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  1. #1
    Muggsy is offline Asst. Coach
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    ESPN Insider article

    They love to call this the post-Moss era, the jerks. Anyway, for what it's worth.....

    Post-Moss era off to bad start

    By KC Joyner
    ESPN.com
    Archive

    Addition by subtraction. That seemed to be the mantra for the Minnesota Vikings when they traded Randy Moss. When the Vikings lost Moss to an injury during the middle of the 2004 season, they reverted to a short passing game.

    Daunte Culpepper did so well in this system (he had the highest completion percentage in the league on short passes in 2004) that the Vikings decided to bank their future on this philosophy. One of the keys to the Vikings 2005 season is whether they will be able to convert this strategy born of necessity into an effective everyday offensive tool, which is why Sunday's approach was quite baffling.

    Minnesota went into this game with a backup center and a rookie right guard, yet it started out the game by throwing three medium passes in its first six pass attempts. The Vikings' eighth pass attempt was a sack that came off a seven-step drop, which is a deep-pass drop, and their 10th pass also was deep. That means five of their first 10 pass attempts were either medium or deep, which seemed an odd way to start the game for a short-pass-centric team with an injured offensive line.

    That wasn't the only head-scratcher, as evidenced by their use of Nate Burleson. Burleson was one of the best short-route runners in 2004, catching 54 of the 72 short passes thrown to him (75 percent completion rate, tied for 11th best in the league).

    Burleson should have been the biggest beneficiary of this short-pass-oriented offense, but he and Culpepper were not on the same page on multiple plays. Late in the Vikings' first drive, Culpepper threw a medium pass to a spot where he thought Burleson would be, but Burleson didn't look for the pass and it was intercepted.

    On the Vikings' second drive, Culpepper called an audible for Burleson. Burleson's defender was 7 yards off the line of scrimmage and it looked like Culpepper changed the play so Burleson could run a quick hitch route. A quick hitch is where the receiver simply takes one step forward and turns to face the quarterback. The quarterback takes a one-step drop and throws the ball to the receiver. This is often done when a cornerback is 7 yards off, as it gets the receiver open in space.

    Burleson looked like he misread the audible and ran upfield instead. Culpepper took the one-step drop and went to throw, saw that Burleson wasn't there, tried to pull up from the throw and ended up fumbling the ball, which Tampa Bay recovered. This series of plays effectively took Burleson out of the game for a while -- the Vikings didn't throw another pass his way until their seventh drive.

    QB Daunte Culpepper will need some help from his wide receivers this season.

    Burleson's troubles were extremely damaging because the other receivers the Vikings had were Travis Taylor, Marcus Robinson and Troy Williamson. Robinson and Taylor both have their issues on short passes.

    Robinson doesn't run short routes well -- he had the fifth-highest percentage of tight or good coverage against him on short routes in 2004. Taylor caught only 22 of the 38 short passes thrown to him last year (57 percent), and that performance tied him for the 73rd worst completion percentage on short passes in 2004. Williamson also has a vertical skill set.

    Burleson's problems forced the Vikings to use Taylor and Robinson on short routes. Taylor had four passes thrown to him on Sunday, three of which were short and one that was deep. Robinson had five passes thrown to him, and four of them were short. Williamson didn't have one pass thrown his way the entire game.

    On the bright side, the Vikings did complete 18 of their 26 short passes for 160 yards, so they were able to find a way to focus on their short-pass game after their vertical beginning. On the down side, the Vikings were only 5 of 11 on short passes to their wide receivers, and only one of those five was to Burleson. They also had two interceptions on short passes because of high passes thrown by Culpepper when he was under an intense pass rush.

    The problems the Vikings were having with their receiving corps led them to focus their passing game around their tight ends and running backs. What was most interesting about this was how they used Jermaine Wiggins.

    In Scientific Football 2005, I pointed out that Wiggins had only one deep pass thrown to him all season long in 2004. The Vikings made effective use of Wiggins on short routes (he ranked first among tight ends in short-pass completion percentage in 2004), but they used their other receivers as deep threats.

    That's what made Sunday's game against the Buccaneers so out of whack for the Vikings. Minnesota threw four deep and six medium passes during the game, and four of those 10 combined passes were to Wiggins.

    The Vikings have Taylor, Robinson, Burleson and Williamson on their roster, yet 40 percent of their vertical passes went to Wiggins? The Buccaneers do play a cover-two scheme, and there are weak points in that coverage that a tight end can attack. But directing 40 percent of the vertical attack this way makes little sense.

