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Norv Turner and the coaches' booth

8/5/2014

MANKATO, Minn. -- Hey there. It's your old friend here filling in for Minnesota Vikings reporter Ben Goessling, who is off doing Very Important Stories on this fine day at training camp. I've already provided great insight into the Vikings' quarterback situation, telling a vast digital audience that the best candidate will play, and now it's time to break down another pressing issue at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

I think it's notable that Norv Turner has been a head coach for 15 of the past 21 seasons, which means most of his award-winning play calling has come from the sideline. As the Vikings' offensive coordinator, however, he has a choice of game-day locations. Given the option, there's no doubt what he prefers: He'll be upstairs in the coaches' booth when the Vikings open the preseason Friday against the Oakland Raiders.

"It's probably less hectic up top," Turner said. "That's the upside of it. You can see things a lot better. When you're on the field, you're depending on someone upstairs to help you [see].

"When you're on the sideline, you get a feel for the game, how the game is going, where you are, offensively, competing as a team against that defense. You can feel it a little better. So I just flip it. If [offensive line coach Jeff Davidson] says, 'Hey, we're wearing these guys down, we've got to go, we can run it now,' He's going to relay that to me. Obviously if we're having a tough time with protection, he's going to relay that. It's still communicating."

I've always wondered why offensive coordinators would choose the sideline view for calling plays. I recognize the value of speaking face-to-face with the quarterback and getting a more visceral feel for the body language of offensive linemen and other players. But those advantages seem far outweighed by the chaos -- and that's a kind word -- of an NFL sideline during a game. Turner and his fellow playcallers aren't performing delicate neurosurgery, but the NFL's increasingly complex offenses require a concentration level that would seem difficult to maintain on the sideline.

The other issue is the view. When coaches review game film, what angle do they use? It's from a camera perched high above the stadium. It's not field level. So why would any playcaller turn down the same view during games? Seems like a no-brainer to me.

I'll be back with more insightful analysis after Tuesday's primary practice, which begins at 4 p.m. ET.