There's 3 aspects to football

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S197
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There's 3 aspects to football

Post by S197 » Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:36 pm

I think it's fair to say our defense is where we want it to be. And our offense is much improved. But I wanted to talk about the third part of football, which is special teams. My conclusion being Priefer needs to go.

When the Vikings were struggling there was a good amount of debate on how to best right the ship. My feeling is just like a company, good performance starts at the top and works its way down. Coaching is more important than talent in the long run. That's not to say talent isn't important, just that a good coach can get talented guys to perform at a high level but also your average tier guys to play above their abilities or maybe fully utilize their abilities is a better way to say it.

You look at guys like Thielen, Keenum, Hunter, Sendejo, etc., these were not top tier guys coming out of the draft. Many of them even struggled in other systems but under the current coaching staff, they are playing at a high level. In short, good coaches make players better over time.

I think quite the opposite is happening on special teams. Walsh was the best kicker coming out of college. I think he still holds the record for most consecutive 50+ yard FGs. By the time he left, we were cringing every time he kicked a PAT. Same with Forbath. He has inexplicably gone from being quite reliable (albeit with not as strong a leg) to a downright liability. Marcus Sherels is one of the best returners in football yet the Vikings rank 24th in the league with an average of 6.1 yards per return. Our kickoff returners frequently take ill advised returns nowhere resulting in poor field position for the offense. And we've yet to find a punter that's better than Kluwe.

If you look at special teams as a whole, you see regression nearly everywhere. The exception being coverage, the squad is quite good at that although some of this has to do with the short punts and penchant for more touchbacks due to the rule change. Other than Patterson, who was an elite returner in his own right, have we really seen anyone else on this team improve?

That speaks directly to coaching to me. It's hard to put all the blame on players when there's so many of them, at some point you need to look at the guy who is leading them. This team is good, but to be great you need to be good in all 3 aspects of football. You are going to have a hell of a time beating top tier teams when you leave points off the board or start with poor field position. More than anything, this is my #1 concern with the team.
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Re: There's 3 aspects to football

Post by CbusVikesFan » Tue Nov 28, 2017 7:46 pm

So, has he gotten complacent? Seems a couple years ago the special teams were the highlight of the team. And quite a few sang his praise. I am not sure what to make of decline, but Sherels alone not breaking free for at least one seems odd in itself. Many facets have as you described have fallen off the cliff.
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Re: There's 3 aspects to football

Post by PacificNorseWest » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:53 am

Priefer is a good coach. They have taken a conservative approach and I agree with it given the personnel. Sherels is so reliable, it's insane. They don't have a great kick returner really, but they experimented with McKinnon and I think the best think they did was take him out of that role. He would take it out of the endzone every single time and he would never get to the 25. Quigley has been fine and I barely know the guy with how well their offense has been this season. Forbath isn't a huge problem. They're not great in any one area, but the ST's is not a liability and they cover very well.

I will say I do miss the explosiveness that CP brought, but they don't have that on the roster right now. I'd like to see Coley, but when you have the reliability you have currently, with the offense as proficient as it is, I don't want to mess with a project or an unknown at this point.

I do think Priefer is a coach though.
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Re: There's 3 aspects to football

Post by PurpleKoolaid » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:42 am

PacificNorseWest wrote:Priefer is a good coach. They have taken a conservative approach and I agree with it given the personnel. Sherels is so reliable, it's insane. They don't have a great kick returner really, but they experimented with McKinnon and I think the best think they did was take him out of that role. He would take it out of the endzone every single time and he would never get to the 25. Quigley has been fine and I barely know the guy with how well their offense has been this season. Forbath isn't a huge problem. They're not great in any one area, but the ST's is not a liability and they cover very well.

I will say I do miss the explosiveness that CP brought, but they don't have that on the roster right now. I'd like to see Coley, but when you have the reliability you have currently, with the offense as proficient as it is, I don't want to mess with a project or an unknown at this point.

