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ViKingHopeful


Joined: 20 Sep 2010
Posts: 444
PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seems less about the offense hurting the defense by keeping them on the field, and more about the defense keeping themselves on the field. I find it sad that we try to run all over these teams and control the time of possession, yet turn around and run one of the most conservative defenses in the league.

We can't keep playing this soft coverage while rushing 4 guys, and trusting our LBs to drop back in coverage.. It's amazing how stubborn they are with their defensive philosophy and how few adjustments they've made throughout the season. It's not working and it's just not a fun squad to watch.
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Krauser


Joined: 20 Apr 2013
Posts: 4194
PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The reason for the Vikings terrible record this year is even clearer if you compare 2012 to 2013.

Going into 2013, I think this was the standard set of expectations for most of us:
-- great running game, but probably not as dominant as last year (regression to the mean)
-- mediocre passing game, but hopefully more productive than last year (better receivers, Ponder maybe improving)
-- solid defense, not spectacular but pretty good (Jared Allen getting healthy, 3 DEs in a contract year, adding Rhodes and Floyd)

Here are the drive stats from last year compared to this year:

Offense (2012 --> 2013)
Yards / drive: 15th --> 14th
Points / drive: 15th --> 15th
TDs / drive: 19th --> 16th
FGs / drive: 1st --> 10th
3 and outs (fewest) / drive: 16th --> 8th
Turnovers (fewest) / drive: 18th --> 27th (2012: 9th INTs, 23rd fumbles; 2013: 26th and 20th)
Time of possession / drive: 23rd --> 23rd
"Drive success rate" (at least one 1st down or TD): .682 (17th) --> .680 (16th)
Total points: 14th --> 13th

Defense (2012 --> 2013)
Yards / drive: 17th --> 29th
Points / drive: 18th --> 31st
TDs / drive: 17th --> 31st
FGs / drive: 12th --> 22nd
3 and outs (forced) / drive: 21st --> 25th
Turnovers (produced) / drive: 18th --> 26th (2012: 29th INTs, 5th fumbles; 2013: 24th and 22nd)
Time of possession / drive: 24th --> 32nd
"Drive success rate" (at least one 1st down or TD): .707 (26th) --> .740 (32nd)
Total points: 15th --> 32nd

So the offense is basically just as good as in 2012, except for turning the ball over more. The passing game has been able to make up for the expected downturn in the running game (which has still be excellent) -- though it's certainly fair to argue that a better QB would have the Vikings offense in the top 10 given Peterson in the backfield.

Meanwhile the defense has fallen off a cliff, as I've been documenting in this thread.

Put the 2012 defense on this team and they might be 7-5.

Put a league average QB on this team (Cutler? Alex Smith?) and they'd probably still only have 4-5 wins, because they're giving up over 30 points per game.
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Krauser


Joined: 20 Apr 2013
Posts: 4194
PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

VikesGuy07 wrote:
rpmwr19 wrote:
But Krauser's stats just showed this team isn't suffering from multiple three and outs. They rank in the top ten in the league for fewest three and outs per game.

Turnovers are the bigger deal.


Sorry,

"23rd in time of possession per drive"

Probably a better indicator of what I mean. Short possessions. Maybe not always 3 and outs, just kind of a natural reflex to use that (incorrectly) as a substitute for "short possessions."


The offense is 23rd in TOP/drive in part because they've generated so many explosive plays and long TDs (plus turnovers and 3 and outs). Teams with worse TOP/drive include the Broncos, Patriots and Eagles.

The defense is 32nd in TOP/drive in its own right.

The defense has also been horrific (until recently, they were better the last 2 weeks) in the 1st quarter, long before any mistakes or failings from the offense could have tired them out -- I posted stats upthread.

So that's not why.
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VikesGuy07


Joined: 24 Feb 2005
Posts: 5054
Location: Chicago
PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Krauser wrote:
VikesGuy07 wrote:
rpmwr19 wrote:
But Krauser's stats just showed this team isn't suffering from multiple three and outs. They rank in the top ten in the league for fewest three and outs per game.

Turnovers are the bigger deal.


