Can we talk Tight Ends?

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soflavike
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Can we talk Tight Ends?

Post by soflavike »

I see a lot of successful offenses with a real TE1 being featured as a receiver. In Week 1, we saw a lot of Mundt, some Ellefson and some Irv Smith, Jr against the Packers. It doesn't look we are using any of them very effectively as receivers.

Specifically, what is the deal with Irv Smith, Jr (0 receptions on 2 targets)? Looks like he's behind Mundt (3 receptions on 4 targets). Ellefson had 1 reception on 2 targets. Wasn't Irv Smith, Jr supposed to be a legit TE1?
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Re: Can we talk Tight Ends?

Post by Maelstrom88 »

Irv has been very disappointing so far in his career. It's only one game but that's a position that could use some new blood next year if KOC plans on utilizing it much.
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Re: Can we talk Tight Ends?

Post by TheCoolerOne »

Let's wait until a team shuts down Jefferson to figure out if our tight ends are any good or not.

If he's going for 180 and two TDs every week (and they're winning), it's kind of moot. If he gets shut down for 3/54, and the TEs aren't being worked into the game plan, or aren't vacuuming up some catches/yards themselves, then we can figure out if something is wrong.
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Re: Can we talk Tight Ends?

Post by CharVike »

Mundt is a blocking specialist at the TE position. The 6'4", 233-pounder has just ten receptions and zero touchdown catches in his NFL career. It's Smith or bust right now. He might still be dealing with his injury.
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Re: Can we talk Tight Ends?

Post by fiestavike »

Maelstrom88 wrote: Mon Sep 12, 2022 12:45 pm Irv has been very disappointing so far in his career. It's only one game but that's a position that could use some new blood next year if KOC plans on utilizing it much.
Irv Smith is not very good. He is athletic and can make some hay on crossing routes, but he had one of the worst combine performances I have ever seen when trying to adjust to make catches downfield or catch over the shoulder. That lack of versatility might hurt his ceiling pretty badly as an NFL player. He can't really take advantage of his athleticism in some ways that would make him more of a weapon.
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Re: Can we talk Tight Ends?

Post by JJBreaksRecords »

I didnt like it when we drafted Irv. And he certainly hasnt changed my mind since hes been here. The new regime didnt see fit to get a good catching TE, and decided to roll the dice with Irv. Just like they rolled the dice with Bradbury, who still isnt a good pass protector. I hope neither bite us in the bum later on in the year.
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Re: Can we talk Tight Ends?

Post by Texas Vike »

soflavike wrote: Mon Sep 12, 2022 12:28 pm
Specifically, what is the deal with Irv Smith, Jr (0 receptions on 2 targets)? Looks like he's behind Mundt (3 receptions on 4 targets). Ellefson had 1 reception on 2 targets. Wasn't Irv Smith, Jr supposed to be a legit TE1?
Irv Smith is coming off of an injury. I was surprised he was even active for the game. Give it a few weeks and then if he's still not getting much playing time, it would be worth discussing, IMO.
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Re: Can we talk Tight Ends?

Post by JJBreaksRecords »

Texas Vike wrote: Mon Sep 12, 2022 6:59 pm
soflavike wrote: Mon Sep 12, 2022 12:28 pm
Specifically, what is the deal with Irv Smith, Jr (0 receptions on 2 targets)? Looks like he's behind Mundt (3 receptions on 4 targets). Ellefson had 1 reception on 2 targets. Wasn't Irv Smith, Jr supposed to be a legit TE1?
Irv Smith is coming off of an injury. I was surprised he was even active for the game. Give it a few weeks and then if he's still not getting much playing time, it would be worth discussing, IMO.
He's had years to prove it, that is, when he wasnt injured. Now he is injured again, with his thumb, that probably wont feel too good when Cousins rips one in to him. TE's are essential to the passing game, look at all the teams with good ones, year after year. They make D's pay if they dont have anyone in the middle. Maybe Irv can step up, thats what everyone wants, but he didnt yesterday. Might not for a few months. I believe KO should have planned for this, as it was even a concern to a lot of fans.

