Never gets old watching the Packers lose.

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J. Kapp 11
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Re: Never gets old watching the Packers lose.

Post by J. Kapp 11 » Thu Jan 28, 2021 3:32 pm

VikingLord wrote:
Thu Jan 28, 2021 11:01 am
Despite what you're saying, I still can't see either Zimmer or Cousins doing what Arians and Brady did in that situation. Not in a meaningless late season game between bottom feeders, but in high-stakes championship game with a Superbowl appearance on the line.
I just do not see how this was such an amazing play call. In fact, my guess is that a bomb to Miller wasn't even the call. I think the purpose of Miller's route was to clear out an underneath sideline route, but the Packers blew the coverage.

Let's run it back.

The Bucs had 8 seconds left. They were on the 40, so effectively out of FG range, but close enough to FG range that they could get there with one more completion. They had no timeouts. It's very likely that Miller's job was to run a go route and clear the zone, with a receiver working to the sideline behind him. But Green Bay got greedy. They were in Cover 3, selling out to stop the sideline routes. They wanted to prevent TB from even getting 3 points. Brady came to the line and was probably surprised to see that he had Miller singled up, with no safety help to that side. Brady immediately knew that if Miller could get a good release, there was a great chance to hit him deep. At the snap, reading deep to shallow, Brady saw that Miller had a step, so he let it fly. Definitely give credit to Brady for making the read and for making a pinpoint throw downfield. But I don't think that was the call.

I'd bet my house that if you put the Vikings in that situation, they would have dialed up a similar play. And I'd further bet that if Kirk Cousins saw the same coverage Brady saw, he would have made the same read Brady did.

The difference is whether Cousins actually would have made the throw ... which to comes down to coaching and philosophy.

Bruce Arians encourages his QBs to take the deep shot if it's there. Doesn't matter the situation. Brady has the freedom to take a shot without fear of retribution if it fails. Arians would rather take a shot at the big score and get nothing than play it safe and get 3.

Zimmer, on the other hand, is a completely different animal. He's gonna be absolutely furious if his QB gambles there and fails. With the scary prospect of a maniacal, red-faced Zimmer screaming at him, Cousins probably would have opted for the safest throw possible.

Conversely, if you put Cousins in Arians' system, he probably would have made the same throw Brady did. Not saying he would have been successful. But I bet he'd make the throw.

This is what I mean when I say that Zimmer has coached the gunslinger out of Kirk Cousins. Zimmer hates gunslingers, even when gunslinging is the right thing to do.
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Re: Never gets old watching the Packers lose.

Post by StumpHunter » Thu Jan 28, 2021 4:40 pm

J. Kapp 11 wrote:
Thu Jan 28, 2021 3:32 pm
VikingLord wrote:
Thu Jan 28, 2021 11:01 am
Despite what you're saying, I still can't see either Zimmer or Cousins doing what Arians and Brady did in that situation. Not in a meaningless late season game between bottom feeders, but in high-stakes championship game with a Superbowl appearance on the line.
I just do not see how this was such an amazing play call. In fact, my guess is that a bomb to Miller wasn't even the call. I think the purpose of Miller's route was to clear out an underneath sideline route, but the Packers blew the coverage.

Let's run it back.

The Bucs had 8 seconds left. They were on the 40, so effectively out of FG range, but close enough to FG range that they could get there with one more completion. They had no timeouts. It's very likely that Miller's job was to run a go route and clear the zone, with a receiver working to the sideline behind him. But Green Bay got greedy. They were in Cover 3, selling out to stop the sideline routes. They wanted to prevent TB from even getting 3 points. Brady came to the line and was probably surprised to see that he had Miller singled up, with no safety help to that side. Brady immediately knew that if Miller could get a good release, there was a great chance to hit him deep. At the snap, reading deep to shallow, Brady saw that Miller had a step, so he let it fly. Definitely give credit to Brady for making the read and for making a pinpoint throw downfield. But I don't think that was the call.

