VikingLord wrote: ↑
Mon Dec 28, 2020 5:14 pm
Look, I understand the negativity and dour outlook and the desire to blame Zimmer, but I just have to point out that the Vikings went into this offseason needing a full set of OTAs and training camp more than just about any other team in the NFL due to the wholesale changes that were made at CB in the secondary. Those young guys needed that time badly to have any chance of hitting the ground running and while you can blame Zimmer and Spielman for allowing the defensive secondary to be in that situation in the first place, you can't blame them for assuming they'd get that necessary time in the offseason. Along those lines, you can't blame Zimmer for losing his best defensive end and a core FA acquisition who was supposed to shore up the middle of the defensive line. You can't blame Zimmer for losing a key player on defense in Barr and then arguably his best defensive player in Kendricks later in the season just as the team was rounding the corner into contention. I also can't blame Zimmer for the weaknesses in the interior OL play save maybe he should have ditched Samia sooner. Likewise, it's hard to blame Zimmer for Dan Bailey's sudden severe case of the yips or the utter failure of the special teams, the bad calls that went against the Vikings in some key games, etc.
No disputes or disagreements with the cards we/he were dealt this year. My point is not that Zimmer is a bad coach. I think he falls short in major areas as a HC, and I am supremely disappointed in his selection of assistant coaches, but he's not Adam Gase (after all, Gase is on a winning streak! jk).
What I am saying is that I have lost faith he has what it takes to move this team forward from where they are now. Where they are now doesn't suck, it's just maddeningly mediocre.
So, in what areas does Zimmer fall short in moving this team forward? And in particular, what areas has he shown little to no progress in the last 3-4 years?
Selection of assistant coaches (talent and nepotism);
General attitude towards players, particularly post-game after a loss;
His - or his designate - handling of kickers and special teams in general. Not hard at all to blame Zim for that, it's called HEAD coach for a reason;
Not sure why but his whiff on how to use Cordarelle Patterson still irks me to no end;
His - or his designate - handling of QB's (I think at best he's been largely hands off with Cousins, and at worst he - or the young Kubiak - has made him a lesser decision-making QB). While I believe this to be true, I am prepared to give a hall pass due to the state of the OL. However...
Apparent inability to solve problems, such as the OL woes. He's the guy running the team on the field, if he does not agree with how the GM picks OL then he needs to help solve the problem, not ignore it. IMO this issue has more to do with coaching the OL than selecting the OL, but that is again Zim's domain.
His lack of responsibility for bad performances/losses - they never seem to be due to coaching, according to Zim;
You can "blame" Rick or anyone else as much as you want, but that implies Zim just sits around and does nothing to improve our ability to select OL for instance. And sitting around "accepting fate" is NOT a trait I want in my HC.
As an aside, I don't think he's been the same coach since all the eye surgeries.
I get the sense he is a good X and O defensive coach, at least when listening to others in the league who have played against him. I never know who is blowing smoke, but I'll take the comments at face value and say he's good at defensive X's and O's.
To me, anecdotally, he's a terrible motivator of young men. I have no hard proof of that. But I've been around enough of these coaches to spot the better and worse, and Zim is way down the list.
All in all, my "best case cautious" approach would be to fire the coaching staff. Start interviews, and if a guy like Urban Meyer (don't want him, we won't get him) says he wants input/control/whatever on the GM position and does not want to work with Rick, well then bye bye Rick. Give the new guy carte blanche to dump Cousins or whoever does not fit his vision of things.
I do not want to see 40-50 coaches and front office staff fired (nor would the Wilfs dream of doing that I believe), which would be the result of the "fire Zim and Rick right now!!" crowd. Especially because I see zero assistant coaches prepared to even interview for the HC position, much less get it. And if the top goes, it's not like either staff has much of a chance of sticking around. That would be turmoil. Not horrible, but not a great scenario.
I'll end with a question revolving around firing Zim, Rick or both at season end - how attractive would either or both positions be to the outside world? Compared to JAX? Compared to NYJ?