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For Patterson to Succeed, It’s on Zimmer

A few months ago I wrote a quick post about Cordarrelle Patterson. It was about his offseason conditioning, how he was again working out with a man dubbed “Hell’s Trainer” in California. Not an extremely engaging story, since it’s well accepted that Patterson’s inability to get on the field the past two seasons has had much more to do with mental factors than physical ones, but the post sparked an interesting discussion in the comments section. These points that arose have stuck with me, and made me ponder the situation more than I have in the past.

Mandatory disclaimer: I understand the Patterson criticisms. Many of the negative things said and written about his attitude, grasp of the offense, and work ethic have been justified, and I’m certain the coaching staff has at least somewhat legitimate reasons for keeping him off the field. He hasn’t developed as a player—as a receiver—the way they would have liked him to. At times, he has been downright selfish.

But…

Watch this. Take five minutes, watch this whole highlight package from start to finish, and be reminded of the things Cordarrelle Patterson did as a rookie in the NFL. (However I do recommend turning down the music, as it is awful.)

In those highlights, do we see a refined positional player? No. What we do see, though, is an explosive, dynamic, supremely gifted playmaker. To me, there should be a spot for such a player on an NFL football field.

There’s an old anecdote about a frog in boiling water. The story goes, if you drop a frog in a pot that’s already boiling, it’ll jump out. But if you put a frog in cold water and gradually raise the temperature, it will remain in the pot until it eventually boils to death. The scientific validity of this claim is flimsy, but it makes an interesting psychological metaphor; if a great and irrational change happens immediately, we’re likely to reject it and point out its absurdities. But if the same change happens gradually, over years, we might just accept it without question.

This anecdote, I think, is applicable to the Patterson situation. If you were to say after the 2013 season (Patterson’s rookie year), that in 2015 he would have his workload reduced to virtual nonexistence, and not because of injury or other external factors, but because of…something about route running, I would have told you to see a neurologist. But because the same thing transpired over two years, and we’ve been slowly inundated with partial quotes from the coaching staff about his work ethic and consistency, we’ve allowed ourselves to build a conventional wisdom about Patterson—essentially, that he doesn’t deserve any snaps until he forces himself into the exact box the coaches are asking of him—and turn a blind eye to the insanity of the situation.

Take a look at Patterson’s season stats in the three years he’s been in the league:

Patterson Career Stats
via Pro Football Reference

The rookie numbers stick out; 45 receptions, over 600 yards of total offense, and seven offensive touchdowns, for a player who was almost certainly considerably more raw and unrefined at that point than he is now, three seasons into his career. Even more jarring is the fact that Patterson put up those rookie numbers under the tutelage of Leslie Frazier and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave—serviceable coaches, perhaps, but neither could be considered an offensive savant. But in two years under the Zimmer/Tuner combo—a duo that’s inarguably more respected and, in Turner’s case, more offensively accomplished—Patterson’s offensive contributions have shrunken to essentially nothing. That Musgrave can get this kind of production out of Cordarelle Patterson, and find ways to get the ball in his hands in space, and Zimmer/Turner can’t (or won’t) is baffling to me, and indicative of a bigger story than just route running.

We love Mike Zimmer. He’s brought a tough, no-nonsense attitude to this team, molded the defense into one of the better units in the NFL, and hopefully positioned the squad to compete for NFC North titles for years to come. But no one is without fault, and I believe Zimmer has handled the Patterson situation poorly. Yes, I understand when a player doesn’t do what you ask, there needs to be a consequence. But Zimmer’s punishment of Patterson—for whatever the reasons are—is bordering on vindictive, and has become detrimental to the team. Detrimental because it’s harmful the team, not helpful, to leave such a dynamic offensive weapon on the sidelines. It’s irresponsible. At some point, you need to accept a player for what he is—warts and all—and find a way to use him to help the team. Not let emotion drive you to banish him to the bench. And we know, I think, what Cordarelle Patterson is as a player: a dynamite kick returner, and an explosive athlete with unrefined receiving skills and an undefined position on offense.

