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The Vikes defense under Alan Williams
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rpmwr19


Joined: 23 Dec 2006
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Location: Stillwater, MN
PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Love it! As VR pointed out, it gives us an extra "safety" in the box.

Krauser, do you have the stat differences in our ability to get off of the field on third down since Audie and Blanton took full time nickel roles?
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Lil Uno


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

People still want Spielman gone?

Blanton and Cole have been nice surprises late in the season. Blanton is much of a surprise as he played all over the field at Notre Dame before settling at the boundary corner spot. I'm surprised how well he plays the run out of the nickel. Looks to be the way the NFL is moving. Blanton has size and speed to run with the #1s moving into the slot as well as Tight Ends. Will be interesting to see if Sherels plays ahead of Blanton when Robinson returns (assuming Robinson stays outside due to Rhodes' injury.

Cole has played well in his own right. Looks to be getting better each game. He is real solid in shallow coverage but has struggled to get depth on deeper routes. Should come with experience. I would still like to see Mauti and Hodges get some snaps over the next few games. Blanton and Cole are prime examples of using meaningless games to find out what you have, inadvertently or not.
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Krauser


Joined: 20 Apr 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rpmwr19 wrote:
Love it! As VR pointed out, it gives us an extra "safety" in the box.

Krauser, do you have the stat differences in our ability to get off of the field on third down since Audie and Blanton took full time nickel roles?


That's the last 3 games. Blanton played some FS spelling Raymond in Dallas and against Washington, but Lambeau was the first time he played NCB full time.

Last 3 games (@GB, Chi, @Balt):
3rd down, any distance:
pass play (41 plays)
3 sacks
19/38 (50.0%) for 199 yards (5.2 YPA), 3 TDs. 1 INT, passer rating 80.9
11/41 first downs converted (26.8%)


Half of those yards were on 3 plays: Alshon Jeffery's TD over Cook, where he got ejected, Jordy Nelson's catch in front of Marcus Sherels, and John Kuhn's catch where Greenway tackled him. The longest catch against Blanton was for 15 yards on 3rd and 18.

Same situation, weeks 1-11:
3rd down, any distance:
pass play (114 plays)
11 sacks
72/103 (69.9%) for 918 yards (8.9 YPA), 9 TDs, 1 INT, passer rating 122.6
52/114 first downs converted (45.6%)


That's a staggering difference.

Again, the fact that Blanton is playing well in a role where the coaches had been sticking with 2 players who were really struggling at the position (including Sherels, who'd already bombed in the slot CB position in 2012 filling in for Winfield), does not bode well for the talent evaluation skills of the coaching staff.

...

Mentioned this somewhere else, but right now the 2012 Vikings draft class...

Round Pick # Overall Name Position College
1 4 4 Matt Kalil Offensive Tackle USC
1 29 29 Harrison Smith Safety Notre Dame
3 3 66 Josh Robinson Cornerback Central Florida
4 23 118 Jarius Wright Wide Receiver Arkansas
4 33 128 Rhett Ellison Fullback USC
4 39 134 Greg Childs Wide Receiver Arkansas
5 4 139 Robert Blanton Cornerback Notre Dame
6 5 175 Blair Walsh Kicker Georgia
7 3 210 Audie Cole Linebacker North Carolina State
7 12 219 Trevor Guyton Defensive End California

... has provided 8 significant contributors to the team this year, with only Child's injury preventing it from being 9/10. If Childs can play next year and if Robinson develops into a starting level CB at some point that would be quite a haul.
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Klomp


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alan Williams: "[He's doing] outstanding, but don't tell Robert [Blanton] that just yet. For someone that didn't get a lot of reps early, and coming in and playing like he's playing, we're very pleased. But what I'm looking for is that over the course of time. Two ballgames, three ballgames, good. What makes a good ballplayer is consistent play over the course of time. Good up until now. I'm a guy that likes to wait and see, and evaluate it at the end."

