For all the evaluating that members of the media try to do on a play-by-play basis, head coach Brad Childress might have summed it up best when it comes to drawing conclusions from training camp practices.
"I am a little ambivalent," Childress said. "If the offense does well, hooray for the offense. What happened over here on the defensive side? If the defense does well, they run by and sack the quarterback, hooray for the defense. We have to shore something up on the offense. It's the same thing for the special teams. It's a pretty good give and take, a good push and shove, at camp."
It's true. For many good plays by the offense, there is someone making a mistake on defense and vice versa, but there are always the plays that point out the athleticism of players that make them professionals.
FINDING A RHYTHM
One player everyone is trying to evaluate is quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who knows all eyes are on him.
"My goal is not to make second-year mistakes in my third year. I do not want to do things I did last year," Jackson said. "Try to stay away from the turnovers, first of all, and try to make big plays when they are there. It is not bad to punt the football. I just have to take care of the football and make plays when they are there."
That sounds like it was advice coming directly from Childress, as the head coach emphasized many of those same qualities to Jackson throughout his first two seasons with the team.
Childress said he wants to see more consistency out of all of his players, Jackson included. To do that, the quarterback needs to continue making progress in how he handles blitzes, but that's not an easy task.
"It is probably easily the hardest thing to do besides maybe hitting the curve ball, but there is no one punching you in the side of the head when you are trying to do that," Childress said about operating with a blitz coming at the quarterback.
TAKING IT EASY
Defensive tackle Pat Williams was limited in his work, the result of offseason elbow surgery.
"I just think it's important that he is able to build strength in that thing. It's healed; it's mended, but until he kind of gives us the green light that he's got the power that he wants to have back in there (we're going to be cautious)," Childress said. "You see he's got it braced up there, but he is able to do all of the individual stuff and load it and get on the sled. It's just all the jerk maneuver stuff that he needs to have his full strength for."
Jared Allen's quick quips likely will keep coming, just as they did in offseason. A sampling from the first day included sarcasm and what was probably a shot at his former team.
The sarcasm: Asked about getting enough sleep at training camp, Allen said, "It's been good. Great dorms. It's lovely; the beds are so soft."
The shot: Asked about how he views his first camp as a Viking, he said, "There is definitely a new level of excitement just because I am at a place where I really want to be."
The reigning NFL sacks leader can also combine a typical camp quote with a dose of humor. Asked about his goals, he dulled it down … somewhat.
"First, it's to be a good teammate, be a team leader, and to be productive. I'm not good-looking, so they didn't bring me here to be the model of the franchise," he said. "They brought me here to produce and produce wins and to work with my teammates to make myself better and make them better. That is my role; my role is to win games."
Camp Quotebook: Evaluation and Humor
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