Where is the Elite Defense?

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PacificNorseWest
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Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by PacificNorseWest » Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:36 pm

It might be a good time to get Iloka involved.
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Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by MikethePurple » Fri Sep 28, 2018 6:13 pm

PacificNorseWest wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:36 pm
It might be a good time to get Iloka involved.
This! The first game or two seemed understandable. But I really don't have a clue about why he hasn't been utilized, especially with a struggling secondary and mismatches with linebackers covering receivers. He is reportedly very smart and worked within Zimmer's system before. A huge question mark on why he hasn't been utilized.
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S197
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Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by S197 » Fri Sep 28, 2018 6:38 pm

Iloka isn't any faster than Barr. They're both 4.66 guys.
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Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by PacificNorseWest » Fri Sep 28, 2018 6:42 pm

S197 wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 6:38 pm
Iloka isn't any faster than Barr. They're both 4.66 guys.
Barr doesn't seem to have very good football instincts. I'm not concerned with speed. If you can recognize things, it can make up for some lack of speed. Iloka being a DB, he should have better trained eyes for coverage and whether we blame Zim for Barr being out of position or it's Minnesota being out-schemed or not, it's not working right now with him. Barr is much better sideline to sideline.
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Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by PurpleMustReign » Fri Sep 28, 2018 10:44 pm

I don't care what stats say, stars don't tell the whole story. Numbers are great over 16 games but worthless over what is now just 25% of the season. We have invested an incredible amount of money in defense on this team, yet they look like Leslie Frasier is coaching them again. What bothers me is it us getting worse. Drew Brees started it, and everyone else has taken advantage. We play at ohilly next week, and with their offense, they could easily score 50.
Good teams don't not win games when their offense scores 30 points. Our tie and one of our losses came when the offense scored 29 and 31 points respectively.
Again, stats mean nothing when put in a vacuum.
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Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by Vikings CrucifiXS » Sat Sep 29, 2018 12:42 pm

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Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by J. Kapp 11 » Sat Sep 29, 2018 2:19 pm

OK, I've had a couple days to calm down. Time to think rationally. Thanks for putting up with my rants. I still hate the Rams and the smug Sean McVay, but I digress.

Here's the truth, and it's ugly. Beginning with the Eagles in the NFCC game last year, this defense, which led the NFL in 2017 giving up just 15.8 ppg during the regular season, has given up 29.6 ppg. By comparison, the Houston Texans gave up the most points in the league last year at 27.3 ppg.

That means, since the Eagles debacle, we are pretty much dead last in scoring defense. We've gone from first to dead last.

So here's my question ... have the guys on the defensive side of the ball gotten complacent?

You've got Kendricks, Griffen, Harry and Rhodes with new (or relatively new) contracts. They're in their shiny new facility at TCO Performance Center. Their defense was the talk of the league last year. Everybody loved them. And they've been together for a few years now and know what they're doing in Zimmer's scheme (comfortable?).

Maybe they've just gotten soft.

I mean, last year, they were FEROCIOUS. They got after it every play. Even the first half of the Saints game, they were absolutely dominating. Now it looks like they're running in sand. They have no fire. There's no ferocity. They almost look like they don't care. Like they think all they have to do is suit up, and opposing offenses will simply crumble.

Don't give me excuses of short fields, or they only gave up field goals to the Packers. The defense, to this point, doesn't pass any test, eye or statistical. They're just flat-out BAD. They do seem to stiffen in the red zone, but by every other standard, they're terrible. For example, they rarely gave up big plays last year, surrendering a grand total of 40 plays of 20 yards or more. Against the Rams, they gave up 10 ... in one game! They're on pace to give up twice as many chunk plays as last year.

Have these guys fallen victim to believing their own press?
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Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by Maelstrom88 » Sat Sep 29, 2018 3:45 pm

I think complacency is part of it.
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Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by Mothman » Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:09 pm

My two cents: I'm guessing we're seeing a number of factors at work. I've sensed a little complacency. Maybe they read too much of their own press or Zimmer's confidence rubbed off on them a little too much and they became overconfident.

