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Special Teams Must Be Solid On Sunday Night

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 14, 2011 – 10:21 am

Special teams is a phase of the game that’s often overlooked, but it remains as important to the outcome of games as defense and offense. And when you play the Chicago Bears, the importance of special teams is even more important. The Bears annually feature one of the finest special teams units in the NFL.

This year is no exception, as the Bears boast the 5th ranked punt coverage team and the 9th ranked kickoff coverage team. In terms of kickoff and punt return, the Bears have perhaps the most dangerous return man of all in Devin Hester. K Robbie Gould is perfect on FGs and PATs this year, and his kickoffs reach the end zone 92.0% of the time; he records touchbacks on 64.0% of his kickoffs, which ranks 6th in the NFL.

Against the Carolina Panthers in Week 4, the Bears allowed 547 yards of offense, but they still won the game. And they won the game largely on the strength of their special teams. Hester logged a 64-yard punt return for a TD and a 73-yard kickoff return, and then Julius Peppers blocked a FG late in the 3rd quarter.

The bad news is Chicago’s special teams group is good enough to lead the team to victory. The good news is the Vikings special teams group has been good this year, too. The Vikings rank 6th in kickoff coverage and 5th in both kickoff and punt return average. K Ryan Longwell has been steady and P Chris Kluwe has 7 punts downed inside the 20, 7 punts fair caught and just 1 touchback.

On Thursday, Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer had candid assessments of a few important aspects of his special teams group. Here’s what he had to say…

On kickoff coverage
“I think our kickoff covering unit has been outstanding all year. Ryan’s done a great job with our kickoffs. He’s kept people off balance a little bit between the left, right and middle, and the hang time has been really good. Guys are focused. We’ve had a couple guys switch in and out, and even the backups have done a nice job.”

On punt coverage
“Punt coverage was not good for a couple weeks. Detroit and Kansas City were not good and this last week was very good. Chris punted the ball well. Patrick Peterson is a very dangerous returner, but Chris punted the ball very effectively and very well and our guys covered and did a good job forcing fair catches and that’s what you’re looking for.”


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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 41 Comments »


41 Responses to “Special Teams Must Be Solid On Sunday Night”

  1. By Frederick Jones on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    Some coaches seem to value special teams excellence over even the defense.

  2. By Frederick Jones on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    Just because Scott Studwell is a beast, that does not mean that he has done a
    good job as Executive Scout of College Talent & Nose Picking.

    Spielman? My football knowledge is well short of his, however my MOM could have picked Adrian Peterson #7 in the draft. And she does not watch football.

    We do not have to fire Studwell or Spielman. I’m pretty sure RIGHT NOW that among the 100 or so employees in the front office, there are more than 2 or 3 people involved in the draft. Everyone has an opinion!!! lol x 7

    If the Vikings want to be the best team in the NFL, we MUST improve the front office by finding some people who know football talent.

  3. By Frederick Jones on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    What does Rob Brzezinski do as VP of football operations?

    We have 9 scouts, could at least ONE of them watch the OFFENSIVE LINEMEN?

    OR IS IT JUST ALL OF THESE PEOPLE ONLY WATCH THE QBs???

    8 offensive linemen picked in the last 9 year, and not one of them is any good!

  4. By Frederick Jones on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    I think we have lots of “homers” on the Front Office staff. Many of these guys were hired because they were good football players or coaches.

    They are not doing their job. If you expect the coach to win or the QB to be effective there has to be talent present.

    This includes the OFFENSIVE LINE ! ! !

  5. By Stoney on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    Totally correct Fred, O-Line is the most important part of the team. The vikes have been ignoring it for years now!

  6. By Mike B on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    Make a trade for Brandon Lloyd WR Denver.

  7. By Mike Wobschall on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    You guys are under-informed when it comes to the front office. Let’s stick to your opinions on the team and this weekend’s game…it generates a better discussion.

  8. By Shawn on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    NFL and NFLPA have agreed to HGH testing ….. I HOPE VIKINGS ARE ALL NATURAL

    and I really hope Aaron Rogers has been using HGH :)

    Im pretty sure he must be and should be the first guy screened ….

