Norv Turner laughed Thursday when asked if he's worried that Dick LeBeau will take advantage of his NFL inexperience when the Vikings and Titans meet Sunday in Tennessee.
"Thank you," the Vikings offensive coordinator said. "I was thinking the same thing."
LeBeau, the Titans' 78-year-old defensive coordinator, is in his 58th consecutive NFL season as a player or coach. Young Norval, 64, is only in his 32nd consecutive season as an NFL coach.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, another NFL pup at 60, called LeBeau his idol and "the grandfather of the zone blitz." But hey, Turner has taken a few spins around the NFL block himself.
In fact, believe it or not, Turner has an experience that trumps the current Sam Bradford tale that's unfolding in the Twin Cities.
On Saturday, four days after starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered his season-ending knee injury, the Vikings traded for Bradford. That left the Vikings eight days and five practices to get Bradford ready to function as either the starter or the backup to injury-prone, 36-year-old Shaun Hill.
Heck, that's three days and two practices more than Turner had as Cowboys offensive coordinator when he was charged with getting Bernie Kosar ready to play against the then-Phoenix Cardinals on Nov. 14, 1993.
"Now that was a crash course in teaching a system," Turner said. "That was a very unusual circumstance."
On Nov. 7, 1993, Dallas starter Troy Aikman suffered a hamstring injury and wouldn't be able to play the following week. The team had only one other quarterback on the roster — current Cowboys coach Jason Garrett.
Meanwhile, in Cleveland, the feuding relationship between Kosar and Browns coach Bill Belichick was reaching its final hours. Belichick had signed Vinny Testaverde before the season and had benched Kosar early that year. But Kosar returned to the field when Testaverde was injured.
But on Nov. 8, with Testaverde still injured and unable to play, Belichick released Kosar and turned his offense over to No. 3 quarterback Todd Philcox.
Almost immediately, Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson was on the phone with Kosar, who had played for Johnson at the University of Miami a decade earlier.
"Bernie was excited to be there," Turner said Thursday. "He flew in Tuesday night and Wednesday morning we signed him. And then we all had to go out and practice for a game that was four days away."
Turner said Garrett took almost all of the first-team reps on that Wednesday.
"We got Bernie up to speed pretty quick, and he probably got half the reps on Thursday," Turner said. "Then on Friday, we got done practicing about 1 o'clock. Bernie and I were probably there from 1 to 9 at night just going through things we were comfortable with him doing."
Garrett started but lasted only 10 minutes, completing two of six passes for 25 yards. Johnson grew impatient and sent Kosar into the game.
"We had the wristband on him with all the plays on it," Turner said. "… I called down to the sideline and they signaled in a number to Bernie, and he looked at the wristband."
The Cardinals weren't much of a challenge to the 1993 Cowboys. The game plan was vanilla, but "I do remember Bernie having a touchdown pass and making a big throw to Emmitt [Smith] for about 70 yards on a little bit of a scramble."
Turner said Kosar had about 60 plays, including 40 passes, on his wristband. That was about half the plays that were typically available to Aikman.
But Kosar completed 13 of 21 passes for 199 yards, one touchdown, no turnovers and a 109.0 passer rating in a 20-15 victory. Meanwhile, Philcox started for the Browns in Seattle. He was sacked on the first play of the game, lost the ball and fell behind 7-0 when the Seahawks returned the fumble for a touchdown. Philcox posted a 17.7 passer rating in the 22-5 loss.
Turner said there are similarities and differences between Kosar in 1993 and Bradford in 2016. The biggest difference, he said, is the complexity of the defense the Vikings are facing. LeBeau's exotic blitz packages would make things more difficult for Bradford on passing downs.
On the other hand, Bradford's intelligence is similar to Kosar's.
"Sam is really sharp, really sharp," Turner said. "He's like the guys I've been around who are true pros when it comes to preparation. Like Philip [Rivers], Troy, Brad Johnson. Very thorough. Very detailed."