VU: What could Jared Allen bring to the Vikings on defense?
BL: Defensive backs. Now, how could I say defensive backs? Going along with Kevin Williams and Pat Williams, two Pro Bowlers, Jared Allen had 15½ sacks last year and caused umpteen million fumbles, he just constantly comes. All of the sudden, you're not going to have the time to have that quarterback go deep, which of course means less time the corners and safeties have to cover their receivers. That particular weakness that we've been talking about for months, and I think that first draft choice should be – if you look back at some of the articles I've written and what we've talked about on the web site – we even mention bringing in Allen, and you heard he might be available. We felt that way. He just has the motor that I just I absolutely love. The pressure he puts on the quarterback just multiplies tenfold how well the defensive backs play. There are so many times, even during my time, where you've got to work the combination of defensive line and defensive backs. A lot of the interceptions they got were because of great pressure up front. Vice versa, I got some sacks when there was great coverage. They just go hand in hand. So what does Jared Allen bring to the table? He brings defensive backs.
VU: How long do you think it would take a guy like him to get in sync with Pat Williams and Kevin Williams and be able to effectively run stunts and get the timing of all of that down?
BL: One training camp. As far as the great pass-rushing part, you're going to have that on your own. When you have a veteran club, you don't have to work on how to read the traps, combinations, reverses. A lot of the basics that you have to teach a younger player, if you were to draft a No. 1 draft pick, you really have to work over and over on the basics – how do you close the traps, how do you step to the tight end, how do you read the slot back – but with a veteran coming in like that, you can eliminate that and then that time goes toward working on your stunts. When you're working the stunts with your linemen, they love to communicate. That's the best time for defensive linemen to communicate. I know a lot of times when I was working with Jim Marshall and especially with Alan Page, we would give it a different look at different times, depending on how Page would set his man up. We would change our stunt based on how he was doing in that game. You make stunt adjustments during a game with veterans. I think that's very, very important for people to realize that there was a basic way to run it – and that's the way we would run it going in – and then all of the sudden if the center and two guards were just off a little bit, we would tweak our stunts. And we could do it because we were veterans.
VU: What would it take for you to say Jared Allen is not worth the price in draft picks? It sounds like a first- and a second-round pick might not even be enough for the Chiefs to agree to. Is he worth more than that?
BL: How much is he worth? Obviously, a first and a third, you blink your eyes at that one. That's a done deal. A first and a second? I know Brad Childress said he wasn't going to trade away his draft picks – that's the foundation. That's the best thing a club could have and that's the way he's building his foundation, so I know how he is about that. A first and a second for Allen, based on the Vikings having seven Pro Bowlers and four alternates last year, I would roll the dice and go for it. But, if I was going a first and a second – now this is me talking – I would make that commitment to him and I would make Gus Frerotte my quarterback, my commitment to the offense. This is nothing against Tarvaris Jackson, but it's three to five years to groom a quarterback and this could be a great year for the Vikings. This is my opinion: You go with Gus and if it takes a one and a two to bring a motor like Allen has – I really enjoy watching him play – then I would take my shot. But don't pull a Mike Ditka, where you throw away the whole thing and go golfing as he did with Ricky Williams.
VU: Is anything more than a one and a two worth it to you? If they have to give up a one and a two and then another two next year, is that too much?
BL: If you're going one, two, two, you know a third of them are going to be busts anyway. You've got the money on one side, but then you don't have to pay the money to the draft picks. So the money offsets somewhat. When you look out to next year, it's always tougher. This year you know what you have, but then all of the sudden you're team might get old overnight, which happens to a lot of clubs. Then you're going to say, "Oh, that was a stupid move." Like with Herschel Walker, you give up too much. That's why you have Rick Spielman and Zygi Wilf to make the decision. Let Zygi make that call for me. Good luck, Zygi.
VU: What's your reaction to what happened with Carl Eller's arrest and where he's at in life?
BL: Carl is a very, very bright person – he truly is. He's had his issues. We've all had our problems, but the thing that bothers me the most about this – and I love Carl – is that when a police officer tells you to stop or you hear a siren, do not try to outrun the law. If a police officer wants to handcuff you or he's Tasering you, do not resist the law. You don't assault a police officer. The sad part about it is with him being in the Hall of Fame and everything going so well for him, it's a shame this happened. I'll always support him and back him as a man, but I will not support him when he's defying the police department.
Bob Lurtsema was a 12-year veteran defensive lineman in the NFL, playing with the Baltimore Colts, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks, and the longtime publisher of Viking Update. He joins VikingUpdate.com for a weekly Q & A session, and his monthly column appears in the magazine.
Lurtsema's Reaction: Jared Allen's Worth
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