Published on 22 Jan 2015
“…and then you invented dirt lumps.” More of what COULD have been said in the NFL.
January 23, 2015
January 22, 2015
The Daily Norseman‘s Ted Glover goes into another deep trance to help explain to the masses (that’s us) just what the heck Vikings general manager Rick Spielman was really saying in his end-of-season talk with the local Minneapolis/St. Paul sports media:
Well, you know it’s not what he said … it’s what he meant. And how do we know what he really meant?*
It’s simple.** You just need to know how to read between the lines and interpret accordingly.***
*We have no idea what he really meant
**It’s not simple, because I’m making everything up. And making this up is hard, man. So freaking hard.
***Again, there’s no reading between the lines. If I could read minds, dude, I’d use that power for evil and rule the world. Let’s all be thankful I’m just an idiot with a keyboard instead.
So, thanks to the local beat guys, we bring you Rickspeak, the post season edition. What Rick was actually quoted as saying will be first, and then our ridiculously satiric and completely made up interpretation* will follow.
*Or is it completely made up? (Yes. Yes it is.)
January 15, 2015
At Football Savages, “Draw Play” Dave Rappoccio explains why it’s okay to hate all of the NFL teams left in the hunt for this year’s Lombardi trophy:
So only 4 teams are left in this year’s quest for the Lombardi trophy. The Seahawks of Seattle, the Colts of Indianapolis, the Packers of Green Bay, and the Patriots of
BostonNew England. I hate all of them. I wish for fire and brimstone and chaos in this final 4. I want the winners to limp into the final confrontation in Arizona and die on the field halfway through the first quarter. I hate them. Here’s why I think you should hate them too:
Colts – 2 Super Bowl Championships
Packers – 4 Super Bowl Championships
Patriots- 3 Super Bow Championships
Seahawks- 1 Super Bowl Championship, but it was won just last year
All 4 teams have been to the Super Bowl since the turn of the century. Outside the Packers, all have been there multiple times, and the Packers still won their appearance. The Patriots have the longest Super Bowl win drought, at a measly 10 years, and they’ve been twice since ’04. There is no underdog this season. There is no plucky team that could. There are only spoiled rich kids. The kids in your school who would get the new video games as they came out. The kids who would get dropped off in BMWs. The kids who had pools and pool parties and never invited you. The kids who would get A’s for participation because social interactions are easy when you are the kid everyone adores. Meanwhile the Detroit Lions sit in the back corner of the classroom and have a reputation as the smelly kid.
But championships aren’t the only reason to hate a team. Lots of teams have won championships, many of them multiple championships. But those teams aren’t here. The Steelers are sad and old. The 49ers are literally on fire. The Broncos have been taken behind the shed and Old Yeller’d. The Giants are sitting in the basement eating glue. The Cowboys are running around the lawn with no clothes on covered in filthy mud screaming obscenities. No, we need more to hate these 4 rich kids. We need to add real depth to our hate. So lets go over this, team by team.
January 11, 2015
I’ve given (shorter and less detailed) variants of this argument many times. I agree with pretty much everything he says here:
I started to learn sport fencing (or “Olympic-style”) as a child in England. My parents were both long-time fencers, so one of my earliest memories is from around age three or four, standing in our tiny backyard, trying to learn basic parries with a foil. My father had been experimenting with bringing in a form of rapier and dagger at his fencing club, but there were no reasonable simulation rapiers on the market in those days, so the default equipment was a sabre and a broken-off foil as a dagger. Let’s just say that the idea was very popular in the club, but the implementation failed to energize many because the equipment wasn’t all that close to representative: the weapons were far too light and any attempt to use historical methods was doomed because the swordplay lacked the momentum of full-sized/full-weight rapiers. Things that worked fantastically well with the modern weapons would get you deader than dead using proper historical weaponry.
I gave up sport fencing as a hobby around the time that orthopedic grips and electrical scoring came in … as the man says in the video above, it became too much like electric tag and too little like historical swordplay. Instead of being relatively straight or slightly curved, orthopedic grips looked rather like what would happen if you squeezed a ball of soft coloured clay in your hand. I hated the feel of them, but other fencers at my club loved them. The electrical scoring system of the day required each fencer to wear an over-jacket covering the valid target area, and trail along a cable attached to the back of the over-jacket. The matching foil had a socket on the inside of the guard for attaching the cable to the other side of the scoring circuit. When the tip of the foil hit the conductive surface of the opponent’s over-jacket, the circuit was completed and a point would be scored.
