Thursday, September 20, 2012

Obser-Vay-tions--Vikings Lose to Indy Edition

Greetings Rubes!

Well, after fuming most of last Sunday after the Vikings shoddy performance, I thought I'd wait a few days and machinate on the bit before commenting.  But after these few days I find myself getting madder and madder about the whole shebang, so I'd might as well Vesuvius now.

But before that, mass condolences go out to the friends, fans, and family of NFL Films head honcho Steve Sabol, who passed away from brain cancer at the age of 69.   Steve, along with his father Ed, founded NFL Films back in the 60's and changed the face of the way the NFL, and really all of sports are viewed.  They were the first to show highlights in slow-motion, with the symphony music in the background, and voiced over by the booming baritones of guys like John Facenda and Harry Kalas, and made football highlights a form of art.  RIP.

Anyway, back to Sunday's Vikings debacle.  Being that this is supposedly the "easier" part of the schedule, any way you look at this thing, no matter what angle you take, this is a very BAD loss for the Vikings.  To go into Indy and lose to a ratty Colts team sporting a rookie QB, no DE Dwight Freeney, and FOUR back-up offensive lineman, is a seriously poor indicator of the franchise's direction and a pretty scathing indictment of the lack of preparedness demonstrated by this coaching staff.  Yes, the Vikes played DUMB football.  Blown coverages, dumb penalties, so the players are to be held accountable.  But I'm placing the majority of this mess back on the coaching staff. 

First off, when we brought in Alan Williams to be our defensive coordinator, I didn't comment at the time, because the buzz factor for this hiring for me was about a minus-30.  He may be a good guy, may know something about football and whatnot, but to bring in another "Tampa 2" bobo to run the same crappy zone defense that we've proven the last couple of years that we can't play for crap, doesn't do a thing for me.  The Tampa 2 has worked consistently once in history...for about a decade.  It works if you're lineup includes names like Simeon Rice, Warren Sapp, Booger McFarland, Derrick Brooks, Rhonde Barber, John Lynch, Brian Kelly, etc.  If it doesn't contain those names, you're just doing that stupid "backpeddling while staring at the QB" while receivers streak by, behind, and underneath the backpeddlers.  I abhor zone defense more than the combination of warm beer and menthol cigarettes.  Case in point:  Right before the half, we're trying to hold the Colts to a long field goal attempt, we go "zone", and apparently ask one of our linebackers (who can't cover any tight end in football within a 5-yard radius) to cover Colts WR Reggie Wayne 35 yards down the middle of the field.  LB Erin Henderson can't do it, and Wayne scores an easy touchdown.  WHAT??  Now Henderson has been the company man, he's fallen on that grenade and said it was his fault, but COME ON,...who's the dimwit that came up with that brilliant coverage scheme.  It's totally asinine.  Then at the end of the game, QB Christian Ponder makes the heroic comeback in the 4th quarter again (atta boy kid, mass props), the defense starts the drive with 31 seconds left and the ball at the Indy 20.  The Vikes go obvious prevent defense, allow 2 consecutive 20 yard passes and a couple of short ones and the Colts win it with a 53 yard field goal.  Nice job guys.  We're all impressed.  Our opponents opening drives in the first 2 weeks have both been drives of over 8 minutes long resulting in points.  Nice.  Hmm....did the coaching staff bother with any advance scouting of their opponents, maybe watch a little film or something?  No?...well it shows.  By the way, after the Vikes made Jags QB Blaine Gabbert look like a Pro Bowler last week, the Jags took on the Texans in week 2.  Gabbert was 7 of 19 for 53 yards. THAT's what a well coached defense should look like.  And the defensive line?...supposedly the STRENGTH of this team?  F-minus.  They manage one sack against all those backup lineman and that was with 3 minutes left in the 4th quarter.  They should be ashamed of themselves.

Offensively, we looked too much like last week.   We were able to run the ball early, Percy was superb, and Christian was very good late, but we still had 6 points midway through the 4th quarter and played with no sense of urgency whatsoever.  Another feeble game-plan from offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave just isn't getting the job done.  The play mix just isn't right, and we can't ignore our wideouts (other than Percy) for 3 quarters in every game.  In fact, we've got a $25 million tight end in John Carlson, and Musgrave hasn't even targeted him once.   I'm not suggesting that we have Christian launch 60 passes all over the field, but we have to at least TRY and show we can throw something beyond the Percy bubble screen play and we're not doing it, so defenses just crowd up within the first down marker and stuff everything underneath because they know we're not going past that.  To not take advantage of that isn't just poor, it's AWFUL gameplanning.

This Sunday, we play a 49ers team that is as good as anybody in the league.  As far as I'm concerned, Frazier, Williams, and Musgrave are on the hot seat as of NOW, and unless these guys show me something to the contrary, expect to see something like this:  49ers 34, Vikings 3.

I'm out.

Associated Press
Vay's Vesuvius authorized by the Micklet

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