Offensive Coordinator

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Mothman
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Offensive Coordinator

Post by Mothman » Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:02 am

There's a line I posted in the Bradford having ‘amazing’ season thread that reads "Zimmer said he has kept a list of offensive statistics that he values since Shurmur took over". It's from an article in the Pioneer Press and it reminded me of something I was thinking about yesterday.

When discussing Turner and Shurmur, we usually focus on adjustments that were made by the latter after the former departed and on the production of the offense. However, I do think it's worth considering that the Vikings were 5-2 this year with Turner calling the plays and they are 2-6 since then. There are undoubtedly many different factors involved in that but it does raise a question (at least in my mind): is there anything about the differences in Turner's approach and Shurmur's approach that might help account for that difference? There may not be but I think it's worth considering.

The problem is, I don't really know how to answer the question. As a starting point, I thought I'd look at the difference in rushing attempts per game. I included Time of Possession as well. I'm starting here because I wonder if how much correlation there is between Turner's greater commitment to the run (even when it wasn't effective), the defense playing some of their best football during the early part of the season, and winning. Here are the rushing stats:

Vikings rushing attempts per game
(The first number is attempts, the second is yardage)

Turner as OC (5-2)
week 1 (TEN): 28-65; TOP: 29:35
week 2 (GB): 22-30; TOP: 30:18
week 3 (CAR): 24-58; TOP: 25:08
week 4 (NYG): 33-104; TOP: 35:32
week 5 (HOU): 37-96; TOP: 37:28
week 7 (PHI): 27-93; TOP: 32:08
week 8 (CHI): 18-57; TOP: 27:19

Shurmur as OC (2-6)
week 9 (DET): 25-78; TOP:33:08
week 10 (WAS): 21-47; TOP: 30:04
week 11 (ARI): 24-72; TOP: 28:58
week 12 (DET): 16-82; TOP: 31:31
week 13 (DAL): 19-87; TOP: 33.17
week 14 (JAX): 29-85; TOP: 30:56
week 15 (IND): 9-34; TOP: 22:58
week 16 (GB): 20-93; TOP: 31:01


This is probably too crude to consider as real analysis and I don't know how much we can conclude from it. I also understand there are game factors that influence the number of rushing attempts per game. I just thought it was a place to start.
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Re: Offensive Coordinator

Post by losperros » Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:23 am

Regardless the TOP, the biggest "tell" of Turner's system seemed to be the running game, which incorporated obviously different player sets than the passing plays did. I realize there are some reasons for that, though I think a lot of it was due to a lack of creativity.

Actually, I feel the rushing attempts and TOP doesn't tell the story about Turner. What bothered me the most about the guy was his bizarre inability to take advantage of the talent on the team. Not that Shumur is much better but, for example, he does play Patterson and Thielen a lot more. There was also Turner's stubbornness when it came to attempting to pound square pegs into round holes, mainly because he was hopelessly married to his system. As for Shurmur, he often plays small ball and I don't like that particular style of offense.

The only reason I can see for anyone wishing Turner was back is because of the current offense's lack of success under Shurmur. Both coordinators suffered from a porous offensive line, which had to make their jobs more difficult. But bottom line, is it their fault the Vikings didn't properly address a unit so clearly in need of improvement? If the team had done that, I believe we'd see better results from either coordinator, though I still don't think either one is right for the team.
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Re: Offensive Coordinator

Post by mansquatch » Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:23 am

The big question for me on this particular swath of data as well as others is this:

Is the state of the running game BECAUSE of Pat Shurmur or is it BECAUSE of something else? If one concludes that it isn't coaching so much as the roster, then I say bring the guy on. I never felt like defenses did stuff to us during his run where we were just completely inept from a coaching standpoint. It usually felt like our OL was so awful that it would sabotage whatever good work the rest of the unit was producing. I'm not sure that is coaching or talent gap (or lack of continuity.) Hard to judge the coaching aspect in the face of that noise.

This is going to get into the merry go round of the roster. Can they field an offense that is sufficiently competitive with the defense to win a superbowl? More specifically what do they need up front to field that offense? I think they have what they need at WR, TE, and probably QB. RB is something of a question mark. OL is the elephant in the room... Again.
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Re: Offensive Coordinator

Post by Mothman » Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:48 am

I may have obscured my main point by including too much in my initial post.

