General NewsQuote Of The Week

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Zimmer Continues to Push Trae Waynes

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer isn’t worried about rookie cornerback Trae Waynes, even if Twitter was close to exploding over his play last night. The first-round draft pick was called for multiple holding and pass interference penalties throughout the night while struggling to play off coverage against the Steelers’ backup receivers.

Waynes played 54 defensive snaps — just behind fellow rookie Danielle Hunter — seeing his first action at left cornerback on the Vikings’ third play from scrimmage. Despite his early struggles, Zimmer kept Waynes in for 84 percent of the defense’s snaps. Why?:

[quote_center]“Part of the thing, what I wanted to do, was not take him out. I wanted to find out what kind of toughness he had when things happen like that. When you get a couple of penalties on you, how are you going to fight back, how are you going to respond?”[/quote_center] [quote_center]”I thought he did a nice job with those things, but he’s just got to learn some of the technical things about the NFL. Athletically, and the type of kid he is, he’s going to be fine.”[/quote_center]

The biggest knock on Waynes coming out of Michigan State was his grabbiness and physicality in coverage. He often tugged opposing receivers’ jerseys, hooked their wrists at the catch point, and jammed well past five yards down the field. In the NFL, those same tactics are almost impossible to get away with, and that showed throughout the Hall of Fame Game on Sunday night.

Like Zimmer, though, fans need to look at the situation from the perspective of a coach. The staff loves Waynes, but he’s a player who will need at least a year to develop under Mike Zimmer. Fortunately, he has that time. Xavier Rhodes and Terence Newman are the clear-cut starters on the outside, and they’re players Waynes can learn from as he makes the difficult adjustment from college football to the NFL.

I’ll be honest — it was difficult watching Waynes struggle so much in the Hall of Fame Game. The play below was probably the worst of the bunch, with Waynes completely losing his man down the field. His technique — eyes in the backfield, holding downfield — was lazy, and his attempt to make up the lost ground with his straight-line speed won’t cut it in the NFL.

Image courtesy of NFL Game Pass
Image courtesy of NFL Game Pass

I’m not ready to write off Waynes, and Vikings fans shouldn’t dismiss the rookie so soon. He’s young, he’s raw, and even the staff at Pro Football Focus felt Waynes was drafted too high with the 11th-overall pick. But Mike Zimmer isn’t concerned, and I expect Waynes to become an excellent corner under his tutelage the next few years.

I’ll leave you with these notes from Bucky Brooks, a former scout and current media analyst for NFL.com. He addresses the concerns many felt while watching last night’s game while giving fans a glimpse into the good we may someday see from Waynes.

Patience, Vikings fans. Patience.

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Austin Belisle

Austin Belisle is the West Coast's biggest Vikings fan, a football diehard cheering on the purple and yellow from sunny California. After graduating from San Jose State University in 2014, he began working full-time in corporate marketing and blogging on various sports websites. Austin's passion for the Vikings led him to Vikings Territory, where he hopes to share his lifelong enthusiasm for the team with readers on a daily basis. You can follow him on Twitter @austincbelisle

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45 Comments

  1. Was it just me, or in that clip did it look like he forgot in the NFL that just because the WR goes down doesn’t mean that he’s down? He seemed to slow down as soon as the WR stumbled. Either way, it’s not a problem having a bad 1st preseason game, but it doesn’t help him that a lot of fans preferred some of the other CBs in the draft, myself included. Until he looks good there’s going to be a lot of concern that the concerns people had before the draft were accurate.

    1. I noticed it, as well. His body language was a little off this game, and I think it was a reaction to the calls/frustration pouring out.

  2. Drafted to high at 11? Really dude Really I MEAN REALLY?!?!? Wayne’s was the consensus number 1 CB by virtually everyone inside and out so drafted to high fro 11 is a stupid comment based purely on emotion based on the kids first NFL action ever.