On a side note, I was more worried about the Oline. But they did good enough. And it was nice to see Cousin's able to step up in the pocket. I dont remember that happening for a while now.
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Re: Can we talk Tight Ends?

Post by Pondering Her Percy »

JJBreaksRecords wrote: Mon Sep 12, 2022 7:20 pm
Texas Vike wrote: Mon Sep 12, 2022 6:59 pm

Irv Smith is coming off of an injury. I was surprised he was even active for the game. Give it a few weeks and then if he's still not getting much playing time, it would be worth discussing, IMO.
He's had years to prove it, that is, when he wasnt injured. Now he is injured again, with his thumb, that probably wont feel too good when Cousins rips one in to him. TE's are essential to the passing game, look at all the teams with good ones, year after year. They make D's pay if they dont have anyone in the middle. Maybe Irv can step up, thats what everyone wants, but he didnt yesterday. Might not for a few months. I believe KO should have planned for this, as it was even a concern to a lot of fans.

On a side note, I was more worried about the Oline. But they did good enough. And it was nice to see Cousin's able to step up in the pocket. I dont remember that happening for a while now.
That’s actually false, he hasn’t had “years to prove it”. Kyle Rudolph was still very much entrenched as the TE1 in this offense when irv got here. Irv was drafted more so as his successor.

Last year Irv was going to have his first season as a starter and blew his Achilles before the season even started. So essentially, yesterday was Irv’s first start in his career in the sense of being the LONE starter. Rudolph played all 16 games in 2019. In 2020 Rudy missed the last 4 games and irv started and put up very solid stat lines (15 catches for 183 and 3 TDs in 4 games).

So I think it’s a little unfair to judge him after 1 game coming off a thumb injury. Yes he’s been hurt but again, he hasn’t been the starter here until technically THIS year. We’re one game in.

And in all fairness, when JJ was doing what he did, did you really expect Irv to be that involved? Hell, Adam Thielen was barely involved. KJ Osborn was barely involved. When JJ was as open as he was, is cousins not suppose to throw to JJ and force one into Smith?

I mean I’m not sure what you guys really expect in a game like yesterdays and with a situation where we already had a TE1 for the first 2 years of smiths career here. Sure Rudy was old and slow but zimmer wasn’t benching Rudolph. Zimmer didn’t bench anybody. He was always slow to play young guys and sure as shi# wasn’t starting smith over his team captain.

I’m not saying smith is some all star, but let’s not overreact here and let the season play out. You’re judging smiths performance off one start. Not even considering his 2020 starts that were pretty impressive and promising. So let’s pump the breaks here fellas and see a little more before we say “Irv smith is not very good”.
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Re: Can we talk Tight Ends?

Post by soflavike »

Still a small sample after the Philly game, but a few thoughts on the TE situation.

Cousins targeted the tight ends a lot more against the Eagles. Smith, Jr. had 8 balls thrown his way, caught 5 for 36 yds and had that one horrible drop on the long pass. Despite that awful drop, he looked decent and ran hard after the catch. Mundt is primarily a blocking specialist, but caught 2 of 3 targets, for 17 yds (one of those was a tough catch, too). So, 7 catches for 53 yds from both TE's. Not wonderful. Not terrible.

I'm still not getting the feeling we have that sure-handed TE who can pick up the crucial 1st downs and act as a reliable target in the end zone. I guess I'm looking for a Rudolph type and we don't really have one. With so many offenses in the NFL using TE's more productively, I see this as a weakness. Hoping that Irv will stay healthy and continue to improve. :govikes:
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Re: Can we talk Tight Ends?

Post by Texas Vike »

soflavike wrote: Tue Sep 20, 2022 9:26 am Still a small sample after the Philly game, but a few thoughts on the TE situation.

Cousins targeted the tight ends a lot more against the Eagles. Smith, Jr. had 8 balls thrown his way, caught 5 for 36 yds and had that one horrible drop on the long pass. Despite that awful drop, he looked decent and ran hard after the catch. Mundt is primarily a blocking specialist, but caught 2 of 3 targets, for 17 yds (one of those was a tough catch, too). So, 7 catches for 53 yds from both TE's. Not wonderful. Not terrible.

