On S Quintin Demps' forced fumble against Dallas: "I think from a confidence standpoint, it really gave us a boost there. We had some things going our way and to be able to create that turnover and get the recovery and get a field goal to end the half, I thought that was big for us. Especially knowing that we had to kick off coming back out. It was a big play and a good job by Demps of getting the ball out and having our guys around the ball to be able to recover it."
On what he stresses to the rookie returners going into the playoffs:"Obviously we have to make great decisions every time we go back there, both from a punt standpoint of knowing when to catch it, when to fair catch it, trying to get the return. Also from a kick return standpoint, in terms of when to bring the ball out should it be kicked deep. This is our first time playing in a dome, as well. The lighting is going to be a little bit different for them. We have to make sure we get out and catch plenty of balls during pre-game. It shouldn't be an issue, but it is a first time for those guys, so it is a concern that we have going in. We feel like both those guys will be sound in what they do. They have a whole season under their belt, so we're excited about the opportunity of getting them back there."
On the fact that Minnesota gave up four punt returns for a touchdown during the regular season: "In their kickoff coverage, they have been solid. They have done a really good job there. In their punt return game, their numbers aren't really great there. They did give up four punt returns, but all of them were really early in the season. As a matter of fact, three of those four punt returns for a touchdown were within the first five games. I think the last touchdown they gave up was around midseason. They've done a lot, in terms of making some improvements there. They haven't given up anything big in the last few weeks. Again, it's a situation where, if we do get a returnable ball, it's going to come down to the blocking and execution on things and hopefully we can get a return in there."
On having veterans like LBs Omar Gaither, Tracy White and Tank Daniels, who all have playoff experience: "It's just like on offense and defense—you have to have that experience on the field. Guys understanding the game. I think that has definitely been something that has helped us make improvements this year. Having guys with that game experience. Not only that, but also the leadership standpoint for our younger guys. We do have a few younger guys still on the field. Having those veteran guys, who can get out and try to help them along and give them some little tidbits of information that can help them during the course of the season, has been beneficial as well."
On whether K David Akers' range is about 55 yards in a dome:"We'll have to wait and see when we get out there. A lot of it has to do with the balls you get. With new balls, you never know. You get out there during pregame kicking and that affects the distance of the ball. Any time you get over 50 yards, it's still an iffy kick. It could go either way. It's just a situation where there is a high level of confidence when you go out and don't have to worry about wind conditions or your footing. I think it's a great misconception that you can get out there and just hit them from any range you want, just because you're playing in a dome. The confidence is going to be there, but any time you get up around 50 yards or longer, it' a tough kick."
On Akers' improved leg strength: "Absolutely. He has definitely showed some improved leg strength this year. He definitely has the range to get it there. It's just a matter of the accuracy on things, once you get over 50 yards. We definitely have the confidence in him, should it come down to that, and feel like he could make the kick."
On how former starters like CB Lito Sheppard, S Sean Considine and Omar Gaither have handled their roles on special teams:"They have acted as professionals. All of them have gone out and they know they have specific roles they need to get done to help us win football games. All of them have really stepped up and done a great job for us. They have looked at it as the opportunity to help us win games. Especially with the guys you mentioned—Considine and Lito and Omar—those guys have gone out each week with good attitude and gone out and executed."
On whether punting in a dome will help P Sav Rocca get back on track:"We feel like that's definitely going to be a point there. I remember that last year he had that 65-yarder there in the dome at the end of the game. That definitely affects the drop on things. It affects whether or not we want a directional punt. Again, that confidence standpoint of knowing he can stick with his base techniques and be able to get the job done. Sav did finish up this year with a higher gross and net punting average than he did last year. This is our first time punting in a dome, so we feel like it should be an advantage of his, going into a dome and kicking it."