Sorry,

"23rd in time of possession per drive"

Probably a better indicator of what I mean. Short possessions. Maybe not always 3 and outs, just kind of a natural reflex to use that (incorrectly) as a substitute for "short possessions."


The offense is 23rd in TOP/drive in part because they've generated so many explosive plays and long TDs (plus turnovers and 3 and outs). Teams with worse TOP/drive include the Broncos, Patriots and Eagles.

The defense is 32nd in TOP/drive in its own right.

The defense has also been horrific (until recently, they were better the last 2 weeks) in the 1st quarter, long before any mistakes or failings from the offense could have tired them out -- I posted stats upthread.

So that's not why.


Fair, although I don't know if my eyes buy it completely. Unfortunately that's not great evidence for a discussion Laughing

Still, if you told me I could only add one player to the Vikings this offseason, but that player would perform in the top 10 at their position, I'd pick a QB no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

So maybe what I'm arguing is not that the QB spot has been as bad as the defense, but has been just as much at fault for the losses because of how vital the position is in today's NFL.
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Krauser


Joined: 20 Apr 2013
Posts: 4194
PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

VikesGuy07 wrote:
Still, if you told me I could only add one player to the Vikings this offseason, but that player would perform in the top 10 at their position, I'd pick a QB no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

So maybe what I'm arguing is not that the QB spot has been as bad as the defense, but has been just as much at fault for the losses because of how vital the position is in today's NFL.


Of course QB is important!

But top 10 QB isn't league average, it's better than that.

And a rookie QB probably won't be top 10 as a rookie (and maybe never, even drafted at the top of the round).

I think people confuse "average QB" with "elite QB", overestimate the difference between how the Vikings QBs are playing and league average play at the position, and underestimate how much QBs playing at that level around the league rely on their defense and supporting cast to win games.

This year, the middle bunch of QBs by passer rating is:
Kaepernick, Newton, Cutler, Brady, Locker, Keenum, Dalton, ASmith, RG3

The only winning teams on that list have very good to great defenses this year: Niners, Bengals, Panthers, KC before injuries, Pats

Even on a good day, the Vikings defense isn't in their league.
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ArcticNorseman


Joined: 06 Mar 2005
Posts: 2987
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When WE talk about one player does not make the defense -- I have to argue that it does!

Antoine Winfield on the Vikes vs Antoine Winfield injured or cut.

The guy was on the team for 7 or 8 years, right? One year, the team was #1 against the run with the Williams Wall and dead last against the pass -- remember that?

Another year, Winfield's on the sideline . . . how'd the pass defense do?

This year? Laughable. Is it a coincidence that the coaching staff can't find or coerce any other player to handle on-field calls?

No -- it's not. Winfield has been missed -- HORRIBLY! He was THE GUY on the Vikes defense. When Cook and Smith were added, that backfield was respectable -- not feared, but respectable. And they gave the D-line time to do what the D-line's supposed to do.

I see a glimmer of hope with the way Rhodes has been playing. He may be the type of successor we need. With him and Smith on the field together, making calls and plays, the backfield will once again return to respectablility. The coaching staff is where I lay the blame.

Arguing the QB vs the defense is also humorous. This offense has performed ok -- Special Teams have contributed to points scored of course. The offense under Ponder/Cassel has done well enough, but no one's ever said they'd be dominate with one of those two at QB.
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Krauser


Joined: 20 Apr 2013
Posts: 4194
PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Krauser wrote:
Vikings CBs playing coverage in the slot, vs outside:

Robinson (slot coverage): 203 snaps, 40 targets: 38 receptions for 426 yards, 2 TDs
Robinson (total in coverage): 344 snaps, 59 targets: 51 receptions for 618 yards, 3 TDs
Robinson (non-slot): 141 snaps, 19 targets: 13 receptions for 192 yards, 1 TD.

Robinson (slot): 2.1 yards/cover snap
Robinson (non-slot): 1.36 yards/cover snap

...

Sherels (slot): 61 snaps, 17 targets: 13 receptions for 116 yards, 1 TD
Sherels (total in coverage): 172 snaps, 36 targets: 23 receptions for 172 yards, 1 TD
Sherels (non-slot): 111 snaps, 19 targets: 10 receptions for 56 yards, 0 TD

Sherels (slot): 1.9 yards/cover snap
Sherels (non-slot): 0.5 yards/cover snap

...