I'm still not getting the feeling we have that sure-handed TE who can pick up the crucial 1st downs and act as a reliable target in the end zone. I guess I'm looking for a Rudolph type and we don't really have one. With so many offenses in the NFL using TE's more productively, I see this as a weakness. Hoping that Irv will stay healthy and continue to improve. :govikes:
Definitely, we need to upgrade the position. Smith Jr. was supposed to at least be good at catching the ball, but man that drop hurt us last night. I was surprised that he was targeted so often last night. He didn't inspire any confidence on those 3rd down dumps... he just didn't look good at contested catches at all. No body position, no tenacity... nothing to justify the trust on a 3rd down. Kirk should be targeting AT / JJ/ or Osborn.
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Re: Can we talk Tight Ends?

Post by StumpHunter »

Texas Vike wrote: Tue Sep 20, 2022 2:33 pm
soflavike wrote: Tue Sep 20, 2022 9:26 am Still a small sample after the Philly game, but a few thoughts on the TE situation.

Cousins targeted the tight ends a lot more against the Eagles. Smith, Jr. had 8 balls thrown his way, caught 5 for 36 yds and had that one horrible drop on the long pass. Despite that awful drop, he looked decent and ran hard after the catch. Mundt is primarily a blocking specialist, but caught 2 of 3 targets, for 17 yds (one of those was a tough catch, too). So, 7 catches for 53 yds from both TE's. Not wonderful. Not terrible.

I'm still not getting the feeling we have that sure-handed TE who can pick up the crucial 1st downs and act as a reliable target in the end zone. I guess I'm looking for a Rudolph type and we don't really have one. With so many offenses in the NFL using TE's more productively, I see this as a weakness. Hoping that Irv will stay healthy and continue to improve. :govikes:
Definitely, we need to upgrade the position. Smith Jr. was supposed to at least be good at catching the ball, but man that drop hurt us last night. I was surprised that he was targeted so often last night. He didn't inspire any confidence on those 3rd down dumps... he just didn't look good at contested catches at all. No body position, no tenacity... nothing to justify the trust on a 3rd down. Kirk should be targeting AT / JJ/ or Osborn.
It seemed like who ever was running the underneath route last night was just the player who was always targeted.

The funny thing is, since finding a quality starting TE is so hard in the NFL, he was still 17th amongst TEs with his 36 yards. Probably a good reason not to let Conklin walk like they did.
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Re: Can we talk Tight Ends?

Post by VikingLord »

Texas Vike wrote: Tue Sep 20, 2022 2:33 pm Definitely, we need to upgrade the position. Smith Jr. was supposed to at least be good at catching the ball, but man that drop hurt us last night. I was surprised that he was targeted so often last night. He didn't inspire any confidence on those 3rd down dumps... he just didn't look good at contested catches at all. No body position, no tenacity... nothing to justify the trust on a 3rd down. Kirk should be targeting AT / JJ/ or Osborn.
I was puzzled as to why Smith was the wide route on that deep ball he dropped. Is this related to something KOC was doing to throw the defense off, or does KOC think that's a route Smith can win on?

I mean, Smith did get deep on the defenders on that side, but did anyone else notice both defenders played it short on that throw? That seemed to be a trend with Cousins last night against the Eagles DBs too - they were all playing it short and looking to jump the short routes. I think both DBs were shocked Cousins let one fly deep. I think that was the sole deep attempt the Vikings offense had in the game.

Sucks that Smith dropped it as it would have been a walk in TD, but that goes back to my original question about why the OC wants his TE running that route to begin with. Why not put JJ, Thielen, or Osborne out there and have him run the same route? I guess any of them could have dropped that pass too, but the odds of any of them dropping it would be lower than the TE IMHO.
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Re: Can we talk Tight Ends?