I do think Priefer is a coach though.
Couldn't disagree more. It wouldnt surprise me if the Vikings wearnt on the bottom half of ST. They cant find anyone to return kicks, and Quigley isnt even average is he? I thought I saw that mentioned here, but it could be on another board or some article. Remember when Walsh just started missing a few easy ones every other game? Thats the path Forbath looks to be heading. I cringe when I see him in the game.
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Re: There's 3 aspects to football

Post by PurpleMustReign » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:17 am

Our special teams are way down this season. I believe losing CP is bigger than anyone would have guessed for our STs.

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Re: There's 3 aspects to football

Post by dead_poet » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:22 am

PurpleKoolaid wrote: Couldn't disagree more. It wouldnt surprise me if the Vikings wearnt on the bottom half of ST. They cant find anyone to return kicks, and Quigley isnt even average is he? I thought I saw that mentioned here, but it could be on another board or some article. Remember when Walsh just started missing a few easy ones every other game? Thats the path Forbath looks to be heading. I cringe when I see him in the game.
Quigley is 27th in Net average, though I think that's skewed slightly because (just from my memory) the offense has been doing a good job of getting yards. When they stall, they're doing so so Quigley is punting more to keep inside the opponent's 20 than for sheer distance. His 43 total punts is 9th fewest in the league. Of those in the top-10 in least punts attempted, Quigley has the third most downed inside the 20. He also has the most fair catches in the league (22). From just the eyeball test, Quigley looks fine and not a liability.

The coverage teams are OK. They've only allowed 85 punt return yards all year (10th best and only four yards shy of 6th place). If I'm reading the kickoff coverage stats correctly, the Vikings aren't the best (they average the 7th most kickoff return average).

Forbath is 6th in field goal made percentage and 21st in PAT made average.

The Vikings are actually 5th in average KR yards and fourth in average PR yards.

While I agree Priefer's unit doesn't feel as dominant as they've been in years' past, they still are in the upper tier as far as special teams units.
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Re: There's 3 aspects to football

Post by DK Sweets » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:38 pm

dead_poet wrote:Quigley is 27th in Net average, though I think that's skewed slightly because (just from my memory) the offense has been doing a good job of getting yards. When they stall, they're doing so so Quigley is punting more to keep inside the opponent's 20 than for sheer distance. His 43 total punts is 9th fewest in the league. Of those in the top-10 in least punts attempted, Quigley has the third most downed inside the 20. He also has the most fair catches in the league (22). From just the eyeball test, Quigley looks fine and not a liability.

The coverage teams are OK. They've only allowed 85 punt return yards all year (10th best and only four yards shy of 6th place). If I'm reading the kickoff coverage stats correctly, the Vikings aren't the best (they average the 7th most kickoff return average).

Forbath is 6th in field goal made percentage and 21st in PAT made average.

The Vikings are actually 5th in average KR yards and fourth in average PR yards.

While I agree Priefer's unit doesn't feel as dominant as they've been in years' past, they still are in the upper tier as far as special teams units.
Great post. I was surprised that we were upset with or special teams but I couldn't quite figure out why.

They haven't jumped off the screen to me in a bad way, and that seems to be what the numbers suggest. i will admit that we're less dynamic than in previous years, but I think people have forgotten what it's like to clinch your cheeks on every punt because somebody is probably returning it at least 10 yards.
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Re: There's 3 aspects to football

Post by S197 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:42 pm

Based on this, the Vikings are 24th in average PR yards.

http://www.espn.com/nfl/statistics/team ... on/defense

Forbath was accurate but like Walsh, he seems to be struggling more as time progresses. Quigley is okay but nothing special and lets not forget about Locke, who turned into a dud.

Patterson was brought in to be a #1 receiver. You don't trade up into the 1st for a kick returner, that was just a nice bonus. That's the gist of my post, who is a guy on special teams that has improved under Prifer's tenure? Walsh got worse. Forbath is looking worse. Sherels is worse. Locke was a miss. Quigley doesn't seem any better than Kluwe. Jet was pretty bad at KR.

