Lurtsema's Reaction: Favre's big night

Bob Lurtsema knows it's not on the same scale, but he can relate to what Brett Favre is going through. Revenge? Not really. More like showing people you still have it. See what the former Viking had to say about the current Vikings, the hype, and several other issues surrounding the team.

VU: Considering everything that has gone on with this rivalry – the tampering charges, Favre finally joining the Vikings – can you recall any game during your playing days that rivals the hype that surrounds this game?

BL: No. They even had Bob Lurtsema Day at the Met when I came back with Seattle and I know what Brett Favre is going through. He's not being vindictive, but you're going against your boys, your friends, and you want to show them how good you still are. That's just a personal pride thing. I know what Favre is going through and it's a neat feeling. Even in my game, the Vikings had three guys that were going to block me on one play to welcome me back and just forget about the play. They just wanted to take me out to remind me that they're still around. That's the fun you have in football. But the Packers management, Ted Thompson, was dumb to let Favre go with how they handled the situation. That's what has added to it. I think management is the goat in this situation and why Favre is with the Vikings. You just don't have an icon to that degree and let him go. I've never seen a game with this rumbling of excitement. Come Monday night, when they introduce Favre, that roof with be coming off and it's going to be spectacular.

VU: Favre says it's not about revenge. Do you believe him one bit?

BL: Yes. The revenge part, that's taken the wrong way. It's like I said earlier, you want to show your boys that you've still got it. The revenge that the writers are using is the wrong word. It's just professional pride from Favre to tell his old buddies that he's still playing and still good. It's going to be nothing but fun for him. On Bob Lurtsema Day, I don't know how much I talked that day. I talk a lot anyway, but everybody was just jabbering at me and the chit-chat that went back and forth there was just priceless and that's what Brett Favre is going to have. VU: There is a big list of injured players on the report. Are you at all concerned about any of those injuries?

BL: I'm not concerned at all. Every player is going to have some type of ailment after three weeks, but after what happened with the New York Jets, getting fined last year after not reporting what happened to Brett Favre last year, I think it got the attention of coaches and they are over-exaggerating with what they have to put on there.

VU: I seem to get a little more concerned about the offensive line's pass protection every week. How about you?

BL: I'm going to have to find out if the linemen know what the quarterback's drops are going to be on every pass play, whether it's three-step, five-step or seven-step drop. They need to be in tune with that. The 3-4 defense has just been giving them a hard time. They don't see it that much in the National Football League, yet the Vikings have seen it in two of the last three games. Green Bay has the 3-4 as well. They really hadn't schemed against that as much as the 4-3 in the past. So I'm concerned. They have to pick it up. No quarterback, no matter who it is, shouldn't be taking the hits that Favre has been. If you watch the players, the offensive linemen are actually in his line of sight and they are back far enough to interfere with him stepping forward. Sometimes that tells me they think it might be a seven-step drop when it's only a five-step.

VU: What are the big differences for the offensive linemen when facing a 3-4. Is it just trying to figure out who is coming among the linebackers or what is the tough part for offensive linemen facing that?

BL: Sometimes the tough part for offensive linemen is knowing which way to slide. The offensive tackle might slide with the defensive end going to the inside when his read should actually be to pick up the linebacker that is coming. They can disguise that a little bit better when the blitzes are coming. That does cause some confusion for a young offensive line. Even the veterans, you watch them sometimes and the linebacker will come completely unblocked. They just disguise the defense well enough sometimes and cause the offensive lineman to miss their assignments.

VU: So the problems you see are more communication and mental errors as opposed to physically getting beat?

BL: Yes.

VU: Special teams wise, are you concerned that they have given up two touchdowns in three games with the blocked kick and the punt return?

BL: Not overly concerned. With the blocked field goal, the neat part is that an All-Pro like Steve Hutchinson comes right out and says it was his mistake. Done deal. It will be corrected right there. Hutchinson took the rap, and he probably was wrong. That's a pretty simple fix. As far as the coverage goes, you had some new players coming in there. I was on special teams for a while and when I first started doing it I was a little too aggressive and I sometimes got out of my lane too quickly. You've got to know when to break down and that comes from experience. When you have someone like Heath Farwell, he makes it look so easy because he's so smooth the way he moves. He's got that God-given talent. Every time he runs down there, it's text book. With the younger guys, I saw it happen a little in the preseason. You could see Ian Johnson flying down there trying to make the team – he's a good kid, hard worker and I'm glad he's on the practice squad – but you could see him jump out of his lane a little too quick and a couple times they got some yardage in his hole. That pretty much shows the inexperience of a rookie compared to a veteran.

VU: What impressed you the most about Brett Favre's game-winning touchdown throw and how that whole game ended against San Francisco?

BL: The most impressive thing is the calm that he presents in the huddle. I talked to a lot of the players after that game and they said he was just as calm on the last play as he was the first play in that 10-play, one-minute, 27-second drive. That's what you have to have. As a fan, you're yelling, ‘Hurry up, hurry up! Spike it!' But he knew the time and how to get the players right. If you spike it too fast, you could get 5 yards for not being set. He's got total command and doesn't get ruffled. The second part is that he went 10 plays with no timeouts in only 1:27. That's just short of spectacular.


Bob Lurtsema registered 57 regular-season sacks and three in the playoffs during his 12-year career as a defensive lineman in the NFL, playing with the Baltimore Colts, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks, and was the longtime publisher of Viking Update. He joins VikingUpdate.com for a weekly Q & A session, and his monthly column appears in the magazine.


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