I'm wondering if, frustrating stubbornness and all, there was something different enough about the way Turner was calling the games (as opposed to how Shurmur has called them) that was helping the Vikings win. In considering that question, I looked to the running game first because the defense has dropped off as the season has progressed and I started wondering if perhaps Turner's stubborn devotion to a running game that wasn't always working very well was helping to keep games close and enabling the defense to sustain a higher level of play. Maybe not... I'm just trying to figure out if there's any significance to the fact that the Vikings went 5-2 under one OC this year and have gone 2-6 under his replacement. It's possible that differences in their approach aren't a big factor in those results but it seems worthy of consideration.
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Re: Offensive Coordinator

Post by Mothman » Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:49 am

losperros wrote:Regardless the TOP, the biggest "tell" of Turner's system seemed to be the running game, which incorporated obviously different player sets than the passing plays did. I realize there are some reasons for that, though I think a lot of it was due to a lack of creativity.

Actually, I feel the rushing attempts and TOP doesn't tell the story about Turner. What bothered me the most about the guy was his bizarre inability to take advantage of the talent on the team. Not that Shumur is much better but, for example, he does play Patterson and Thielen a lot more. There was also Turner's stubbornness when it came to attempting to pound square pegs into round holes, mainly because he was hopelessly married to his system. As for Shurmur, he often plays small ball and I don't like that particular style of offense.

The only reason I can see for anyone wishing Turner was back is because of the current offense's lack of success under Shurmur. Both coordinators suffered from a porous offensive line, which had to make their jobs more difficult. But bottom line, is it their fault the Vikings didn't properly address a unit so clearly in need of improvement? If the team had done that, I believe we'd see better results from either coordinator, though I still don't think either one is right for the team.
I don't either and I don't want either of them back.
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Re: Offensive Coordinator

Post by Mothman » Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:53 am

mansquatch wrote:The big question for me on this particular swath of data as well as others is this:

Is the state of the running game BECAUSE of Pat Shurmur or is it BECAUSE of something else? If one concludes that it isn't coaching so much as the roster, then I say bring the guy on.
I don't think the state of the running game is due to either coordinator but I also think there's a lot more to consider in terms of keeping Shurmur as the OC. What would his approach be going forward? He's been a 'small ball' coordinator over the years with pretty limited success. I don't care much for his approach but Zimmer might.
This is going to get into the merry go round of the roster. Can they field an offense that is sufficiently competitive with the defense to win a superbowl? More specifically what do they need up front to field that offense? I think they have what they need at WR, TE, and probably QB. RB is something of a question mark. OL is the elephant in the room... Again.
Yes, and it has to be addressed.
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Re: Offensive Coordinator

Post by Pondering Her Percy » Thu Dec 29, 2016 11:43 am

mansquatch wrote:The big question for me on this particular swath of data as well as others is this:

Is the state of the running game BECAUSE of Pat Shurmur or is it BECAUSE of something else? If one concludes that it isn't coaching so much as the roster, then I say bring the guy on. I never felt like defenses did stuff to us during his run where we were just completely inept from a coaching standpoint. It usually felt like our OL was so awful that it would sabotage whatever good work the rest of the unit was producing. I'm not sure that is coaching or talent gap (or lack of continuity.) Hard to judge the coaching aspect in the face of that noise.

This is going to get into the merry go round of the roster. Can they field an offense that is sufficiently competitive with the defense to win a superbowl? More specifically what do they need up front to field that offense? I think they have what they need at WR, TE, and probably QB. RB is something of a question mark. OL is the elephant in the room... Again.
Yes I've said this before regarding your last paragraph too. It's mainly RB and OL. I don't see many other holes on this team other than more depth in areas like DT, CB, maybe LB. WR is pretty much set. I would like to get another athletic receiving TE like Pruitt to put behind Rudy. With Pruitt gone, we don't have much behind him. QB is set IMO. Add a late round guy maybe. Especially if Teddy comes back healthy. Bradford, Teddy and Heinecke is pretty decent depth. I like our depth at safety and DE.

Basically if you look at my mock I just did, I have us addressing all the areas I believe we need to address
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Re: Offensive Coordinator

Post by mansquatch » Thu Dec 29, 2016 12:28 pm

Mothman wrote: I don't think the state of the running game is due to either coordinator but I also think there's a lot more to consider in terms of keeping Shurmur as the OC. What would his approach be going forward? He's been a 'small ball' coordinator over the years with pretty limited success. I don't care much for his approach but Zimmer might.
My main concern is if he is a system coordinator where just does one type of offense or if he is a guy who can coach a variety of schemes and will run a system that fits the guys he has. The reason I'm not negative on Shurmur right now is that he seems to have been the driving force behind changing their approach to reflect what they currnently had on the field. The open question is if this was a change to something more familiar or a change because it was needed.

On the small ball thing, they did start incorporating more deep shots, but took them on a limited basis. So I don't think Shurmur is all small ball.