I'll give him coverage, I think guys like Brothers and Kearse are doing quite well. But at the bigger skill positions, it looks worrisome to me. Especially from a development standpoint. We can't give away points like we did with the Rams and Lions down the stretch.
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Re: There's 3 aspects to football

Post by DK Sweets » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:53 pm

S197 wrote:Based on this, the Vikings are 24th in average PR yards.

http://www.espn.com/nfl/statistics/team ... on/defense

Forbath was accurate but like Walsh, he seems to be struggling more as time progresses. Quigley is okay but nothing special and lets not forget about Locke, who turned into a dud.

Patterson was brought in to be a #1 receiver. You don't trade up into the 1st for a kick returner, that was just a nice bonus. That's the gist of my post, who is a guy on special teams that has improved under Prifer's tenure? Walsh got worse. Forbath is looking worse. Sherels is worse. Locke was a miss. Quigley doesn't seem any better than Kluwe. Jet was pretty bad at KR.

I'll give him coverage, I think guys like Brothers and Kearse are doing quite well. But at the bigger skill positions, it looks worrisome to me. Especially from a development standpoint. We can't give away points like we did with the Rams and Lions down the stretch.
Korbath has been inconsistent, that's why we're his 3rd team.

Patterson failing as a WR is absolutely 0% Priefer's fault. How was he supposed to help that?

Walsh was terribly inconsistent in college and turned out that way in the pros. Forbath is the same. Sherels is older. I don't understand the complaints about Quigly.

Locke wasn't good and Jet was a bad KR, but let's flip the script for a second: who has Priefer made worse? Every player you've mentioned so far he has failed to fix, but who has he made worse?

I ask this because he has DEFINITELY improved our coverage, so if we improve in coverage and stay the same at the "skill" positions, I'm content with that.
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Re: There's 3 aspects to football

Post by dead_poet » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:53 pm

S197 wrote:Based on this, the Vikings are 24th in average PR yards.

http://www.espn.com/nfl/statistics/team ... on/defense.
Look at the header again when you sort by PR average ("NFL Opponent Returning Statistics - 2017") . I think it's referring to average PR yards allowed. I could be wrong.
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Re: There's 3 aspects to football

Post by S197 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:15 pm

DK Sweets wrote:Korbath has been inconsistent, that's why we're his 3rd team.

Patterson failing as a WR is absolutely 0% Priefer's fault. How was he supposed to help that?

Walsh was terribly inconsistent in college and turned out that way in the pros. Forbath is the same. Sherels is older. I don't understand the complaints about Quigly.

Locke wasn't good and Jet was a bad KR, but let's flip the script for a second: who has Priefer made worse? Every player you've mentioned so far he has failed to fix, but who has he made worse?

I ask this because he has DEFINITELY improved our coverage, so if we improve in coverage and stay the same at the "skill" positions, I'm content with that.
The comment about Patterson wasn't to fault Priefer, I was just saying he was taken to be more than a KR. Much more. In essence, I don't think Priefer had much to do with that pick.

I'd say he made Walsh worse. From NFL record holder for 50+ yarders to shanking PATs and chip shots. His decline was massive. Forbath is headed the same direction and lets not forget he had an entire offseason to get someone else if Forbath wasn't that good. In fact he chose him because he was supposedly more accurate than the other guy who had the stronger leg.

If we flip the script, who has been better under him? Conversely, I'm assuming he was instrumental in drafting/obtaining all of the kickers, punters, and returners that turned out to be not very good. I think he has a lot more misses than hits and thus back to my original point, when it's not just one or two guys but numerous, I'm looking at the coach.
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Re: There's 3 aspects to football

Post by DK Sweets » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:30 pm

S197 wrote:I'd say he made Walsh worse. From NFL record holder for 50+ yarders to shanking PATs and chip shots. His decline was massive.
Would you do me a favor and post Walsh's number from his final year in college? If we don't give Priefer credit for making Walsh viable at any point in his career, he doesn't get blamed for a headcase being a headcase. That, at least, seems fair to me.
Forbath is headed the same direction and lets not forget he had an entire offseason to get someone else if Forbath wasn't that good. In fact he chose him because he was supposedly more accurate than the other guy who had the stronger leg.
Forbath is about league average right now, and good kickers don't just pop up everywhere. I don't know how else to respond to that.