I'd bet my house that if you put the Vikings in that situation, they would have dialed up a similar play. And I'd further bet that if Kirk Cousins saw the same coverage Brady saw, he would have made the same read Brady did.

The difference is whether Cousins actually would have made the throw ... which to comes down to coaching and philosophy.

Bruce Arians encourages his QBs to take the deep shot if it's there. Doesn't matter the situation. Brady has the freedom to take a shot without fear of retribution if it fails. Arians would rather take a shot at the big score and get nothing than play it safe and get 3.

Zimmer, on the other hand, is a completely different animal. He's gonna be absolutely furious if his QB gambles there and fails. With the scary prospect of a maniacal, red-faced Zimmer screaming at him, Cousins probably would have opted for the safest throw possible.

Conversely, if you put Cousins in Arians' system, he probably would have made the same throw Brady did. Not saying he would have been successful. But I bet he'd make the throw.

This is what I mean when I say that Zimmer has coached the gunslinger out of Kirk Cousins. Zimmer hates gunslingers, even when gunslinging is the right thing to do.
Percentage of deep throws by Cousins by year:
2020
12.6
2019
13.7
2018
10.6
2017
12.2
2016
13.2
2015
11.2

Outside of 2018, it looks like Cousins is still throwing it deep as much as he ever has. He is also throwing as many picks as ever, outside of 2019, so even that aspect of being a gun slinger is still there. What part of Cousins' game is different from his time in Washington, aside from him putting up better numbers now?
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Re: Never gets old watching the Packers lose.

Post by Pondering Her Percy » Fri Jan 29, 2021 8:44 am

J. Kapp 11 wrote:
Thu Jan 28, 2021 3:32 pm

This is what I mean when I say that Zimmer has coached the gunslinger out of Kirk Cousins. Zimmer hates gunslingers, even when gunslinging is the right thing to do.
FACTS!
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Re: Never gets old watching the Packers lose.

Post by StumpHunter » Fri Jan 29, 2021 9:58 am

Pondering Her Percy wrote:
Fri Jan 29, 2021 8:44 am
J. Kapp 11 wrote:
Thu Jan 28, 2021 3:32 pm

This is what I mean when I say that Zimmer has coached the gunslinger out of Kirk Cousins. Zimmer hates gunslingers, even when gunslinging is the right thing to do.
FACTS!
OPINION!

Facts are what I posted, what Kapp posted was a perception based on what Cousins was before he was on the Vikings.

Here is Cousins EPA over the years:

https://twitter.com/packeRanalytics/sta ... 29025?s=09

2018 we see a significant dip when we ran the pass first offense people are clamoring for now. 2019 was similar to his best year in Washington and 2020 is similar to his other two year with Washington.

Where is the evidence Zimmer is doing anything with Cousins except make him a better QB?
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Re: Never gets old watching the Packers lose.

Post by J. Kapp 11 » Fri Jan 29, 2021 12:49 pm

StumpHunter wrote:
Fri Jan 29, 2021 9:58 am
Pondering Her Percy wrote:
Fri Jan 29, 2021 8:44 am


FACTS!
OPINION!

Facts are what I posted, what Kapp posted was a perception based on what Cousins was before he was on the Vikings.

Here is Cousins EPA over the years:

https://twitter.com/packeRanalytics/sta ... 29025?s=09

2018 we see a significant dip when we ran the pass first offense people are clamoring for now. 2019 was similar to his best year in Washington and 2020 is similar to his other two year with Washington.

Where is the evidence Zimmer is doing anything with Cousins except make him a better QB?
Good stuff. I stand corrected on the gunslinger comment. But I don't concede the rest of it.

Unfortunately the EPA stats you've cited fail to address situational football. While EPA is a great stat for overall performance, it doesn't address whether Cousins would have even attempted the pass Brady did, given similar circumstances. I still maintain that Cousins probably wouldn't have thrown that ball. I would further maintain the reason he wouldn't have thrown it is because Zimmer would have emphasized getting in FG position over scoring the TD. Obviously those are my opinions, but I don't see any facts here that disprove the theory for this one specific situation, mainly because EPA can't disprove the likelihood of a decision ... only the outcome of a play after the fact.

