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  1. #1
    bsmithberkley is offline Pro-Bowler
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    How "Special" are our Special teams players?

    I stumbled over a website the other day with a ton of great data, PROFOOTBALLFOCUS, and I wound up taking a closer look at a lot of things, and one thing stood out, we have a hell of a lot of good core team Special teams players.

    One of the things I understand least about the Vikings is special teams. Lot’s of people say “this guy is a special teams player” or “..but he is a good special teams guy so he won’t get cut”, so I always wonder der, outside of our returners, how good are our special teams? And how good are they compared to the rest of the league?

    Really, I wanted to understand how many core special-teams players we had. So I looked at the players who Played special teams for 8 or more games and who had more than 1 tackle per game.

    I honestly thought I would have to delve a little further than that to develop a feeling for our special teamers ,but, low and behold we had 7 players that fit that description and the closest team behind us had only 4 players that fit that description! The Average is 2 players per team. That’s right, out of 32 teams we are 75 % better than our closest competitor and 3.5 x the norm. Bam…that’s a pretty big difference.

    So being the lazy guy I am, I stopped looking for any other defining characteristics less than 5 minutes later.

    Here are our special teams players who saw duty in 8 games or more and had more than 1 tackle per game, ranked on “tackle/games available”….

    Name……………………........Tackle/Game

    Jamarca Sanford………....1.7
    Husain Abdullah…………...1.5
    Kenny Onatolu………….....1.45
    Karl Paymah……………….....1.375<<<GONE, led in Missed Tackles
    Jasper Brinkley…………...1.125
    Eric Frampton…..………...1.07
    Heath Farwell……………....1.07

    With a core of ST players like that I think no player on the team is Guaranteed a spot because of Special Teams play. The guys who stay will be the ones with more potential at their normal position.

    More or less, just wanted to share those stats with the board as Special Teams prowess always comes up ,but, with limited discourse on relative objective merit of an individual player.
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  2. #2
    i_bleed_purple's Avatar
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    Re: How "Special" are our Special teams players?

    Interesting, but tackles alone don't tell the whole story.

    Some guys are good at hunting down the ballcarrier, but everybody can't do this or else we let up a big return. The guys playing contain maybe don't rack up alot of stats, but more importantly, they don't give up the big play. If they can hold their ground, and let somebody else come in and clean up, thats a great play by both players.

    Having said taht, it should be interesting to see how this turns out.

  3. #3
    Marrdro's Avatar
    Marrdro is offline Beware My Spreadsheet, Bitches!
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    Re: How

    i_bleed_purple wrote:
    Interesting, but tackles alone don't tell the whole story.

    Some guys are good at hunting down the ballcarrier, but everybody can't do this or else we let up a big return. The guys playing contain maybe don't rack up alot of stats, but more importantly, they don't give up the big play. If they can hold their ground, and let somebody else come in and clean up, thats a great play by both players.

    Having said taht, it should be interesting to see how this turns out.
    Ha, sounds like you are searching for a new role for a certain ST'r who has slowed down a bit since his injury and has been surpassed by younger players. :P

    JK, I love that site even though it is poooh pooohed by some as not credible.......A couple of players of note:

    a. Frampton. Ranked 7th with 15 ST's tackles lead the Vikes
    b. Farwell. As much as I hack on this guy, he was tied with Sanford, just behind Kenny O with ST's tackles.

    Profootballfocus - ST's Stats

    On a side note, go ahead and look at the stats for 2008 compared to 2009. Basically the same cast of characters, just not with as good of numbers.

    My pea brain equates that to the different approach our ST's coord took with respect to punts.
    Many many thanks to my talented friend Jos for the new Sig.http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v343/josdin00/Vikings/Marrdro_sig.jpg

  4. #4
    bsmithberkley is offline Pro-Bowler
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    Re: How

    Marrdro wrote:
    i_bleed_purple wrote:
    Interesting, but tackles alone don't tell the whole story.

    Some guys are good at hunting down the ballcarrier, but everybody can't do this or else we let up a big return. The guys playing contain maybe don't rack up alot of stats, but more importantly, they don't give up the big play. If they can hold their ground, and let somebody else come in and clean up, thats a great play by both players.

