team, the players walked out afterwards saying, "Hey, this guy just might help us win a few ballgames." Max then said that he felt all the organizational skills and the moves Mike Tice has executed so far have really paralleled what Lombardi did for the Packers when they turned things around.

Quite a comparison so early in Tice's career, but a lot of times players pick up certain things that are contagious that will put them in a winning mode. But just so that McGee was the same person that he always is, he ended the interview by saying, "By the way, I still hate the Minnesota Vikings."

Talking with several of the defensive players when I was in Mankato, it was rather obvious that they were all on the same page with new defensive coordinator Willie Shaw. They know the one thing that they must do to win a championship, and that's to stop the run. And to do that, they know they must be aggressive, very knowledgeable of all the different looks that Coach Shaw will be throwing at the opposing offenses, and be very comfortable in the team-executed defense.

Shaw's basic philosophy is this: We're not going to make our adjustments based on how the offense plays against us, but we want them to make their adjustments to our defense. In other words, the defense will dictate the style of play.

Taking Coach Shaw's aggressive style one step further, that means that there definitely will be a lot of defensive schemes, from three-man lines to having eight players in the box to having a bundle of blitzes and stunts to even giving defensive linemen a little more cover responsibility. When you take a defensive group that basically hasn't played together — there will probably be only two defensive starters from last year — it will take a few games for the players to get a comfort zone with themselves to execute to Shaw's expectations. It will take more classroom time, but getting the repetitions during practice is where things will truly come together.

As you can tell in these few paragraphs, there will be a lot of change in the Minnesota Vikings this year. And change can be good. In this case, after last year's end result, it will be good.

By the way, McGee, I still hate the Packers.


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