It was clumsy and awkward, and didn’t feel much like a swordfight. I pretty much gave up the foil and switched to sabre, for they didn’t yet have a working electric system for sabre fighting, so you didn’t need to get hooked up to the machine just to fight a bout. When they got that little problem fixed, I’d already given up sport fencing.
The SCA finally adopted rapier fencing and the Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) movement arrived well after I’d given up sport fencing, and I’ve enjoyed the SCA’s rapier combat quite a bit (although I tend to go inactive for a year or two, then go back for a similar length of time … I may not improve that way, but it’s still fun). More serious fencers and those interested in a wider range of styles end up joining HEMA organizations, where I’m told they take things much more seriously. I can’t say from personal experience, as I only visited a Toronto HEMA group once and most of the members there were working on much earlier styles of swordplay (like longsword) than I was interested in at the time.
H/T to Brendan McKenna for the link to the video.
December 29, 2014
Unlike the later game between the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions, the early game between the Vikings and the Bears was only important for figuring out who’d end up in the NFC North basement (but also who’d get the better draft picks in 2015). It may have been for the best that the Winnipeg CTV affiliate chose not to show the Minnesota home game and instead opted for a game with some kind of playoff relevance. I can’t really blame them.
At 1500ESPN, Andrew Krammer gives us an overview of the game:
The Minnesota Vikings were just getting started, with a rookie quarterback and a first-time head coach.
Jay Cutler and the rest of the Chicago Bears played again like they were ready for the season to be over.
Teddy Bridgewater threw the go-ahead 44-yard touchdown pass to Adam Thielen in the third quarter, guiding the Vikings to a 13-9 victory on Sunday to put one more blemish on a forgettable year for the Bears.
Blair Walsh kicked two field goals, Audie Cole had 11 tackles in his first start of the season and the Vikings (7-9) ended coach Mike Zimmer’s first year on a winning note.
Jay Cutler returned from a one-game benching with 172 yards on 23-for-36 passing without a fumble or an interception, but he rarely threw long and the offense was off all afternoon with a series of unforced errors.
The Bears (5-11) finished with their worst record in 10 years, perhaps the last game for coach Marc Trestman.
After the Vikings drove 61 yards to the 3, Matt Asiata was stuffed for no gain on third-and-1 and fourth-and-1 to give Cutler and the Bears one last opportunity with 2:53 left and a four-point deficit.
They bungled it, metaphorically for this mess of a season. Three penalties, including two false starts, plus an incompletion doomed the drive.
With the regular season out of the way, and no post-season games in sight, some of the Vikings fanbase are already talking free agency and the rookie draft next year. While the Vikings appear to finally have their answers at head coach and quarterback, there are other roster positions that could (and should) be upgraded before training camp opens in 2015. There were players on the roster this year that more than earned their salaries (Bridgewater, Barr, McKinnon, Floyd, Rhodes, Smith, and Asiata, to name a few), and there were others who may not be with the team next year due to either salary concerns (Jennings, Peterson, Greenway, Robison) or performance issues (Munnerlyn, Patterson, Charlie Johnson, Robinson). Every team faces roster turn-over every off-season — it’s a cliché that it’s just business, but it’s a cliché for a good reason.
Earlier this week, Dan Zinski made the case that the team wasn’t sold on Munnerlyn as the answer to their backfield woes:
You could maybe forgive some of Munnerlyn’s struggles early in the season when he was still getting used to the scheme, but as the year has worn on, the cornerback has continued to blow assignments and hurt the team. Week after week, when confusion reigns in the Vikings’ secondary, it always seems Munnerlyn is the one being barked at by his teammates and coaches.
The veteran player you brought in specifically to bring stability to a young secondary is not supposed to be the one still getting lost in week 16.
When he’s not losing track of where he’s supposed to be, Munnerlyn is often flat out getting physically dominated. Captain is a smaller corner but, like Antoine Winfield, he came to the Vikings with a reputation for playing bigger than his size. We haven’t seen much evidence of that thus far in Minnesota, and the comparisons to Winfield now seem ridiculous.
If it’s Mike Zimmer’s intention to create a good secondary filled with players who play smart and play hard, I don’t see how Munnerlyn can be part of the plan. When Rick Spielman, Mike Zimmer and the rest of the brain trust sit down to grade personnel and make decisions about the future, they should absolutely consider moving on from Captain Munnerlyn.