Bill Belichick has made a career out of acquiring players who have obvious holes in their games, but can do one or two things very well, then masking those deficiencies and putting the players in position to utilize their strengths. Belichick focuses on what a player can do, not what he can’t. Zimmer is caught up in what Patterson can’t do, which is a shame, because Belichick or someone else will surely find a way to get him on the field and take advantage of his playmaking after he leaves the Vikings.

So, as the Cordarrelle Patterson experiment in Minnesota marches toward its inevitable swan song, if there is to be any contribution by Patterson on offense, it’s on Mike Zimmer to make it happen. Zimmer, not Turner or Shurmur or Stewart, because Zimmer is in charge, and Zimmer calls the shots. If Zimmer says to find a way to use Patterson, the offensive staff will do so. If he says to leave him on the bench, they will, and they have. It’s on Zimmer now to realize he has a player on his roster that, while imperfect, unpolished and unorthodox in his skill set, can make plays with the ball in his hands that most players in the league cannot. And by finding a way to get the ball in those hands, he will be helping the Vikings’ quest for another North title and beyond, not hurting it.

Maybe Patterson is a running back. Maybe he’s strictly a quick screen, catch-and-run guy. Maybe he’s mostly a decoy. I don’t know. But he has to be on the field. He saw 58 offensive snaps in 2015. That’s 5.7% of the team’s total. That’s insane. I like Jarius Wright and Adam Thielen as much as the next guy, and both have earned their places on the roster to this point. But the fact that Patterson consistently can’t get on the field over either of them is indicative of something more than just skill. Many things, probably, and most of which fall on Patterson’s shoulders. But not all of them.

Watch the highlights. Look at the stats in Musgrave’s system. Clearly there’s something Patterson can contribute to this year’s Vikings. Let him out of the timeout, Zim, and let Flash do his thing.

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Sam Neumann

Sam Neumann is a freelance writer and lifelong Vikings apologist. He has seen his share of Vikings-related heartbreak, but believes we are united by the hope that one day that norse ship will come in. Sam is the author of three books, including the New York Times Bestseller Memoirs of a Gas Station. He lives in Denver, Colorado, and has had it with Broncos fans. You can follow him on twitter @NeumSamN.

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46 Comments

  1. Another change coinciding with Zimmer and Turner is Teddy. We actually have a QB who is counting on WR to be in the right spot. I think with Ponder and Musgrave we ran more gimmicky plays getting the ball to Patterson out of the back field because of the limitations of our QB to get the ball down field.

    Not saying that CP should not have more opportunities, but if he is running the wrong routes then I while heartedly agree with the current philosophy of benching him until he learns. The fact that three years in he still struggles with the concepts is alarming. Perhaps this fault can be placed in part on the WR coaches and maybe Norv, but I do think Patterson owns this more than they do because I’m sure they are teaching him in ways that work for others. I dont think Zimmer should have his name on this at all. He did not draft CP and is not working with WR or selecting personnel package. Could he interject and insist on getting CP on the field? Maybe but why if he is not in the right spot.

    I don’t know. I hear you, and I do wish we could L find better ways to integrate him, but I also think we have depth at WR that doesn’t permit this. Until CP demonstrates a higher football IQ I think his fate is deserved.

  2. I think this is pretty off base, for multiple reasons.

    1. Just because he was successful in year 1, doesn’t mean that he would be successful down the road. Patterson relied on extreme athleticism in that first year, not technique. What happens when opponents have a year of tape to dissect? Or if Patterson gets banged up (which he did have hip issues)?

    2. I think you’re forgetting how bad Teddy’s stats were when targeting Patterson. It was bad.

    3. One trick ponies don’t work well in the NFL. Teams figure it out. Even as fans, it was way too obvious anytime Patterson checked in that it was going to be a screen or jet sweep. Which would then get stuffed.