@PHP: I saw your mock. I think think there is no possible way they will not bring back Smith or Long barring something happening in FA. The team should know by now that TJ Clemmings is not the insurance policy they want/need at Tackle.
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Re: Offensive Coordinator

Post by chicagopurple » Thu Dec 29, 2016 12:33 pm

I wouldnt take the job of Vikes OC unless Spielman gauranteed drafting/trading for 3 new guys on the OL in the off season......even Bellichek couldnt win with our OL roster.
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Re: Offensive Coordinator

Post by mansquatch » Thu Dec 29, 2016 12:42 pm

Mothman wrote:I may have obscured my main point by including too much in my initial post.

I'm wondering if, frustrating stubbornness and all, there was something different enough about the way Turner was calling the games (as opposed to how Shurmur has called them) that was helping the Vikings win. In considering that question, I looked to the running game first because the defense has dropped off as the season has progressed and I started wondering if perhaps Turner's stubborn devotion to a running game that wasn't always working very well was helping to keep games close and enabling the defense to sustain a higher level of play. Maybe not... I'm just trying to figure out if there's any significance to the fact that the Vikings went 5-2 under one OC this year and have gone 2-6 under his replacement. It's possible that differences in their approach aren't a big factor in those results but it seems worthy of consideration.

I don't know about this. When Shurmur took over we were on a 2 game swoon where the offense was woefully inept. It might be argued that he picked up the baton during the re-adjustment phase. Also, Turner had to deal with the OL injuries after week 2, but really after week 4. In that respect once he was playing with the full "mess" he didn't do very well.

I've wondered if Turner's commitment to the deeper passes and longer drops was a calculated risk. Knowing we needed to take some shots to get scoring opportunities to take some pressure off the defense. I've thought about that, but haven't reached any hard conclusions on it. Shurmur's small ball approach is different, and depends more on skill guys making plays with the ball. Hung Jury for me on this one.

Another angle might be to ask who can do best assuming the OL gets fixed? Because if the OL isn't fixed it won't matter who the OC is.
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Re: Offensive Coordinator

Post by Mothman » Thu Dec 29, 2016 12:52 pm

mansquatch wrote:My main concern is if he is a system coordinator where just does one type of offense or if he is a guy who can coach a variety of schemes and will run a system that fits the guys he has. The reason I'm not negative on Shurmur right now is that he seems to have been the driving force behind changing their approach to reflect what they currnently had on the field. The open question is if this was a change to something more familiar or a change because it was needed.

On the small ball thing, they did start incorporating more deep shots, but took them on a limited basis. So I don't think Shurmur is all small ball.


No coordinator is all "small ball" but his history suggests that's his style and honestly, when not paired with Chip Kelly (who called the plays and ran an uptempo attack) his offenses haven't been very good. I don't find his philosophy or track record encouraging.
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Re: Offensive Coordinator

Post by Mothman » Thu Dec 29, 2016 12:59 pm

mansquatch wrote:I don't know about this. When Shurmur took over we were on a 2 game swoon where the offense was woefully inept. It might be argued that he picked up the baton during the re-adjustment phase. Also, Turner had to deal with the OL injuries after week 2, but really after week 4. In that respect once he was playing with the full "mess" he didn't do very well.

I've wondered if Turner's commitment to the deeper passes and longer drops was a calculated risk. Knowing we needed to take some shots to get scoring opportunities to take some pressure off the defense. I've thought about that, but haven't reached any hard conclusions on it. Shurmur's small ball approach is different, and depends more on skill guys making plays with the ball. Hung Jury for me on this one.
I haven't drawn any conclusions either.
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Re: Offensive Coordinator

Post by mansquatch » Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:01 pm

In the short term the main question is if the guy can figure out the OL mess. Scheme is still important, but probably secondary to that hurdle.
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Re: Offensive Coordinator

Post by Mothman » Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:13 pm

mansquatch wrote:In the short term the main question is if the guy can figure out the OL mess. Scheme is still important, but probably secondary to that hurdle.
It's obviously a huge priority but I think fixing the OL falls on the GM, head coach and OL coach (in that order) first. With an OC, I'd be more interested in how they will use the talent available to them, how they manage a game, call plays, scheme to attack opponents, etc. How adaptable are they? How are their management skills?
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Re: Offensive Coordinator

Post by losperros » Thu Dec 29, 2016 7:09 pm

Mothman wrote: It's obviously a huge priority but I think fixing the OL falls on the GM, head coach and OL coach (in that order) first. With an OC, I'd be more interested in how they will use the talent available to them, how they manage a game, call plays, scheme to attack opponents, etc. How adaptable are they? How are their management skills?
I'm a little grumpy about the OL. Yes, I agree fixing the OL falls on the GM, HC and OL coach. So where the heck were they during last preseason? The OL needed fixing then, too. Instead, we had to watch a year long debacle in the trenches.

Anyway, I guess I don't have all that much trust in the team's GM, HC and OL coach fixing the OL any time soon. I hope they can at least improve it for next year.
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