mansquatch wrote:In 2013 they had the 31st or 32nd ranked Defense in the league. How is it hard to buy the argument that they had bigger problems in the face of that performance?
Because that performance was 3 full seasons ago and as I illustrated above, they have also had serious issues on offense that both preceded 2013 and which have been evident since 2013. To put it another way, if the 32nd-ranked defense in 2013 was a call-to-arms to improve that unit, weren't offensive rankings of 27, 29, and 28 over the past 3 seasons similarly compelling evidence that the offense was also in serious need of attention?
(They were also putrid on that side of the ball in 2011.) The team also had a glaring need at QB in 2011 and 2014 (arguably also 2017 since we traded that pick for SB.) that necessitated the use of 1st round picks. They added Kalil in one of those drafts as well. Up until really 2015, WR had been considered a position of great need as well. Less we forget the eras of Jerome Simpson, Greg Jennings, and Mike Wallace. They've now turned that around as well as the defense, but the OL hasn't done as well.
I think there are three glaring selections that are questionable: The trade for CP84 could have been used to add OL talent. Ditto on the Mackenzie Alexander and Treadwell picks. The Waynes pick also could flirt with this distinction, but i think he'll end up being an elite defender. Keep in mind that in that case, Rhodes has taken 3-4 seasons to really become an elite NFL CB.
However, it is unfair to cast this in the lens of OL only. In the last 4 years they've built a strong core of WR, an elite NFL defense, and have finally seemed to acquire a competitive starter at QB. It isn't like they've pissed away all those picks, they just haven't allocated them to OL.
It's a solid, improved WR corps but I wouldn't call it strong, especially since it's not yet clear who will still be on it next season. The defense isn't elite (they're just not there yet) but they're very good. The Vikes stumbled into a starter at QB by desperately spending their 3rd first round pick in 6 years on the position and we don't yet know if he'll even be with the team beyond 2017, much less if he can actually guide a team into the postseason and win in the playoffs. Bradford's certainly not likely to do that if Spielman cant get his act together with the OL. The now bottom-of-the-barrel running game is going to need blocking too.
I don't view Spielman's successes and failures purely through the lens of the OL. That just happened to be what we were talking about above. As I've said many times now, Spielman's job is building a complete team
that can compete for a championship and in my view, he hasn't been very good at it, although he sure has some enthusiastic advocates.
I hope the defense becomes elite, the WR corps goes from solid to superb, Bradford turns out to be the QB we've been waiting for forever, and especially that the team's weakest areas soon become strengths but I'm tired of the overall mediocrity Spielman has pretty consistently delivered for a decade now. I'm not going to be dazzled by a strong defensive ranking or a solid year from Thielen, Diggs, and company when basically, we're still seeing the same old results from the team. There's a tendency here to point to the improvement we've seen in a few areas of the team and forget it was necessary, in part, because those areas broke down under Spielman's management (and co-management). There's also a tendency to overlook or forgive that while the latest improvements were made, other areas of the team were breaking down badly. A shiny new defense might be pretty but when it's accompanied by an increasingly poor offense it just adds up to more of the same old disappointment.