[NOTE FROM ADAM: After thoroughly enjoying the first installment of “Garbage Time” two of our favorite readers/writers are now back for some more. Enjoy!]
Well, Tomb, the Vikes won a big home game this week over the Bears and are still in the playoff hunt. Granted ( ), it was accomplished with, for all intents and purposes, two defensive scores, and another Adrian Peterson symphony. But a win, nonetheless. So, what about their playoff chances? It might be asking a lot for them to go 3-0 to finish the season, but if they could win 2 and finish 9-7, could they be in? Regardless of the answer, I think Leslie Frazier has done a pretty darn good job this year. How many of us would have given this team a chance to have a bona fide shot at the playoffs with 3 weeks to go? Surely you have some sort of warped perspective on this whole situation, don’t you?
Easy there, Pollyanna. By all means, savor the flavor of a victory, but playoffs? I haven’t seen this kind of denial since Aaron Rodgers proposed to a woman. Let me be clear: I am a stalwart Vikings fan who vastly enjoyed this particular win, but we will not–I repeat–NOT make the playoffs this season. It’s interesting that after gushing about bona fide playoff potential for this team, you ask ME for a ‘warped perspective.’ Sure, it’s ‘mathematically possible’ for the Vikes to make the playoffs, but it’s also ‘mathematically possible’ Tomb ends up on the business end of a Mrs. Tomb/Salma Hayek group tryst. Sure, I may occasionally dwell on the possibilities fondly, but I’m not holding my breath on either delightful event occurring.
This entire Vikings Territory site, authors and commenters alike, have covered the Big Reach Ponder situation ad nauseum, but with him at the helm, we seriously have no prayer. He almost makes Tebow seem like a legitimate QB threat. IMPROMPTU FUN FACT ALERT: on the same weekend, Cam Newton threw for 287 yards, and ran for 116 that Ponder threw for 91 yards, and ran for zero (on 4 attempts). That’s right, QB Cam Newton RAN for more yards than QB(?) Big Reach threw. When I first heard that stat, I blinked way too rapidly, then slunk quietly out of the room. With this rascal piloting our offense, we’ll never be more than an Adrian Peterson sideshow. Such a shame. AD is not human. What he’s doing is just not human. Absolute beast. I am in awe.
This credit you’re giving Leslie Frazier is a little baffling. I don’t necessarily see what he’s bringing to the table. He plays everything so close to the vest, I’m finding it impossible to figure out what role he has in any success or failure on any given day and/or play. He reminds me of a skinny Art Shell, standing on the sidelines worrying that either smile or frown may crack his face. He portrays as much genuine emotion on the sidelines as Keanu Reeves in, well, pretty much any movie he’s ever been in. Zilch.
An earlier comment of yours caught my eye and furrowed my brow. “Leslie says ‘we won the way we were designed to win.’ What in the name of Shanahan’s freaky bug eyes does that even mean? More to the point, does that imply the inverse ‘we lost the way were designed to lose’ also holds true? Seems about as goofy as your one man wrong-a-thon that’s supposed to serve as an opening statement.
Ignoring several of the emissions from your keyboard that would invoke a PCA fine, I will cut right to the chase of your ill-advised dribblings. (Pollyana? Really?) So, the NFL now gives style points in their wins, do they? And there is now a book on how a coach should look on the sidelines during a game? Good grief, man, when does the football aspect of your argument begin? For the record, it’s all about the record. You can run the ball, you can pass the ball, you can kick the ball… and after three hours or so, the team with the most points wins. End of it. I wonder if Lovie Smith is taking any consolation in the fact that they “held” Christian Ponder under 100 yards passing yesterday, and that his QB out-passed our QB? Here’s my guess — NO. He’s lamenting that his seasoned, veteran, moronic QB threw two interceptions that decided the game, and that on too many 3rd downs his defense couldn’t get off the field.
And thanks for the stats telling us that Cam Newton is producing more yards than Christian Ponder. I think there were still two people in the world who wondered about that. Would you understand the field of Mathematics enough to comprehend that when you hand the ball off MORE, your QB will run and throw the ball LESS, or were you sleeping in class that day, too? BTW, did you see the Troy Williamson-like attempt at catching a ball that Aroma-sha-du offered on a potential game-changing play? It’s tough for a receiver when the QB lays it on your shoulder pad like that.
Now that we have things back on the reality track, let’s finish by pointing out that yesterday Carolina beat Atlanta, San Diego beat Pittsburgh, and several other less stunning upsets occurred. Yes, my style-points, fair-weather-fan, glass-half-empty friend, the Vikings can still make the playoffs, and Leslie Frazier has things much more in hand than the TV crowd gives him credit for.
Sorry to pour facts all over your illustrious rhetoric, but the level-headed readers in this world demand some sanity. But no apology needed, I know you’re doing your best.
First off, I’m neither a glass half empty nor a glass half full kind of guy. I think there is twice as much glass as is necessary for the current application. Waste not, want not. You’re welcome.
Did you not catch the part where I said Cam Newton ran, RAN for more yards than Big Reach threw? Now, I know you’re an old school kinda guy, and probably still aren’t firmly convinced the forward pass is more than some newfangled gimmick play, but the truth is, it’s a pretty important facet of modern gridiron play. Wouldn’t it be neat-o to have a quarterback who was able to, you know, throw complete passes and stuff? I agree that Lovie (snicker, Lovie, WTH? Still slays me) et al probably aren’t taking much pleasure in squashing his play this particular game. However, even if the Bears had won, they still wouldn’t have likely taken much pleasure, as Big Reach seems to be more than capable of defending against himself brilliantly without help. OK, enough of that, I’m guessing my feelings on that matter are fairly clear.