Contract-wise, cutting loose from Munnerlyn would not be difficult at all. The three-year deal Munnerlyn signed before the season was structured so that very little dead money would be left after the first season. Per Over the Cap, dumping Munnerlyn would save the Vikings $3.1 million in 2015 and $4.25 million in 2015.
The Vikings clearly had their doubts about Munnerlyn and constructed a contract that would give them the option to move on after one year with only a small penalty.
Update: PFF grades the best Viking performers in yesterday’s game.
Audie Cole, LB: +7.8
Breakdown: Chad Greenway has been a fantastic servant to the Minnesota Vikings, but Audie Cole’s performance in this game suggested that maybe it is time to move on. Cole was all over the field, making tackles in the run game, pass game, breaking up passes and even intercepting one that was nullified because of a defensive offside flag.
Signature Stat: Cole’s grade in this game is a better figure than Greenway has ever achieved. The last game Greenway has even had in that ballpark was in Week 11 of the 2008 season.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB: +4.0
Breakdown: The numbers might not be as pretty as a week ago, but this was another extremely accomplished performance from the Vikings’ rookie. His accuracy was on point most of the game and deserved better production but for a couple of passes bouncing the wrong way once they reached their intended targets. For the second week in a row he ended up with an interception that hit his receiver in the hands.
Signature Stat: With five dropped passes, one batted at the line and one thrown away, Bridgewater only actually missed on one ‘aimed’ pass all game. An Accuracy Percentage of 95.7%, best of the week.
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR: -1.2
Breakdown: How far has Patterson’s star fallen this season? From a player tipped to have a huge year, he ends the season playing just six snaps on offense, and causing an interception by dropping the ball the only time he was targeted. With teams routinely kicking away from him on kickoffs too, his potential impact there has been almost entirely negated.
Signature Stat: Over the last five games Patterson has played just 28 snaps, 20 fewer than he played in the season opener.
December 22, 2014
This wasn’t a game for the ages, although it did have some twists and turns in the storyline leading up to the final minute of play (when the Dolphins legitimately got do do the Safety Dance). Teddy Bridgewater was unable to secure the victory in front of about 100 family and friends in the stadium, although it was a close game from start to finish. Bridgewater ended up with 19 of 25 for 259 yards, two touchdowns and an interception (but should have been credited with a third touchdown). Although the penalties didn’t make the difference in the game, it was disturbing to see two Vikings defenders lose their cool (and cost the team 15 yards each) after the play was over. Sharif Floyd and Gerald Hodges were both flagged for unsportsmanlike behaviour (and will undoubtedly hear from coach Mike Zimmer about their lack of discipline).
Usually I get some comments about Teddy Bridgewater's arm strength on tough throws by this time on Sunday. Wonder where they went?
— Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) December 22, 2014
— Vikings Memes (@SkolMemes) December 22, 2014
Teddy Bridgewater's stats are deceiving: he's had 3 INTs that RBs popped STRAIGHT UP. And, a Hail Mary INT. And, 2 TDs taken away in 3 wks.
— Cory Hepola (@CoryHepola) December 21, 2014
OK, so I've been dancing around the 'can Teddy be legit' Q all season, but that game was a firm statement that he can.
— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) December 22, 2014
1500ESPN‘s Andrew Kramer sums up the post-game comments:
“I thought he played well,” coach Mike Zimmer said postgame, via Vikings.com. “One interception was bad luck. Rest of the time, thought he did a good job scrambling the pocket. He made some great throws, played with composure and continued to do all those things.”
Bridgewater helped validate the 550-word opening statement from offensive coordinator Norv Turner on Thursday, when the grizzled veteran coach defended his rookie’s progress by calling him ‘incredible.’
While Bridgewater had grown comfortable hitting receivers in the middle of the field, he showed off his arm on Sunday with touch passes, including a 21-yard touchdown to Greg Jennings and a 22-yard completion to Chase Ford that was millimeters away from being another touchdown. He also converted a 3rd-and-13 attempt with a deep throw to Jennings for 24 yards.
In a season where injuries and legal troubles caused a flood of attrition, the Vikings’ second overall pick in May’s NFL Draft has been their floatation device.
“Played pretty good, for the most part,” Bridgewater said. “We have to play a full game. On offense, we did a great job. High intensity.”
After dropping back Bridgewater nearly 50 times in Detroit, Turner came into Miami with a focus on creating a ground game. Matt Asiata took seven carries on the opening drive, picking up gains of 7, 8 and 10 yards in the first quarter as the Vikings cruised to a 14-0 lead.