If we flip the script, who has been better under him?
...you don't get to just reverse my question back to the original question that you've been asking the whole time. That was the point of your whole post, man.
Conversely, I'm assuming he was instrumental in drafting/obtaining all of the kickers, punters, and returners that turned out to be not very good. I think he has a lot more misses than hits and thus back to my original point, when it's not just one or two guys but numerous, I'm looking at the coach.
I mentioned the turnaround that our coverage units have made, which seems to be something you're overlooking. Coverage units are difficult to maintain because of the turnover - you're using bottom of the roster guys usually, and injuries can really screw that up.

You're focusing on one individual per play, and that doesn't seem fair to me. I also think it's odd to ask for a coaches head who has put together good units year after year, which I find odd.
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Re: There's 3 aspects to football

Post by PacificNorseWest » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:32 pm

PurpleKoolaid wrote: Couldn't disagree more. It wouldnt surprise me if the Vikings wearnt on the bottom half of ST. They cant find anyone to return kicks, and Quigley isnt even average is he? I thought I saw that mentioned here, but it could be on another board or some article. Remember when Walsh just started missing a few easy ones every other game? Thats the path Forbath looks to be heading. I cringe when I see him in the game.
That's personnel, not coaching. I think Priefer is a good coach. Doesn't have much to work with. They are taking a conservative approach in the kicking game and it's working. I think a better indicator of coaching is the coverage teams and they have been very good.
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Re: There's 3 aspects to football

Post by mansquatch » Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:29 am

Walsh had "headcase" issues in college at Georgia before the Vikings drafted him. His first year made it seem like the Vikings had "cracked the code" and fixed him. In reality, that first season was the aberration and Walsh began a steady decline as he reverted to his mean.

IMO, at least when it comes to kickers, the Vikings have shown an inability to get them to be more than they are. I do not feel like they wrecked Walsh or Forbath, more that over time those players have performed at their own respective levels.

Priefer has at times shown remarkable innovation on ST, using CP84 last year as PR Gunner was genius. I think we are down this year in part because we do not have raw athletic talent as a gunner like we did when CP84 was doing the job. Obviously Patterson was taken where he was in the draft to be a lot more than a gunner and kick returner, but that is a different issue.

I'm sure salary cap plays into this. Teams are not going to expense cap dollars in any meaningful quantity on punters or gunners, or even kickers. So it is up to the coaches to get the most out of their "budget" so to speak. In this respect I'm not sure I'd say Priefer is an A, but I wouldn't say he is a D or an F either.
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Re: There's 3 aspects to football

Post by S197 » Fri Dec 01, 2017 3:19 pm

DK Sweets wrote: Would you do me a favor and post Walsh's number from his final year in college? If we don't give Priefer credit for making Walsh viable at any point in his career, he doesn't get blamed for a headcase being a headcase. That, at least, seems fair to me.
Forbath is about league average right now, and good kickers don't just pop up everywhere. I don't know how else to respond to that.

...you don't get to just reverse my question back to the original question that you've been asking the whole time. That was the point of your whole post, man.
I mentioned the turnaround that our coverage units have made, which seems to be something you're overlooking. Coverage units are difficult to maintain because of the turnover - you're using bottom of the roster guys usually, and injuries can really screw that up.

You're focusing on one individual per play, and that doesn't seem fair to me. I also think it's odd to ask for a coaches head who has put together good units year after year, which I find odd.
Even if you subscribe to the theory that Walsh is a head case, Priefer still wanted him and drafted him, so why would he be off the hook? The majority of kickers are UDFA's, typically when you draft you get a Mason Crosby or Zuerlein type of guy. Not always, but that's what you would be looking for.

Also, I don't know why you're saying I'm overlooking the coverage unit as I mentioned that aspect and in fact named several players.

The bottom line is a championship team needs to be good in all 3 aspects. Special teams is not good. They cost us a playoff game and several regular season games last year. KR's this year have resulted in poor field position and we are still leaving points off the board. The offense is better than last year so that has helped mask the issues but the underlying issues are still there.
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