    4. Belicheck is a poor example. He takes players with holes in their game, sure, but those players have good work ethics. Patterson would have been booted even faster, IMO.

    1. targetting Pattrson? Last year he was targetted twice and he caught the ball both times, eh?

      1. And in the year before 67 targets and 33 receptions. Wallace was much worse and no one says Wallace was a bad receiver.

        1. Wallace was a bad receiver.

          Yes, I was referring to the previous season. Look at Teddy’s stats when CPat was a starter vs CJ.

        2. I’ve said he’s terrible receiver multiple times to anyone who will listen. His 3 good years was a Bruce Arians magic trick. He’s never been any good in any other system, including his last year in Pittsburgh with Big Ben but without Arians.

    2. I don’t understand this line of thinking, that it’s a bad thing that defenses assume when he’s on the field it’s going to be a jet screen or sweep. It seems like a huge advantage to me to have a player who, when he’s on the field, the defense focuses on. Seems like he has value just standing out on the field. Teams have to be aware of him and game plan for him because he can score any time he gets the ball in his hands.

  3. Sorry if I’ve missed something, but it seems to me that’s exactly what the Vikings and Zimmer have done with Patterson. Had him running screens, trick plays, reverses. If you have a player who after three seasons doesn’t know the playbook or can’t understand it, what else can you do? This is a case of another Devin Hester.

    When Patterson was drafted there was some fear he wasn’t smart enough to be an every down player, like Hester. When Patterson is on the field teams are now prepared for the three or four trick plays he can run so he can no longer get loose. If the Vikings attempt to do anything else with him, he invariably runs the incorrect route or doesn’t understand the play.

    Patterson seems like a nice guy and I hope he figures it out soon but don’t lay this on Zimmer or the coaching staff. This is a three or four trick pony who no longer fools anybody. Yes, he’s magic in the open field but limited gimmicks can’t get him there while playing offense.

    1. The Bears kept Hester a long time. CP has bigger and better hands: his route running is just as bad as Hesters. He is a bigger target than Hester. Advantage: CP

        1. Hester may not have been an excellent pass catcher but he still racked up 255 receptions at 13 yards per a pop and 16 touchdowns over 10 years. As for Patterson, I’m not sure that there is a large enough body of evidence to say that he cannot be effective on offense, even with his limited route tree.

  4. I have to disagree with this premise. The NFL adjusts. To think CP can just run out there and do screens & runs from the backfield with huge success anymore is to assume the defense won’t try to take those things away from him. He’s zero threat to do anything else – run a good route, block, catch a deep ball thrown his way… I’d much rather see AP, McKinnon, Diggs, Treadwell,… get the ball.

    1. There is such a thing as decoy. Keep decoying until they ignore him, then let him loose. This isn’t difficult.

      1. It is if your decoy isn’t disciplined enough to not give it away. After reading about Zimmer’s last film session, and how 6″ of alignment changes the assignments of guys around the player lining up wrong, how Zimmer has 5 different options EACH defensive player has to consider when doing a presnap read, it makes me wonder if Norv’s offense is similarly detailed after so many decades.

        This quote from the piece, “That Musgrave can get this kind of production out of Cordarelle Patterson, and find ways to get the ball in his hands in space, and Zimmer/Turner can’t (or won’t) is baffling to me, and indicative of a bigger story than just route running” is really the telling point – Musgrave’s offense was long noted to be simplistic and not the complicated. He also had Percy to work with initially, and then Patterson, and both of those guys you scheme to get them the ball in space and go.

        I think Norv and Zimmer are rooted in a different level of complexity, and have experienced success because their systems are integrated wholes. It’s truly a team effort, and as Zimmer noted, the team that wins is the one where all 11 guys consistently execute their assignments at a higher rate than the opposing team. That’s it, perhaps more than talent (because talent helps bail you out when you make a mistake). It’s about sustainability, about being able to progress in the playoffs. So the question is, is it acceptable to make an exception for Patterson? How about having a rookie QB that you’re trying to groom?