Post by VikingLord »

StumpHunter wrote: Tue Sep 20, 2022 3:22 pm
Texas Vike wrote: Tue Sep 20, 2022 2:33 pm

Definitely, we need to upgrade the position. Smith Jr. was supposed to at least be good at catching the ball, but man that drop hurt us last night. I was surprised that he was targeted so often last night. He didn't inspire any confidence on those 3rd down dumps... he just didn't look good at contested catches at all. No body position, no tenacity... nothing to justify the trust on a 3rd down. Kirk should be targeting AT / JJ/ or Osborn.
It seemed like who ever was running the underneath route last night was just the player who was always targeted.

The funny thing is, since finding a quality starting TE is so hard in the NFL, he was still 17th amongst TEs with his 36 yards. Probably a good reason not to let Conklin walk like they did.
I think blaming the TE is missing the forest for the trees.

The short routes were targeted because Cousins was panicked and locked on to them. It had almost nothing to do with the particular player running the short route.

There was one play in the 2nd half I believe where JJ lined up in the backfield opposite Cook with Cousins between them. After the snap, JJ runs to his right and down the field and is literally uncovered the whole way, while Cook ran to his left and the Vikings attempted to set up a screen. Honest to god, it looked like Philly both knew what the play call was on that play and knew that Cousins would not even check to see if JJ was covered because the Philly defense played it perfectly. And sure enough, JJ runs wide open for what might have even been a TD had Cousins thrown it his way, while Cook was mobbed immediately. Cousins never looked off Cook, either. Just nuts.

This happened all night long, too, and honestly, it happened for most of the game against the Packers as well. The difference there was JJ made some things happen after the catch, but even in that game the focus was on JJ. Almost nobody else was targeted. Against the Eagles, it was the short or safety valve routes.

I really thought Cousins would thrive under KOC and a new scheme. Unfortunately, he is who he is. Warner has him dead to rights in his analysis, as do opposing defenses. If the Lions have even half a brain, they'll pressure the crap out of him and jump every short route all game.
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Re: Can we talk Tight Ends?

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VikingLord wrote: Tue Sep 20, 2022 4:44 pm
Texas Vike wrote: Tue Sep 20, 2022 2:33 pm Definitely, we need to upgrade the position. Smith Jr. was supposed to at least be good at catching the ball, but man that drop hurt us last night. I was surprised that he was targeted so often last night. He didn't inspire any confidence on those 3rd down dumps... he just didn't look good at contested catches at all. No body position, no tenacity... nothing to justify the trust on a 3rd down. Kirk should be targeting AT / JJ/ or Osborn.
I was puzzled as to why Smith was the wide route on that deep ball he dropped. Is this related to something KOC was doing to throw the defense off, or does KOC think that's a route Smith can win on?

I mean, Smith did get deep on the defenders on that side, but did anyone else notice both defenders played it short on that throw? That seemed to be a trend with Cousins last night against the Eagles DBs too - they were all playing it short and looking to jump the short routes. I think both DBs were shocked Cousins let one fly deep. I think that was the sole deep attempt the Vikings offense had in the game.

Sucks that Smith dropped it as it would have been a walk in TD, but that goes back to my original question about why the OC wants his TE running that route to begin with. Why not put JJ, Thielen, or Osborne out there and have him run the same route? I guess any of them could have dropped that pass too, but the odds of any of them dropping it would be lower than the TE IMHO.
The idea behind the KOC offense is to create confusion and mismatches. Unfortunately in Mondays game this is one case of overthinking things and creating a mismatch that backfires. Adam and JJ were more likely to snag that critical pass than the guy who had thumb surgery a few weeks prior. In my other favorite sport Sprint Car racing setting up the car for track conditions is critical and defeated drivers often use terms like “missed the setup” and “dialed ourselves out”. Taking a line from racing I think the Vikes have to be careful they don’t dial themselves out of their own plays. There has to be a balance between formations, motions, three receivers and old fashioned smash mouth football. When it works it looks fantastic but when it doesn’t it looks like Monday night.

Does anybody recall a few years back under Zim when the offense wasn’t doing well and they simplified the playbook and it got them out of their slump? We kind of look like a team that spent eight years playing smash mouth football and suddenly is trying to finesse their way through games.

Hopefully our next game will be a good one and we’ll be talking about new concerns next week. Aging linebackers and safety looks like it could be a recurring topic.