As for Zimmer making Cousins a better QB, that's also not provable by EPA. At best, it's a correlation. If his EPA is roughly the same as it was in Washington, then how is he better? And even if EPA proves conclusively that he's better, how do you know it's attributable to Zimmer and not to some other factor or factors (QB coach, scheme, personnel, experience, etc.)? Truth is, EPA can't prove that.

You mention 2018 as Cousins' low point. I would love to know his EPA over the first 8 weeks of 2018, when he was on a 5,000-yard pace with 16 TDs and 4 picks. Other than the Buffalo game, Cousins was outstanding at times during that stretch, playing maybe some of his best football with the Vikings, even though the team was only 4-3-1. However, if not for 3 missed Dan Carlson FGs, the team would have been 5-3 at the halfway point, and we might be talking about 2018 in an entirely different light.

Not trying to trash you or your argument. EPA is a great stat. I'm just saying there's more here than EPA can prove.
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Re: Never gets old watching the Packers lose.

Post by StumpHunter » Fri Jan 29, 2021 2:05 pm

J. Kapp 11 wrote:
Fri Jan 29, 2021 12:49 pm

You mention 2018 as Cousins' low point. I would love to know his EPA over the first 8 weeks of 2018, when he was on a 5,000-yard pace with 16 TDs and 4 picks. Other than the Buffalo game, Cousins was outstanding at times during that stretch, playing maybe some of his best football with the Vikings, even though the team was only 4-3-1. However, if not for 3 missed Dan Carlson FGs, the team would have been 5-3 at the halfway point, and we might be talking about 2018 in an entirely different light.
The link I posted charts the passes over the season and shows that his worst EPA was during the beginning of the season in 2018. Same with 2019 and 2020 actually. The difference in 2018 is that it never went above the 50th percentile like it did towards the middle of 2019 and 2020.

To your point about Cousins versus Brady, I agree that Cousins would be more aggressive with Arians coaching him. I just think that would result in a season more like Winstons' 2019 season than Brady's 2020 one. Arians is one of the few remaining coaches who's passing game lives primarily beyond the sticks and he does indeed coach his QBs to take shots more often than other coaches do. It worked with Brady and to a lesser extent Carson Palmer and Andrew Luck, it hasn't with any other QB.

I also don't know if that offense would work if Arians didn't have Godwin and Evans on the outside and an excellent offensive line even with Brady at QB. Similar to the Denny offenses when he was here in MN, they take a huge investment in offensive talent and typically that is at the expense of the defense. We will see how long that team is able to maintain their success when some of their young guys like Barret and Godwin start looking for big pay checks next season.
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Re: Never gets old watching the Packers lose.

Post by VikingLord » Mon Feb 01, 2021 12:47 pm

J. Kapp 11 wrote:
Thu Jan 28, 2021 3:32 pm
Let's run it back.

The Bucs had 8 seconds left. They were on the 40, so effectively out of FG range, but close enough to FG range that they could get there with one more completion. They had no timeouts. It's very likely that Miller's job was to run a go route and clear the zone, with a receiver working to the sideline behind him. But Green Bay got greedy. They were in Cover 3, selling out to stop the sideline routes. They wanted to prevent TB from even getting 3 points. Brady came to the line and was probably surprised to see that he had Miller singled up, with no safety help to that side. Brady immediately knew that if Miller could get a good release, there was a great chance to hit him deep. At the snap, reading deep to shallow, Brady saw that Miller had a step, so he let it fly. Definitely give credit to Brady for making the read and for making a pinpoint throw downfield. But I don't think that was the call.

I'd bet my house that if you put the Vikings in that situation, they would have dialed up a similar play. And I'd further bet that if Kirk Cousins saw the same coverage Brady saw, he would have made the same read Brady did.
That's a good recap of that situation, but I think if you made that bet there is a very good chance you'd be homeless right now.