Akin to the loss in Detroit, that early lead evaporated; but this time it wasn’t on Bridgewater, who threw two costly picks to the Lions. The Vikings’ defense allowed four touchdowns on four Miami drives in the second half, squashing the 10-point lead at intermission.
And the Daily Norseman‘s Ted Glover on the third touchdown that should have been awarded to Teddy Bridgewater and Chase Ford:
Sell: Referees calling a penalty on every play in this game. I mean, holy crap was that one of the most horribly officiated games I’ve ever witnessed. Mystery defensive holding on Chad Greenway that extended a drive, mystery defensive holding on Xavier Rhodes that extended a drive, the BS PI call on Rhodes at the end of the game when he was looking at the ball and making a play on said ball, the list goes on. Did they cost the Vikings the game? 99% of the time, I think the calls even themselves out over the course of a game, but there’s a nagging burning in my gut over this game. Not necessarily on the penalties, which were bad, but on the Chase Ford touchdown that wasn’t right before halftime.
I mean, he had possession, his foot was in bounds, he dragged his toe in bounds, and he was inside the pylon before he went out. If that isn’t a touchdown, then honestly, I don’t know what a TD is in the NFL anymore. And if that was bad enough, when officials reviewed the Mike Wallace TD that occurred in a similar fashion later in the game, Wallace’s foot was no more out of bounds than Ford’s was, yet his TD call stood. It was one of the more horridly officiated games the Vikings have been involved in that I can remember. Since last week. Or the week before.
Update: Jim Souhan points the finger of blame for yesterday’s defensive collapse.
If you were playing Lifelong Vikings Fan Bingo on Sunday, you were able to cross off “punt blocked out of end zone to lose game” and “onside kick from 20-yard line,” winning you an autographed copy of Gary Anderson’s just-in-time-for-the-holidays coffee-table book titled I Only Missed Once.
Say this for the Vikings: They have evolved. A few weeks ago they were hoping their defense could give their rookie quarterback a chance to win. Sunday, they asked Bridgewater to overcome the team’s most disappointing defensive performance of the season.
A week after frustrating the Lions, the Vikings defense made the Dolphins look like they were still employing players named Griese and Csonka.
The Vikings made so many mistakes, missed so many tackles, it was enough to make you wonder whether some of their young defenders found their way to South Beach on Saturday night — and whether some of them should have stayed there on Sunday.
“Poor performance by us,” Zimmer said. “I saw us do things we haven’t done in a long time.”
Zimmer gets gloriously furious when his team, and in particular his defense, fails to display a grasp of fundamentals.
Some days, he seems to change colors right in front of you, from pale white to crimson. Sunday, Zimmer looked so angry you wondered if he was going to change states, from solid to liquid to steam.
“We were undisciplined,” he said, apparently auditioning for an endorsement deal with Maalox. “We didn’t even line up half — or some — of the time.”
Zimmer has earned praise often this season. Sunday, he was the only logical person to blame.
After a terse-but-polite news conference, someone asked Zimmer if he had offered a similar message to his players. “It was stronger,” he said.
December 15, 2014
The underdog Minnesota Vikings visited Detroit on Sunday to play the Lions for the second time this season. The first meeting between the two teams was a completely one-sided win for Detroit: Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater threw three interceptions and was sacked eight times during the game. This time was supposed to be different … and it was, but not quite enough. As the game had few playoff implications (the Vikings’ slim chances were dashed on Thursday), the broadcast wasn’t available in the Toronto market, so I again had to follow the game through Twitter, and the first half sounded great. Teddy Bridgewater was having an amazing first half (15 of 18, 168 yards and 1 TD), and the Vikings built up a two-touchdown lead by the middle of the second quarter.
Teddy’s game after the second score wasn’t as impressive, as he was picked off on back-to-back throws which the Lions turned into 10 points. In the duel of the kickers, Detroit’s Matt Prater managed two more field goals, while Blair Walsh had one short attempt blocked and missed on the other two (from 53 and 68 yards), which turned out to be the deciding factor in the game.
The Vikings defence did enough to keep the game close, as 1500ESPN‘s Andrew Krammer says:
The Lions gained just 32 yards on Detroit’s first five possessions, limited by a Vikings’ defense that held Matthew Stafford without a first down in the first quarter.
Stafford didn’t get any breathing room until Teddy Bridgewater tossed his first interception, which set the Lions up at the Vikings’ 11. Stafford cut into the Vikings’ lead with a seven-yard touchdown to Golden Tate just two plays later.
