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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Rookie Blue holds his own in first start

    [size=13pt]Rookie Blue holds his own in first start[/size]

    Vikings coaches had enough faith in Greg Blue to start him Monday night. Blue rewarded that decision with four solo tackles and two assists. Most important, however, he did not give up any big plays.

    Judd Zulgad, Star Tribune
    Last update: September 16, 2006 – 7:56 AM


    Greg Blue never saw it coming.
    The rookie safety stepped off the team bus and set foot in the Vikings locker room Monday at FedEx Field, and defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin approached. "Do you want to start this game?" Tomlin said.

    Let's see: first NFL game, the bright lights of "Monday Night Football," and now the opportunity to start. Oh yeah, his mother and uncle also were in the stands. Blue didn't need to answer. He simply smiled. "It couldn't get any better than that," he said.

    Any disappointment Blue felt from falling to the fifth round of the draft last April because of subpar performances at the NFL combine and his pro day were long forgotten. Vikings coach Brad Childress and Tomlin had enough faith in Blue that they felt comfortable deactivating starter Dwight Smith in what was suspected to be punishment for a police citation he received last month.

    Blue rewarded a decision that easily could have backfired on the Vikings coaching staff. The official game statistics listed him with three tackles; upon reviewing the game film, the coaches credited Blue with four solo tackles and two assists. Most important, however, he did not give up any big plays and the Vikings won.

    "I think he did a really good job and was really poised for a rookie," said veteran Darren Sharper, who started at the safety opposite Blue. "He stepped in, and we really didn't miss a beat. He got some plays that went his way and he was in the proper spot."

    Added Tomlin: "Under the circumstances, I think he did rather well. I think the ceiling for his game is much higher than he showed, but he is a young guy. He is not mesmerized by the bright lights. He is a very flat-line guy emotionally when it comes to playing football. I think that gives him the opportunity to potentially be a good player over the long haul."

    Tomlin refused to say when the decision was made to sit Smith, but he did admit that Blue was informed later rather than sooner so he wouldn't have all day to think about starting. "Absolutely," Tomlin said. "Sometimes you play better when you've got less time to think about it. That was by design."

    Blue said the timing didn't really matter. He had been preparing for this moment since he began playing sandlot football on the dirt field in front of his elementary school. It was then that Blue realized how much the hitting aspect of football appealed to him.

    In high school, he would watch highlights of hits by former NFL defensive back Ronnie Lott and safety Jack Tatum, who retired two years before Blue was born in 1982. His favorite hit of all time is familiar to longtime Vikings fans. That would be Tatum ripping Sammy White's helmet off after a catch during Super Bowl XI in January 1977. "That's the No. 1 hit of all time right there," Blue said. "It happened to a Viking. I'm sorry about that, but that's the No. 1 hit of all time."

    Blue, who is 6-2 and 216 pounds, tried to make a name for himself as a big hitter in his four seasons at Georgia. He had 176 of his 260 career tackles during his final two seasons and was a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation's top defensive back, as a senior. But Blue said his draft stock fell when he ran "a 4.7 or 4.6" in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine; he had a 4.5 on his pro day workout. Questions about his coverage skills also hurt him.

    A few teams wanted to see him at linebacker. The Vikings weren't one of them. "I'm really not a linebacker," he said. "I hit hard, but that's it. There's nothing about me that's a linebacker. The only thing is I just like to hit."

    And Blue is planning on doing plenty more hitting, even if it comes on special teams, where he will find himself playing most of the time Sunday against Carolina as Smith returns to a starting role.

    "Big hits set the tempo for the team," Blue said. "I know a lot of other things do, too, but a big hit, that's one thing that a lot of people like right there. You can make a big reputation off big hits."


    Judd Zulgad • [email protected]


    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    snowinapril's Avatar
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    Re: Rookie Blue holds his own in first start


    Greg Blue never saw it coming.
    The rookie safety stepped off the team bus and set foot in the Vikings locker room Monday at FedEx Field, and defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin approached. "Do you want to start this game?" Tomlin said.

    Let's see: first NFL game, the bright lights of "Monday Night Football," and now the opportunity to start. Oh yeah, his mother and uncle also were in the stands. Blue didn't need to answer. He simply smiled. "It couldn't get any better than that," he said.
    Man I could feel that smile.
    That must have been awesome to see.
    Blue was totally surprised.



    Tomlin refused to say when the decision was made to sit Smith, but he did admit that Blue was informed later rather than sooner so he wouldn't have all day to think about starting. "Absolutely," Tomlin said. "Sometimes you play better when you've got less time to think about it. That was by design."
    That was a good idea whether the kid thinks he would have been able to handle it knowing earlier.
    Tomlin made a good choice to wait until game time.


    Was Blue tested in the contest against the Skins.
    If it would have been a team that was a better known passing team, would the HARD HITTING Blue have started?

  3. #3
    Mr Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Rookie Blue holds his own in first start

    Very smart to let him know late.

    The nerves don't have time to kick in, throw him in there and let him play.

  4. #4
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    Re: Rookie Blue holds his own in first start

    I was fairly surprised with him! I knew he was good.. Hense his all american status.. But his first career NFL regular season game on Monday night football and he gets to start! Dang

    He was a little slow to the ball when it was in the air a couple times.. But he is a rookie and it was his first game.. Otherwise he did really well





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    Re: Rookie Blue holds his own in first start

    New defense cooridinator will really help Blue's play. Can we say Bob Sanders????
    I also hope that we get Nick Harper for CB.
    New D Coord should know if he is worth it.

  6. #6
    marcosMN is offline Star Spokesman
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    Re: Rookie Blue holds his own in first start

    "VIKINGinGEORGIA" wrote:
    New defense cooridinator will really help Blue's play. Can we say Bob Sanders????
    I also hope that we get Nick Harper for CB.
    New D Coord should know if he is worth it.
    Good points dude...

    I agree that Blue will benefit from the new leadership.

    I hadn't actually thought about it yet, and now that I do, I am really excited to see what he can do about the defensive secondary.
    -Sno

  7. #7
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    Re: Rookie Blue holds his own in first start

    "VIKINGinGEORGIA" wrote:
    New defense cooridinator will really help Blue's play. Can we say Bob Sanders????

    I also hope that we get Nick Harper for CB.
    New D Coord should know if he is worth it.
    Nah...those Georgia players SUCK as Vikings!


    JUST KIDDING....Tarkenton worked out for us pretty well...LOL!
    BANNED OR DEAD...I'LL TAKE EITHER ONE

  8. #8
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    Re: Rookie Blue holds his own in first start

    "cajunvike" wrote:
    "VIKINGinGEORGIA" wrote:
    New defense cooridinator will really help Blue's play. Can we say Bob Sanders????

    I also hope that we get Nick Harper for CB.
    New D Coord should know if he is worth it.
    Nah...those Georgia players SUCK as Vikings!


    JUST KIDDING....Tarkenton worked out for us pretty well...LOL!
    Tark on one end Herschel on the other. Let's hope Blue joins Fran's side of the argument. I gotta say I really like to watch him play, the kid just hits so hard. If Frazier can help him with pass coverage we could have a much improved sec.

  9. #9
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    Re: Rookie Blue holds his own in first start

    I want to see Blue start next year opposite of Sharper!!!
    Go Big Or Go Home!!!

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