It comes down to mentality. Most coaches and QBs in that situation would be more than content to settle for the recent turnover that took the home team's offense off the field, the lead going into the half, and a quick out to the sideline that at worst would wind up incomplete or at best give them a chance for a long field goal attempt to potentially pad their lead by 3.

Zimmer is in the group of coaches that would play for that I think.

We'll never know for sure, of course, but what we do know is that Arians, Brady and the Bucs are in the Superbowl and the Vikings are not, and while it's impossible to say that is solely due to a difference in mentality when it comes to decisions made in key situations, I think that a difference in mentality is a part of it.

Also, along these same lines it's interesting to look at what LaFleur called late when faced with a make-or-break situation with the Packers down by 8 in the 4th. Needing a TD and a 2-point conversion to merely tie it and keep their Superbowl chances alive, LaFleur called for a field goal on 4th and goal.

That isn't Mike Zimmer and Kirk Cousins in that situation - that's LaFleur and Aaron Rodgers in that situation. At home in the January cold nonetheless. Gutless decision by a team that literally had nothing to lose there by going for it, and they shrank from the situation.

I'd say Brady is pretty unique in that sense. Maybe Bruce Arians too, although we really don't know what Arians was thinking before that TD to end the 1st half. But we do know what Brady was willing to do in that situation, and with all due respect, I highly doubt Cousins would have attempted the same thing.
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Re: Never gets old watching the Packers lose.

Post by J. Kapp 11 » Mon Feb 01, 2021 1:47 pm

VikingLord wrote:
Mon Feb 01, 2021 12:47 pm
J. Kapp 11 wrote:
Thu Jan 28, 2021 3:32 pm
Let's run it back.

The Bucs had 8 seconds left. They were on the 40, so effectively out of FG range, but close enough to FG range that they could get there with one more completion. They had no timeouts. It's very likely that Miller's job was to run a go route and clear the zone, with a receiver working to the sideline behind him. But Green Bay got greedy. They were in Cover 3, selling out to stop the sideline routes. They wanted to prevent TB from even getting 3 points. Brady came to the line and was probably surprised to see that he had Miller singled up, with no safety help to that side. Brady immediately knew that if Miller could get a good release, there was a great chance to hit him deep. At the snap, reading deep to shallow, Brady saw that Miller had a step, so he let it fly. Definitely give credit to Brady for making the read and for making a pinpoint throw downfield. But I don't think that was the call.

I'd bet my house that if you put the Vikings in that situation, they would have dialed up a similar play. And I'd further bet that if Kirk Cousins saw the same coverage Brady saw, he would have made the same read Brady did.
That's a good recap of that situation, but I think if you made that bet there is a very good chance you'd be homeless right now.

It comes down to mentality. Most coaches and QBs in that situation would be more than content to settle for the recent turnover that took the home team's offense off the field, the lead going into the half, and a quick out to the sideline that at worst would wind up incomplete or at best give them a chance for a long field goal attempt to potentially pad their lead by 3.

Zimmer is in the group of coaches that would play for that I think.

We'll never know for sure, of course, but what we do know is that Arians, Brady and the Bucs are in the Superbowl and the Vikings are not, and while it's impossible to say that is solely due to a difference in mentality when it comes to decisions made in key situations, I think that a difference in mentality is a part of it.

Also, along these same lines it's interesting to look at what LaFleur called late when faced with a make-or-break situation with the Packers down by 8 in the 4th. Needing a TD and a 2-point conversion to merely tie it and keep their Superbowl chances alive, LaFleur called for a field goal on 4th and goal.

That isn't Mike Zimmer and Kirk Cousins in that situation - that's LaFleur and Aaron Rodgers in that situation. At home in the January cold nonetheless. Gutless decision by a team that literally had nothing to lose there by going for it, and they shrank from the situation.