Newman and Robison are gone and Griffen's missed two games. Those are more recent changes and don't date back to last postseason but that's a potentially significant loss of veteran leadership. I doubt that's the main problem but maybe it's a factor?

I think the main problem is they are being out-schemed and out-played. The Rams executed very well, as did Philly in the championship game. However, teams are deliberately working to take Smith out of the game as much as possible. They are attacking the LBs in coverage and taking advantage of inexperience/vulnerability at DB (for example, Hughes has promise but his inexperience has been evident). They are finding and creating mismatches. No matter how good Barr is at his best, an LB in coverage against a WR or an RB with Gurley's ability is always going to be a mismatch. The Vikes play a lot of man-to-man coverage and that can work but it can also look pretty bad if the opposing team finds a mismatch they can exploit.

This won't be popular but to some extent, I think the Vikings defensive might has been a bit illusory. Don't get me wrong, they delivered some superb performances last season and statistically, they were great but NO and Philly weren't the first teams to score effectively against them in 2017. Pittsburgh put 26 on them early in the season, although the Vikes forced a bunch of FGs in that game. The Redskins (with our current QB) put up 30 in a losing effort. The Panthers scored 31 points and rushed for over 200 yards. In my view, those weren't just anomalies but signs that the defense might not be as dominant as advertised. The difference this year is the superb performances are missing and all we're getting is mediocre-to-bad play.

I think the solution starts with the scheme. They might have to switch things up and play a little more zone or something to protect those LBs.
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Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by Mothman » Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:13 pm

PurpleMustReign wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 10:44 pm
I don't care what stats say, stars don't tell the whole story. Numbers are great over 16 games but worthless over what is now just 25% of the season. We have invested an incredible amount of money in defense on this team, yet they look like Leslie Frasier is coaching them again.
Ironically, the defense he's coaching almost shut them out last Sunday after struggling in the first two weeks of the season.
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Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by HardcoreVikesFan » Sat Sep 29, 2018 5:10 pm

Mothman wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:09 pm
My two cents: I'm guessing we're seeing a number of factors at work. I've sensed a little complacency. Maybe they read too much of their own press or Zimmer's confidence rubbed off on them a little too much and they became overconfident.

Newman and Robison are gone and Griffen's missed two games. Those are more recent changes and don't date back to last postseason but that's a potentially significant loss of veteran leadership. I doubt that's the main problem but maybe it's a factor?

I think the main problem is they are being out-schemed and out-played. The Rams executed very well, as did Philly in the championship game. However, teams are deliberately working to take Smith out of the game as much as possible. They are attacking the LBs in coverage and taking advantage of inexperience/vulnerability at DB (for example, Hughes has promise but his inexperience has been evident). They are finding and creating mismatches. No matter how good Barr is at his best, an LB in coverage against a WR or an RB with Gurley's ability is always going to be a mismatch. The Vikes play a lot of man-to-man coverage and that can work but it can also look pretty bad if the opposing team finds a mismatch they can exploit.

This won't be popular but to some extent, I think the Vikings defensive might has been a bit illusory. Don't get me wrong, they delivered some superb performances last season and statistically, they were great but NO and Philly weren't the first teams to score effectively against them in 2017. Pittsburgh put 26 on them early in the season, although the Vikes forced a bunch of FGs in that game. The Redskins (with our current QB) put up 30 in a losing effort. The Panthers scored 31 points and rushed for over 200 yards. In my view, those weren't just anomalies but signs that the defense might not be as dominant as advertised. The difference this year is the superb performances are missing and all we're getting is mediocre-to-bad play.

I think the solution starts with the scheme. They might have to switch things up and play a little more zone or something to protect those LBs.
I will agree with your sentiment Jim: I too have believed the defense to be illusory over the past few years. Too susceptible to the big play. Too easily demoralized. Too undisciplined at critical moments in games. Too easily can the pass rush disappear.

This team has major issues on defense. I still don't understand the defensive strategy against the Rams. We sat in zone coverage way too often. It is so easy to recognize when we go zone too - our corners telegraph it by playing off coverage.

