Reusse: Zimmer's leadership of Vikings deserving of scrutiny

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Re: Reusse: Zimmer's leadership of Vikings deserving of scru

Post by mansquatch » Tue May 23, 2017 8:48 am

I think the main objection SI is voicing is that Patrick Reusse failed to provide compelling evidence to support his conclusion. I supplied my own evidence earlier in this thread for the exact same reason. The column itself, even if you agree with the conclusion, is poorly argued and depends on very weak premises to make it's case.

Jim, you yourself have provided better evidence defending YOUR point of view in this thread, that should be proof enough that the column by Reusse is trash. It should be able to stand on it's own.

I know it is the offseason, but there is really nothing new here. The offense sucked for three years last week and it is going to suck for threes every following week until we get to September when it has it's first real opportunity to not suck.
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Re: Reusse: Zimmer's leadership of Vikings deserving of scru

Post by Mothman » Tue May 23, 2017 9:22 am

mansquatch wrote:I think the main objection SI is voicing is that Patrick Reusse failed to provide compelling evidence to support his conclusion. I supplied my own evidence earlier in this thread for the exact same reason. The column itself, even if you agree with the conclusion, is poorly argued and depends on very weak premises to make it's case.

Jim, you yourself have provided better evidence defending YOUR point of view in this thread, that should be proof enough that the column by Reusse is trash. It should be able to stand on it's own.
Thanks but whether the column is trash or not, the fundamental points it raises are valid, even if people don't think Reusse supported them well. Shooting the messenger just distracts from the message.
I know it is the offseason, but there is really nothing new here.
It doesn't matter if it's new. It's not meant to be breaking news.
The offense sucked for three years last week and it is going to suck for threes every following week until we get to September when it has it's first real opportunity to not suck.

:lol: That's true.

I just wish the board could get back to agreement on basic fundamentals like the idea that a head coach is actually responsible for more than just defense. I miss those days.
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Re: Reusse: Zimmer's leadership of Vikings deserving of scru

Post by mansquatch » Tue May 23, 2017 11:10 am

I think Zimmer has and is going through growing pains. He does great on defense, for the most part. However, the offensive side has obviously been a crap show during his tenure (and before.).

How and what gets fixed is the main question.

I agree that he is responsible for it in part. How big that part is debatable.

To me the bigger issue with Zimmer in particular is the stupid loss issue. There might be other stuff going on, but that stupid loss issue is an obvious example where team morale falters. That can and should be squarely put at the feet of the HC.

As far as the offense goes there are a lot of questions revolving around management style to be answered in addition to personnel, scheme, and other issues. When I say I'm not sure how much he is responsible I am saying more that there is a lot that we do not know vs. saying he is innocent.
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Re: Reusse: Zimmer's leadership of Vikings deserving of scru

Post by Mothman » Tue May 23, 2017 11:48 am

mansquatch wrote:I think Zimmer has and is going through growing pains. He does great on defense, for the most part. However, the offensive side has obviously been a crap show during his tenure (and before.).

How and what gets fixed is the main question.

I agree that he is responsible for it in part. How big that part is debatable.

To me the bigger issue with Zimmer in particular is the stupid loss issue. There might be other stuff going on, but that stupid loss issue is an obvious example where team morale falters. That can and should be squarely put at the feet of the HC.

As far as the offense goes there are a lot of questions revolving around management style to be answered in addition to personnel, scheme, and other issues. When I say I'm not sure how much he is responsible I am saying more that there is a lot that we do not know vs. saying he is innocent.
I understand but I think we know what we need to know in terms of assigning basic responsibility. Once a career coordinator sheds that title and accepts the mantle of head coach, they stop being responsible for one unit and become responsible for all of them so although I'm not trying ignore the obvious nuances here, I don't think there should be any debate that Zimmer is ultimately responsible for the outcomes his choices yield. That's the nature of the biz and any assessment of Zimmer as a head coach has to take the offense, defense and special teams into account. Saying he's now "saddled" with Shurmur or complaining about incompetence on the offensive staff amount to little more than a dodge because Zimmer chooses his staff and how to manage it.