    Just like you said, “His technique — eyes in the backfield, holding downfield — was lazy, and his attempt to make up the lost ground with his straight-line speed won’t cut it in the NFL.” That being drafted to high comment is lazy writing and something a ignorant know nothing fan boy would say (see first comment).

    Come on Austin you can do better then that.

    1. Thanks for commenting, jwdallee.

      I’m going to leave your comment up because I think it could spark some good conversation, but in the future refrain from insulting our writers.

      The opinion that Trae Waynes was drafted too high is not one that Austin is alone in. Many football minds (more knowledgeable than mine) held the same stance before he was even drafted by the Vikings.

      Also, from my conversations with Austin, he’s a huge Waynes supporter who thinks he’s going to be just fine. You both probably hold the same opinions on him.

      There are many ways to oppose the opinion of someone… But name-calling and low blows isn’t one of them and, quite frankly, just hurts your own credibility.

      Thanks

      1. I did not insult him nor was it a low blow ….just stated my opinion that his comment was journalistic laziness. I also said he could do better, which I know he can.
        But I get it you gotta stick up for your boy.

        Quite frankly I am disspointed in you Brett.

        1. You may be “disspointed” in Brett, but I’m proud of him for trying to keep unnecessary and undesirable vitriol from pervading the joint. Say what you want, but “stupid” and “lazy” are pretty vitriolic terms.

      1. “ignorant know nothing fan boy” “stupid comment ”
        It would be ignorant of you, jwdallee, to not think those comments are both insulting and low.

        1. not low blow at all, stating fact. Low would be if I new of some affliction or personal hardship/tragedy that the person suffered from and I brought that up THAT IS A LOW BLOW. I did no such thing. Not ignorant at all. DID YOU NOTICE HOW THEY ADDED IN A LINK AND SOURCE TO THE ARTICLE AFTER I BROUGHT IT UP??? Yeah that’s what i thought.

          The fact that you can’t distinguish that is a bit unsettling Franny.

          1. I made the change with your comments in mind, and because it was the correct thing to do. We all make mistakes and I appreciate your critique.

            1. Awesome Austin, I am will close it out now NO MORE COMMENTS ON THE MATTER IT IS DONE. I meant no offense,

              Looking forward to 2015 season and many more w/Zim and Teddy.

              GO VIKES!!

    2. Thank you for taking the time to comment, jwdallee. I appreciate the criticism and your opinion on Waynes, which I’ll keep in mind when formulating my analysis moving forward.

  3. Amended for above post I am disappointed that you called what a wrote a low blow–it was nowhere near a low blow.

    GO VIKES!

        1. He was just playin’…

          Having said that, did you know Fran wrassles Kodiak bears for fun?

        2. Ok, you just called me an idiot. Now you’re going to have to go thru the rest of your life knowing that a 60+ yr old man kicked your ass.
          Give me your address.

  4. i told you! didnt i tell you? what did i tell you?! ’cause i told ya! mmhmm and when did i tell you? a looong time ago! and what did i say would happen when i told you? exxactly what just happened!

  5. LMAO “Im not ready to write off Waynes”. Dude why are you even bringing it up? Its not even half way through his first training camp, and it was his first NFL experience. Who cares if he was terrible. Rookie cornerbacks get burned and get penalized. Its what they do. It will be a long time before I even start to consider whether he is a bust. For now, I just put my faith in Zimm.

    1. It’s more a commentary on fans reacting vs. Mike Zimmer’s reasoned approach to the development of Waynes. I’m in the camp that believes Waynes needs the time to grow and adjust, like you. Watching Twitter and reading stories today, fans are ready to say “I told you so” about Waynes being overvalued, overrated, etc.

      People were quick to call him a reach when he was drafted, though. I understand both sides. Thanks for commenting, though!

  6. I wasn’t even wincing at Wayne’s screw-ups, I was laughing! That kid’s got a lot to learn, and coming in as the top rated corner in the draft, was bound to assume that at least some of what he knew, was valid and would be successful at the next level. When Zimmer left him in, it was to let him feel the pain of doing what he was taught not to do, and experience the consequences, and give him the opportunity to self-correct or at least bounce-back.