http://www.vikings.com/media-vault/videos/Williams-Fast-Break-Football-Coming-To-Town/4a2a1a36-b3ef-4fdc-b242-8139067b8399
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vike daddy


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Defensive ends Jared Allen and Brian Robison are vying to become the first Vikings tandem to record double digits in sacks since 2004. Kevin Williams and Lance Johnstone accomplished the feat that season. Allen and Robison are tied for the team lead with nine sacks. Robison holds a slight lead in quarterback hurries (38-34).

http://www.startribune.com/sports/vikings/236488211.html
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Krauser


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 2:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Question: When do Matthew Stafford, Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer, Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton, Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, Scott Tolzien, Matt Flynn, Josh McCown, Joe Flacco, Nick Foles and Andy Dalton equal Drew Brees?

Answer: When they're playing the Vikings.

QB vs Vikings 2013: 397/615 (64.6%), 4416 yards (7.2 YPA), 36 TDs, 12 INTs, passer rating 97.2
Drew Brees 2013: 422/619 (68.2%), 4781 yards (7.7 YPA), 35 TDs, 12 INTs, passer rating 101.8

So the Vikings defense has made it seem like we were playing Drew Brees every single week this year.

...

36 passing TDs against ties the 2008 Cardinals for the 2nd-worst mark since the 1970 merger. The '81 Colts allowed 37 passing TDs. If the Lions bother to try at all next week, the Vikings will almost certainly surpass that total.

...

The Vikings are back in the lead for points against, at 467: 9 points worse than Washington and 22 worse than Chicago.

17+ points against by the Lions next week would break the 1984 team's franchise record.

33 points against by the Lions would make the 2013 Vikings one of only 3 teams in NFL history to allow 500 points.

467 points against is already the 14th worst total in NFL history.
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The Gnat


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did anyone else notice how much more zone they were playing again this week. Obviously with Rhodes out that makes a difference, but Williams and Frazier are quick to default to the zone to try and hide flaws, but most of the players on that secondary play better in man, so the flaws and injuries are manifested more by playing zone.
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vike daddy


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the Vikings allow 33 points to Detroit in Sunday's finale, they will have given up 500 points in a season for the first time in the franchise's 53-year history.

Even if the Vikings can avoid that ugly number, it seems unlikely they will be able to stave off finishing the season with their worst defense ever. The 1984 team, which gave up 30.3 points per game, currently holds that dubious distinction.

Minnesota (4-10-1) has allowed 467 points this season for a 31.1 average, last in the 32-team NFL. If the Vikings give up more than 17 against the Lions, they will knock the 1984 gang out of the record books.

http://www.twincities.com/sports/ci_24790079/vikings-porous-defense-just-18-points-from-infamy
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ArcticNorseman


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wasn't it just yesterday where we fans couldn't stand Fred smoot and company in the backfield? Everyone used to cheer that the Williams wall only gave up 70 yards rushing a game, but the pass defense was dead last . . . Once again it's all about balance.

This defense has no ability . . . Or does it? The numbers may be staggering, I cam only say I'm waiting on pins and needles to who gets fired . . .
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Krauser


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vike daddy wrote:
If the Vikings allow 33 points to Detroit in Sunday's finale, they will have given up 500 points in a season for the first time in the franchise's 53-year history.

Even if the Vikings can avoid that ugly number, it seems unlikely they will be able to stave off finishing the season with their worst defense ever. The 1984 team, which gave up 30.3 points per game, currently holds that dubious distinction.

Minnesota (4-10-1) has allowed 467 points this season for a 31.1 average, last in the 32-team NFL. If the Vikings give up more than 17 against the Lions, they will knock the 1984 gang out of the record books.

http://www.twincities.com/sports/ci_24790079/vikings-porous-defense-just-18-points-from-infamy


Pioneer Press guy stole my steez...

