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Bevell: Vikings Offense Striving For Balance

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 2, 2010 – 2:05 pm

Since 2006 the Vikings offense has gone through a gradual progression, from productivity as well as mode of productivity. For an illustration of the Vikings gradual improvement in offensive productivity since 2006, check out the chart below…

2006 2007 2008 2009
Points Scored 282 365 379 470
Offensive TD 25 34 37 53
3rd Down Conversion 33.1% 34.5% 39.5% 44.9%
Average Yds. Per Pass 5.4 5.8 6.0 7.1
Punts 94 81 74 73

I don’t have a similar chart to explain the trends in mode of productivity – or in other words, how (running the ball vs. passing the ball) the Vikings have managed to produce on offense. Suffice it to say, the Vikings were a run-heavy offense from 2006-08, but turned into a more pass-heavy attack in 2009.

As the Vikings offense sputtered at times during the first half of 2010, many observers began to wonder and question aloud whether the Vikings offense had progressed into too much of a pass-heavy attack. Leslie Frazier seems to have been wondering the same thing, and he’s emphasized several times since being named interim head coach that he’d like to get back to the Vikings true identity – a great run-stopping defense and a great rushing offense.

“As I said before, we’re at our best when we’re running the ball and stopping the run,” Frazier said on Wednesday. “That’s who we are. That’s our identity.”

That hasn’t been the Vikings offensive identity for much of 2010. Prior to last week’s game against the Washington Redskins, the Vikings passed the ball 57.5% of the time (355 passes in 617 plays from scrimmage) and ran the ball 42.4% of the time (262 runs). Against Washington in Frazier’s first game at the helm, though, the rushing identity came back. The Vikings ran 62.2% of the time and passes 37.3% of the time.

So why did the Vikings stray from the run-oriented attack early in the season? The answer is likely complex and would require more than a blog entry to answer. But Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell was asked about it on Thursday.

“One, you’ve got to go with what’s working,” Bevell said, referring to the Vikings boasting the NFL’s 8th-best passing attack a season ago. “Two, we wanted to have a little bit more balance (than in years prior to 2009, when the offense was run-heavy). You can go back all the way to ’06 when all we really could do was run it. And we ran it against as many guys (defenders) as they wanted to put in there. People were asking ‘How come we can’t be more explosive?’”

Bevell raises a good point. Prior to the Vikings signing QB Brett Favre before the 2009 season, the Vikings were often criticized for leaning too heavily on the run and not being able to ignite the passing game. Last season, the passing game was on fire and when times got rough, many criticized the Vikings for not running the ball enough.

Regardless of that debate, it’s clear that the Vikings team as it stands now is committed to re-establishing the running game and, more importantly, finding a balance in playcalling.

“I think you’re always striving for balance and you want to get as close to a balance as you can,” Bevell explained.

The one time when you don’t want to be balanced, though, is at the end of the game. That’s because a team would like to be protecting a lead and grinding out a victory, which is exactly what the Vikings were able to do against Washington last week. The Vikings salted away the final 6:13 of the clock against Washington and ran the ball 9 times in 10 plays before kneeling 3 times to end the game.

“Anytime that you can put a team away, or exert your will on them,” Bevell said, “I think you want to be able to do that.”


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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 35 Comments »


35 Responses to “Bevell: Vikings Offense Striving For Balance”

  1. By Frederick Jones on Dec 2, 2010 | Reply

    Friends of Tarvaris Jackson Unite!!!

  2. By Bruce on Dec 2, 2010 | Reply

    *****HEY BEVELL*****

    IT’S NOT ABOUT “HAVING OR GETTING A BALANCE”

    THE BALANCE WILL FIND ITSELF!

    YOU USE WHAT WORKS!

    IF THE PASSING GAME OPENS UP AND YOU THROW 75% OF THAT GAME AND WIN THE GAME, THEN THAT WAS THE RIGHT BALANCE!

    IF YOU RUN THE BALL AND YOU ARE MOVING THE CHAINS, THEN THAT RATIO WORKS FOR THAT GAME!

    IT’S NOT ABOUT 50/50 BALANCE, IT COULD BE 80/20 OR 20/80 OR 60/40 OR WHATEVER WORKS FOR THAT GAME AGAINST THAT OFFENSE FOR THAT DAY.

    TO MANY TEAMS, COACHES AND EXPERTS GET CAUGHT UP IN HAVING AS CLOSE TO A 50/50 “BALANCE” AS POSSIBLE AND THAT IS WHY THEY LOSE GAMES!