        Belicheck, to my memory, didn’t start accumulating cast off players until he and Brady were fairly well established – perhaps 3, 4, 5 years in. Those initial New England teams were veteran dominated teams, and the typical additions at that time were guys like Junior Seau. They often acquired aging stars and mitigated their reduced range or speed, but fundamentally those guys knew how to play. By the time they started taking on riskier, undervalued players, Tom Brady was clearly one of the league’s best QBs and starting to make the case that he’s a generational talent. Not similar at all to the Vikings current situation, IMO.

        My uncle is a season ticket holder and he’s with you, tho, He thinks its a huge waste of talent and playmaking ability that we don’t use CP more. I argued with him initially, but I think – objectively – there’s truth to it as well. Hopefully Shurmur and Sparano and Norv get into some really fun debates about all the things you could do on offense, and some of those ideas involve using CP more. I think Teddy is established enough that you can be more flexible.

  5. Agree, altho I think Turner may be somewhat responsible too. Anyhow, yeah, get rid of Patterson and see him light it up in Dallas or New England. With some coach that can think outside the box.

    1. You sound like you are either a) Cordarelle Patterson, b) his mother or c) his agent.

  6. While I enjoyed reading your article, I disagree with your take. Zimmer only puts players on the field that he can trust. Patterson has not been trustworthy. His lack of maturity (i.e., overcelebrating his KR TD vs Seattle) and lack of awareness (i.e., fumbling after a long KR vs GB during NFC Div Champ with the game on the line.) demonstrate he still just doesn’t get it. Last offseason Zimmer went above and beyond to arrange special offseason coaching for Him. Patterson, however,refused to participate. Zimmer is building a team identity based on intelligence, intense focus, toughness, and self sacrifice. While being an amazing athlete and fun loving guy, Patterson just doesn’t fit that mold.

  7. Dude… this has nothing to do with Zimmer. This is the best way to summarize everyone’s rebuttal to your perspective on CP, he is a limited gadget player. Also, he refused to receive the mentorship that Zimmer requested him to do so. He had his chances to ascend from Josh Cribbs to Demarius Thomas. We have a solid trio in Diggs, Wright, and Treadwell. The focus should be on Norv Turner to help this offense find its niche, not Zimmer.

  8. I think you’re pointing the finger at the wrong coach. Zimmer trusts Norv to make the right decisions. He doesn’t need to micro manage everything. But I do agree that Patterson can be an effective player for the right team. It may not be the Vikings, but someone (like Musgrave) will be willing to ignore his deficiencies and harness the extreme talents he does possess.

  9. Well, so much for your stupid anecdote Sam. I just put my favorite frog in a pot of boiling water and HE DID NOT JUMP OUT. He died. My best frog is dead. Oh well, frogs legs for lunch.

    You’re probably right that Zimmer is keeping CP off the field. Both to set an example of his “My way or the highway” coaching style and simply because he can’t run proper routes and can’t learn (Read??) the playbook. CP obviously has some sort of learning disability. Or maybe he’s just basically stupid, like my Frog.
    What a waste of athletic talent.

  10. It looks like I’m in the minority, but I agree. I find it hard if not impossible to believe they can’t teach him 2 or 3 routes that he can do consistently to go along with his WR screen play. If nothing else we’ve seen him go vertical to catch a ball, the same same skill we took Treadwell in the first round to do because we need a red zone target that can do that. Part of what I like about Zimmer is that he takes raw athletics guys and turns them into players on defense. It’s time for Norv to show he can do the same on offense.