    I often talk about teams' finding ways to fit their personnel skill sets into their schemes, and this is a prime example of how not to do this. Wiggins is talented enough at catching short passes that I actually predicted he could be a Pro Bowl candidate this year. He also does have some value as a vertical receiver -- he did catch a TD on a deep pass in the Bucs' game that was called back by a penalty -- but is he the person you want to be the focus of your vertical game?

    The Vikings need to find a way to integrate their vertical receivers into their passing game more effectively, or Sunday's performance won't be an anomaly.
    "From the fury of the Northmen, O Lord, save us!"
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  2. #2
    magicci's Avatar
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    Re: ESPN Insider article

    wiggins had two freakin td's that game called back by phantom penalties damnit and they dont talk about those in the highlights.

  3. #3
    josdin00's Avatar
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    Really good article about last week

    Found this on ESPN Insider - The title put me off at first, but the article turned out to be a really good analysis of what went wrong last week. The only place he mentions Moss is in the first paragraph.

    -------------------------------------------------------

    [size=16px]Post-Moss era off to bad start[/size]
    By KC Joyner
    ESPN.com

    Addition by subtraction. That seemed to be the mantra for the Minnesota Vikings when they traded Randy Moss. When the Vikings lost Moss to an injury during the middle of the 2004 season, they reverted to a short passing game.

    Daunte Culpepper did so well in this system (he had the highest completion percentage in the league on short passes in 2004) that the Vikings decided to bank their future on this philosophy. One of the keys to the Vikings 2005 season is whether they will be able to convert this strategy born of necessity into an effective everyday offensive tool, which is why Sunday's approach was quite baffling.

    Minnesota went into this game with a backup center and a rookie right guard, yet it started out the game by throwing three medium passes in its first six pass attempts. The Vikings' eighth pass attempt was a sack that came off a seven-step drop, which is a deep-pass drop, and their 10th pass also was deep. That means five of their first 10 pass attempts were either medium or deep, which seemed an odd way to start the game for a short-pass-centric team with an injured offensive line.

    That wasn't the only head-scratcher, as evidenced by their use of Nate Burleson. Burleson was one of the best short-route runners in 2004, catching 54 of the 72 short passes thrown to him (75 percent completion rate, tied for 11th best in the league).

    Burleson should have been the biggest beneficiary of this short-pass-oriented offense, but he and Culpepper were not on the same page on multiple plays. Late in the Vikings' first drive, Culpepper threw a medium pass to a spot where he thought Burleson would be, but Burleson didn't look for the pass and it was intercepted.

    On the Vikings' second drive, Culpepper called an audible for Burleson. Burleson's defender was 7 yards off the line of scrimmage and it looked like Culpepper changed the play so Burleson could run a quick hitch route. A quick hitch is where the receiver simply takes one step forward and turns to face the quarterback. The quarterback takes a one-step drop and throws the ball to the receiver. This is often done when a cornerback is 7 yards off, as it gets the receiver open in space.

    Burleson looked like he misread the audible and ran upfield instead. Culpepper took the one-step drop and went to throw, saw that Burleson wasn't there, tried to pull up from the throw and ended up fumbling the ball, which Tampa Bay recovered. This series of plays effectively took Burleson out of the game for a while -- the Vikings didn't throw another pass his way until their seventh drive.

    QB Daunte Culpepper will need some help from his wide receivers this season.Burleson's troubles were extremely damaging because the other receivers the Vikings had were Travis Taylor, Marcus Robinson and Troy Williamson. Robinson and Taylor both have their issues on short passes.

    Robinson doesn't run short routes well -- he had the fifth-highest percentage of tight or good coverage against him on short routes in 2004. Taylor caught only 22 of the 38 short passes thrown to him last year (57 percent), and that performance tied him for the 73rd worst completion percentage on short passes in 2004. Williamson also has a vertical skill set.

    Burleson's problems forced the Vikings to use Taylor and Robinson on short routes. Taylor had four passes thrown to him on Sunday, three of which were short and one that was deep. Robinson had five passes thrown to him, and four of them were short. Williamson didn't have one pass thrown his way the entire game.