    YOU USE WHAT WORKS! YOU DON’T GO INTO THE GAME SYING “WE ARE GOING TO RUN THE BALL AT LEAST THIS MANY TIMES” AND PLAN ACCORDINGLY. YOU GO INTO THE GAME SAYING “WE ARE GOING TO TRY AN RUN IT AGAINST THIS TEAM AND PASS IT AGAINST THIS TEAM AND IT WE GET MORE SUCCESS WITH THIS OR THAT, WE WILL CONTINUE DOING THIS OR THAT. YOU DON’T KEEP RUNNING THE BALL IF YOUR RB ISN’T GETTING YARDS OR FIRST DOWNS. IF YOU ARE GETTING FIRST DOWNS PASSING THE BALL, THEN STICK WITH PASSING THE BALL THAT GAME!

    THIS IS HOW YOU WIN FOOTBALL GAMES, YOU MAKE ADJUSTMENTS ON PLAY CALLING JUST AS YOU MAKE ADJUSTMENTS IN PROTECTION OR DEFENSE!

    LET THE BALANCE FIND ITSELF BEVELL AND YOU WILL WIN EVERY GAME!!!

  3. By purplehaze on Dec 2, 2010 | Reply

    bottom line is that you go with what works against a given opponent, and that changes from game to game as well as within a given game. Chili never seemed to get that this year by making sound-in game adjustments, and look what happened to him and our team.

    yes we need to stop the run, but that also means when thats successful, an opponent will put the ball in the air, and we pretty much suck with our corners, safeties, and zone coverage schemes; not to mention special teams defense on kickoffs and punt returns for huge yardage against us on a regular basis.

  4. By Bruce on Dec 2, 2010 | Reply

    *AGAINST THAT “DEFENSE” FOR THAT DAY*

  5. By Bruce on Dec 2, 2010 | Reply

    For example…. the Colts have always been a pass orientated team and that is because that is what works for them with their QB. They win lots of games by using what works. I’m all for running the ball, but remember, if our RB isn’t getting 5-7 yd chunks and isn’t getting first downs, he is also burning the clock up and that isn’t good in a close game or when you are behind in points. That is something that always bewilderd me was how we NEVER manage the clock well when we are behind!!!

  6. By Frederick Jones on Dec 2, 2010 | Reply

    “One you’ve got to go with what’s working.” Bevell said.

  7. By Frederick Jones on Dec 2, 2010 | Reply

    Bruce, you can hate me for that, but he’s saying the same thing you are. He did not say anything about running the ball a certain number of times.

  8. By animal26 on Dec 2, 2010 | Reply

    sorry Frederick Jones, Tarvaris Jackson is not a very good qb and never will. Chilly qb’s from picking up qb’s tend to never be good.

  9. By animal26 on Dec 2, 2010 | Reply

    chilly project qb’s*

  10. By Bruce on Dec 2, 2010 | Reply

    Yes Frederick, I saw that he said that, but people are brainwashed by the media and the guys on the NFL Network who keep saying “You have to have a balance” in the sense that it has to be as close to 50/50 as possible which is WRONG! You use what works for that day against that given opponent, you prepare your game plan for both attacking with the run and the pass but ultimately the right ration for that day is the one that get’s you first downs and touch downs.

  11. By Frederick Jones on Dec 2, 2010 | Reply

    animal26, Like Coach Frazier said, “We need to go forward.” This includes not being obsessed about the negative past. Please do not make up things about the past either. Stick to the facts, and try to be positive about the Vikings future.

  12. By Frederick Jones on Dec 2, 2010 | Reply

    Bruce, I agree with you.

  13. By CaribooBill on Dec 2, 2010 | Reply

    One thing that has been missed, so far, in the discussion about running versus passing is that, if you run enough, you will wear down the defense for later in the game. This only works, however, if you don’t get too far behind.

  14. By Frederick Jones on Dec 2, 2010 | Reply

    –Friends of Tarvaris Jackson Unite!!!

  15. By Frederick Jones on Dec 2, 2010 | Reply

    Politics are important in sports. This has everything to do with what the Vikings will do from here on out. And I’m not just talking about the stadium issue.

  16. By PurpleParody on Dec 2, 2010 | Reply

    Thanks Fred. Some people just like to rant on about things with whatever “proof” they can create.

    Fact is, in 5 years Chilly has had one project QB, who we have yet to see pan out, but unlike many opinions I have read on these blogs, I still maintain that we have yet to see him fail either.

  17. By VAvikefan on Dec 2, 2010 | Reply

    @fred…Im here man. GO TARVARIS!!

    @purpleparody…i agree they have yet to give him a legit chance. He shows alot of promise when they play him but at the sign of a bad game they bench him. Show some REAL faith in him and let him have atleast one whole season as the Vikes starting QB!..not two games here and a game there! smh

  18. By Frederick Jones on Dec 2, 2010 | Reply

    VAvikefan, I believe that what we say in this blog has impact. Not that the players read it. Attitudes count. I want Tarvaris Jackson supported. Reality is he may be the man next year. Let’s not shoot him before he comes out of the building!!!

  19. By TW VIKE on Dec 2, 2010 | Reply

    NO WAY!!! We must get another QB.

