Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Williams has 'no problem' with play-call questions

Posted by: Chip Scoggins under Vikings players, Vikings road games Updated: November 5, 2013 - 4:12 PM

Vikings defensive coordinator Alan Williams managed to smile when asked Tuesday about comments from a few veterans questioning his play calls on the Dallas Cowboys final drive on Sunday.

Williams dropped a linemen in coverage on four of Dallas' nine plays on the 90-yard game-winning drive. Brian Robison and Kevin Williams publicly questioned why Williams stopped rushing four after the line generated consistent pressure on quarterback Tony Romo all game.

"I don’t take that in a negative way at all," Williams said. "Our guys are competitive. They put a lot of work in. And good players want to know why because you want them to be able to function on the field sometimes without a coach having to spoon feed them. Good players ask why: ‘Hey coach, why did you make this decision? What were you thinking?’ I have no problem whatsoever about a guy asking me why. We explain it, we talk about it and we move on."

Williams said he decided to drop a linemen into coverage because the Cowboys were using screen passes to get the ball out of Romo's hands fast.

"We’ve been plagued by screens all year long," he said. "Our rush was heating them up for sure so the balls were coming out extremely quick. We heated them up in the first half, but they were max-protecting and they were throwing screens. That series, I think they ran three of them."

Williams said he heard those same complaints from defensive linemen when he coached in Indianapolis.

"Since I’ve been in the league for 10-plus years, that’s always been a concern about guys that rush the passer well that, ‘Hey coach, we don’t want to drop,’" he said. " If you talk to Dwight Freeney, he’ll say, ‘Hey, I want a four-man rush because I don’t want anybody chipping me.’ Robert Mathis, he’ll tell you that right now. My experience with good rushers are that they want a four-man rush. They don’t want you to bring five, they don’t want you bring three. They want a four-man rush. I have no problem with our guys with that."

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