Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Looking Back at Monday

A few more thoughts on Monday's game:

Special Teams:
The kick coverage was good. The rest of the special teams were not, and that's not even taking into the consideration the fact that THEY MISSED AN EXTRA POINT. Not only did that set off some 'Nam like flashbacks to the Doug O'Brien era, it also means that I will be terrified after every touchdown until the extra point has been kicked. Thankfully it only took the Vikings 15 minutes to score again, so no one had time to get worried about that extra point costing them the game and a playoff berth.

Also, I'd like to take a minute to thank Aundrae Allison for repaying my confidence in him. Nothing like averaging 17 yards on four kickoff returns to show why you should be primary kick returner. Though, it's not like Bobby Wade can say anything, considering he had two fair catches and 12 return yards as the punt returner. Somehow, I doubt the Redskins will be implementing the Hester Rules on Sunday night.

Purple Jesus:
Adrian Peterson is only 39 yards behind Willie Parker for the NFL rushing lead, an impressive feat, considering he has 102 fewer carries (and 62 fewer carries than 2nd place LaDainian Tomlinson). If Peterson had as many carries as Parker, he'd have almost 1800 yards. So there's that. Of course, if Peterson wants to win the rushing title, he's going to have to stop looking for the big play and just run, something he started doing again in the second half on Sunday. His second touchdown was a thing of beauty (well, after the handoff, that is). He looked like he was skiing he was cutting so sharply. The fact that the Redskins second leading tackler, linebacker Rocky McIntosh, is out for the rest of the season probably won't hurt his chances either.

The Tarvaris Revolution:
There are quite a few articles that came out discussing Tarvaris' performance on Sunday and the need for him to improve. And they are deserved, but not as much as they were earlier this year. What we saw on Sunday was Tarvaris' first game where he faced pressure and what we saw were mixed results. He had a 50 quarterback rating, mainly due to the three interceptions and no touchdowns, but he also had an average of 8.6 yards per pass attempt and scrambled for 25 yards, picking up two first downs in the process (and picking up a crucial unnecessary roughness penalty). Luckily the Vikings final two games are against teams that aren't that good at rushing the passer (Washington and Denver are tied at 23rd in adjusted sack rate). If the Vikings make the playoffs, however, he's going to see similar pressure, however, as Tampa Bay is 11th in adjusted sack rate and Seattle is 6th.

Matt Birk and Ryan Cook:
Could these two lineman have played any worse on Monday night? Birk was awful in the blitz pickup (I'm sure that Tarvaris appreciated his decision to help out Steve Hutchinson rather than block Brian Urlacher was appreciated) and Ryan Cook was his usual mediocre self. Honestly, anyone to the right of Hutchinson is suspect, which isn't really something you want to be thinking about when you're in the middle of a playoff race.

Mad Talent
It's the worst of all the sports All Star Games, but it's still an honor to be named to the Pro Bowl, so congratulations must go out to Adrian Peterson, Tony Richardson, Steve Hutchinson, Matt Birk, Darren Sharper, Kevin Williams and Pat Williams. The seven Vikings named (and alternates E.J. Henderson, Heath Farwell, Ryan Longwell and Bryant McKinnie) show how much talent this Vikings team has. It also shows how important the passing game is, as it was the Vikings complete lack of one at the beginning of the season that held the Vikings back.


Pacifist Viking said...

After four good games from Jackson, it's not like we could all rest and say, "Oh, well, now he's developed and we know he's a good quarterback." He was bound to have another bad game--and even now, he's bound to have another bad game. He's still had just 12 career starts--he's still an improving, very inexperienced project.

So it was somewhat inevitable that Jackson would have a "regression game"; we must be happy that the Vikings were still able to win it.

Jackson's still a developing project, so I'm not overly concerned or surprised that he had another bad game. Monday's performance shouldn't change our attitude toward Jackson at all. He's still prone to turnovers and bouts of inaccuracy. He still makes some shaky decisions. But did we really forget those things during the four game stretch when he played well? We still knew those things--but in that four game stretch, Jackson also showed us that he could be smart, accurate, and effective.

I feel about Jackson exactly how I felt about him before the Bear game.

Pacifist Viking said...

Oh, and how I felt about him before the Bear game was "cautiously optimistic."

The four game stretch of good play really showed us he is capable of production (and so he is deservedly still "the quarterback of the future" for the team), but it's not like we didn't still know his flaws.

Peter said...

Birk may have missed a a couple key blocks on Urlacher Monday night, but he's still a smart, strong pro-bowl center. I'd take him over just about anyone else in the NFC and over most centers in the AFC.