  9. By Shawn on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    @Mike Wobs … I tried to tell them :)

  10. By Mike B on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    Sounds as if the Chicago’s defense is having some issues this could be a big positive for us. USA today picks though are 0-6 all for the Bears. Let’s show em they are wrong. Time for a big win in chi town. Go Vikings.

  11. By Shawn on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    Mike B … Im pretty sure we have agreed on something sometime lol but Brandon Lloyd ? Hes a 6’0″ 188lbs and 30 years old, sounds like the same build as BB. Lloyd had one great year which was better than BBs 1 good year. Lloyd’s great year came the same time Orton had his best year ….

    IMO … I dont want to lose a draft pick for a 30yo 1 year wonder, we are clearly rebuilding this year and I dont see a 30yo 1 year wonder fitting on our team

  12. By Parody on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    Mike Wobschall – At least they’re ranting about something relevant to this site. That’s much better than the politics and economy rants that are starting to run rampant. Let’s try to fix the biggest problems first.

  13. By Parody on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    I don’t care for the attacks against the front office because, quite frankly, there’s no way that any of us can accurately identify if a problem exists or who may be to blame for it. But at least these are opinions about our team. If people can’t share that here, then where can they?

  14. By Shawn on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    Parody … its too bad this team didnt give us more to talk about , Im pretty sure all political discussions were started by the stadium politics

    If the politics of the stadium causes 2011 to be my last year of football then you wont have to worry about a MN Viking blog anymore ….

    Politics are as involved in this season as Special Teams

  15. By Titus on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    The toughest game the Vikes have in the next three weeks is Carolina, in my humble but expressive opinion.

  16. By Shawn on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    and I dont here people coming out and making a stay on topic post when this blog becomes travelplans . com

    Which I suppose could be just as relevant as special teams at the end of the season ….

  17. By Shawn on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    lol titus i thought you were in bermuda …

  18. By Titus on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    Mike W– a better approach than chastising and controlling bloggers’ discourse, especially on topics that are justified, would be to write about the front office and “inform” the bloggers.

  19. By Titus on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    Shawn–I have a lot of work and it is still too nice out– Bermuda can wait till Dec or Jan.

  20. By Parody on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    Good point Titus – I would love to see the insider opinion on the abilities and decisions of the front office, as well as how they’re organized.

  21. By Parody on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    Shawn – please re-read your posts and try to understand why they’re nothing better than completely ignorant. Saying special teams has nothing to do with football is like saying that branches have nothing to do with trees. Guess what? Every team has special teams who are an integral part of their organization, just as much as every tree has branches! Politics is like the wind. It only matters when it’s blowing through our branches. When it’s about war and the beliefs of politicians, the wind might as well be blowing in Brazil! Our tree will never be directly affected by it.

  22. By Shawn on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    Parody … maybe you should just read forget reread and just read. I did not say special teams has nothing to do with football. I said politics are just as involved with the season as special teams ….

    I expect more from you …

  23. By Parody on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    Okay Shawn, since you are having trouble understanding the message, I will re-write that one sentence to make the intent of the entire message clear for you:

    Saying politics has as much to do with football as special teams is like saying that branches have as much to do with trees as does the wind.

    The rest of the message remains the same to show you how misled you are.

  24. By Shawn on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    Parody … heres my exact quote, “Politics are as involved in this season as Special Teams”

    Specifically mentioned Im talking about “this” season …

    If you can spin such a simple concept its a real eye opener as to why people are so stupid ….

    You took something I said that if you broke it down word for word could not be misconstrued and you spun it into stupidity…

    If the politicians dont get the stadium deal done say good by Vikings good bye offense good bye defense good bye special teams

    How are politics not an issue to a Viking fan? dont try to get all republican on me and twist reality … Facts are facts and my statement was true and you did the “politician thing” and completely ignored the truth … typical

  25. By Shawn on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    No stadium = no Vikings = no football

    will special teams build a stadium?

    generally speaking your better than that parody

  26. By Parody on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    Shawn – You have made many, Many, MANY more comments about politics than that one tiny little blog. You go on rants about how stupid and murderous and self serving republicans are, how bush has ruined the economy and clinton was the best president ever, and don’t attempt to relate it to football.

    These politics are not an issue for the Vikings! Get over yourself and find something relevant to debate.