“Thought we did some good things,” Zimmer said. “When you’re playing a team that has that much explosive weapons, you have to pick your spots in all the things you do.”
With cornerback Xavier Rhodes shadowing Calvin Johnson, the Vikings were mostly able to neutralize the Lions’ best screen blocker and jumped the short passes to Tate, starting with a one-yard gain on a 3rd-and-2 attempt to end Detroit’s first possession.
“Third downs was obviously a key today,” Zimmer said. “But they made enough plays to win the game.”
Detroit ultimately converted just 2 third downs the entire game, but one came on a 17-yard screen to running back Joique Bell in the second half that led to a Matt Prater field goal. Prater’s 33-yard chip on the next drive gave the Lions a 16-14 lead that stood as final after the Vikings gave up 138 yards on 23 plays before Detroit tried to run out the clock.
The Vikings finished with no sacks for just the second game under Zimmer, but they still held Stafford to his lowest yardage total (155) since a Dec. 8, 2013 loss in Philadelphia (151).
“Hopefully this will springboard us into the kind of football team I want to have,” Zimmer said.
December 13, 2014
This bow is made from a pair of Fischer downhill skis. It pulls 58# at @ 28″. The riser is made from walnut and pecan and is coated in a satin polyurethane finish. The string is made from paracord with bowlines. This will be replaced by a dacron string when I get the time to make one.
The takedown shown in these photos is a followup to the instructable I wrote earlier this year. I have received many questions asking “just how powerful a bow can you make from skis?”. This takedown bow shoots nearly as fast as my fiberglass/wood laminate recurves. Once I get my hands on a chronograph I will actually provide some numbers. But based on target penetration and my experience I’d have to say that it performs quite comparably.
As most dispassionate observers had expected, the arbitrator appointed by the NFL decided that Peterson’s ongoing suspension would continue until at least April 15, 2015. Unlike most dispassionate observers, Vikings fans were rather upset by the ruling:
So maybe Goodell is consistent with punishment after all. The length of suspension is directly correlated to how much ass you kiss his ass.
— Eric Thompson (@eric_j_thompson) December 12, 2014
So when did remorse turn into a form of currency? Could you imagine if our court systems worked like the @nfl's appeal system?
— Eric Thompson (@eric_j_thompson) December 12, 2014
"I know I killed all those people, your Honor, but I'm super duper sorry about it." "Well that works for me. 90 day sentence." #NFLlogic
— Eric Thompson (@eric_j_thompson) December 12, 2014
Has Roger Goodell expressed any remorse for having Janay Rice read an apology prepared by her husband's employer? Asking for a friend.
— The Daily Norseman (@DailyNorseman) December 12, 2014
Curious to know what NFL definition of proper remorse is. Expressed it at court, also in @TomPelissero story. Seems like cherry-picking.
— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) December 12, 2014
Arif Hasan discusses the situation here:
After an agonizingly stupid waiting game, the NFL announced that arbitrator Harold Henderson has denied Adrian Peterson’s appeal against the severity of the NFL suspension regarding his incident, which means his suspension is upheld. The suspension is
for at least six games will continue into the next season, starting immediately — meaning he will miss at least three weeks to start the 2015 season though right now is technically suspendedindefinite ly.
In April he will be able to
reduce his suspension from indefinite to merely six games (meaning he could be reinstated and play for Week 4 of the 2015 NFL season)end his suspension. Contrary to previous reports, the suspension is for the remainder of the season, not six games. He will need to prove some degree of remorse and complete or make significant progress in parental counseling in order to be reinstated. Peterson will retroactively serve the six-game suspension by paying back the three game checks for the games he was on the Exempt List during his appeal after the ruling, per Ed Werder of ESPN.
Arif also quotes the conclusion of Harold Henderson’s decision with a bit of emphasis added:
The facts in this appeal are uncontested. The player entered a plea which effectively admitted guilt to a criminal charge of child abuse, after inflicting serious injuries to his four-year old son in the course of administering discipline. No direct evidence of the beating was entered in the record here, but numerous court documents, investigative reports, photographs and news reports, all accepted into evidence without objection, make it clear that Mr. Peterson’s conduct was egregious and aggravated as those terms are used in the Policy, and merits substantial discipline. His public comments do not reflect remorse or appreciation for the seriousness of his actions and their impact on his family, community, fans and the NFL, although at the close of the hearing he said he has learned from his mistake, he regrets that it happened and it will never happen again. I reject the argument that placement in the Commissioner Exempt status is discipline. I conclude that the player has not demonstrated that the process and procedures surrounding his discipline were not fair and consistent; he was afforded all the protections and rights to which he is entitled, and I find no basis to vacate or reduce the discipline.
