Sunday, January 04, 2009

Staying on the Ledge: Eagles 26, Vikings 14


At the Metrodome, you can text the stadium security to alert them if anything is disrupting your enjoyment of the game.  I don't know if they could do anything, though, about Tarvaris Jackson disrupting everybody's enjoyment of the game.

All summer we heard that the Vikings were a quarterback away from being a Super Bowl contender.  And today we know that is true: the Vikings are not a serious championship contender because of the quarterback position.  If the Vikings don't make a significant attempt to improve the quarterback position for 2009, then the Metrodome may not sell out any games.  Without improved quarterback play, we're just playing around watching this team.  It's fun to watch a dominating defense, and it's fun to watch Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor.  It's fun when the Metrodome energy is as wonderful as it was today.  But it is just laughs.  There's no Super Bowl in the future without major improvement at quarterback.

The Viking defense played admirably against the Eagles.  The defense is not fully exculpated for this loss: too often they had the Eagles pinned in difficult situations and allowed Donovan McNabb time to find wide open receivers in the middle of the field.  But through most of the game, the defense allowed only field goals, forced a couple of turnovers, and provided the offense with some solid positions.  But the Vikings spent most of the second half down by just two points, and couldn't muster a field goal drive.  And that's primarily because they don't have a passing game.

The Vikings had a home playoff game, and the defense allowed only one touchdown.  And they lost.   Brad Childress is an offense-minded coach, and his team lost a home playoff game because it didn't score after halftime.  The quarterback of Childress's choice was 15 for 35 and had an interception returned for a touchdown.  It is a distressing loss, and a loss devoid of much optimism for the future.

18 comments:

  1. 3rd downs killed the Vikes in the 2nd half. The Offense couldn't convert and the Defense couldn't stop McNabb's 3rd down over the middle pass conversions...

    We've had The Tarvaris: Revolution, last year. The Tavaris: Reckoning, this year. Next year will be the Tarvaris: Resolution! He's our guy for next year, so is Chilly. I pray they adjust the offensive scheme to make this team capable of another division title!

    Anyone know the stats on 3rd downs for the Vikings and Eagles in the 2nd half? I'm sure they're abysmal!

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  2. Anonymous9:11 PM

    You are correct, Sir. Tavaris Jackson is not an NFL caliber QB. He may be a great athlete, however, it is very apparent that he cannot consistently make the throws required to play in the NFL. We are a one dimensional team when he is quaterbacking and any decent NFL standard defense will eventually shut him down. We were 8-3 with Gus Ferotte. I cannot see why the Viking brass are so in love with this young man's ability. I have been a Viking fan since 1961 and I have seen them "all" play. Frankly, he shows me very little. Our window of opportunity to win it all is small, we do not have time to have T-Jack learn on the job and not show consistent improvement. Tavaris really only has one stellar game (Arizona). He simply cannot make the reads and throws.

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  3. Anonymous9:14 PM

    Peterson has to be on the filed, not explaining blocking assignments to the RB coach onthe sidelines. I swear I saw Bienemy ask AP who picked up the blitz on the last play and AP was on the sideline. Like a teaching moment. Eric Bienemy should not be a critic of Peterson!
    Childress calls himself an offensive coach? We need a QB, other than Chilly's hand picked Jackson, and SOME variety on offense. Philly showed no respect for our offense.
    Frustrating!
    I think Childress will be back, but I wish it was not so. Great clock management again prior to half-time.

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  4. PV:

    Great lead to this post.

    And how sorry we all are that is so true.

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  5. Anonymous9:40 PM

    The QB Solution!

    The Vikes need to sign Daunte Culpepper. He looked good against us when we played the Lions and he'd be experienced and draw a crowd.

    Anyone on board, it's outrageous I know!

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  6. Kurt Warner needs a job next year. Can the Vikes use 19 for 31, 280 yards 2 Td's and an INT a game?

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  7. Anonymous8:39 AM

    I am not a Viking fan, but I was impressed, they did better than I thought.

    Now they just need a new QB and a new coach and they might make the super bowl.

    -sk

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  8. Anonymous9:23 AM

    I am so bummed. A very winnable game. Yeah T-jack was bad but realy what game plan did Childress implement to help him succeed. None. For example they could have been more aggressive on first down instead of just running AD up the middle

    I am not BC hater but I really believe we need to make a change now. Its been 3 years with BC and all we have to show for it is one playoff appearance where we went one and out. Next year will be no different. Why wait ?

    Tell you what if we had Marty-ball you would see AD breaking off more positive runs to sustain drives. Our zone blocking scheme is terrible.

    Heres to hope...

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  9. While Jackson didn't have a stellar game, true, this is the second game in a row where Adrian Peterson was valuable for exactly one carry and did nothing for the rest of the game. I think a lot of that blame has to go on the highly paid offensive line for rarely opening up a hole wide enough for Paris Hilton to run through. Eagles defensive linemen ran circles around Matt Birk, in particular, all day. It's hard to find a hole when the o-line gets no push or there are already two guys in the backfield.

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  10. Jason, I think AP's boom or bust nature can be directly attributed to the two obvious problems: Tarvaris Jackson and Brad Childress.

    First, when there is no passing threat and defenses can key on the run, it is hard to regularly churn out 4-5 yard gains (though you may break a long one if you get through the mess, especially on 3rd and short). Chester Taylor does churn out solid gains in this offense, and I think that's because defenses don't key on him as much (he's in on pass plays, he's not as hyped as AP).

