Wide receivers coach Charlie Baggett this year made the transition from former head coach Dennis Green and offensive coordinator Sherman Lewis to current head coach Mike Tice and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. He also has seen Derrick Alexander and D'Wayne Bates added to the active receiving corps.
Baggett has been coaching football in college and the pros since 1977. His college résumé includes Bowling Green (1977-80), Minnesota ('81-82) and Michigan State ('83-92, '95-98).
In the NFL, he has coached at Houston (1993-94) and with the Packers in 1999. His core group of receivers with Houston was Webster Slaughter, Ernest Givins and Haywood Jeffires; with the Packers it was Antonio Freeman and Bill Schroeder. Now it is Randy Moss, Bates and Alexander.
Q: Can you assess the play of the receivers?
A: I feel that we have played pretty well. I think as a group we have to feel like we have to be productive in order for us to do well. … When we have games like we did against Chicago or Buffalo, then we have a chance to win. But when we have games like we had against Seattle, then we don't have a chance to win. I think our guys understand that. It's a fact. I expect more of them, and I think they expect more of themselves. They understand what we have to do in order for this football team to win. But as a whole, I'm very pleased with the way we have played so far. We dropped too many balls in the Seattle game, but other than that game we have played pretty well.
Q: The dropped balls are an obvious problem, but what are some other things you would like to see your guys do?
A: There have been a couple of times this year where we have not been on the same page with Daunte (Culpepper). We had a couple interceptions that we were trying to get the ball to the receivers and we didn't quite do the right thing. I think it's always an area where you can improve at. I think it's very important we get the running game going, and as a receiver group we stress each week that we have to make some blocks downfield. Not only just get in the way, but we have to make some blocks where we spring the backs for long gains or touchdowns. That's one of the areas I would like to see us get better at. Blocking is as much attitude as it is technique. I stress that to my guys all the time, and I think over the next few weeks you will see that we will be downfield blocking a lot more aggressively than we have in the past.
Q: Is that one area where you might miss Cris Carter?
A: Cris was very good at it. Cris was very good at a lot of things. But I'm not displeased with the way these guys are blocking. They have done an adequate job and, again, it's something you can always get better at. It's an attitude. When these guys make their minds up that they want to be aggressive in blocking, they will do a pretty good job at it.
Q: Have Derrick Alexander and D'Wayne Bates got the system down pretty well?
A: Very well. They have been around long enough to know it, and the system they both came out of is very similar to what we do. They had an advantage in that respect, so they have caught on very well.
Q: So much has been made of Randy Moss and the "Randy Ratio," but as his coach and someone who watches the film, how do you feel he has played?
A: I think Randy has played well. I really do. It's tough when you get double- and triple-teamed, which he understands he is. I think the one thing he has done this year that is a little bit different than previous years is he understands what they are doing to him. He will come in during games and tell (offensive coordinator) Scott Linehan, Mike (Tice) and myself, ‘Hey, get the ball to someone else. They are double-covering me.' He has handled that aspect of it well. The things we have to do to try to get the ball to other people when he is double-covered is a work in progress, and it's going to be something we do better as the time goes on.
Q: Do teams feel more comfortable double- and triple-teaming Moss because Carter is gone or would this have happened regardless?
A: No. I think the same thing happened a year ago, two years ago.
Q: How are the younger receivers such as Cedric James and Nick Davis coming along?
A: They are coming along good. They have been mainly special teams players for us. But as far as receivers, they are coming along very good and we are pleased with their progress. We think they can both play in the league.
A: What about Kelly Campbell?
Q: Kelly is on the practice squad right now, so we don't see a whole lot of him. He doesn't get reps during the week except for show team. But again, a lot of talent, and I think he's going to be a player in this league also.
Q&A: With WRs Coach Charlie Baggett
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