  27. By Parody on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    And how does the fact that Clinton built a great economy and Bush destroyed it with lowering taxes relate to a stadium? What does the “fact” that republicans are war mongers who like to send the lower-middle class to their deaths have to do with building a new stadium? Please connect those dots, since they are the bulk of your political rants. It will be interesting to see how many excuses you need to make to accomplish that task.

  28. By Shawn on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    Parody … all true statements. Had you read the whole blog, you would have seen I didnt start it I responded to an ignorant comment.

    So back track your self righteousness and seek what really happened …

  29. By Parody on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    It’s nothing about self righteousness Shawn, stop trying to find a way to spit in my face. One stupid comment shoudln’t open the door for 15 absolutely ignorant comments on a similar topic.

  30. By Parody on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    Had you read the whole blog, you would have seen I didnt start it

    Are you really lowering yourself to this level? “He started it” has never been an acceptable excuse. The fact that you continued it makes you just as accountable. The level to which you “continued it” makes you all that much more accountable. Hold yourself to a higher standard.

  31. By Shawn on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    Someone took a shot and I responded … go re read in this case the blog and you will see how it started.

    I am tired in generall with a completely ignorant society … and sometimes I am ignorant , I am human. If you havent noticed I do my best on this blog to shine light on truths … and stop the ignorant rhetoric.

    I have ranted as much on not firing the front office and lots of football topics , I have taken shots at republicans but generally my rants come from a shot taken at liberals

    and 9x out of ten all political shots and rants start with …. you guessed it ( i hope ) the stadium ….

  32. By Shawn on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    The stadium is as big an issue as any Viking fan has been concerned with since early 80s? Which has politics written all over it. To not expect reps and dems to take shots at each other during a time like this … you might not be awake , its bound to happen.

    After all as American citizens we just follow the lead of our leaders …

    you said “Are you really lowering yourself to this level? “He started it” has never been an acceptable excuse. The fact that you continued it makes you just as accountable”

    Hmm isnt that how wars start?

  33. By Parody on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    Yes, that’s how wars start. That’s also how two toddlers begin screaming at each other and slapping one-another in the face. It’s childish and unacceptable. Be the bigger man and find a proper outlet for your political hate.

  34. By Shawn on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    Parody … welcome to the American way. Yes that may be an ignorant statement I made, but I was raised in America and as a country we are taught if someone disagrees with you then

    DROP BOMBS AND KILL THEM !!!!!

    So again I may have some ignorance but isnt that the American way? Isnt that the Republican motto?

    By the way you have now contributed to a blog of politically ranting.

    It all comes back to 2 things

    1- the stadium
    2- being american

  35. By Shawn on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    The first step is to acknowledge the problem … I have acknowledged taking part in the problem but when will our leaders acknowledge their part so that the robotic followers can be unprogrammed ?

  36. By Parody on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    Fair enough Shawn. Just keep on dropping bombs then if you want to compare yourself to your view of republicans. Be the lower man, and take yourself down to their level.

    The only way I’m contributing is by asking you to give it up. I’ve tried to advertise sites that your political viewpoints would be much more welcome, but they get stuck behind an “awaiting moderation” stall and never post. So I’ll just ask, please try to find other blog sites with a relevant topic to spew your hate for our political economy.

  37. By Frederick Jones on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    Probably hundreds of people have input into the draft. If Spielman, Studwell, or Brzesinski say, “we should pick this great qb,” doesn’t that have impact?

    How do you justify the picking of only 8 offensive linemen in the last 9 years?
    In addition NONE of those offensive linemen picked are ANY GOOD ! ! !

    The Vikings are LOSING more because of the porous offensive line than any other reason!

  38. By Rogerthevikefan on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    Yippy politics. Yes this season politics play a role in the stadium talks but does it mean you need to bash people because of their views NO. Every American has a right to express their views but that doesn’t mean you need to take shots at them after they do.

  39. By Derek on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    Just please don’t let #23 run the punt back! And if he does takeoff, nail his ass! Make him think twice about how hard he’s gonna get hit if he catches it and starts to run.

  40. By Rogerthevikefan on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    Yes punish Hester if he even thinks of returning punts.

  41. By Rogerthevikefan on Oct 14, 2011 | Reply

    DA should file charges on McNugget for excessively beating the turf with his Testicles.

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