I know the Detroit Lions rushed for 129 yards last Sunday and averaged 3.8 yards per rush. And I know that performance came on the heels of the Vikings yielding 52 1st half rushing yards and a 4.5 yards-per-rush average to the Cleveland Browns in Week 1.
But the Vikings have gone 25 consecutive games without allowing an individual to gain 100 yards, including the first 2 games this year. And they haven’t given up a rushing TD this year, either. So when reporters asked Vikings assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier about his concern for the Vikings rushing defense, I expected a diplomatic, equivocal answer.
That’s not what I heard.
“No question,” Frazier said when asked if he was concerned about his run defense. “We have not played good run defense, in particular this past week, and we got to shore it up. That running game of San Francisco is humming. They had a great game against Seattle, in particular, Frank Gore. So we are going to have to be right in the run game this weekend without question. We will have to play our best run defense up to this point.”
Frazier is right in that the 49ers ground game has been humming so far in 2009. Through 2 games, San Francisco is averaging 138.5 rushing yards per game with 3 scores on the ground. Gore leads the attack and had a signature game last week, rushing for 207 yards and a pair of TDs on just 16 carries before leaving the game with an ankle injury.
So what precisely must the Vikings do to shore up their ground defense against Gore and the 49ers?
“We have to do a better job of getting off of blocks and tackling and just being gap sound,” Frazier explained. “Just one guy getting out of his gap can create some major issues. When you have a back at the caliber of Gore instead of being a seven or eight-yard gain it can be an 80-yard explosion.
“We are going back to emphasizing the importance of every guy being where he needs to be and then everybody else rallying to the football to limit big plays in the run game. It’s become a point of emphasis and something you don’t want to ever take for granted, playing good run defense.”
Tags: Leslie Frazier
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