  11. Thank you !!! I couldn’t have worded this better, it’s exactly how I feel about this frustrating situation . Don’t get me wrong I love zimmer but I think there is a bit of old school stubbornness going on with CP . I also understand he probably wants to send a message to the rest of the team that you have to work and work hard to get on the field . It seems as though Patterson is starting to understand that and I have high hopes for this season . I just don’t get all you vikings fans that are writing this guy off and seem happy doing it. We need as much help as we can get on offense and we have a hell of a weapon in this kid . For all of you saying oh when he is on the field teams will no what we’re doing … NOOO! If it is that way then it’s our own coaches fault . It’s called creativity . Look at the game against the rams last season tavon Austin was all over the place and a huge distraction for our defense . Both the coaching and Patterson are at fault but Patterson is clearly taking things more seriosly this offseason and if we can’t get him on the field in some sort of way I honestly think we failed . Treadwell , diggs , Patterson w/ peterson in the backfield should be a nightmare. Make it work!

    1. The message to the team isn’t about working hard, as Patterson clearly works hard. It’s about working smart. Zimmer drills that in almost every interview about the kind of team they’re creating, and the kind of defense they’re creating. Smart. Tough. Passionate football players. I think those are the general buzzwords he uses. Ya, he likes athletes, but he always – ALWAYS – references how smart a guy is. Read his comments about Hunter or Barr – guys who are phenomenal athletes.

      I also reject the argument that “it’s a lack of creativity” from coaches as a logic fallacy, because we don’t know how creative or not creative Norv’s plays may be because 1) the OL isn’t executing consistently enough to give the play time to develop, and 2) when it does, we don’t know if Patterson is where he is supposed to be and when he is supposed to be and without having completely tipped off the DB in the process. It’s like complaining that it’s Priefer’s fault that Blair missed the FG because Priefer wasn’t creative enough. Wait, what? The best indications that we have, from multiple sources (players, beat writers, interviews, etc) is that the Vikings run a detail oriented offense that places great value on route precision and timing. It’s a hallmark of the Air Coryell system and key to its success downfield. It would make sense, then, that the thing keeping Patterson off the field offensively is that he is not consistent in executing those keys. By comparison, both Treadwell and Diggs are noted to be very good, precise route runners. You see the correlation?

      Now, whether you should ‘break’ what you do to accommodate a guy like CP, I don’t know. Part of me says, ya, run some more E-P concepts that are inherently more flexible and allow guys to simply make plays and run to space, but I’m not going to throw Norv under the bus for CP’s failures of development.

  12. Am I the guy left who remembers the first thing Norv said he did when he got the OC job with the Vikings? The story was that his first thoughts as our coach were to come up with 10 plays with Patterson in mind. It seems that he lost the paper in less it said “Run a fly pattern straight to the bench.” This article says what I have been saying for two years now…let flash be flash and other teams will pay. Getting nothing from him is on Norv’s playbook first and then the buck stops at Zim’s office.

    1. Gee the last three guys here agree with me and the author (and some others) Yet I get a bunch of ‘dislikes’… Hmmm, did I fart or something?

    2. Lol its always productive when people come to a conclusion on someone by comparing them to an entirely different person…

    3. He’s retired, which isn’t surprising given that he was only healthy enough to play in 17 games over the last three years. In those 17 games, he caught 71 passes (of 109 thrown his way) for 718 yards and two touchdowns, ran 38 times for 233 yards and one TD. Not great stats, but they would still count as a productive season for a guy with as many health problems and injuries as he’d had. Oh, and he returned 38 kick-offs for 886 yards but no touchdowns over those 17 games spread out over three seasons.

      In other words, Harvin has nothing to be ashamed of.

  13. Lets unpack Zimmer, the coach, a little here. As a defensive guy, I think he has a great track record both here and in Cinny for getting the most out of a guy. Time and again he has molded players who have OFI or deficiencies in their games to being pretty good contributors. At the start of Zim’s tenure CP was only a year into the league and was (and is) supremely athletic talent who is primed to be molded. Hmmm, sounds like a defensive end I know.

    I’m not saying that Danielle Hunter and CP are in the exact same situation, but they seem to check enough of the same boxes. And I know that it’s a very small sample size, but I think most of us would agree that Hunter has more than exceeded expectations for year 1. So why has Hunter been so successful but CP been such a disaster?