As far as Leslie’s lack of tangible emotion, I didn’t say he was a bad coach, I said I can’t tell. It’s like trying to figure out what a brick wall thinks. I’d love to see at least a LITTLE emotion though, a little fire to show he actually cares. Now, if I was looking for someone to train and coach my all-star staring competition team, he is without a doubt my guy.
The doink off the shoulder pad did in fact remind me of our favorite first rounder, Troy Williamson. I had to laugh–begrudgingly–very begrudgingly.
In short (too late for that), I’d love it if we made the playoffs. Who amongst us wouldn’t be thrilled to see the first round one-and-done drubbing we’d be sure to receive. But alas, old friend, just like hoping Childress could give a coherent interview, it just ain’t gonna happen. The Vikes no longer control their own destiny, and that’s key.
Tomb, allow me to help you. First, stop trying to figure out what a brick wall thinks. They don’t. There, that’ll free up some think time right there. And let me also help you with something you said earlier. “…I’m finding it impossible to figure out what role (Frazier) has in any success or failure on any given day and/or play.” This head coach you are trying to understand via facial expressions and lack of hollerin’ has led an over-achieving, undermanned team to a 7-6 record, and, by all accounts other than yours, contention for a playoff spot.
Put yourself in Coach Frazier’s shoes. (I know, they are several sizes too large, but work with me here.) He and his staff have taken a team predicted to be, at best, .500, suffered through the loss of a player around which a great deal of the offense was designed (Harvin), and the loss of arguably their best corner (Cook), sans Alvin Winfield. As a result, he is starting three #3 receivers and a cast-off corner in JR Jefferson. He knows the Bears will single cover Jenky Jenkins, Orville Wright and the Aroma guy, and that they will double the one remaining respectable receiver, Rudy Rudolph. His QB is a struggling second year guy with no one to throw to and little time to find them because he has an offensive line much more suited to run blocking than pass blocking. Oh, and he has one of the best running backs ever to play the game.
So, dealt that hand, he calls more runs than passes (in spite of the fact he knows it won’t make you happy because no one else does that) and he beats the Bears. However, he seemed a little too calm on the sideline, he didn’t yell at the ref when he missed an offsides or something, and his QB didn’t even throw for 100 yards!! Therefore, he has no role in the win. Yeah, Tomb, put that on the auction and see what bids you get.
I agree that actually making the playoffs is a long shot, but since you already KNOW it won’t happen, I guess I’ll just fold in the rabbit ears and get me some good naps for the next three Sundays. But before I do that, did you see how formidable the Texans looked Monday night? Do you see the Rams blowing us off the field? Can we not beat the Packers at home when we very well could have beaten them at Lambut? Are the teams who do control their own destiny pretty much a cinch to “win out”? On second thought, honey, leave those rabbit ears up for now.
Maybe we should enjoy being where no one gave us a chance to be when the year started, and give the guy who made it happen a little credit in spite of his conservative conduct. Surely you can tolerate this ridiculous optimism and positivity a couple more weeks.
Speaking of brick walls, I did NOT say he had no role in winning, I just said I don’t know what exact role he does play. When it’s crunch time, I don’t see him conferring with any of his other coaches, or pumping up his boys, or…? Pretty much just stands there stoically. Maybe it’s an awe inspiring, even brilliant “stand there technique” and I’m just unaware, but the main point is I can’t figure it out. To me, he’s one of those ‘enigmas wrapped inside a mystery.’ In any case, one thing I’ve learned from watching the Raiders for a couple years now, is that the revolving door technique to coaching has horrible flaws with its lack of tenable consistency. Frazier’s earned the right to stay, me-thinks, but is still pretty much a rookie HC, and as such, will make mistakes not above reproach. That’s where I come in. Reproach is what I do. It’s sort of my thing.
Do you think this year’s team is over performing, or did last year’s team underperform? I personally think the latter. I firmly believe last year’s team was perfectly capable of ascending to the same tier of mediocrity as this year’s.
One of my bigger concerns is Musgrave. I’ve seen some painfully questionable play calling. What’s your take on that rascal? He seems to have a history of being questionable, by some accounts. I read somewhere that Seifert once hollered at him in front of his entire team for his suckitude. That can’t be one of his favorite memories.
Suckitude – “Used to refer to the magnitude in which something sucks.” Thanks for expanding my vocabulary; I was aware neither of the term or its definition. (Why do I suddenly feel an absence of some brain cells?) But alas, some common ground has somehow found its way to our discussion. (Stars and Stripes Forever sound bite) Last year’s team was, in subjective ways measured beyond win-losses, better than its record might have suggested. So perhaps “we are who we should have thought we were going to be” or something like that. But, as I think someone somewhere might have once said, “Expectations are in the eyes of the beholder.”
What I do believe, Tomb, is that the Vikings chose a direction in last year’s first draft pick. Justin Blackmon might have been a better choice for the 2012 season, but Matt Kalil was the better long-term choice. Leslie & Co. knew full well going into this season that the suckitude (may Mrs. Grant forgive me) of his receiving corps was high. Hence his quote after the Bears win, “We won the way we were designed to win.” The plan for 2012 is to rely on Adrian, develop a chemistry between Rudolph and Ponder, find ways to get the ball to Harvin (when he was there) and develop a defense that can win games for you. Then, focus on the WR position as the top need for 2013.
Yes, the playoffs may be a Reach (capitalized just for you), but after 13 games the chance still remains, and I think we need to recognize some level of success just for being in that position.