Thursday, March 12, 2009

Solving our Problems: Kevin Shaffer

After Jordan Gross and Vernon Carey re-signed with their teams, it seemed like the Vikings were going to have to address the right side of their line through the draft. The tackles available in free agency were either old, had injury issues or both. Any long term answer was going to have to come from the draft. That might not be true anymore, as the Cleveland Browns just released their starting right tackle, Kevin Shaffer. Of course, I might be wasting my time on this post, just like I wasted my time on a post about Vernon Carey, as Shaffer is considering re-signing with the Browns for a smaller contract than before.

If he does decide to enter free agency, however, the Vikings should jump on him. First off, he has a ridiculous beard. Look at it and tell me you don't want him in Purple:

Secondly, he's relatively young, just turning 29 last week. And he can both run and pass block (two skills Ryan Cook doesn't have). He moved from left to right tackle to accommodate #3 pick Joe Thomas in 2007 showed that he was much more effective on the right side. And since then, when the Browns have run to the right, they've been successful. In 2007, they averaged 4.73 Adjusted Line Yards running over the right tackle and 5.03 ALY running to the right end, the 3rd and 2nd most yards in the NFL respectively. In 2008, they averaged 4.64 ALY and 4.59 ALY, the 7th and 6th best totals in the league. In contrast, the Vikings were 21st in ALY to the right tackle and 28th to the right end in 2007 and 28th and 8th to the right end (remember, the tight end is equally important in plays to right end) in 2008.

While its hard to isolate Shaffer's pass blocking from the rest of his linemates, odds are he was a very good pass blocker, because the Browns just did not give up sacks the past two years. In 2007, they were 5th in Adjusted Sack Rate, only allowing 19 sacks all year, and in 2008 they were 8th, allowing only 25 sacks. The Vikings, in contrast were 28th in ASR the past two years, allowing 38 and 43 sacks in 2007 and 2008 respectively.

Kevin Shaffer, like Vernon Carey, would be a very good answer to the Vikings' troubles at right tackle. He'd also free up Ryan Cook to challenge John Sullivan for the starting job at center, give Tarvaris (or Sage) some more time to throw the ball and allow the Vikings to successfully run the ball to the right. If he doesn't re-sign with the Browns, the Vikings need to do everything they can to bring Shaffer to Winter Park and get him signed.

[All statistics courtesy of Football Outsiders]


Luft Krigare said...

The Vikings should have been calling last night. This morning at the latest.

If it was true that the Vikes were wanting to sign Jordan Gross (and pay him good money), then this is a no brainer. Their stats are virtually identical and a huge step up from Ryan Cook, and if Bryant McKinnie gets caught failing his anger management class or something, he could slide to the left side if needed.

You win football games on the line of scrimmage, and this would go a long way to achieving those means. Childress, Spielman, call Zygi and get the jet preflighted. And please, this time bring his wife (if he has got one) and convince her even more!

TBird41 said...

Agree completely. There's a possiblity that Schaffer just wants to stay in Cleveland (doubtful, since it's Cleveland), but if the Vikings haven't been doing everything in their power to convince him of how much better his life would be in the Twin Cities, then they've failed to do their job.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if this guy would pan out for the Vikings or not. But pro bowl offensive lineman usually are not drafted in the seventh round like he was. The best and mainstays of the Vikings offensive line over the years have been drafted early (except maybe center which requires different talents). The offensive line is the foundation of an offense and the Vikings have neglected it in the draft too long. Other than QB, it is their biggest weakness, especially right tackle but right guard is not that great also. I would still like to see the Vikings draft offensive lineman as early as possible.

DUI_Guy said...

He thrived in a zone blocking scheme for the Falcons, yet continued to be a liability in the passing game.

At least he's responsible for less false starts since leaving Atlanta.

Corey said...

HAHAHAHA Vikings fans!!! He signed with the BEARS!!! HAHAHAHA!!!!!

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