By Vikefans.com Member VikingORacle
Earlier in the week Captain M. was quoted as saying they had just had the best practice he had ever participated in after a bye week. At that point, I began to be scared about this game. I find teams play better when they have had a bad practice at the beginning of the week. I think when you start off great, the team will tend to play poorer at the actual game. You want to peak on Sunday, not Tuesday. Now, on to my miscellaneous thoughts.
- Bradford: Early in the first quarter, I watched one of Bradford’s passes wobble. He was not hit on the throw or even under too much pressure, but it wobbled. I wondered about the wind, but the commentators did not talk about the wind all that much. It just seemed to me that Bradford’s technique was just a little bit off and it affected his accuracy. Especially early, he was not hitting guys in stride. He did hit their catch radius and some were inexplicably dropped, but Bradford simply was not as accurate yesterday.
- Team: Actually, the whole team looked a little bit off. Numerous missed tackles, dropped balls, etc. This happens to all teams at times, when the entire team under-performs. I have participated in games like that before where you feel you are moving in a swamp and the entire team seems just a step slow. Maybe biorhythms. Who knows?
- OLine: I am sure that more than 50% of the articles written about this game will focus on the poor Oline play so I won’t belabor the point. The one thing I am thinking about is whether many of the sacks and stripped balls have to do with the interior line rather than the OTs. Not to excuse the OTs, but part of their job is too push the DEs far enough up field that the DE run past the QB. In past games, Bradford seemed able (and willing) to move up in the pocket as the DEs flew past. However, yesterday there was no room to move up, making Bradford more susceptible to the strip. Again, I am not an analyst, but I would love to see some breakdown of the sacks.
- OLine #2: I think the key to this season is clear — how much will the Oline improve before the playoffs. I think the Vikes’ OLine roster is now set so improvement will originate from the current roster and not from people currently off the roster. Every well coached roster improves throughout the season so the improvement in the OLine must surpass the ordinary improvement seen in other playoff-caliber roster (and significantly). Is this possible? Yes. First, the Oline should develop chemistry — something it has no opportunity to do to date. I frankly think shifting around the line with Long throughout the game was a big mistake. Pick a starting five and stick with it and allow them to build chemistry. Second, there is a new OLine coach, I am willing to give him time to coach up these players (though I do question his ability to judge OLine talent (e.g., Beavers and Zerin). So, stability and coach them up.
- Pass Interference: Just a horrible non-call after throwing a flag. It is one thing to not throw a flag on a play with pass interference, it is a totally different thing to throw a flag and then pick it up.
- Kearse: He could have been toast a couple of times out there. Need to really coach him up this week especially with Cutler cleared to play.
- Return Game: The return game was the second biggest reason that the Vikes fell this Sunday. Imagine a couple of changes, Sendejo running the interception into the endzone, Walsh being more than a matador, Sherels not fumbling (though it became immaterial). The Eagles TD was amazing to see how open the field became. Also, Patterson didn’t seem to want to run back any kicks — I am not sure why.
- Vikings PEE: Offense: This player repeatedly impressed me as he would block through the whistle (and then some). Usually, the person he blocked would end up pancaked. For that reason (and the ineptitude of everyone else), the offensive player exceeding my expectations this week was Rhett Ellison. Defense: Linval Joseph. For his size, he is excellent in pursuit and did not give up on any plays. As I stated in the past, it is difficult to pick a defensive PEE but watching Joseph pursue plays on Sunday locked up this award in my eyes.