    And second, the Viking playcalling and the type of run plays are very predictable. I watch AP and think, what would Mike Shanahan do with him? What would Mike Mularkey do with him? There are some creative offensive coordinators in the league--how might they find ways to get AP into open space? I hope we find out sometime.

    Pat Reusse on Jackson:

    http://www.startribune.com/sports/vikings/37073609.html?elr=KArksi8cyaiU9PmP:QiUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aULPQL7PQLanchO7DiU

    Reusse points out that during one stretch of the second half, Jackson was 1-11. It's just not working.

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  11. I should add that I believe that, for better or worse, Brad Childress has merited a return in 2009. If the team doesn't win a playoff game next year, then the Vikings could let him go, and there will be a bloated market of good coaches next offseason.

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  12. Two more articles of note:

    Mark Craig on McNabb:
    http://www.startribune.com/sports/vikings/37073089.html?elr=KArksi8cyaiU9PmP:QiUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aULPQL7PQLanchO7DiU

    Kevin Seifert on Jackson:
    http://myespn.go.com/blogs/nfcnorth/0-7-38/QB-questions-not-going-away-for-Vikings.html

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  13. Anonymous3:48 PM

    Ugh :)

    He will be back

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/rumors/post/Wilf-Childress-will-return-to-Vikings-for-2009-;_ylt=Amlf3D2byOe9KqtuoXn0trIdsLYF?urn=nfl,132308

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  14. I'm only upset about Childress returning if he brings Tarvaris back as a starter with him. Coaches have made mistakes on young QBs before; those coaches are only fools if they continue to try force their mistake instead of recognizing it and moving on.

    Last off-season I thought it was fine to bring Tarvaris back as starter as long as they acquired a good backup (which they didn't do; the Vikes were 8-3 with Gus as starter but he wasn't even good). This off-season they should not bring back Tarvaris as starter under any circumstances.

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  15. Anonymous8:31 PM

    Shanahan would not likely be a much better playcaller than Childress/Bevell with this team, for the simple reason that having an inept quarterback hugely inhibits playcalling. Then again, it is unlikely that Shanahan would have lobbied to trade up in order to draft Tavaris Jackson at the bottom of the second round. He instead would have blown a draft pick on a defensive player who then busted out. Maybe we should fire Chilly, hire Shanny, and tell him he drafts qbs and offensive players only!

    I'm only half kidding; the art of ownership, like the art of coaching, involves putting people only in positions where they are likely to succeed. There is little reason to think that Childress will ever be good at recognizing/developing qb talent.

    Oh well, I did enjoy this team a lot more than the ones that won playoff games in 2004, 2000, and maybe even 1999. I hate soft defensive teams, and soft teams generally. For all the groans induced by the Vikings passing game, this team was as nasty as they come on the line of scrimmage, and I love watching the line of scrimmage. The commenter who complained about the Vikings run blocking above needs to compare how the Vikings run game is defensed with how other good running games in the league are defensed; coordinators like Jim Johnson just view the Vikings passing game with utter contempt.

    In fact, I'd say that this team was as good on the line of scrimmage, considering offense and defense, as any Vikings team since Grant's great teams of '69-'75, even better than the late '80s teams with such trench players as McDaniel, Zimmerman, Doleman, Thomas, and Millard. To go 10-6 against this schedule, with these qbs, is a tremendous accomplishment for the linemen.

    As to other things that should not be overlooked, those who are still writing that Frerotte should have started instead of Jackson, please keep in mind that Gus had 5% of his pass attempts intercepted, which is a huge number, especially on a team with a good defense which rarely allowed the opposition to have a huge lead.

    Also, I love Adrian Peterson's explosive runs as much as anyone, but he will not be a historically great player if he does not greatly improve his pass blocking. His whiff on a blitzing linebacker on the Vikings first pass play yesterday, which resulted in a hurried incompletion, illustrated the problem nicely. When a running back who can't block is on the field, it limits what plays can be called, which gets back to why the Vikings playcalling is often predictable. Personnel dictates what plays can be called, and players who aren't versatile in their skills makes it easy for a defensive coordinator to develop schemes.

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  16. Anon, I agree. The Culpepper-Moss years were fun in their way, but those defenses got smoked every which way. I've really found pleasure watching this team play defense (especially after the addition of Allen--in past years the pass rush was a big defensive weakness, but this year the pass rush was very fun to watch). The offense has often been brutal, but I can't remember having this much fun watching a defense.

    It's a complete reversal from the early 00s. But then, the result is the same: one outstanding unit persistently gets let down by the weaker unit.

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  17. The only problem I have with the "Defenses know to stuff the line and key on Peterson" theory is, where is it the rest of the year? It's not been a secret that AP *is* the offense, so how did he gain 1760 yards if every defense knew all they had to do to beat the Vikings was to stop him? He was churning out regular 4-5 (and 10-15) yard runs most of the year, but that vanished around the final few games.

    Maybe it was some combination of the Eagles having better talent on D than most teams and AP being winded after a long season. But it can't be coaching, unless Andy Reid (and maybe Tom Coughlin) are the only head coaches who somehow realize that they should try and shut down Peterson.

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  18. Actually, much of the year AP has been somewhat boom or bust, hence his 46% success rate, ranked 23rd:

    http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/rb

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