Peterson and the NFLPA may now decide to launch a court action, but there is no way that legal action at this late date will make it possible for Peterson to return to the league before the end of the regular season.
— Eric Thompson (@eric_j_thompson) December 12, 2014
December 8, 2014
Not surprisingly, the Winnipeg CTV station chose not to show the Vikings-Jets matchup on Sunday, as neither team has realistic playoff hopes (the Vikings are still mathematically alive, but even if they won out, they’d still need an unlikely amount of help to earn a wildcard … they can’t win the NFC North this year). The Jets don’t have anything left to play for, aside from a better draft selection in 2015, but that didn’t mean they planned on laying down to the Vikings.
Fresh of his accolade of Rookie of the Week for last week’s game, Teddy Bridgewater showed that it wasn’t a fluke. Behind an offensive line that seems to get thinner by the minute — only two starters from the season opener are still healthy, and one of them is slumping terribly this year — Teddy played an excellent game, posting another stellar passing rating of 117.7 (which should get him consideration for rookie of the week honours again). Oddly, this was the third time Bridgewater has played against Geno Smith: they’d played against one another in high school and at university (Teddy won both of the earlier games).
December 6, 2014
In an interview with Jenny Vrentas, former Viking great Fran Tarkenton discusses this year’s crop of rookie quarterbacks (including the Vikings’ Teddy Bridgewater), the NFL’s ongoing disciplinary issues with Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, the long-term issues with NFL doctors dispensing painkillers, and the advent of performance-enhancing drugs. On the issue of league discipline, he believes the league should not allow Rice or Peterson to play again:
VRENTAS: Are you saying the Vikings should move on from Peterson because of his age, or because of the child abuse case that led to his suspension?
TARKENTON: I followed the Clippers thing. That owner [Donald Sterling] didn’t get indicted for any crime, but the racial comments he made were totally inappropriate, and we took a stand. The whole world and the NBA, we have zero tolerance to racism. And I think that’s right. I agree with that. But I also think we ought to have zero tolerance to child abuse and domestic violence. I don’t think [Peterson] should play again in the NFL. I don’t think Ray Rice should play again. Either we have zero tolerance, or we don’t. And what is more egregious than domestic violence and child abuse? I don’t know of anything, unless you kill somebody.
VRENTAS: Peterson has not played since the child-abuse charges first surfaced in September, and now he’s been suspended for the rest of the season, pending appeal. Do you think the response shows that teams and the league are starting to take these issues more seriously?
TARKENTON: Kind of. They have been a little bit wishy-washy. [The Vikings] were going to play Adrian Peterson [before reversing course in September]. Other teams were going to play other players [involved in cases of domestic violence]. And the NFL was going to give just a two-game suspension to Ray Rice. I don’t think we’ve gotten beyond “win at any cost” yet. And I think we need to get there. We should have zero tolerance to racism. We don’t believe that, right? Is that more important than zero tolerance to domestic abuse and child abuse? Unless we as a society think that way, then we won’t make progress. And the whole domestic violence thing, that has been tolerated universally, but certainly in the NFL. We can’t tolerate that. All these behaviors that are so egregious continue. We need to set an example.
And on the topic of team doctors and the use of drugs to get players back into games (but which had potentially serious long-term health implicatons:
VRENTAS: You wrote a letter to the New York Times regarding painkiller abuse, in response to the DEA’s recent spot checks of NFL team medical staffs. This has been a subject you have been vocal about. What was your experience with painkiller use during your playing career?