I'd say Brady is pretty unique in that sense. Maybe Bruce Arians too, although we really don't know what Arians was thinking before that TD to end the 1st half. But we do know what Brady was willing to do in that situation, and with all due respect, I highly doubt Cousins would have attempted the same thing.
Why would I be homeless? I’m saying he’d make that read. Didn’t say he would make that throw. In fact, I said he WOULDN’T make that throw with Zimmer as his coach. I believe that even on the microscopic chance that Cousins WERE to actually attempt the pass, Zimmer would still yell at him — even if the play had gone for a TD. Zimmer would then trash Cousins in the media, like he used to do with Keenum. Which is exactly why Cousins wouldn’t have tried it.

Also, there’s little doubt the Vikings would have drawn up a similar play. That play wasn’t designed for a deep throw. It’s designed to have Miller run a go route to evacuate the zone behind him. Every team in the NFL runs that type of play.

With Zimmer, Cousins would have tried to throw to the sideline. Green Bay, in Cover 3, would have been waiting for it. They would have defended it well, and it would have either been incomplete or picked off. Green Bay knows that Zimmer will play right into their hands.

You’re basically arguing the same thing I am — that Mike Zimmer coaches any gunslinger tendencies out of a quarterback.
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Re: Never gets old watching the Packers lose.

Post by VikingLord » Mon Feb 01, 2021 6:41 pm

J. Kapp 11 wrote:
Mon Feb 01, 2021 1:47 pm
You’re basically arguing the same thing I am — that Mike Zimmer coaches any gunslinger tendencies out of a quarterback.
I might have misinterpreted what you wrote. I assumed when you said "Cousins would make the same read" you implied Cousins would make the same throw.

But I am not going as far as to blame Zimmer for how Cousins has played since he joined the Vikings. Zimmer could be the reason Cousins attempts certain passes, but I think ultimately it comes down to the QB himself and his confidence in his receivers and himself. That confidence is heavily influenced by the amount of time Cousins typical gets from his OL protection.

Tampa Bay's OL kept Brady very clean in the pocket most of that game. The Vikings OL, OTOH, has generally struggled to do the same for Cousins. As deeper routes take more time to develop, Cousins might be less inclined to let them develop even if he made the exact same pre-snap read.

I strongly suspect that the secret sauce for the Bucs this year is not Arians. It is Tom Brady. Brady leaves New England and New England and Bill Belichek rapidly regressed to the mean.

Tom Brady shows up in Bruce Arians-coached Tampa Bay and Tampa Bay is now in the Superbowl.

While it is tempting to credit or blame the coach, Brady seems to be the primary factor in determining the relative success of those coaches rather than the other way around.
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Re: Never gets old watching the Packers lose.

Post by StumpHunter » Tue Feb 02, 2021 8:35 am

VikingLord wrote:
Mon Feb 01, 2021 6:41 pm
J. Kapp 11 wrote:
Mon Feb 01, 2021 1:47 pm
You’re basically arguing the same thing I am — that Mike Zimmer coaches any gunslinger tendencies out of a quarterback.
I might have misinterpreted what you wrote. I assumed when you said "Cousins would make the same read" you implied Cousins would make the same throw.

But I am not going as far as to blame Zimmer for how Cousins has played since he joined the Vikings. Zimmer could be the reason Cousins attempts certain passes, but I think ultimately it comes down to the QB himself and his confidence in his receivers and himself. That confidence is heavily influenced by the amount of time Cousins typical gets from his OL protection.

Tampa Bay's OL kept Brady very clean in the pocket most of that game. The Vikings OL, OTOH, has generally struggled to do the same for Cousins. As deeper routes take more time to develop, Cousins might be less inclined to let them develop even if he made the exact same pre-snap read.

I strongly suspect that the secret sauce for the Bucs this year is not Arians. It is Tom Brady. Brady leaves New England and New England and Bill Belichek rapidly regressed to the mean.

Tom Brady shows up in Bruce Arians-coached Tampa Bay and Tampa Bay is now in the Superbowl.