Of course, those weren't your statements... :)

I agree that he's experiencing growing pains but with that comes the question of how much he will ultimately grow (and how quickly), which is why I think Reusse was right to point out that Zimmer's leadership is one of the uncertainties facing the Vikings. I also agree that the "stupid loss" issue is a big problem but I think it may be due to strategy and matchup issues more than morale or a lack of motivation in those losses. As you said, there are a lot of questions revolving around management style to be answered in addition to personnel, scheme, and other issues.
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Re: Reusse: Zimmer's leadership of Vikings deserving of scru

Post by chicagopurple » Tue May 23, 2017 12:55 pm

I still believe that you cannot fairly assess Zim's evolution at a HEAD Coach because he was given a pile of Crap for an Offense. He has had NO OL......you cannot succeed without one. He was given a totally raw unproven QB that needed time to develop (Teddy)....who MIGHT have developed if he didnt spontaneously blow up. He then had to work with an emergency replacement (Bradford) who also had NO OL & RB by committee.....Now he has the possibility of a passable OL (maybe), a middling to good QB, an unproven RB corp, and no true #1 WR.....It will still be hard to judge his Offensive qualities this year.

Zim should not really be in the hot seat this year......Spielman is .......he has run out of excuses.
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Re: Reusse: Zimmer's leadership of Vikings deserving of scru

Post by Mothman » Tue May 23, 2017 1:20 pm

chicagopurple wrote:I still believe that you cannot fairly assess Zim's evolution at a HEAD Coach because he was given a pile of Crap for an Offense. He has had NO OL......you cannot succeed without one. He was given a totally raw unproven QB that needed time to develop (Teddy)....who MIGHT have developed if he didnt spontaneously blow up. He then had to work with an emergency replacement (Bradford) who also had NO OL & RB by committee.....Now he has the possibility of a passable OL (maybe), a middling to good QB, an unproven RB corp, and no true #1 WR.....It will still be hard to judge his Offensive qualities this year.

Zim should not really be in the hot seat this year......Spielman is .......he has run out of excuses.

I think we simply have to assess the job Zimmer has done based on what he's had to work with but let's not lose sight of the fact that he's had input and influence for 3 years. He's been working with Spielman, not simply at the mercy of the latter's decisions.

Whether he should be on the hot seat or not, it's year 4 so at the very least, the grace period has to be over.
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Re: Reusse: Zimmer's leadership of Vikings deserving of scru

Post by mansquatch » Tue May 23, 2017 2:23 pm

So what, he makes one mistake and he's done? I wasn't aware that there was this never ending fountain of great coaching candidates to fill the inevitable void?

A first time head coach is not unlike a player. You love for them to succeed as a rookie, but you also expect that they probably will not hit their stride until later in their tenure.

Firing him would imply a belief that you know the max capacity of Zimmer as a HC and you've concluded it isn't enough to win the SB. I don't know about the Front Office, but I'm pretty sure as Fans we are assuming a lot if we make that leap.

Of course, the desire to blame the head coach is in someways born of simplicity. We need to blame SOMEONE so we blame the guy in charge. I like to ask a question to this end: Would firing Zimmer make the offense better? More specifically, what is it about Zimmer that makes the offense suck? Has anyone considered that it might be possible that the offense sucks IN SPITE OF Zimmer? How do we know that ISN'T the case?

Again, you go back to last year and I really think if you are going to hang an albatross around Zimmer's neck then you need to answer the question of the role injuries played. Pretty sure that having half of the guys on Offense who were tapped to be starters in August on IR by Oct 1st, including the QB, RB, both OT, and RG, was not his fault. The Spielman implication there is more persuasive, but even that is soft IMO. (How much Luck, how much bad strategy?) So if you factor all that out. What piece is left that truly belongs to Zimmer?