I'll up the ante by pointing out that the 2013 Vikings have a chance to be just the 4th team in NFL history to allow 20+ points in every single game all year.

The previous teams to accomplish this dubious feat were the '80 Saints (who finished 1-15), '81 Colts (2-14), and the '86 Bucs (2-14).

They've given up 23+ points in 14 out of 15 games this year. Only the '81 Colts have allowed 23+ points in 15 games.
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Krauser


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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2014 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Krauser wrote:
Further to my analysis of the Vikings 2012 pass defense falling apart after Chris Cook got hurt, here are some CB charting stats from Football Outsiders.

Best Cornerbacks 2012

Winfield was 9th in the league in yards per pass attempt against, with 6.0. The list favors slot corners over CBs working on downfield receivers.

[...]

No Vikings CB appears on their best list for Success Rate (preventing completions of at least 45% of needed yards on 1st down, 60% of needed yards on 2nd down, and 100% on 3rd/4th downs). Casey Heyward is 1st in the league, both Seahawks CBs are in the top 10.

Josh Robinson led the league in YAC against, with 1.6. Winfield was 9th with 2.3.

Worst Cornerbacks 2012

AJ Jefferson dominates the lists in the worst CBs article. He was:
-- 84th in the league (4th worst) in yards per pass against: 10.1
-- 87th in the league (dead last) in Success Rate: 32%, meaning 68% of the time a pass targeting his coverage got at least 45% of needed yards on 1st down, 60% on 2nd down, or 100% on 3rd or 4th down -- one of only 2 CBs to score lower than 40%, over half of the CBs in the league had rates >50%
-- He did allow only a respectable 2.7 YAC (28th in the league), but that underlines how bad his yards per pass against number is, even without giving up a long pass and run

...

Here are the relevant stat lines for Winfield, Robinson and Jefferson:

Antoine Winfield: 69 passes against (15% of team targets), 6.0 yards per pass against (9th in the league), 54% Success Rate (35th in the league), YAC 2.3 (9th in the league)

Josh Robinson: 69 passes against (15% of team targets), 6.8 yards per pass against (26th in the league), 45% Success Rate (73rd in the league), 1.6 YAC (1st in the league)

A.J. Jefferson: 48 passes against (11% of team targets), 10.1 yards per pass against (84th in the league), 32% Success Rate (87th in the league), 2.7 YAC (28th in the league)

Chris Cook is nowhere on the best or worst lists. But you can see why losing him from the lineup and having AJ Jefferson start made such a huge difference to the performance of the defense.

It's also reasonable to hope that Robinson will do OK in the slot replacing Winfield, which would further shorten his yards per target against and make good use of his tackling ability.


^^ the above from a year ago, breaking down 2012

and now, 2013:

Best Cornerbacks 2013
Worst Cornerbacks 2013

(methods and limitations of charting explained at the links)

Xavier Rhodes had a considerable success season as a rookie, finishing 5th in adjusted yards per pass attempt into his coverage. He was 42nd in adjusted success rate (likelihood of a "successful" gain given down and distance), about average in the league, and 13th in YAC per reception against. He was one of the most targeted CBs in the league, drawing a pass on 11.7% of coverage snaps.

Meanwhile, Josh Robinson and Chris Cook were both about as bad in 2013 as AJ Jefferson was in 2012, featuring heavily in the "worst cornerbacks" article. Given 87 CBs charted, they finish 81st and 82nd in adjusted yards per pass and 85th and 86th in adjusted success rate. At least their YAC per attempt rates are less embarrassing.