While it is tempting to credit or blame the coach, Brady seems to be the primary factor in determining the relative success of those coaches rather than the other way around.
You look at the longest tenured coaches and they all have/had great QBs. Payton, Tomlin, Bellichek, Carrol, Reid and Harbaugh are the only coaches who have been with their teams longer than Zimmer. All of them have had a QB capable of winning the MVP any given year.

All of them also played a big part in finding those QBs too (except for Tomlin), and I am not trying to take anything away from their accomplishments (except for Tomlin who was gifted a great team), it is just that this proves it is really, really hard to consistently win in the NFL without a great QB.
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Re: Never gets old watching the Packers lose.

Post by J. Kapp 11 » Tue Feb 02, 2021 10:47 am

VikingLord wrote:
Mon Feb 01, 2021 6:41 pm
J. Kapp 11 wrote:
Mon Feb 01, 2021 1:47 pm
You’re basically arguing the same thing I am — that Mike Zimmer coaches any gunslinger tendencies out of a quarterback.
I might have misinterpreted what you wrote. I assumed when you said "Cousins would make the same read" you implied Cousins would make the same throw.
We're synching up now.

I mean that Cousins would have made the same read. Any competent NFL QB can recognize Cover 3 with a single-high safety.

And you're right ... my belief is that Cousins wouldn't have made the throw.

Where we may differ is "why."

If Cousins makes that throw and fails to connect, and his team ends up with zero points, Zimmer is going to go postal. It's that simple.

My feeling is that the players respect Zimmer, but they also fear him. Especially Cousins, who's wound tighter than the girdle on a Baptist's minister's wife at an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast. Cousins is afraid to fail, and he's terrified of Zimmer. It's a bad combination.

I have absolutely nothing to back that up except a mountain of anecdotal evidence. It's just my opinion, fed by the reading of hundreds of thousands of words in hundreds of useless articles across the InterWebs. That's why message boards are fun, right?
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Re: Never gets old watching the Packers lose.

Post by Cliff » Wed Feb 03, 2021 8:23 am

Re: Would Kirk have gone for the "Brady Pass"?

I think both arguments are right. I think Zimmer wouldn't have even had it as an option for Kirk to call and I also think if it were up to the "CEO" he wouldn't have chosen that either.
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Re: Never gets old watching the Packers lose.

Post by J. Kapp 11 » Wed Feb 03, 2021 1:34 pm

Cliff wrote:
Wed Feb 03, 2021 8:23 am
Re: Would Kirk have gone for the "Brady Pass"?

I think both arguments are right. I think Zimmer wouldn't have even had it as an option for Kirk to call and I also think if it were up to the "CEO" he wouldn't have chosen that either.
To be honest, it's really hard to say.

Cousins is wound so tight that even if he'd have seen the coverage and had a man wide open, he probably would have checked down to a back over the middle. Take the sure completion, even if it means the clock runs out. And Zimmer is so risk-averse that he would've ripped Cousins a new one on the off chance he'd even try.
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Re: Never gets old watching the Packers lose.

Post by S197 » Wed Feb 03, 2021 1:55 pm

When is the last time anyone can recall Cousins killing a play, making a protection change, or calling an audible? Obviously he’s done it but it’s so infrequent I can’t really think of a single instance of note. Now you have guys like Brady and Rodgers who do this all the time but what was evident to me watching the playoffs was the lower tier QBs doing this as well. When I was watching the Browns, Baker was really commanding the pre-snap. Something Cousins almost never does.

I don’t know if that’s more on Cousins or on Zimmer, maybe someone who watched him in Washington can chime in, but this leads me to believe that throw doesn’t happen.
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Re: Never gets old watching the Packers lose.

Post by chicagopurple » Wed Feb 03, 2021 4:52 pm

its a meaningless debate because the zim/spielman braintrust will never get us into this position anyway....we will be left doing hot stove debates in jan/feb while better organizations are still playing.
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