I wrote earlier in the week about how this Vikings team, although 6-0, won’t have a problem with being over-confident or with keeping its focus because of the laundry list of things that could use improvement. The biggest area of concern manifested itself in the Ravens furious late-game comeback last Sunday, where they quickly erased a 27-10 deficit and turned it into a 31-30 lead before finally losing 33-31 on a missed FG as time expired.
While there isn’t a singular defensive deficiency that can be cited for the Ravens ability to come back from such a large deficit, one deficiency that was mentioned to Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress today during his press conference was poor tackling. There were several instances, especially in the 4th quarter, where Ravens ball carriers were able to extend plays and even get into the endzone because of poor tackling by the Vikings.
On one particular play, Ravens RB Ray Rice got by 4 potential Vikings tacklers before reaching the endzone.
So how do you get the defense to improve its tackling at a point in the season where practicing tackling during the week would be more counter-productive than productive because teammates would be tackling their own teammates?
“They’re not going to come out here and go through a meat grinder or anything like that today,” Childress said of his team. “But you can have tackling drills, whether you have pads on or you don’t. Whether you’re fitting versus bags, whether you’re putting your head across the bow or wrapping. Those fundamental points of emphasis which you usually bridge back to. They’ll be important this week as well.”
Childress, though fully acknowledging the need to improve in this area, sounded confident in his team’s ability to improve in this area. He also said it’s common for teams to revisit even the most fundamental aspects of the game, even at this point (Week 7) of the season.
“You treat 6-0 like 0-6,” Childress explained. “You always go back to fundamentals. If there’s an area you didn’t do well in, you go back to fundamentals. Whether it’s the quarterback and footwork, or a running back and footwork, or a lineman and footwork. In this case you’re talking about tackling. Getting them on the ground is important. Understanding whether you’re the last line of defense or you’ve got help coming…that’s what you talk about when you talk about responsibility.”
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