  20. By mr smiff on Dec 2, 2010 | Reply

    Bruce is right. Balance shmalance. What we really need to do is analyze our opponents and implement the offense that best exploits their weaknesses. And sticking to the game plan when it is clearly not panning out is just plain f00lish. Whatever works.

  21. By BE SANE, SERIOUS, & LOVE ALL, BABY on Dec 2, 2010 | Reply

    Nice progression in that chart– really nice improvement.

  22. By Conner on Dec 2, 2010 | Reply

    Jackson has had the starting job label given and taken away so quickly. He had a head coach who frequently stated in Jackson’s first two seasons that Jackson was ahead of McNabb at the same point in McNabb’s career. Those are high expectations. Didn’t Jackson get injured early in 2008 so Frerotte got to play then Jackson came on late. Frazier may work with TJack and rebuild his confidence. Some players on the team did not want Favre brought in in 2009 because of what they were seeing TJack do in pre-season and practice. He will win over his teammates, and he WILL WIN US OVER AS FANS! Look at those numbers and the improvement!

  23. By BE SANE, SERIOUS, & LOVE ALL, BABY on Dec 2, 2010 | Reply

    Yeah– look at that progression curve from 2006 through 2009. Vikings improved greatly.

  24. By Conner on Dec 2, 2010 | Reply

    Clock management when we’ve been behind has been horrendous this year! Last year it seemed we were rarely behind, this year we’re always behind. Let’s see if this team can play 4 good quarters start to finish on Sunday. Offense, defense and special teams.

  25. By Conner on Dec 2, 2010 | Reply

    Mr. Smiff and Bruce: Just as the Vikes ran the ball down the Skins throats with Gerhart. In the first half the Skins were passing for 3 straight 1st downs with 3rd and 1. They knew we couldn’t stop their short passing game. It’s about adjustments. I may be imagining things, but Sunday it seemed the Vikings were trying some different formations, which made it more difficult to key on run or pass.

  26. By Conner on Dec 2, 2010 | Reply

    Bruce, the Colts have been so good, so long, that it’s hard for them to draft a top tier running back. Addai is good don’t get me wrong, but Manning is so quick to adjust and audible and outsmart the defense, they are better prepared to pass someone to death. They also go no-huddle at times when Manning senses the defense is stuck in a bad personnel package. Manning wasn’t doing these things at such an elite level in his first 4-5 years.

  27. By animal26 on Dec 2, 2010 | Reply

    I’m sorry, I must have had a little bit of anger at childress. I’m good now.

  28. By animal26 on Dec 2, 2010 | Reply

    left

  29. By Bruce on Dec 3, 2010 | Reply

    I feel bad for Favre not getting into the playoffs this year. he could easily play another year but his mind is set on retiring this year and I guess there won’t be a John Elway exit.

  30. By B-Pro on Dec 3, 2010 | Reply

    I here bevell talking about balance on offense. Don’t you think by now good teams have balance and it shows were not a good team. Yes I know it seems like we’ve had different starting line-ups all year due to all the injuries we had, but look at the teams that are going into the playoffs they have problems every week also but find ways to overcome and win. This week will be interesting again with several key players status unknown for sunday. We just haven’t had backups step in this year and be productive like other teams have had. The Bills game will be close I’m afraid and if we don’t win we will finish 4-12.

  31. By Rocksalt on Dec 3, 2010 | Reply

    How about striving for points……..JEZUS

  32. By Rocksalt on Dec 3, 2010 | Reply

    WHAT???? T-JACK HAS NOT FAILED?????WTF have you been smoking purpleparody………TJACK has had 5 years to learn to read opposing defenses……….and has FAILED TO DO SO………..
    BTW ANYONE WHO AGREES WITH FREDERICK HAS NO CREDIBILITY IMO…..

  33. By 4eversteve on Dec 5, 2010 | Reply

    When striving for balance, they must be able to get much better performance from the O-line then we have seen thus far this year. The o-line appears to give up to much ground in pass blocking before they engage their opponent, and in the run blocking I haven’t seen the mean nasty attitude that is needed when you should be driving the man across from at least 5 yards into defensive backfield Still waiting for a break out game from the offensive line. There time running out and make no mistake about it, whether it is Frazier or another head coach, they auditioning for their jobs already for next year so they will need to pick up their play with much better intensity and sense of urgency in order to retain their jobs.

  34. By 4eversteve on Dec 5, 2010 | Reply

    A new head coach will come in here and clean house, starting with that sorry excuse for a wide receiver Bernard Berrian . I believe he will be lucky to catch on next year with either the Canadian or UFL football leagues. He has scored his last big contract that he will ever see, hope he invested it well for his future well being. Get use to surviving on the league minimum. Hey Bernard, How is your Scandinavian French, you might want to brush up on it.

  35. By vikingsfool on Jul 18, 2012 | Reply

    YEAH!

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