    Should we expect Hunter to fall off the face of the earth in year 2? How much time does Zim actually take with coaching up offensive guys? Does Zimmer deserve credit for Diggs’ success? Does anybody besides Diggs deserve credit? Or maybe it lies more with Norv. He had all the dreams in the beginning with coming up with the amazing Flash package.

    You could say that it’s just a case of being in the dog house and Zim has a personal vendetta against him because of the offseason WR coach bullshit. But it’s completely within Zimmer’s character to use the dog house as a lesson. Look at Munnerlyn. Kinda had a similar situation where he wasn’t meeting Zimmer’s expectations. But what do you know, the guy figured it out and had a great bounce back season. He even admitted that Zim was right and he was wrong! So if CP has spent the last TWO YEARS in the dog house then either: 1. Mike Zimmer is a tyrannical overlord who needs to be destroyed, 2. CP said “I will not do everything you ask me to” and Zimmer said “fine, have a seat over here”, which he damn well should, or 3. CP is a complete imbecile. Which all sound ridiculous.

    The point is, CP is the pinnacle of a Mike Zimmer wet dream. Do you really think Zimmer didn’t try everything he could to make CP a factor? Would that even make sense? Because if he is half assing the CP job because of personal spite, than he should be fired. Immediately. So maybe CP actually is lazy and an idiot

    OR, maybe he’s just not great at developing offensive players. Which is fine. We just need to accept that. (/ducks for cover)

    (WOW THAT WAS LONG! WHY DID I SPEND THIS MUCH TIME WRITING THIS?)

    1. I don’t think Zimmer spends any time developing offensive players. I also think it’s highly unlikely for Zimmer to maintain the credibility and buy-in he has from his players if he irrationally, pettily, and tyrannically keeps a guy in the doghouse for two years because of something so vain as ‘he didn’t want to work out with my friend.’ I have yet to hear a player who does not like Zimmer as a coach, who does not respect him, and who does not buy in to him. I also don’t hear – and haven’t in two years – any whisperings from players making a stink about what’s happening to Patterson. Guys whisper that ya, CP makes some incredible plays in practice, but none of them ever so much as hints that CP is getting a raw deal and the team would be better if they forced more offensive plays his way.

      I also think Hunter is a poor comparison to CP. Hunter was already a skilled run defender in college who had a noted deficiency in pass rushing technique. He’s also a quiet, studious guy. CP compares more to Munnerlyn, actually – outspoken, energetic, more free spirited. Munnerlyn struggled too when he free lanced like he did in Carolina. Was nearly cut a year after signing his deal. But he bought into the system, and took it upon himself to prove to the coaches he could do what they were asking. Up to this point, CP has failed to do that.

      1. biggity2bit: “I also think it’s highly unlikely for Zimmer to maintain the credibility and buy-in he has from his players if he irrationally, pettily, and tyrannically keeps a guy in the doghouse for two years because of something so vain as ‘he didn’t want to work out with my friend.’”

        If Zimmer is as close to Bill Parcells as I have read I would absolutely NOT rule out Zimmer being irrational, petty and tyrannical. Parcells was the King of Mind Games; it was his least attractive quality as a coach. I’ve been critical of the way Zimmer publicly handled Jeff Davidson’s firing, so I’m at least open to the idea that he might be following Parcells’ example too closely.

        Look, I appreciate that Sam had the guts to write this piece, and I think that he is ultimately right that the buck stops with the head coach, whether for the offense, the defense or special teams. Given the changes Zimmer made to his offensive coaching staff this off-season, he obviously understands and accepts that responsibility, even if he is more directly responsible for the defense, which he does call, after all. I’m just not completely comfortable with all of the speculation as to WHY Patterson was benched as a wide receiver last year. I do think folks have to be open-minded to the possibility that Zimmer can and may be at fault, even if not in this particular situation.