TARKENTON: This has been going on forever. I was playing for the New York Giants, and I hurt my shoulder in a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. I came in at halftime, and the doctor had a great big long needle, punched a few different places, and told me, “Show me where it hurts the worst.” I said, “Ow,” and he jammed a combination of xylocaine and cortisone into my shoulder. That’s not good for my shoulder, but he’s my team doctor. I don’t think he’s going to do something that hurts my career, right? He’s like my family doctor. If my family doctor tells me to take a pill, I’ll take a pill. So every Friday, I went on the subway from old Yankee Stadium, where we practiced, all the way down to lower Manhattan to St. Vincent’s Hospital, and they did the same thing they did at halftime. They shot my shoulder. It didn’t really help me, but it allowed me to play. Now, when I come back to Minnesota, my shoulder is worse. The year we played the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl in New Orleans, my shoulder was already deteriorating, and I hurt it early in the season in Dallas. The rest of the year I could not throw a ball in practice; I could not throw a ball in warm-ups over 10 yards. When I got in the game, I could throw it maybe 40 yards, because my adrenaline was up, but there was nothing on it. But every Friday, guess what they shot me with? Butazolidin. That’s what they shot horses with. Shot me up every Friday, all the way to the Super Bowl. I retired at age 39, and I see my doctors down here [in Atlanta] because my shoulder is killing me. They say, “You’ve got the shoulder of a 75-year old man. You need your shoulder replaced.” I talked to a lot of the old guys — Roger Staubach, Otto Graham, Sammy Baugh, Johnny Unitas, Y.A. Tittle — and none of them had shoulders replaced. I had my shoulder replaced, because they shot me up. Where was the conscience back then? People say, “You knew what they were doing.” I knew what they were doing, but I didn’t think they would hurt me. I didn’t think my shoulder was going to fall apart.
December 3, 2014
Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater hasn’t set the league on fire, but he’s still learning and improving his game (with the occasional regression, like all rookie quarterbacks). He played well enough on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers to get a nomination for rookie of the week honours for 15 of 21, 138 yards, two touchdowns and a career high 120.7 passer rating.
ESPN‘s Ben Goessling looks at Teddy’s play in the game:
Whenever he’s talked about a need to get rid of the ball faster as a rookie, Bridgewater has known the key to making that happen was the ability to identify coverages sooner. The way he operated on Sunday, in a victory over the Carolina Panthers, suggested he’s starting to figure out some of quarterbacking’s nuances.
On his 17-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings, Bridgewater walked to the line to see the Panthers playing off receivers Charles Johnson and Greg Jennings, who were lined up in a stack formation to the quarterback’s left. Bridgewater could see from his pre-snap read that he’d have room to hit Jennings underneath since the Panthers were guarding against a deep pass with 23 seconds left in the half. He threw a 5-yarder out to Jennings, who had room to show why he’s still one of the league’s best after the catch. Jennings made Antoine Cason miss, got to the outside and beat Bene Benwikere to the end zone, gaining 12 yards after the catch on a TD that put the Vikings up 28-6.
“I made the decision before the ball was snapped,” Bridgewater said. “The offensive line did a great job of allowing me to sit back there and make the throw, play pitch-and-catch with Greg. Greg was able to make a move and score a touchdown. Each week, I’m trying to make quicker decisions and continue to trust those guys each week.”
Meanwhile, over at the Daily Norseman, the Teddy Bridgewater Underground discovers that things can get tougher after the revolution is over:
Once we had toppled the Old Guard, I don’t think any of us realized that the transition from Revolution to Legitimate Government would be as difficult as the Revolution itself. Man, it’s easy to rile up the masses, especially when they feel they’ve been cheated out of the basics of good quarterback play their whole life. It’s easy to get them to rally around The Cause, and even to go to war over it, if necessary.
It started more as an Idea, but quickly grew into something that grew even faster than the most ardent revolutionaries could’ve imagined. From the moment we heard that in other lands the people enjoyed quarterback play, and we tapped in to forbidden short wave transmissions and hacked in to foreign TV feeds to confirm this was true, The Idea became The Movement. The Movement became The Cause. And The Cause became The Revolution.
¡Viva la Revolución!
But once we took over, the transition to governance wasn’t easy, far from it. Look, it’s easy to topple a government that was practically begging to be overthrown (there’s a Josh Freeman joke here somewhere, I just know it), but once that happens…there’s no one to blame but you if things go wrong. So from those heady days of overthrow and victory parades, we had to figure out how to run a country, and we had to do it without too many things going wrong.
Because when things go wrong, an idea can form. And then transition quickly to a Movement, a Cause, and then the next thing you know you’re in a ‘Quarterback Re-Education Center’ watching 16 mm game film of Joe Kapp, Fran Tarkenton, and Tommy Kramer. And you’re trying to tell yourself that the Marcus Mariota Movement isn’t a revolution, just a couple of peasants in neon green pants made by Nike.
December 1, 2014
Another game that wasn’t broadcast in the Toronto area … but this time they had a good excuse, it being Grey Cup weekend. In the Maple-flavoured game, the underdog Hamilton TiCats lost to the Calgary Stampeders by a score of 20-16. Well, #oskeeweewee guys and good luck next year!