I think people on here forget we've endured two full seasons of TJ Clemmings as a starter and just how bad those two full seasons have been. 2015 was not that dissimilar from 2016 on his side of the ball. TB was running for his life from the right side. How many times a game did we see him run to the sideline because the DE opposite Clemmings ran free and TB had no choice but throw the ball away once he was outside of the pocket? That is A LOT to overcome, especially against playoff teams. You can grill Spielman on this one, but I'm not so sure you can grill Zimmer on it. IMO that alone was a MAJOR contributing factor to the offensive ineptitude.

As another fun item: Is it Zimmer's fault that the team's best offensive player has been off the field for two of his three seasons as HC? Don't think Zimmer made AP beat his kid and do not think he made him get that buckle tear in his knee either.

As I said previously, the flat games are a much more fertile ground for criticism. The issues leading to those performances are totally in the Head Coach's wheel house and therefore Zimmer is deserving of our ire. If you are going to dump the whole offense on him, then frankly, I find that hard to square. The injuries to key personnel have been completely outside of his control.
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Re: Reusse: Zimmer's leadership of Vikings deserving of scru

Post by chicagopurple » Tue May 23, 2017 2:38 pm

Does Zim really have a strong voice in the front office?
I guess if he has really been allowed to help control draft day then HE does have to go down with the Spielman ship if we have another poor season........
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Re: Reusse: Zimmer's leadership of Vikings deserving of scru

Post by PurpleMustReign » Tue May 23, 2017 2:59 pm

chicagopurple wrote:Does Zim really have a strong voice in the front office?
I guess if he has really been allowed to help control draft day then HE does have to go down with the Spielman ship if we have another poor season........
He better have all the say in who his coaches are. Spielman better leave that alone.

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Re: Reusse: Zimmer's leadership of Vikings deserving of scru

Post by Mothman » Tue May 23, 2017 3:09 pm

mansquatch wrote:So what, he makes one mistake and he's done? A first time head coach is not unlike a player. You love for them to succeed as a rookie, but you also expect that they probably will not hit their stride until later in their tenure.

Firing him would imply a belief that you know the max capacity of Zimmer as a HC and you've concluded it isn't enough to win the SB. I don't know about the Front Office, but I'm pretty sure as Fans we are assuming a lot if we make that leap.
I said nothing about firing him. I don't want him fired. That's not what I meant by "the grace period is over". My point was just that it's only reasonable to stick to lines of thinking like "he's experiencing growing pains" for so long. At some point, that grace period where he's essentially above or immune to 95% of criticism has to end and we should be able to criticize the man without all of this excuse-making and deflection. Leslie Frazier had already been tried, convicted and fired by this point in his tenure as head coach but somehow it's too early to even assess Zimmer? I'm calling foul on that idea. Mike Tice and Brad Childress certainly weren't granted this kind of near-immunity to criticism after 3 years either.
Of course, the desire to blame the head coach is in someways born of simplicity.
That's dependent on the actual nature of the criticism.
As I said previously, the flat games are a much more fertile ground for criticism.The issues leading to those performances are totally in the Head Coach's wheel house and therefore Zimmer is deserving of our ire. If you are going to dump the whole offense on him, then frankly, I find that hard to square. The injuries to key personnel have been completely outside of his control.
I'm not trying to "dump the whole offense on him" but as the head coach, it IS in his wheel house. Why is it hard to square? He certainly shouldn't get the free pass he keeps getting for the offense. Has he had no say in who was calling the plays, what plays were called, how the personnel was used, who started, etc.? No ability to provide input into the offensive game plans? No role in the conservative red zone playcalling? Does he have no influence whatsoever with Spielman when it comes to offseason personnel decisions and if so, how did they end up drafting defensive players with 6 of 9 first and second day picks over 3 years, adding at least 3 key defensive free agents in his first season alone? Why do ex-Bengals keep ending up on the Vikings roster and radar? is all of that unrelated to Zimmer?