  14. Zim is serious about his work and he expects the same, Patterson not taking advantage of the off season tutoring last year led to a disconnect with his coach. Guys like Zim that couldn’t leverage athleticism themselves, can’t relate to guys that have what they perceive to be little else.

  15. Zimmerman preaches TEAM! If a guy refuses to take coaching or chooses to do his own thing TEAM is the last thing on his mind. Remember Culpepper? Harvin IS also a good comparison. Neither of these great talents were as coachable as they should have been and likely would have extended their success much longer if they had been. I’m with Zimmer – if a guy isn’t coachable he shouldn’t be part of the TEAM.

  16. Peterson is a one trick pony too, with that one trick the ability to take it to the house . I agree with you on every point, Sam. It’s really frustrating as a fan. Me personally I’d like to see him play running back. look at all the times Peterson goes into the line for nothing. I know the first thing coming out of Patterson was about him being flashy, the whole celebrity Zimmer hates. Maybe that’s part of it who knows ? sick of this bs. Similarly what about Johnson? He’s right there next to Patterson on the bench . I think the highlight reel sums it up you got to get that guy in there

  17. Nice highlight reel. Every NFL player has a highlight reel.

    I also remember what Patterson looked like on the field the year Charles Johnson came in and stole his starting job. Patterson was horrific.

    Patterson is nothing more than a one trick pony, and that trick no longer works because every team in the league understands Patterson’s limitations. Effectively taking Patterson out of the game is easily done at this point by any competent NFL defense.

    All of this is a pity, because Patterson is an elite athlete, which is what the highlight reel shows. He simply has not been an effective NFL receiver since his first year in the league. That may have changed during the off season, but given his history that seems unlikely.

    Guys like Patterson don’t seem to realize that there is a new crop of rookies every year, all of them looking to take someone’s roster spot. Patterson seems likely to understand that within the next 12 months, but he’ll be learning that lesson the hard way.

  18. Zimmer did try to help the kid, directly, by setting him up with an HoF WR to learn his trade. Patterson blew it off. Zimmer can’t force the guy to spend extra time learning his job, but he did provide Patterson with an incredible opportunity, which Patterson disregarded. Then, CP84 comes back and not only continued to be a bad route runner, but now he’s lost a step, the price of strength training and adding bulk, so he’s not as explosive as he used to be. And on top of that, when you watch the ‘tape’ of his botched plays, you can see where he’s slacked off or just plain didn’t give a damn about the outcome. This is the part that really irritates me the most, and in particular, I’m remembering a fumbled return where he looked like he just didn’t care.
    I wish CP84 would figure it out, get it together, and give 100%. But after years of hoping, being realistic tells me that it’s probably not going to happen, even with his career at stake. None of those things are who CP84 is, and if he appears to do it now, in his last year, it’s probably just to get a good contract so that he can coast again.
    Should Turner have figured out a way to get production of a guy like CP84? YES! That’s his job, getting the most out of what he has. Turner owns a slice of that failure, but it doesn’t suddenly turn CP84 into a competent and reliable WR. I think that CP84’s job is on the line right now, and I think Turner’s job is on the line this season. As well they both should be.

  19. As much as I want to see them find a way to use him, and I think they could if they wanted too, I can’t fault the coaching staff for not using him. Playing him to get a few explosive plays may be short sighted when compared to developing a winning culture. With the success Zimmer’s had so far, I’m not going to question how he deals with his locker room. Benching CP is not only a message to him, but also a message to the other 52+ guys on the team.
    Don’t forget he is still under contract, so this is still an ongoing process. Maybe they realized it would take a huge statement, like benching for an entire year, for him to get the message. If they manufactured touches for him he would assume he could continue to not put in the work the rest of the team was putting in. Maybe this season, if he still isn’t where they want him, there is no longer any reason to send messages, so they will manufacture some touches, use his raw talent for some big plays this year and then cut ties.

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