Compare and contrast:

(87 CBs charted)
Rhodes: 79 targets, 5.9 adj yards/pass (5th), 53% adj success rate (42nd), 12.1 average pass distance, 2.7 YAC (13th)
Cook: 43 targets, 10.5 adj yards/pass (82nd), 35% adj success rate (85th), 12.0 average pass distance, 3.8 YAC (39th)
Robinson: 45 targets, 10.2 adj yards/pass (81st), 35% adj success rate (86th), 10.3 average pass distance, 3.3 YAC (25th)

^^ when I criticize the previous coaching staff for not changing the depth chart based on quality of play, this is the kind of thing I mean. Rhodes was used strictly as the 3rd CB, taking fewer snaps in every game than Cook and Robinson, until week 11 (@ Seattle), when Robinson got hurt.

Blaming the supposed lack of pass rush (Vikings finished 17th in adjusted sack rate by FO charting, right in the middle of the league) doesn't wash, since Rhodes was so much better than Cook or Robinson (and Sherels and Prater were nowhere near as bad, though I don't have their FO charts), playing behind the same front 7.

...

Stat lines for the FA CBs we signed this year, good news and bad news:

Munnerlyn: 70 targets, 7.8 adj yards/pass (48th), 60% adj success rate (10th), 12.6 average pass distance, 3.2 YAC (20th)
Cox: 59 targets, 9.4 adj yards/pass (78th), 46% adj success rate (76th), 13.1 average pass distance, 3.3 YAC (26th)

Munnerlyn looks OK there, Cox looks pretty bad. Cox's FO charting for 2011-12 looks better, but still not that encouraging: http://www.footballoutsiders.com/player/22171/derek-cox
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Krauser


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2014/2013-pressure-plays-defense

Vikings defense last year:

-- league average at pressuring the QB (including hits and hurries). If you want to focus on sacks alone, they were tied for 13th in the league.

-- 24th in the league in pass defense (by DVOA, a measure of play-by-play efficiency) without pressure on the QB

-- 32nd in the league in pass defense (by DVOA) with pressure on the QB

-- 30th in the league in terms of the degree of smallest dropoff of opposition offensive efficiency (by DVOA) when pressure was applied

Those rankings are comparative: they were better with pressure than without -- gave up 7.9 yards per play without pressure and 3.9 yards per play with pressure. But that 3.9 yards per play was the worst total in the league on plays where the QB was pressured.

Contrast that with the 2013 Bengals, under Zimmer:
-- 28th in rate of pressures (21% vs MN's 24%)
-- 9th in DVOA against with pressure, allowing 1.3 yards per play (vs MN's 3.9)
-- 3rd in DVOA against without pressure, allowing 6.5 yards per play (vs MN's 7.9)

...so the problem with the defense last year wasn't that they didn't pressure the QB, it was that they couldn't make plays on the ball to break up passes and force INTs.

That might explain why Zimmer is spending so much time teaching the DBs in camp this year.
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milanb


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Krauser wrote:
http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2014/2013-pressure-plays-defense

Vikings defense last year:

-- league average at pressuring the QB (including hits and hurries). If you want to focus on sacks alone, they were tied for 13th in the league.



I'm sorry, but there is no way in this world that the Vikings had the 13th-best pass rush in the NFL in 2013.

Consider this. The Vikings are likely to have 3 new starters along the DL and 2 at LB in 2014. That's 5 out of 7 positions along the Front 7. Does that sound like the Vikings front office and new coaching staff believe that the Front 7 did a good job of getting to the QB last year? Or that the poor performance of the defence as a whole was strictly a coaching problem?
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Krauser


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

milanb wrote:
Krauser wrote:
http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2014/2013-pressure-plays-defense

Vikings defense last year:

-- league average at pressuring the QB (including hits and hurries). If you want to focus on sacks alone, they were tied for 13th in the league.



I'm sorry, but there is no way in this world that the Vikings had the 13th-best pass rush in the NFL in 2013.

Consider this. The Vikings are likely to have 3 new starters along the DL and 2 at LB in 2014. That's 5 out of 7 positions along the Front 7. Does that sound like the Vikings front office and new coaching staff believe that the Front 7 did a good job of getting to the QB last year? Or that the poor performance of the defence as a whole was strictly a coaching problem?