The flat games are inextricably tied to the offensive shortcomings. Those shortcomings are one of the reasons they keep happening. I see no way to discuss one without discussing the other. Some of those losses are also connected to the run defense, which hasn't really improved in 3 years. If I recall correctly, in several of them, they were basically run over.
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Re: Reusse: Zimmer's leadership of Vikings deserving of scru

Post by Mothman » Tue May 23, 2017 3:17 pm

chicagopurple wrote:Does Zim really have a strong voice in the front office?
Yes. When he was hired, he briefed the scouts on what type of players he wanted. There's been a real effort to get Zimmer, Spielman and the scouts on the same page. This is from an article published in early 2015, referring back to 2014. I'm sure there are more out there with similar info. This was just easy to find.

http://www.foxsports.com/north/story/mi ... nts-012015
Spielman placed his trust in Zimmer to rebuild the Vikings after missing the playoffs in three of four seasons under previous coaches Leslie Frazier and Brad Childress. Zimmer had plenty of success in guiding defenses with a trusted system. In many ways, the offense took a similar approach when Zimmer hired Norv Turner to be the offensive coordinator.

The two veteran coaches shaped Minnesota’s offense and defense, while Spielman and his staff set out to acquire the type of players Zimmer and Turner desired. Heading into the offseason, Spielman and the scouts know what they are looking for.

"I think this is the clearest we’ve ever been on a direction with the coaches and the scouts all speaking the same language and identifying those same traits," Spielman said. "With coach Zim, there’s usually not a lot of gray area with him."
I guess if he has really been allowed to help control draft day then HE does have to go down with the Spielman ship if we have another poor season........
As I referred to in my last response to mansquatch, 6 of the 9 picks players the Vikings drafted in the first 3 rounds between 2014-2016 were defensive players. It's hard to believe Zimmer didn't have a hand in that and in some cases (Barr, for example) I think it was clearly reported. He and Turner really wanted Bridgewater too. I don't think Zimmer has been able to control draft day but his input appears to be significant.
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Re: Reusse: Zimmer's leadership of Vikings deserving of scru

Post by mansquatch » Tue May 23, 2017 4:01 pm

In terms of the offense I suspect at least one issue was over reliance on Adrian Petersen. AP was great for many years, but I think since 2013 the "one trick pony" aspect of his game has become an increased liability for this team.

Zimmer didn't create that problem, but her certainly didn't fix it either. The one positive is that he / they have been forced to do without AP for two of his three seasons.

Some points I think are interesting on the offense:

This will be the first off season since 2006 that they have gone into training camp without an expectation that #28 will be a factor in the offense. (2012 is at least a partial exception since going into that training camp he was expected to be still hobbled by his ACL.) This is probably under reported right now in terms of the magnitude of change it represents.

More on RB: We now have a RB known for versatility in Murray and a rookie known for his ability to make big plays. This marks the first time since 2009 where we are not one dimensional at the position. That is a big change.

LT: Reiff in Purple is unproven, but if you look at his history, especially in terms of durability, this is the first season since 2013 where we do not have a giant question mark at Left Tackle. (Kalil was that bad.) IMO, this is a net positive.

WR: To be honest I really do not get all the hubub about the WR corps right now? We may lack a dominant alpha type WR, but we've got two guys who proved they can catch 1000 yards of passes and another guy named Rudolph who isn't terrible. Wright is a decent #3. If Floyd or Treadwell can take a step that is just gravy. It isn't like it was in 2013 when we had a bunch of nobodies.

Remmers at RT: I do not think he'll be a great RT, but I also do not think he'll be anywhere near as terrible as TJ Clemmings in 2015 or Sirles in 2016. It is worth noting that while he got exposed vs. Von Miller in the SB, he was good enough to be playing in that game. Even if he is completely average by NFL standards that will still be a giant leap from what we've had this position the past two seasons.

