Discussing Rhys Lloyd And Taking The Easy Way Out

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 22, 2010 – 7:50 am

It might be a slow news time in the NFL calendar, but that doesn’t keep Vikings fans from thinking about their favorite team. That’s one great thing about covering this team – there is rarely a truly slow time with nothing to talk about and there is never a shortage of fans with passion (and opinions) for the Vikings. In bold text below is an email I received from a reader and it’s one I wanted to post on the blog and respond to because it provides a great starting point for discussion.

Hey Mike – In an earlier 5-part series you covered players that you felt would have to be difference-makers in the upcoming season (Gaining the Extra Edge – Lito Sheppard, Bernard Berrian, Antoine Winfield, Ryan Longwell and Chad Greenway). As with some other readers, I felt you took the easy way out and did not truly address the unknowns. One in particular is our acquisition of Rhys Lloyd to be a kickoff specialist. This, in theory, will create more touchbacks (i.e. less returns and worse starting field position for opponents). Last year, Longwell had 98 kickoffs with only 5 TBs, in comparison to Lloyd who had 72 kickoffs and 21 TB’s! The Vikings offense has the potential to score every time we touch the ball and the last thing we need after a quick score or long drive is the defense to get pinned back and give up a quick score. Correct me if I am wrong, but during the 1998 season, one major advantage I remember was Mitch Berger kicking off and teams constantly taking a knee and starting at the 20-yardline. This can take a serious toll on opposing teams and it’s the reason I believe Lloyd should have been one of your difference-makers. What is your take and what have you seen of him lately?
– Emile A.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL

This is a great email from Emile and it’s one I wanted to post and respond to on the blog. Even though Emile levied a slight criticism of our Gaining The Extra Edge series, I appreciate her (and all of your) opinion because the idea behind posting a series such as Gaining The Extra Edge is to promote discussion on the blog and keep all of us talking about Vikings football, even in the offseason.

First off I want to say that I didn’t take the easy way out with the Gaining The Extra Edge series by not addressing lesser-known players. The point of the series, as I stated when introducing the series, was to identify members of the “supporting cast” whose production (or lack of production) will significantly impact the Vikings 2010 season. With that as the premise for the series, it was hard to justify (in my opinion) including a guy such as Asher Allen or Tyrell Johnson in the series because, quite frankly, their level of production won’t be as significant as other supporting cast players, such as Berrian, Greenway or Winfield. If Allen or Johnson don’t play well, there are other players on the depth chart who can be called upon. If Greenway or Winfield don’t produce, I’m not sure how well the Vikings would be able to recover from that.

But, with all of that said, Emile’s point remains a solid one. Lloyd, I believe, will be an important factor in the Vikings season. His addition represents a change in philosophy for the Vikings because in order to have Lloyd on the active game day roster, the Vikings lose another player who likely would’ve played in multiple phases of the game. The trade off is less roster flexibility for a better chance at touchbacks/improved kick coverage.

I agree with Emile that the addition of Lloyd could be key to another successful Vikings season. He was impressive during some of the offseason and OTA workouts I saw, displaying a powerful leg and frequently pumping balls to and through the endzone. I’m looking forward to watching him play this preseason and potentially taking a roster spot as a kickoff specialist for the Vikings.

Here were some thoughts I had on the Lloyd acquisition back in early March right after the Vikings signed him.

Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 10 Comments »

10 Responses to “Discussing Rhys Lloyd And Taking The Easy Way Out”

  1. By Vikingsfansince98 on Jul 22, 2010 | Reply

    i believe this is also a great acquisition. this will allow our defense to take a break and to start with better field position for our defense. I think after the saints game and how they took away percy in the return game, the vikings staff saw a need for this kind of specialist as it can take a great asset of a teams game out of the equation.

  2. By Rogerthevikefan on Jul 22, 2010 | Reply

    You were spot on with the extra edge list. The only problem I had with it was I thought ben leber could have been put on it with greenway because they are both solid but with e.j. coming off injury and jasper only being in his second year they will have to work even harder to make up for his lack of experiance. But I like the idea of lloyd taking guys like hester and cribbs out of the game.

  3. By Carl K on Jul 22, 2010 | Reply

    Judge Carl hereby rule in favor of Emile. I sentence Mike Wobschall to post one more Gaining The Extra Edge series picking 5 non-stars. I believe special teams players, non-starters, and roll players can also help the Vikings Gain The Exta Edge. No more easy street Mike.

    Seriously, Mike and Emile both make great and valid points – the Vikings have many deserving players, and that is what made this series fun. I have enjoyed reading everyones opinions.

  4. By Ragnar's Disciple on Jul 22, 2010 | Reply

    I too am looking forward to seeing how much Lloyd’s impact will have on average starting position for opposing teams compared to the past couple seasons. Mike, if you could pull some numbers on that stat for the 2009 and maybe 2008 seasons that would be great. And maybe even do a feature halfway through the season with Lloyd’s numbers, if in fact he does earn the kickoff duty job.

  5. By Leigh Tow on Jul 24, 2010 | Reply

    the only thing i have to say is that EMILE is a MALE name, not a female name. i guess you were thinking of “Emily” when you said “her”, but Emile is a male name. European. anyway, i LOVED the Lloyd signing, i thought it was truly brilliant. Longwell can be a little crybaby about it if he wants, but he’s still the man in crunch time. does he really care that much about not kicking off? it’s never been his specialty anyway, so i don’t know why his panties were all in a bunch about it. i TRULY believe this team COULD go 15-1 or 16-0 this year. not saying it WILL happen, but last year’s team was better than the 1998 team… and i think we’ve improved. the NFC East is overrated and so are the Jets, our schedule isn’t as tough as people think it will be. we get the cowboys at home AGAIN and we embarrassed them just a few months ago.

  6. By Vikingdav on Jul 25, 2010 | Reply

    Brilliant! Another piece of the puzzle to win the Superbowl! SKOL!

  7. By Bigfan1 on Jul 25, 2010 | Reply

    Lloyd will add depth on special teams (no pun intended), obviously better to have the opposition start in the end zone versus the ten or fifteen yard line.

  8. By MGR4FUN on Jul 26, 2010 | Reply

    ok so i am late to the party … the purple hav three preseason games in domes and that should tell us what we need to know about the ex-gopher … inside he should be knockin the ball out of the end-zone every time after all that is all he is gonna be doin right … so maybe 5 , 6 or 7 times a game he trots out there and gets a free kick to the endzone for big money … gr8 work if ya can find it … there are weather factors to be considered outdoors but we play 10 of 16 regular season games in domes so ifin the ex-gopher is gonna earn his keep he better be gettin alot more than 21 tbs otherwise why waste the roster spot … please do not misunderstand i like the idea of the a.w.w.e.some4some gettin to start at the opponents 20 yd line every time and i also felt our special teams are improvin coverage wise and i acknowledge the other guys are pros too and credit them for some good efforts on kick returns … i think pre-season in the three dome games will tell us what we wanna know

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