And yet they tied for 13th in the league in sacks. That's from the ESPN stats page, you can double check if you want. That's a total score, doesn't account for (potentially) seeing more pass plays against than some other teams.

FO charts every play in the league and had them league average in the percentage of pass plays on which they produced a sack, hit or hurry. PFF does its own charting, had similar results IIRC.

The Vikings pass rush last year was almost exclusively from the front 4. Switching EJ Henderson for Jasper Brinkley isn't really relevant in judging how effective last year's pass rush was. The turnover on the front four was partly related to performance (Guion --> Joseph) but also to age and contract status.

That front four wasn't very good last year but they weren't terrible. The Vikings were average in run defense on a yards per play basis and average in pass rush on a pressures per play basis. That's what the numbers say, even if you feel differently.

More to the point, the front four wasn't the problem with the defense. Even when they successfully pressured the QB, the defense was still giving up nearly 4 yards per play, the worst total in the league. That points to a problem in pass coverage, meaning the back 7.

Some of the problems in coverage were due to personnel -- Cook never developed, Robinson could be a bust, etc -- but some of that was due to injuries (especially to Smith), scheme (predictable zone coverages especially in two minute situations) and coaching, including player selection -- Robinson over Blanton in the slot, Cole not playing in nickel until injuries cropped up, Rhodes having a limited role in the first part of the year -- and possibly, player development, as none of the young CBs played better than expected for the past two years.

The Vikings D in 2013 was historically terrible, as I detailed in this thread. The main problem was with pass defense -- they made the collective opposing QBs look like Drew Brees, statistically. The main problem with the pass defense wasn't the pass rush, but pass coverage.

Hope that improves this year.
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milanb


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Krauser wrote:


And yet they tied for 13th in the league in sacks. That's from the ESPN stats page, you can double check if you want. That's a total score, doesn't account for (potentially) seeing more pass plays against than some other teams.



It's one of those things where sacks don't come close to telling the whole story. Coaches tend to gauge pressure in terms of how quickly the players get to the QB, how many are getting there and where they are coming from. Pressure up the middle is much more disruptive than pressure from the perimeter. Pressure from the blind side is more difficult for the QB to anticipate than pressure from the throwing side.


Krauser wrote:

The Vikings pass rush last year was almost exclusively from the front 4. Switching EJ Henderson for Jasper Brinkley isn't really relevant in judging how effective last year's pass rush was. The turnover on the front four was partly related to performance (Guion --> Joseph) but also to age and contract status.


I agree that the Front 4 was providing almost all of the pressure. I was just emphasising my main point: the basic fact that the team is replacing 5 of the 7 starters along their Front 7 flies in the face of this narrative that the main problem with the defence was coaching and scheme and not personnel. In any event 3/4 > 5/7, so even if you leave out the linebackers that's a huge turnover for a unit that was ostensibly NFL average.

Also, the linebackers are somewhat relevant because these are the guys who tend to be sent on blitzes. The only starter left is Greenway, who is also nearing the end of his career.

Krauser wrote:


That front four wasn't very good last year but they weren't terrible. The Vikings were average in run defense on a yards per play basis and average in pass rush on a pressures per play basis. That's what the numbers say, even if you feel differently.




Here's the deal though. The Vikings made no attempt to retain Kevin Williams or Jared Allen, who played the the two most important positions on the defensive side of the ball, and there wasn't exactly a huge bidding war for their services. Which is a much better indication of how far their level of play has fallen than any stats would show.


Unfortunately, Wlliams and Allen also drew most of the double teams last year and have been replaced by younger, less talented players. Even though the two weren't very good last year it remains to be seen how much better the Vikings DL will be in 2014. I suspect that it's going to take another one or two drafts to get it where it needs to be.

I am less worried about the secondary because Smith, Rhodes and Robinson are young and they got better as the season went along last year.
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