In Minneapolis, the Vikings were the beneficiaries of not just one but two blocked punts run back for touchdowns. This is the first time the Vikings have scored on a blocked punt since 1986 … longer than almost all the current members of the team have been alive. It had been the longest ongoing span of games in the NFL when Adam Thielen blocked the punt, scooped it up and ran 30 yards to the end zone for six points and a Vikings record. The record — the longest TD scoring run off a blocked punt lasted less than 20 minutes before Jasper Brinkley blocked another punt which was run back by Everson Griffin for 46 yards to set a new record.
— Vikings PR (@VikingsPR) November 30, 2014
Last time Vikings returned blocked punt for TD Isaac Holt vs. 49ers. 10/12/86. 453 games longest drought in league.
— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) November 30, 2014
The special teams did so well that it pretty much overshadowed the improved performance at quarterback by Teddy Bridgewater: not record setting numbers, but two touchdowns and no turnovers along with a 120.7 passer rating. Derek Wetmore looks at the special teams heroics:
Adam Thielen and Everson Griffen etched their names into team history books, and they combined to pull off a rare feat.
First, Thielen blocked a punt in the first quarter and scooped it up with one hand as he returned to his feet and raced to the endzone. The Vikings already led 7-0 at that point, so the longest blocked punt returned for a touchdown in team history put Minnesota up by two scores.
But his 30-yard return didn’t stand as the franchise-long for very long.
With the Vikings leading 14-3, Jasper Brinkley got his mitts on a punt and Everson Griffen was there to recover it and take it into the endzone, setting a new Vikings record for the longest blocked punt returned for a score: 46 yards.
One of the weirdest things about the game is that even with the win, the Vikings are at the bottom of their division with a 5-7 record and only mathematically alive for a wildcard spot in the playoffs. Even with the loss, Carolina (at 3-8-1) still has a chance to win their division and host a playoff game!
November 27, 2014
Dave Rappoccio says it’s this bad:
This week, the NFC south is a dumpster fire, and that might be an insult to dumpster fires. The Saints and Falcons are tied in first with 4 wins each, and the woeful 2-9 Buccaneers are one game out of picking 1st in the draft and 2 games out of first place. No team looks to have a winning record by the end of the season and we could potentially have a 5-11 division winner while a potential double digit team in a real mans division misses the playoffs entirely. IS THIS ACCEPTABLE?
November 24, 2014
I didn’t get to watch yesterday’s game, as we were visiting friends for the afternoon. From the overall comments, it sounds like the defensive scheme worked very well against Aaron Rogers and the Packers, holding them to about half the scoring they’ve managed in the last few games. Unfortunately, Teddy Bridgewater got off to a slow start and wasn’t able to get into a rhythm until the fourth quarter. Although he wasn’t sacked too often, the pass protection was allowing the Packers to disrupt the passing game and Teddy was missing his targets a fair bit during the first half.
At the Daily Norseman, Ted Glover presents his weekly stock market report:
Blue Chip Stocks:
The Vikings Secondary: Yes, there were a couple of breakdowns, but the bottom line is that the Vikings held Aaron Rodgers and the Packers explosive passing attack to 209 yards. All in all, you can’t ask for a performance much better than that, and Xavier Rhodes led the way with I would argue his best game. He blanketed Jordy Nelson early, breaking up two passes, and although I’d have to go back and re-look, it seemed the Packers quit throwing his direction in the second half. Rhodes was the guy that stood out the most, but this was a team effort, and one where everyone deserves recognition. It’s a complete 180 degree turn for this unit from this time last year, and it’s largely the same guys.
Mike Zimmer: One of Zim’s mentors is Bill Parcells, who famously said ‘you are what your record says you are’. The Vikings are 4-7, but is there any question in anyone’s mind that this team is better than they were last year? And had this been last year, there’s no doubt in my mind this game would have been over by halftime. There’s still a ways to go, but I like this coach, and I like the attitude he’s bringing to this football team. Good things are coming, that I firmly believe.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB: Teddy had some ugly throws early, but he also made some very good throws, and wasn’t helped out by a receiving corps that dropped at least four passes that I can think of off the top of my head. His backfoot throw that became a pick was terrible, but damn it, the kid never gives up, and is pushing the ball down the field. He’s also doing a much better job stepping up in the pocket, and running the ball and getting something out of nothing. All in all, I’ll take it, and he’s getting better.