Cook has played 4 snaps in the slot, with 2 targets, 1 reception for 34 yards and a TD --> 8.5 yards/cover snap

Jefferson has played 2 snaps in the slot, with 0 targets.

Smith, Sendejo, Sanford and Raymond have also played in the slot, collectively allowing 4 receptions for 50 yards on ~30 snaps.

...

Ignoring the safeties, here are the collective totals for the Vikings slot CBs:

270 snaps, 59 targets: 52 receptions for 576 yards, 4 TDs.

That's unbelievably bad.

A QB with a stat line of 52/59 for 576 with 4 TDs has a passer rating of 129.9.

...

Non-slot performance by Vikings CBs:

Rhodes (all, since never plays in slot): 267 snaps, 40 targets: 24 receptions for 205, 0 TDs, 0 INTs --> 0.77 yards/cover snap

Cook (all minus 4 snaps, 1 reception and 34 yards from the slot): 184 snaps, 22 targets, 16 receptions for 163 yards, 3 TDs.

Jefferson (all minus 2 snaps from the slot): 26 snaps, 5 targets, 3 receptions for 59 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

...

Ranking the Vikings CBs by yards/snap in different situations:

Cook (slot): 8.5 (only 4 snaps)
Jefferson (non-slot): 2.27
Robinson (slot): 2.1
Sherels (slot): 1.9
Robinson (non-slot): 1.36
Cook (non-slot): 0.89
Rhodes (non-slot): 0.77 (all of his snaps)
Sherels (non-slot): 0.5
Jefferson (slot): 0 (only 2 snaps)

... where lower numbers are good.

The overall worst yards/snap number in the league right now is Amerson at 1.87 (Robinson is 1.86 overall). Both Robinson and Sherels are worse than that lining up in the slot, Cook is way worse in limited exposure.

The overall best yards/snap number in the league right now is Revis at 0.40. Joe Haden is 10th at 0.83. Cook, Rhodes and Sherels are all in top 10 territory playing outside. Robinson's 1.36 outside would be ~50th in the league, same territory as Brandon Carr and Antonio Cromartie.

...

So we can say: all of the Vikings CBs are terrible in the slot, except Jefferson who's only played 2 snaps and is probably not as good as he seems.

Robinson is not terrible playing outside, but not great either.

Sherels has been very good outside.

Rhodes has been very good, always outside.

Cook has been good outside, but gave up 4 TDs.

Overall, I'd suspect the non-slot numbers look better than they would otherwise if the underneath/slot areas of the defense weren't always so ripe for the picking.


^^ That's from November 5th.

Vikings defense has been better in the last 2 weeks. Despite giving up 450+ yards (to be fair, in 5 quarters per game) to backup QBs, they've been limiting scoring to league average levels and getting off the field on 3rd down.

Audie Cole has gotten most of the attention as the new face on defense. Xavier Rhodes' name has (deservedly) been mentioned as well, thanks to back-to-back games with multiple passes defensed.

Not yet recognized: Robert Blanton.

Blanton played about half the Washington and Dallas games, mostly at safety.

Against Green Bay and Chicago he started lining up as a slot CB. Has taken a couple of bad penalties for holding and jumping offside on a mistimed blitz.

But his slot coverage has been good so far:
59 coverage snaps in the slot, 9 targets, 5 receptions allowed for 37 yards (7.4 YPC).

Compare to updated numbers for Josh Robinson:
212 coverage snaps in the slot, 41 targets, 39 receptions allowed for 436 yards (>11 YPC)

and Marcus Sherels:
112 coverage snaps in the slot, 27 targets, 21 receptions allowed for 245 yards (>11 YPC)

By the PFF stat, yards/coverage snap (slot coverage only):

Robinson 2.06 (worst in the league of players who've played 50% of team snaps)
Sherels 2.19 (worst in in the league of players who've played 25% of team snaps)
Blanton 0.63 (even better than Nickell Robey, #1 rated slot CB in the league at 0.67 Y/CS)

Probably just a small sample size at this point, but certainly encouraging. I even liked the holding call in GB, after a year of watching Robinson and Sherels let the slot receiver run by them unchallenged.