Other potential positives: SB will have a full offseason with this team and this OC. We didn't have that last year. The OL could have continuity this season which it lacked all of last year. These are subtle boosts to our performance that we lacked in 2017.

Other than OL Continuity, these are all positives for the offense that are money in the bank. We can conclude that this offense will be different in 2017. The question is how much different the results will be?
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Re: Reusse: Zimmer's leadership of Vikings deserving of scru

Post by S197 » Tue May 23, 2017 4:23 pm

The head coach is unquestionably responsible for the entire team. I think the argument presented by Reusse lacks context amongst other things. By this time in his career, Frazier had TWO losing seasons under his belt (3-13 and 5-10-1) and that doesn't count the 6-10 season before where he took over.

Conversely, Zimmer took a 5-10 team and immediately improved it to 7-9, then 11-5. Last season was a step back but it was a .500 season, not a 3 or 5 win team. Big difference. Especially in the context of going through, what, 10 lineman? Losing Teddy. Losing Adrian. Those are massive losses that really need to be factored in rather than treated as some sort of sub-context on the same level as not playing your QB in preseason or giving curt answers to reporters.

Zimmer isn't immune to anything, I think his body of work so far has shown he has the ability to be a good HC. If he doesn't perform this year, then it's definitely a problem. But a .500 season given the circumstances? I'm willing to give some leeway.
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Re: Reusse: Zimmer's leadership of Vikings deserving of scru

Post by Mothman » Tue May 23, 2017 5:52 pm

S197 wrote:The head coach is unquestionably responsible for the entire team. I think the argument presented by Reusse lacks context amongst other things. By this time in his career, Frazier had TWO losing seasons under his belt (3-13 and 5-10-1) and that doesn't count the 6-10 season before where he took over.

Conversely, Zimmer took a 5-10 team and immediately improved it to 7-9, then 11-5. Last season was a step back but it was a .500 season, not a 3 or 5 win team. Big difference. Especially in the context of going through, what, 10 lineman? Losing Teddy. Losing Adrian. Those are massive losses that really need to be factored in rather than treated as some sort of sub-context on the same level as not playing your QB in preseason or giving curt answers to reporters.

Zimmer isn't immune to anything, I think his body of work so far has shown he has the ability to be a good HC. If he doesn't perform this year, then it's definitely a problem. But a .500 season given the circumstances? I'm willing to give some leeway.
You left out some of the same kind of context you're saying Reusse left out of his article. That's fine. I assume, like a columnist, you weren't trying to be comprehensive but were simply trying to make a point without writing an entire research paper on the subject (that's meant to be light-hearted ribbing, by the way!).

Let's consider more context: you emphasized that Frazier had "TWO" losing seasons but since Zimmer was just one loss away from the same fate, that's a distinction that looks great on paper but doesn't seem that meaningful. After all, the 3-8 collapse was comparable in it's ugliness to much of what happened in 2013. They lost 10 lineman last year but that's similar to Frazier having to start 10 different DBs in 2011, which is a bit of oft-forgotten context.

Between the roster and cap problems he inherited going into 2011 and the labor dispute that offseason, Frazier never had a realistic chance to win that year in the first place and everybody knew it. Both coaches inherited rosters that practically guaranteed they'd have a losing season in their first year. Zimmer's team made a nice jump from year 1 to year 2 but then, Frazier's team had the biggest single season W/L swing in Vikes history between his first and second year so he had a similar accomplishment. Both coaches had rough seasons in year 3 and in both cases there were significant mitigating circumstances.

I'm not trying to argue about one coach being better than the other but there's a bit of a double standard at work in Vikes Land when the mitigating circumstances for Frazier didn't (and don't) seem to matter much to fans who were happy to see him fired after a similar—if a little more extreme—3 year arc to Zimmer's.Those mitigating circumstances seem to matter a lot more now when it comes to Zimmer! I don't disagree that they matter either, although I think they too require context.