    On the bright side, the Vikings did complete 18 of their 26 short passes for 160 yards, so they were able to find a way to focus on their short-pass game after their vertical beginning. On the down side, the Vikings were only 5 of 11 on short passes to their wide receivers, and only one of those five was to Burleson. They also had two interceptions on short passes because of high passes thrown by Culpepper when he was under an intense pass rush.

    The problems the Vikings were having with their receiving corps led them to focus their passing game around their tight ends and running backs. What was most interesting about this was how they used Jermaine Wiggins.

    In Scientific Football 2005, I pointed out that Wiggins had only one deep pass thrown to him all season long in 2004. The Vikings made effective use of Wiggins on short routes (he ranked first among tight ends in short-pass completion percentage in 2004), but they used their other receivers as deep threats.

    That's what made Sunday's game against the Buccaneers so out of whack for the Vikings. Minnesota threw four deep and six medium passes during the game, and four of those 10 combined passes were to Wiggins.

    The Vikings have Taylor, Robinson, Burleson and Williamson on their roster, yet 40 percent of their vertical passes went to Wiggins? The Buccaneers do play a cover-two scheme, and there are weak points in that coverage that a tight end can attack. But directing 40 percent of the vertical attack this way makes little sense.

    I often talk about teams' finding ways to fit their personnel skill sets into their schemes, and this is a prime example of how not to do this. Wiggins is talented enough at catching short passes that I actually predicted he could be a Pro Bowl candidate this year. He also does have some value as a vertical receiver -- he did catch a TD on a deep pass in the Bucs' game that was called back by a penalty -- but is he the person you want to be the focus of your vertical game?

    The Vikings need to find a way to integrate their vertical receivers into their passing game more effectively, or Sunday's performance won't be an anomaly.

    KC Joyner, aka The Football Scientist, has a Web site at http://thefootballscientist.com. He is a regular contributor to ESPN Insider.

  4. #4
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    Re: Really good article about last week

    Wow, that was a great article. I am happy that I wasn't crazy for thinking the use of receivers was a little mishandled.

  5. #5
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    Re: Really good article about last week

    In short a really poorly coached game by Tice and Loney. :sad:

    WWBGD

  6. #6
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    Re: Really good article about last week

    Well, there's that quote from Tice in another thread about how he's going to re-think the offense. Maybe his use of the wide receivers is one of the things he's going to re-think.

    I was just really impressed with this article, and the level of analysis that went into it. I just recently got ESPN Insider, and if this is the type of stuff I can find regularly, I'm sorry I waited so long. (We'll see how that plays out.)

  7. #7
    Del Rio Guest

    Re: Really good article about last week

    I think how you prepare in preseason only applies to week 1 as far as wins and losses. To me that game screams that TB worked harder this offseason.

    What we do now this week will show what kind of team we are.

  8. #8
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    Re: Really good article about last week

    Nice article post josdin. Gives a nice perspective on how that analyst sees the vikings receivers and passing game.

    He puts a lot of the early mistakes on Burleson vs. Daunte. Hopefully these guys will click a little better in Cincy. Now that Tice has his head down in practice (supposedly watching the lineman's feet), maybe he can straighten out the one thing he actually is supposed be good at. Here's to hoping.

    Noticed there wasnt one mention of offensive line play or running game in the article. Guess there wasn't much to talk about.

  9. #9
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    Re: Really good article about last week

    "Del Rio" wrote:
    I think how you prepare in preseason only applies to week 1 as far as wins and losses. To me that game screams that TB worked harder this offseason.

    What we do now this week will show what kind of team we are.
    Del Rio I disagree a little bit. The Vikes worked HARD in the offseason. However they had POOR execution of their plan. Once the plan went South Tice as usual was lost. We all know how I feel about Tice.

    The bottom line is the Vikings should have won that game. It was not a blow out. Our 'D' played well. The 'O' especially our small fragile RB's were no good. It made us one dimensional and we don't have Moss or a deep-threat guy to spread the field. We are in a world of hurt until we get this run game off the ground or a deep-threat guy hopefully T. Willamson or K. Robinson? Maybe both that would be cool. Or our 'D' wins the games.
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  10. #10
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    Re: ESPN Insider article

    After reading the article, it wouldn't surprise me that Tice and Looney did all that on purpose. They thought if they did the opposite of our previous years game film, we would stimey the Bucs Game Plan, but it backfired and we screwed ourselves up on O.

    If the D continues to be trustworthy, we just need to do what we do best on O and execute.

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