    Waynes is in the process of un-learning a lot of bad habits from college ball, which didn’t prepare him for the same standards that pro ball uses. It takes time to change habits, to change muscle memory, built-up instinctual reactions. He’ll get there. Anyone who’s panicking over a rookie’s very first NFL game should probably remember that there’s a process in place and Zimmer’s using it.

    1. Absolutely agree, DC. Zimmer’s the expert whose been doing this for years. I trust whatever he has to say about Waynes.

    2. Yup, laughed myself. Now’s the time for the kid to learn. But I also saw that raw talent people were referring to. Kid’s got wheels.

  7. I saw Zimmer talk to one of the refs after one of Waynes penalties. Zimmer had a huge smile on his face. I think Zimmer was asking the ref to go after Waynes. Teaching lesson. Rubes need to calm down.

  8. Exactly all I was saying is that statement of being drafted to high was a way to “appease the rubes and fanboys”. It was an emotional reaction based on the first ever NFL action for a rookie.

    I also read comments over on daily Norseman how “he is being coached/taught not to grab our hold in practice yet he still goes out in the game and does it!”

    That is a moot point it’s really can be pointless to warn folks that the fire is hot when most people need to feel the burn. Once you’re physically and mentally charred from the experience, you will likely learn from it and be cognizant to not repeat the same mistake again.

    GO VIKES!!!

  9. Also to add to post above (WHY CAN’T WE EDIT POSTS) I noticed that they edited the original article to include a source/link to PFF stating their opinion that Waynes was drafted to high . This is acceptable and should of been there to begin with.

    GO VIKES!

  10. Look, I’m sure that Trae Waynes and Coach Zimmer had a long Heart-to-Heart talk about his three penalties and other errors. I’m sure he’ll play much better next time. Much better.

  11. Hi Everyone, first-time caller long-time listener here… I just want to say a couple three four things.

    1. Austin is like the nicest guy I know. I can assure you he meant no harm, and I think that shows through in his comments.

    2. Brett Anderson is like the 56th nicest guy I know, so that’s pretty good too, I guess. Not final roster good, but certainly practice squad worthy.

    3. It’s nice to see you all! Where the heck has everybody been!?!? I could’ve written the headline “Teddy Bridgewater Eaten By A Dinosaur In North Korea’s Real Life Version of Jurassic World” and I wouldn’t have gotten a single comment. Great to see everyone!

    4. Fran the Man is easily in the top five nicest people I know.

    5. Trae Waynes absolutely deserved to be drafted at 11, if not higher. I had to defend this stance pre-Draft because, like Austin said, many disagreed. However, I have faith in him and we should revisit this over beers in 2017.

    6. This place is supposed to be fun. This season is supposed to be fun. Let’s all have some fun and save the rhetoric for Packers fans and the presidential election chatter, eh?

    7. I’m not a journalist. Please don’t mistake me for one now or in the future when I screw up… Which I will.

    8. Skol

    1. Wow. “Five nicest”?? Guess I should retract my offer to kick jwdallee’s ass.
      Nice guys just don’t do stuff like that and i have to try to remember shit like that.

      1. thank goodness I am actaulyl scared of Kodiak bears and if you wrestle them I want no part of you.

        I let my emotions get the of best of serious note I apologize

        Lets concentrate on making fun of Erin Rodgers and Jaymee Cutler!

        GO VIKES!

        P.S. I was voted “nicest guy” at my work place out of 50+ last Xmas. For real I guess my “VikingsNess” brings it out of me 🙂

          1. There we go, that’s what I like to see! Now I can finally sleep knowing this thread has come full circle and everything has been properly resolved.

  12. I think we tried to trade back but could not get the Browns to fall for it again Waynes wasn’t reached for it was a team need and we need to trust in Zim SKOLL VIKINGS DRINK FROM the skullcap of Rogers

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