Once a week, Mark Craig will get on and off the field quickly, then focus a spotlight on a player and a coach.
On the field with ...
Mike Zimmer, Vikings coach
Question: Bills coach Sean McDermott had given up defensive play-calling until taking it away from coordinator Leslie Frazier at halftime of last week’s game. Can you envision ever giving up your defensive play-calling duties in the regular season?
Answer: “I don’t want to be a second-guesser. If I make the call and it’s the wrong call, it’s my fault. I don’t want to sit there and complain to [coordinator] George [Edwards] that, ‘I would have made that call.’ I don’t think that’s right. Everybody does it their own way. I know [McDermott] is going to find out if he’s doing the things I’m doing, it’s a little harder than just being a coach.”
Off the field with ...
Sean McDermott, Bills coach
Question: One of your starting cornerbacks, Vontae Davis, a 10-year veteran, retired at halftime of last week’s game. Was that the most unusual thing you’ve ever had to deal with as a coach?
Answer: “You have guys [who] have been around the league, like I have. You’re never surprised by anything necessarily in this league. He informed our coaches right before the two-minute drive in the second quarter. I was tied up with the team, so we didn’t have a conversation, and he left [the stadium] at halftime. And we’ve moved on as a team.”
Spotlight player and coach
Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia
The last time we saw the Eagles’ No. 1 quarterback in action, he was tearing his left ACL on an aggressive touchdown run at the L.A. Coliseum in Week 14 last season. He was 11-2 and the front-runner for league MVP with 33 TD passes and seven interceptions. Nick Foles, of course, took over and led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl title. Now, the Eagles are 1-1 and coming off an upset loss at Tampa Bay. Although Foles played well in the loss, it’s the perfect time for Philly’s franchise quarterback to get back on the field.
Bill Belichick, New England coach
The Patriots are coming off a loss at Jacksonville and heading to Detroit looking to avoid their first losing streak since the last two games of the 2015 season. Belichick’s defense was shredded for 481 yards and 31 points in last week’s AFC Championship Game rematch. Blake Bortles threw for 377 yards and four touchdowns and had a 111.1 rating. Next up is a Lions team coached by Belichick disciple Matt Patricia, who is 0-2 in his first year as a head coach. Not one person in Belichick’s coaching tree has a winning record in the NFL. Even Nick Saban, 221-62-1 with six national titles as a college coach, was 15-17 in the NFL.