Mike Tice To The Jaguars

Good for .

I’m glad to see to be an assistant head coach for the . While the were entirely justified in firing him–he had his three years to prove himself–it would nevertheless have been interesting to see what he could have done under new and more generous ownership.

Tice is a good coach and the Jags got a bargain. I liked him; so I’m happy for him. But he’d have made me much happier if he’d have taken to the NFL broadcast booth. He was entertaining in large part because he was so wonderfully and brutally honest.

God knows we could use more of that type of commentary while watching the on TV. ? Please.

Daunte Culpepper Or Brad Johnson?

It has had to have been a strange few days for new head coach .

On January 9, Strib columnist saying: "I spoke to Daunte Saturday morning. I had a nice conversation with him. I will have a chance to sit down face-to-face with him here later in the week."

On the same day, Pioneer Press writer seemingly trying to put Culpepper at ease: "Daunte Culpepper right now is the franchise quarterback. That’s how they signed him. He’s the guy."

A handful of days later, with in town, , over the phone.  How very odd.

[UPDATE 1/18/06: The Pioneer Press that Culepper was in town to meet with his doctors, not Childress. Still…]

All the while, in the background were the rumors that wanted to be traded, or, at the very least, start for the the Vikings next  year. The rumors became fact  when that though he didn’t ask for a trade, he does want to be a starting quarterback.

The Vikings have had a quarterback controversy since the final game of the season ended with their win against the . Johnson’s insistence now that he start just moved up the time table of the eruption of the controversy from when it would have otherwise occurred: The point next season when Daunte is healthy enough to play again.

Perhaps that explains Culpepper’s odd behavior in not meeting face-to-face with his new head coach; perhaps he saw the inevitability of Johnson beginning the season as the Vikings’ number one signal caller and he wanted to play a Whose The Boss? card.

I don’t know that another quarterback in the NFL has ever returned from the type of : He injured three of the four major ligaments in his knee: The  ACL, PCL, and MCL. That’s going to take a while to recover from. From what I understand, it would be a miracle if Culpepper were to be ready to play by the time training camp rolls around.

Couple that with the fact that Daunte would need to learn an entirely new offense, and it’s reasonable to think that he couldn’t possibly be ready to start the season opener.

And all that, of course, makes Johnson’s boat-rocking all the more aggravating. He signed a three-year contract. He’s locked in. And he should just keep his mouth shut because he already is the de facto starting quarterback. If he plays well enough, who knows? By the time Culpepper’s ready to play, Childress may not want to change quarterbacks.

Who Is Best Suited To The West Coast Scheme?

For a West Coast offense you need a quarterback who is accurate and can throw with touch so the ball is catchable. He has to have an excellent sense of anticipation in order to effectively execute the timing routes upon which the West Coast offense it built.

Another skill you want in a West Coast quarterback is the ability to throw all types of passes, from screens and timing passes, to Short, middle, and deep routes.

But since the West Coast offense is predicated upon the idea of obviating the running game with a short passing game, throwing the deep ball is not nearly as important as it is in other schemes. The idea in the West Coast is that when you start killing a team with a short passing game, they’ll inch up to defend it to the point that the middle and deep routes open up.

When that happens, you don’t need to be able to throw that deep in order to get the ball behind the defense. Your deep routes are explosive because the receiver catches and then runs for a lot of yards.

Brad Johnson

Right off the bat, it would seem that Brad Johnson is currently better suited to running the West Coast offense. He is very adept at getting the ball out of his hands to his receivers quickly and he can put some touch on the ball. While his arm strength is nowhere near that of Daunte’s, he’s got enough of a long ball to work well in the West Coast offense.

Perhaps the biggest thing Johnson has over Culpepper right now is his experience. He’s played in three different offensive schemes in Minnesota, Washington and Tampa Bay and, with the Bucs under Jon Gruden, he ran an extraordinarily complex system. That bodes well for Brad quickly picking up Childress’ version of the West Coast. Check out the following video clips to understand Johnson’s understanding of the game:

Oh, yeah; and, uh, Johnson has won a Super Bowl.

Daunte Culpepper

Assuming Culpepper can come back from is injury, no one seriously thinks he is not the long-term answer at quarterback. But it is a big assumption he can come back and even if he does, it’s an even bigger assumption that he will return as the same player he was before he was injured.

One of the things that made Daunte such a dangerous weapon on the field was his mobility; not just the ability for him to tuck the ball in and run downfield or beat defensive ends to the edge, but his ability to make a quick move in the backfield to make a rusher miss. He’s also got a cannon for an arm, he’s a very accurate passer, and he’s a load to bring down.

But Daunte has played in one system his entire NFL career and for most of that time he was afforded the ability to freelance on the field. When both he and Randy Moss were on the field together, if a play broke down, both were such superior athletes that they had the ability to make something out of nothing. It was a beautiful thing to watch.

The West Coast offense, however, is built on precision and timing. There’s very little freelancing involved. So that part of Daunte’s game would not be utilized.

In addition to his injury, he’s also got to learn a new offense. It’s not that he’s not capable of overcoming his injury and learning the West Coast offense, it’s a question of whether he can do it in time to be of much help to the Viking next season.

Yet when you take a look at the following video highlights of Daunte Culpepper, any Vikings fan can only fervently hope that he comes back as good as new and thrives in the West Coast system. Because, damn, that guy can play:

Vikings New Defense – How The Cover 2 Works

I thought I might have to write a long post explaining how the Cover 2, or as the Vikings new defensive Coordinator might have it, the Tampa 2 defense works. Fortunately for me, I found a handful of superb, in-depth articles explaining the intricacies of our new defensive scheme, so I don’t have to do it.

For a quick description, read . ESPN provides a bit more depth . If you really want to get your hands dirty, check out the or the . Another ESPN piece––includes explanations of how offenses can attack the Cover 2.


Finally, the Orlando Sentinel has a very nicely illustrated piece on "."

UPDATED 9/8/07: This is an video that explains the Cover 2 defense:

Happy reading, Vikings fans. There will be a quiz next week.

When Did The Metrodome Become British?

I have been wondering for some time why the folks at KFAN keep dropping the “the” when referring the Metrodome, such as when Paul Allen introduces his Vikings broadcast by saying “Welcome to Metrodome” rather than “Welcome to the Metrodome.”

I’d first noticed the British habit of dropping the “the” during BBC news broadcasts where the anchors would say, for example, a student was “at university” or a victim was “at hospital.” Then, maybe two years ago, I noticed the phenomenon make it’s way into the mouths of American anchors at 24 hour cable news outlets like CNN. Well, they’re trying to sound cosmopolitan, I thought.

It makes a certain amount of sense for CNN to adopt the habit, especially if they are positioning some of their content for a European or global audience. But when sportsguys on KFAN start doing it, it just sounds like a) they’re mindless copycats, or b) they’re trying too hard.

So today, P.A. and Dubay did a bit on the subject prompted by a letter from a listener taking them to task for dropping the “the.” P.A., to his credit, believed that the letter writer was correct. Jeff Dubay, on the other hand, was derisive and dismissive of the letter writer, saying flatly that he was wrong.

Sorry, Dubay: You’re wrong. :

A few “institutional” nouns take no definite article when a certain role is implied: for example, at sea [as a sailor], in prison [as a convict]. Among this group, Commonwealth English has in hospital [as a patient] and at university [as a student], where American English requires in the hospital and at the university. (A nurse, visitor, etc. would be in the hospital in both systems.) On the other hand, American English distinguishes in back of [behind] from in the back of; the former is unknown in Britain and liable to misinterpretation as the latter. Both however distinguish in front of from in the front of.