There's a double standard in all of this that's frustrated me for a few years now (the same double standard exists in regard to Bridgewater and Ponder) and it brings me back to Reusse's point. Perception of Frazier was hurt from the start because he had the stink of his association with Childress on him and many fans wanted a clean break from Chili's teams. When he was fired, fans welcomed Zimmer as a "real" coach, the well-seasoned coach Reusse referred to in his column. That perception and warm welcome have stuck despite a similar down-up-down 3 year arc for Zimmer. However, the general take on Zimmer is extremely forgiving even though the same fan base couldn't wait to run his predecessor out of town on a rail after 3 seasons (with less support from management too—Zimmer didn't have to coach his 3rd season already on the bubble). There's no need to get into why people wanted Frazier gone. I remember and some of the reasons are legit but some of these criticisms of Zimmer are too and there's a LOT of resistance to them.
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Re: Reusse: Zimmer's leadership of Vikings deserving of scru

Post by S197 » Tue May 23, 2017 6:29 pm

Mothman wrote:Let's consider more context: you emphasized that Frazier had "TWO" losing seasons but since Zimmer was just one loss away from the same fate, that's a distinction that looks great on paper but doesn't seem that meaningful.
Even in this hypothetical, 7 wins is a lot better than 3 or 5. You can also swing it the other way, had Blair Walsh been able to make an extra point to save his life or mortar that kickoff, the Vikings would have had 9 wins last year as they really should have beat Detroit. None of this happened so I fail to see the point, particularly since playing the "what if" game will inevitably lead to the Walsh shank in the playoffs where the Vikings were a chip shot away from beating the Seahawks.
Between the roster and cap problems he inherited going into 2011 and the labor dispute that offseason, Frazier never had a realistic chance to win that year in the first place and everybody knew it. Both coaches inherited rosters that practically guaranteed they'd have a losing season in their first year. Zimmer's team made a nice jump from year 1 to year 2 but then, Frazier's team had the biggest single season W/L swing in Vikes history between his first and second year so he had a similar accomplishment. Both coaches had rough seasons in year 3 and in both cases there were significant mitigating circumstances.
The problem is even in a tough year, Zimmer fielded a good defense. Frazier's defense was almost dead last in YPG in his final season. 31st in the league. His secondary holds the NFL record for longest streak without an interception. If he's a victim of circumstance, he wouldn't have failed in Tampa and demoted once again to a positions coach.
I'm not trying to argue about one coach being better than the other but there's a bit of a double standard at work in Vikes Land when the mitigating circumstances for Frazier didn't (and don't) seem to matter much to fans who were happy to see him fired after a similar—if a little more extreme—3 year arc to Zimmer's.
Zimmer is 26-22 as a HC. Frazier was 18-29. How is that even close to the same arc?
There's a double standard in all of this that's frustrated me for a few years now (the same double standard exists in regard to Bridgewater and Ponder) and it brings me back to Reusse's point. Perception of Frazier was hurt from the start because he had the stink of his association with Childress on him and many fans wanted a clean break from Chili's teams.
There is no double standard. As his record shows, Frazier was not a very good HC. His further demotions since leaving the Vikings provides further evidence he's not a very good DC either. His association with Childress may not have helped but he was let go on his own lack of merit.
When he was fired, fans welcomed Zimmer as a "real" coach, the well-seasoned coach Reusse referred to in his column. That perception and warm welcome have stuck despite a similar down-up-down 3 year arc for Zimmer.
Fans welcomed a coach that had proven himself capable on one side of the ball. They bid farewell to a coach whose team collapsed at halftime and couldn't win on the road. They said goodbye to a coach who for half a season could only respond with, "we'll watch more tape" when confronted with issues and questionable indecision.

As I've already pointed out, there's absolutely no correlation between the trajectories of the two coaches. Believing there is only confirms your own bias.
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