Thread: Starters look to fine-tune
08-25-2006, 04:15 AM #1
Starters look to fine-tune
[size=10pt]Starters look to fine-tune[/size]
Vikings' first team likely to play half or more vs. Ravens
BY DON SEEHOLZER
"Next-best thing to the real thing" is a classic advertising slogan that has been used to pitch everything from margarine to dessert toppings.
In NFL-speak, it applies equally well to the next-to-last exhibition game, when starters generally play the first half or a little longer in the closest thing to a regular-season contest before they start playing for real in two weeks.
That's the general script the Vikings will follow tonight when the Baltimore Ravens visit the Metrodome, with rookie Tarvaris Jackson expected to be the first quarterback off the bench for the second consecutive game and struggling veteran Mike McMahon going third.
Starting quarterback Brad Johnson said there are some basic things he and the first-team offense would like to accomplish, including getting off to a faster start than they did last Saturday in a 17-10 victory at Pittsburgh.
He's also looking forward to another stern test from a formidable Ravens defense.
"I said last year when we played those guys, I thought it was the Dream Team," Johnson said. "And that was without Ray Lewis. Obviously, they've changed a little bit, but you're not going to face a much tougher challenge."
The Vikings (1-1) will be facing their second consecutive 3-4 defense, while their defense looks to build on another strong effort marred only by an opening touchdown drive, when the Steelers caught them off guard by coming out in a no-huddle offense.
"I'm never satisfied," defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin said. "That is one of my shortcomings by nature, but the guys are working extremely hard. You see progress, and you are encouraged by that. We tell the guys every day to come out here with the attitude that you are going to get some new problems. We have to get rid of the old problems and find new ones."
Offensively, the Vikings will be looking for former Ravens backup Chester Taylor and their running game to get going. They also would like to take another step forward in the passing game in their second game without wide receiver Koren Robinson, who has been excused from team activities following last week's DWI arrest.
"It's going to be a big test," wide receiver Travis Taylor said. "This is a chance to measure ourselves against one of the better defenses in the league right now. We'll have our work cut out for us, but at the same time we're ready to go."
Greenway update: Rookie linebacker Chad Greenway is recuperating in Birmingham, Ala., after undergoing surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
"He's doing fine," Greenway's mother, Julie, said from the family home in Mt. Vernon, S.D. "Everything went well."
A spokesman for Dr. James Andrews, who performed the surgery, declined comment on the operation.
Greenway, the Vikings' No. 1 draft choice, was placed on season-ending injured reserve last week.
Put me in, coach: With the first mandatory NFL cutdown to 75 players set for Tuesday, tonight's game could be the last chance for some borderline players to catch the coaching staff's attention.
Coach Brad Childress, asked how much weight these games get in evaluating players, said: "We have a saying about putting it on tape. You have to put it on tape out here (on the practice field) to get an opportunity to put it on tape there."
One-man gang: Among the many scenarios Childress said he and his coaches have discussed is one in which they would keep just one fullback: veteran starter Tony Richardson.
"We're always banging things off the board," Childress said. "There are a whole lot of different scoring combinations up on that board of who's in, who's out, if you go heavy or if you go light there. Those are things that we're always looking at."
Briefly: Mike Anderson will start at running back for the Ravens (1-1) in place of Jamal Lewis (strained hip flexor).
There still are 200 tickets available for tonight's game. They can be purchased through Ticketmaster.
Don Seeholzer can be reached at [email protected]
08-25-2006, 11:08 AM #2Jersey Retired
- Join Date
- Dec 1969
Re: Starters look to fine-tune
I have not heard the order of the QB's yet and I am hoping that T-Jack is 1st off the bench.
Childress said he would announce it later in the week (times up) but I haven't seen a quote from him.What we've got here is failure to communicate.
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