    Having said taht, it should be interesting to see how this turns out.
    Ha, sounds like you are searching for a new role for a certain ST'r who has slowed down a bit since his injury and has been surpassed by younger players. :P

    JK, I love that site even though it is poooh pooohed by some as not credible.......A couple of players of note:

    a. Frampton. Ranked 7th with 15 ST's tackles lead the Vikes
    b. Farwell. As much as I hack on this guy, he was tied with Sanford, just behind Kenny O with ST's tackles.

    Profootballfocus - ST's Stats

    On a side note, go ahead and look at the stats for 2008 compared to 2009. Basically the same cast of characters, just not with as good of numbers.

    My pea brain equates that to the different approach our ST's coord took with respect to punts.
    I was really really just mostly surprised to see the quantity of players we had contributing on ST compared to the rest of the league. Would seem to allow for a lot of flexibility for the coaching staff to make final cuts

    (ie...special teams contribution less important to a player making the squad because of the quantity of replacement players already on roster)
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  5. #5
    Marrdro's Avatar
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    Re: How

    bsmithberkley wrote:
    Marrdro wrote:
    i_bleed_purple wrote:
    Interesting, but tackles alone don't tell the whole story.

    Some guys are good at hunting down the ballcarrier, but everybody can't do this or else we let up a big return. The guys playing contain maybe don't rack up alot of stats, but more importantly, they don't give up the big play. If they can hold their ground, and let somebody else come in and clean up, thats a great play by both players.

    Having said taht, it should be interesting to see how this turns out.
    Ha, sounds like you are searching for a new role for a certain ST'r who has slowed down a bit since his injury and has been surpassed by younger players. :P

    JK, I love that site even though it is poooh pooohed by some as not credible.......A couple of players of note:

    a. Frampton. Ranked 7th with 15 ST's tackles lead the Vikes
    b. Farwell. As much as I hack on this guy, he was tied with Sanford, just behind Kenny O with ST's tackles.

    Profootballfocus - ST's Stats

    On a side note, go ahead and look at the stats for 2008 compared to 2009. Basically the same cast of characters, just not with as good of numbers.

    My pea brain equates that to the different approach our ST's coord took with respect to punts.
    I was really really just mostly surprised to see the quantity of players we had contributing on ST compared to the rest of the league. Would seem to allow for a lot of flexibility for the coaching staff to make final cuts

    (ie...special teams contribution less important to a player making the squad because of the quantity of replacement players already on roster)
    I not only got that point, but I agree with it as well, however, I don't think we will ever get to the point were we don't have a few (kickers/long snapper aside) "Specialized" players that are primarily used on ST's.
    Many many thanks to my talented friend Jos for the new Sig.http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v343/josdin00/Vikings/Marrdro_sig.jpg

  6. #6
    bsmithberkley is offline Pro-Bowler
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    Re: How

    Marrdro wrote:
    bsmithberkley wrote:
    Marrdro wrote:
    i_bleed_purple wrote:
    Interesting, but tackles alone don't tell the whole story.

    Some guys are good at hunting down the ballcarrier, but everybody can't do this or else we let up a big return. The guys playing contain maybe don't rack up alot of stats, but more importantly, they don't give up the big play. If they can hold their ground, and let somebody else come in and clean up, thats a great play by both players.

    Having said taht, it should be interesting to see how this turns out.
    Ha, sounds like you are searching for a new role for a certain ST'r who has slowed down a bit since his injury and has been surpassed by younger players. :P

    JK, I love that site even though it is poooh pooohed by some as not credible.......A couple of players of note:

    a. Frampton. Ranked 7th with 15 ST's tackles lead the Vikes
    b. Farwell. As much as I hack on this guy, he was tied with Sanford, just behind Kenny O with ST's tackles.

    Profootballfocus - ST's Stats

    On a side note, go ahead and look at the stats for 2008 compared to 2009. Basically the same cast of characters, just not with as good of numbers.