...

Several of us were hoping in preseason that Blanton would get a shot to play slot CB / nickel safety this year. Might be another example of talent being misused while poor performances mysteriously have no effect on who gets to play.
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PrplChilPill


Joined: 26 Feb 2007
Posts: 10825
Location: Portland, OR
PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's see how they do against real QBs.....before we assume they somehow are better now.

They did still give up more than 20 points though, right? Yards/schmards, I care about points.
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Krauser


Joined: 20 Apr 2013
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PrplChilPill wrote:
Let's see how they do against real QBs.....before we assume they somehow are better now.

They did still give up more than 20 points though, right? Yards/schmards, I care about points.


Yeah, fair enough. 16 points in 1 quarter to Matt Flynn ain't great. 20 points to Josh McCown while Alshon Jeffery is dominating isn't bad, that mostly came down to the 2 huge plays Cook gave up

Thinking a back 7 of:
Rhodes/Cook
Sanford/Sendejo
Henderson/Cole/Greenway

with nickel: Blanton / Cole / (Greenway or Henderson)

might be better than what we put out on defense most of this year. Bring Harrison Smith back (the safeties are the weakest link there) and it might even be respectable.
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Krauser


Joined: 20 Apr 2013
Posts: 4194
PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, it was all going so well. I remember thinking they were finally going to hold a team under 20 points, and win one despite the offense not putting up big numbers.

Another solid performance undone by untimely lapses.

Here were the Ravens first 13 drives:
8 plays, INT
4 plays, punt
4 plays, 25 yards, TD (short field after Gerhart's "fumble")
5 plays, punt
4 plays, punt
4 plays, punt
5 plays. punt
10 plays, end of half
4 plays, punt
9 plays, downs
4 plays, INT
7 plays, downs
6 plays, INT

That's not quite a shutout (the Ravens had 12-15 first downs), but it's very solid. 3 turnovers and 2 4th down stops, maybe 200 yards against with 6 minutes left in the 4Q.

And yet here were the last 2 drives:
11 plays, 64 yards, 4:27, TD
6 plays, 80 yards, 0:41, TD

...

By the numbers:

Vikings now #2 in the league in points allowed (395), trailing Washington (407). Vikings allowing just over 30 ppg against, just ahead of the pace of the franchise worst 1984 team (484 points against). Probably won't threaten the worst mark of all-time (533 points against by Baltimore, 1981).

...

Vikings still on pace to be only the 4th team in league history to allow 20 points in all 16 games in a single season.

...

Vikings still on pace to be only the 2nd team ever to allow 23 points in 15 games in a single season (Baltimore, 1981). Only Robbie Gould's missed FG is keeping them from a perfect record in that category so far.

...

Vikings continue to find ways to lose games on the road despite scoring a respectable number of points.

As I showed before, road teams score 23+ points about half the time, but win most (>.600 winning percentage this year) of games when they do.

This year, the Vikings have scored 23+ in 5 of 7 road games, the only exceptions being 20 points in Seattle and the embarrassing Freeman game in NY.

League average performance would give them a 3-2 record in those 5 games. Instead, they're 0-4-1.

No team in NFL history has ever scored 23+ points on the road 5 times in a season without winning at least 2 of those games.
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swiss_vike


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We played aggressive defense the whole game, that's why we looked good.

We were playing extremely passive the last 3 minutes, that's why we looked so bad. That's a pattern that's always the same in almost every game. That the coaches don't recognize it and act accordingly is really bad.

And here's the nice thing: If NFL games were 58:43 long, we would be the only team above 0.5 in the NFC North and would have an 8-5 record.

That said, a couple of plays (4 to be exact) and we would be 0-13 too. But one thing is for sure: this defensive scheme is not made to win games. We need a 2 score advantage entering the final 2 minutes, otherwise, the game is wide open for any opponent.
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VikesGuy07


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

swiss_vike wrote:
We played aggressive defense the whole game, that's why we looked good.

We were playing extremely passive the last 3 minutes, that's why we looked so bad. That's a pattern that's always the same in almost every game. That the coaches don't recognize it and act accordingly is really bad.

