In this week's edition, the head coach discusses his coaching style, dealing with tough times, and the keys to Saturday night's playoff game, among other topics.
The Festival Foods Facebook question of the week is from Mike from Greenville, WI: How would you describe your coaching style?
I think I’m a very direct and consistent coach. It’s important to keep the personal and professional responsibilities of the job in order. The team consists of the players, coaches and support staff. I interact with each group on a daily basis because it’s important to have the pulse of the team. I love coaching. However, the personal part of the profession can be a challenge because I can’t get as close to the players as I’d like. There has to be some separation. I hope they understand that I care about them as people, but there is also a job to do.
Edwin from Dallas, TX
What are the pros and cons of facing the same opponent in back-to-back games, especially in such an important game like a playoff game?
We’re not going to ride the wave of emotion. The Vikings will be confident because they won the last game, but we have to keep the focus on doing what we need to do to win on Saturday night at Lambeau Field. The Vikings know us, and we know them. Each team will do some things differently this week, but this game will come down to the fundamentals. It always does.
Callie from Neenah, WI
What was your hardest decision during this season?
I wouldn’t classify it as a hard decision, but the most difficult time for our team was immediately following the Seattle game. Taking the high road was the right decision and the best decision for our football team. We did what was best for our team to move on and get ready for the Saints. The hardest decision on a weekly basis is declaring players inactive for the game. It’s especially difficult when you have to make healthy and talented players inactive.
Q. What makes Adrian Peterson so difficult to tackle?
He’s very physically gifted. He’s a powerful man, and he’s relentless. It’s very difficult to tackle him on initial contact. He forces you to pursue and finish, and that’s what makes him difficult to bring down. It’s imperative to have more than one hat on the ball, while being sound in our gaps. His vertical momentum has to be stopped, but he also has the ability to get to the edge with speed. We need to pursue and win the second and third reactions.
Q. Do you believe cold weather favors your team?
Yes, because we live and practice in it. We have more experience dealing with the weather than our opponents. However, everyone in this league is a professional and they’ll do what they need to do to get ready for the elements. We were critical of ourselves at the end of last season with how we handled the ball in the Giants playoff game. As a result, we’ve made a conscious effort to practice outside as much as possible this season. We’ve been outside this year more than we ever have. There’s a lot to be said about practicing outside in pads and handling the ball in cold weather.
Q. Does the home team get a lift from the crowd?
Home field advantage is important because players get adrenaline from the fans' support
Absolutely. Home field advantage is important because players get adrenaline from the fans’ support. It will be a big game Saturday night and we’re looking for our fans to come out strong. There are always difficult moments in playoff football. We look forward to our fans rising up during those times, just like the team will.
Q. When you practice in the Hutson Center this week, will you open the doors and let the cold in?
Yes. We routinely do that when we run our individual drills inside and we’ll also practice outside during our team periods.
Q. What was the mood in the locker room after the game on Sunday?
Everybody was very disappointed. We’re used to winning, and we’d been playing very well. We knew what we needed to do to beat the Vikings, and we didn’t get it done. However, as soon as the game was over, the playoffs had started. We immediately had to make that transition, and that’s what I spoke to the team about after the game. However, we’re not going to sweep the loss under the rug. We’ll evaluate the game and use it in our preparation, but most importantly, we had to move on. We’re one of six teams in the tournament with an opportunity to go to New Orleans. That’s where we’re at, and Minnesota is our opponent.
To see previous editions of "Tuesdays with McCarthy," click here.