    My pea brain equates that to the different approach our ST's coord took with respect to punts.
    I was really really just mostly surprised to see the quantity of players we had contributing on ST compared to the rest of the league. Would seem to allow for a lot of flexibility for the coaching staff to make final cuts

    (ie...special teams contribution less important to a player making the squad because of the quantity of replacement players already on roster)
    I not only got that point, but I agree with it as well, however, I don't think we will ever get to the point were we don't have a few (kickers/long snapper aside) "Specialized" players that are primarily used on ST's.
    Spielman made the comment that he doesn't want as many "gnats" running around out there on special teams. Couple that with the addittion of Webb, Cook, Griffen, Triplett, and Dimpero and I think the guys like Frampton, Abdullah, Lewis, Johnson, and Even Farwell/Onatolu are at greater risk than most think.

    Those new guys with big athletic bodies will force the issue on replacing Special Teams players. Especially since our main concern has now shifted to Punt coverage.
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  7. #7
    gagarr's Avatar
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    Re: How

    Maybe I'm slow here, but for a 3rd string player who probably won't see the field other than on ST, isn't it most important that they are top ST guys, even if they might not be the best at their position?

    Webb may be big and more athletic than Lewis, and might end up being a better choice for a 6th/5th WR, but if the guy can't tackle or hold his lane on ST as good as Lewis, IMO Webb is not the best choice for the team.

    Onatolu was not brought in for his LB skills, but for his ST skills. Vikes ST last year weren't as embarrassing as they have been in previous years. What it better specialized player or better coaching? It was probably a little of both, regardless let's just hope ST's become a strenght. I think it's good that they are bringing in a kick off specialist. Might hurt by a high potential guy like Webb not making the team, but a few touchbacks and better hang time will have a impact multiple times every game.
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  8. #8
    i_bleed_purple's Avatar
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    Re: How

    gagarr wrote:
    Maybe I'm slow here, but for a 3rd string player who probably won't see the field other than on ST, isn't it most important that they are top ST guys, even if they might not be the best at their position?
    Yes, but I think the point trying to be made here is that they're not keeping guys solely for ST's, since we have a huge number of special teams guys. They want them to show potential and hopefully one day move up to Offense or Defense to use as depth, not dedicated special teams guys. As to whether I agree with that or not, I'm not sure.

    Webb may be big and more athletic than Lewis, and might end up being a better choice for a 6th/5th WR, but if the guy can't tackle or hold his lane on ST as good as Lewis, IMO Webb is not the best choice for the team.
    I'd agree with that. but I think they try to take into account potential and coachability. Lewis is as good as he's going to get. We don't know about Webb. Guys like Lewis are easilly replacable, Webb might be a diamond in the rough, or maybe just a dud. We don't know, but I could see them taking a gamble if they think it might pay off.

    Onatolu was not brought in for his LB skills, but for his ST skills. Vikes ST last year weren't as embarrassing as they have been in previous years. What it better specialized player or better coaching? It was probably a little of both, regardless let's just hope ST's become a strenght. I think it's good that they are bringing in a kick off specialist. Might hurt by a high potential guy like Webb not making the team, but a few touchbacks and better hang time will have a impact multiple times every game.
    Guys like Onatolu and Farwell are strictly ST's guys. They might fill in at LB occasionally, but won't see any serious time. They were brought in because our ST's were just downright pitiful. This season we were fairly good, so I see them trying to refine what we have. Always improving. Last season it was easy. To be better, we need better players. Now that they have better players, they need to think how to make the team as a whole better.

    An example is Rhys Lloyd. If we keep him, we have three kickers/Punters, something we don't usually do. That means we need to take away from another position to make room. We have a large number of STOPs, I bet if they can, they'd prefer to drop a guy who ONLY does ST's for a guy who can play backup and ST's.

  9. #9
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    Re:How "Special" are our Special teams players?

    No rip on Heath from Marr yet? :P

  10. #10
    Webby's Avatar
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    Re:How "Special" are our Special teams players?

    Farwell is impact on ST. Bottom Line.

    Marr needs to stop drinking the beast if he thinks less.

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