Zimmer not only needs to adjust, he needs to be WILLING to adjust - or this season will be even more lost.
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Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by PurpleMustReign » Sat Sep 29, 2018 9:55 pm

Mothman wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:13 pm
Ironically, the defense he's coaching almost shut them out last Sunday after struggling in the first two weeks of the season.
You're right but he is no longer calling the defensive plays.
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Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by Mothman » Sun Sep 30, 2018 6:39 am

PurpleMustReign wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 9:55 pm
You're right but he is no longer calling the defensive plays.
I thought the same thing going into the game becauseMcDermott took over the defensive play calling during the game a week earlier. However, it turns out he returned those duties to Frazier for the Vikings game. Frazier called the defense against the Vikings and he was given a game ball for his efforts:

http://www.startribune.com/former-vikin ... 494087751/
It was a good week for Leslie Frazier and a not-so-good week for the perception that the NFL game has moved past the former Vikings head coach.

Last Monday, Bills coach Sean McDermott returned the defensive play-calling duties to Frazier, his defensive coordinator. Six days later, McDermott handed Frazier a game ball after Buffalo’s defense manhandled the Vikings in the NFL’s biggest upset in the past 23 years.
Anyway, that's not what's important in this thread but it is ironic, under the circumstances.
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Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by Mothman » Sun Sep 30, 2018 6:40 am

HardcoreVikesFan wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 5:10 pm
I will agree with your sentiment Jim: I too have believed the defense to be illusory over the past few years. Too susceptible to the big play. Too easily demoralized. Too undisciplined at critical moments in games. Too easily can the pass rush disappear.

This team has major issues on defense. I still don't understand the defensive strategy against the Rams. We sat in zone coverage way too often. It is so easy to recognize when we go zone too - our corners telegraph it by playing off coverage.

Zimmer not only needs to adjust, he needs to be WILLING to adjust - or this season will be even more lost.
Well said. I hope he'll show that willingness. It seems like he can be pretty stubborn.
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Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by VikingLord » Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:30 pm

Mothman wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:09 pm
I think the solution starts with the scheme. They might have to switch things up and play a little more zone or something to protect those LBs.
The question I have is, what sort of a scheme even allows a WR to run a route covered by a LB? I mean, on the one play against the Rams where Cupp beat Barr, Cupp starts that play with a CB covering him. Apparently, the defense is a zone defense, as Cupp runs a shallow crossing route and then turns it up the field as soon as he sees he's being covered by the LB and not the CB. And on that same play, the CB just sits in his area. As Cupp releases from the LOS after the snap, the CB just sits there, looking for someone to run into his area, but basically with no effective purpose. He does nothing.

If this is a zone scheme, it sucks. The only way the scheme makes any sense at all is if the LB can cut off the shallow route and/or pressure gets to the QB in time for force a shorter throw where the LB still has a chance to close and tackle. But once the WR turns up the field, it's over. There is no way the LB can keep cover on that, nor even make a tackle save a very poor throw.

I'd like to fault Barr on this play, but I see zero reason for a CB to line up across a WR and just let the guy go knowing he's going to be released to a LB or even end up wide open. That is just a defensive coordinator making way too many assumptions. At the very least, blitz that CB. If he's got nothing better to do if the WR takes off inside, at least get him into the pressure part of the equation so the QB might have less time to wait for that WR to turn up the field and/or force him into a less comfortable throw.

And for anyone who doesn't think this is something the Vikings defense has put on tape that the Rams were fairly certain they could use, just watch the post-play hip bump between Goff and the coach. They knew that play would be there. They were confident of it.

Zimmer has to change things up. He's actually at an advantage to do so. Now, OCs are very confident they can read Vikings coverages pre-snap, so give them those pre-snap looks, and then throw something at them they don't expect, like the CB doesn't come off the guy, or he comes on an option blitz if he sees the WR release, or the LB comes up and does a hard jam on the WR within 5 yards before he can get a clean release, throwing off the route and timing. Just do SOMETHING different. Vikes are 4 games into this season and opposing OCs are playing Zimmer's defense like a fiddle.
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