And here's the nice thing: If NFL games were 58:43 long, we would be the only team above 0.5 in the NFC North and would have an 8-5 record.

That said, a couple of plays (4 to be exact) and we would be 0-13 too. But one thing is for sure: this defensive scheme is not made to win games. We need a 2 score advantage entering the final 2 minutes, otherwise, the game is wide open for any opponent.


On one of those late Ravens TDs, the Vikings brought the house on a blitz. It's not like they were rushing 3 DL every play.

The bigger issue I think was no Xavier Rhodes. Who knows how the Ravens manage to move the ball if one of their top receiving options is taken away (and subsequently, their second, third, and fourth options have better players on them)?
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PrplChilPill


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

VikesGuy07 wrote:
swiss_vike wrote:
We played aggressive defense the whole game, that's why we looked good.

We were playing extremely passive the last 3 minutes, that's why we looked so bad. That's a pattern that's always the same in almost every game. That the coaches don't recognize it and act accordingly is really bad.

And here's the nice thing: If NFL games were 58:43 long, we would be the only team above 0.5 in the NFC North and would have an 8-5 record.

That said, a couple of plays (4 to be exact) and we would be 0-13 too. But one thing is for sure: this defensive scheme is not made to win games. We need a 2 score advantage entering the final 2 minutes, otherwise, the game is wide open for any opponent.


On one of those late Ravens TDs, the Vikings brought the house on a blitz. It's not like they were rushing 3 DL every play.

The bigger issue I think was no Xavier Rhodes. Who knows how the Ravens manage to move the ball if one of their top receiving options is taken away (and subsequently, their second, third, and fourth options have better players on them)?


If this was an isolated instance, I could buy that excuse, but it isn't. And yet, Williams still has a job.......
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VikesGuy07


Joined: 24 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PrplChilPill wrote:
VikesGuy07 wrote:
swiss_vike wrote:
We played aggressive defense the whole game, that's why we looked good.

We were playing extremely passive the last 3 minutes, that's why we looked so bad. That's a pattern that's always the same in almost every game. That the coaches don't recognize it and act accordingly is really bad.

And here's the nice thing: If NFL games were 58:43 long, we would be the only team above 0.5 in the NFC North and would have an 8-5 record.

That said, a couple of plays (4 to be exact) and we would be 0-13 too. But one thing is for sure: this defensive scheme is not made to win games. We need a 2 score advantage entering the final 2 minutes, otherwise, the game is wide open for any opponent.


On one of those late Ravens TDs, the Vikings brought the house on a blitz. It's not like they were rushing 3 DL every play.

The bigger issue I think was no Xavier Rhodes. Who knows how the Ravens manage to move the ball if one of their top receiving options is taken away (and subsequently, their second, third, and fourth options have better players on them)?


If this was an isolated instance, I could buy that excuse, but it isn't. And yet, Williams still has a job.......


I agree, season-long it's been a problem. But I'm just not sure it was definitely the reason for yesterday's late failings against Baltimore. You can't exactly blame the defense for the return TD, either. If that's stopped, then maybe the defense is just good enough to win.

Although maybe it's not and the Ravens score that drive anyway.
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Krauser


Joined: 20 Apr 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Update on Robert Blanton, who continues to make the most of his chance to play NCB / nickel safety:

Almost doubled his year-to-date total number of snaps in the slot against Baltimore, but his performance was just as good.

Total slot performance, PFF charting:
108 snaps, 16 targets, 9 receptions for 80 yards.
(Compare to Sherels in the slot: 113 snaps, 27 targets, 21 receptions for 245 yards)

That's 0.74 yards per cover snap, tied for 4th in the league with Leon Hall among players who've played 25% of team snaps in slot coverage.

That's better than Mathieu, Vaccaro, Thurmond III, Munnerlyn and all sorts of other names.

Blanton took another costly penalty in Baltimore but I'd argue it was a bad call, the WR angled his route into him, neither one of them looking for the ball, which seemed to be thrown to a different target. The fact that he was running stride for stride downfield with his guy was again just the kind of thing we've been missing at the NCB spot.
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