TE Rhett Ellison
June 4, 2018
Q: Is this offense what you remember from your days in Minnesota?
A: Yeah, thereís definitely some similarities, and thereís been some tweaks. So, this offseason period has been good to kind of get back into what I used to know, and also what [Head Coach Pat] Shurmur put in when I wasnít there. So, itís been fun.
Q: Is Shurmur using you differently now than how you were used in Minnesota?
A: Yeah, itís really way too early to tell exactly how heís going to utilize me and the tight ends and the position groups and stuff like that. Right now weíre just trying to get this offense running.
Q: Is this a balanced offense, or is it more pass-heavy?
A: Like I said, itís too early to tell exactly what this offense is going to look like. Itís, what, week three of OTAs, so weíre just getting the playbook in, weíre trying to do a little more move the ball and see where weíre at. But yeah, its still just too early to tell whatís going on.
Q: How different is Shurmur as a head coach than when you had him as an offensive coordinator in Minnesota?
A: Shurmur, he is what youíre going to get, like thatís who he is. He doesnít change around different people or in different positions, he is who he is. Heís real, heís a great communicator and heís a great teacher. The speed that weíre picking up this offense is really awesome and thatís a credit to him and the coaches that he hired.
Q: Why do you think the team is able to pick up the offense so quickly?
A: Some coaches are really good at teaching the system. He keeps it simple, he kind of has a good way of explaining it and he has coaches that all know the system very well. Like bringing in [Offensive Coordinator Mike] Shula, whoís been in this system and stuff like that. So, thereís just a lot of years, a lot of experience teaching this system.
Q: How would you describe this offensive system?
A: Yeah, when Iím talking [about] system, itís really just the language of how the plays are called because obviously football is football and itís the game situations that are going to decide what plays youíre running. But as far as the system, itís more number-based, but also concept-based. A lot of the systems are word-based and some systems are numbers, so itís just a combination of that. So, yeah, thatís what I mean when I say different system.
Q: Is Shurmur counting on you more to help your teammates with the system, since you already kind of know the language?
A: Itís just, since Iíve been in this system, I can help, I can answer questions to my group. But also, like I said, the coaches that he brought in, they are doing an outstanding job of teaching the system. So yeah, it helps that I know the system, but Iím not per se teaching, thatís what the coaches are for.
Q: Is it an easy offensive system to learn?
A: I just depends. Because Iím familiar with it, it seems easier to me, but youíve got to ask another guy that wasnít in this system to see what he thinks of it.
Q: You did have to learn the system at one time though, right?
A: Yeah, I had to learn it one time. So yeah, I remember that it was very different than what I was used to. Because with [former Minnesota Offensive Coordinator] Norv [Turner], it was like, strictly number-based. Like I said, Shurmur has found a balance of numbers and words. So yeah, for me, it was very difficult at first because I had come from college systems where itís just word concepts, and then this idea of routes equal numbers and stuff like that and protections. So, it took me a little bit to develop in it. It took our team, the Minnesota Vikings, it took us awhile to really get comfortable in it and like said, Shurmur and the coaches that he hired, they are great teachers and youíre seeing it translate to the field very quickly.
Q: Shurmur and General Manager Dave Gettleman have repeatedly talked about a Ďclean slateí. Does the team put last yearís disappointment behind them and completely forget about it?
A: Yeah, I mean, you have to look yourself in the mirror, you have to look at why we were 3-13 individually. And then thatís what the offseason is. Youíre building on that, youíre trying to get better at your weaknesses, strengthen your strengths, make the corrections and just changing the culture. Because you obviously donít want that 3-13 culture to carry over into this season. So, I think itís just like any mistake you make, you just look at it and you make the correction and you move on.
Q: What has been most impressive about running back Saquon Barkley?
A: Heís a humble guy. He just comes in and he works. Anytime you have a rookie, especially a first round pick like that, and they come in just ready to work with their head down, thatís the best you can ask for. Obviously, itís hard to tell when youíre playing in underwear to see the physicality of the game. But Iíd say his work ethic and just his humility is pretty cool.
Q: How is it lining up next to left tackle Nate Solder?
A: Itís awesome. Heís a great dude and yeah, I think the o-line is coming together really nice, especially with him there. Yeah, heís a great dude.