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Late-Game Run Defense Problems Are Correctable

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 25, 2011 – 6:17 am

The bad news is the Vikings defense wasn’t gap sound late in Sunday’s loss to the Green Bay Packers. But the good news is the Vikings defense wasn’t gap sound late in Sunday’s loss to the Green Bay Packers. It’s bad news because the error of not being gap sound cost the Vikings a chance to get the ball back late in the game and pull off an upset. It’s good news because not being gap sound is a correctable error.

“I took a look at it,” Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said on Monday. “One of the things we talked about prior to the game was every guy just doing his job on every single play and taking care of your responsibility. On that last drive we had a couple guys that tried to make some plays that weren’t theirs. You really have to stay in your gap if you are trying to play good run defense. We had some guys that were playing a little over anxious and got out of their gap and the Packers ended up creasing some runs that they had tried earlier in the game and had no success with, but we didn’t handle that moment very well.”

Trailing by 6 points and facing a 4th and 10 with 2:37 to play in the game, Frazier made the right decision by punting the ball back to Green Bay. Armed with 3 timeouts, the 2-minute warning and a solid run defense that had allowed just 59 yards rushing on 20 carries (2.95 yards per carry) up to that point, logic dictated that the Vikings offense would get the ball back at right around the 2-minute mark.

But a group of over-anxious defenders who slid out of their gaps allowed the Packers to rip off 55 yards rushing on 6 carries to close out the game. The result was certainly frustrating, but it’s hard to get made at a group of defenders for wanting to make a play so badly that they lost a bit of gap responsibility.

“In that last drive it is just so important when you are in a four minute situation and all of our guys know that because we have played good run defense in the past,” Frazier explained. “You can’t play good run defense if anybody gets out of their gap. Especially the way we play.”

The way the Vikings played on Sunday was with passion and heart, and it nearly resulted in an upset victory of the defending Super Bowl champions. Now the challenge for Frazier is to keep his guys playing that hard, but to also keep them playing within the scheme.


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28 Responses to “Late-Game Run Defense Problems Are Correctable”

  1. By Roninmn.. on Oct 25, 2011 | Reply

    Ponder put the loss of the game on his shoulders, sign of a true leader. It’s nice to see some of the other players admitting to their own mistakes. We need to shore up the secondary and offensive line problems as well. By the way Mike, glad you admitted you were wrong about Berrian, shows alot about your character.

  2. By Twoodsnvikes on Oct 25, 2011 | Reply

    I’m starting to agree with others as sessment of K willi.. Frazier said he forgot to stay in his gap on that last GB drive… reallyyyy????? His name hasn’t been called much this year, I think it’s time to see what Ballard has and clear up some more cap space.

  3. By deer tracks on Oct 25, 2011 | Reply

    Roninum, The loss of the game was not Ponder, try Frazier. By the way Roninum, It isn’t the first time Mike has been wrong…

  4. By Mike Wobschall on Oct 25, 2011 | Reply

    Certainly not the first time I’ve been wrong and it won’t be the last.

  5. By Mike B on Oct 25, 2011 | Reply

    I am not sure what’s going on with the defense. They can hold teams in check for most ot the game and then become soft. I don’t think Kevin W is happy on the line without Pat. Pass rush is good at times then not so good. We have key Vets still in place on the Defense, but still not working together for an entire game. The secondary without Winfield, Cook, and Sanford is weak. Need to shake it up. I don’t hear much from the linebackers this year. What’s up there Singletary? It sounds like good players are covering the field for poor players misses too. I am I wrong here?

  6. By sandiamond on Oct 25, 2011 | Reply

    Big game for Ponder and the Vikes this week! last call to turn around and the season and plus the media hype with Newton vs Ponder rookie showdown.

  7. By sandiamond on Oct 25, 2011 | Reply

    Roll with the punchesssss… no D in this game either, all about scoring td’s for both teams

  8. By Woodboat on Oct 25, 2011 | Reply

    Nice title to this blog entry….aren’t all our deficiencies correctable, Mike? :)

    The problem is, when are they going to get fixed? Aren’t the coaches supposed to recognize what these deficiencies are and fix them during practice? I am starting to believe that the main deficiency is the guy wearing the headset on gameday…

  9. By Roninmn.. on Oct 25, 2011 | Reply

    @deer tracks, you need to read into my statement a little more, of course it wasn’t all Ponders fault, but he stepped up to the plate. Plus I think we all make our share of mistakes.

  10. By vikeforever on Oct 25, 2011 | Reply

    Well its nice that the run defense is fixable but if we do stop the run or we going to defend the pass. Stay dicipline in coverage. The defense has trouble with mobile QBs and Newton is no picnic.

  11. By GM on Oct 25, 2011 | Reply

    We do miss Pat. I wonder if he has any interest in D-line coaching?

  12. By deer tracks on Oct 25, 2011 | Reply

    Rnoniumn, I did read into your statement…I understood what you said. Frazier is the one wearing the headset… I would like to mention that the guys wearing the head sets should use them more often, the head sets are not there to make you look important, but to tell those on the feld to shape up, or ship out….

  13. By CA_Viking_fan on Oct 25, 2011 | Reply

    Yes, these are fixable. Hint hint: A “team plays like they practice”.

    Can we borrow some no nonsense coaches for a couple weeks to guide the practices? I bet you would see some instant fixes and staying with the same roster.

    The Vikings need a few mean sobs to drive the practices. (paging Drs. Ditka, Gruden, Madden, Butkus, and Cowher. Your needed in the ER stat)

  14. By Carl K on Oct 25, 2011 | Reply

    Hire Jim Tressel!!!!!!!!

  15. By Rogerthevikefan on Oct 25, 2011 | Reply

    Abdullah as a safety your job is to stop the big play not let a receiver run by and get a easy TD. For the rest of the D fu ck1 ng wrap up when you tackle.

  16. By Rogerthevikefan on Oct 25, 2011 | Reply

    Ponder had a great learning experiance against one of the top DBs in Woodson. After throwing 2 ints to him Ponder fooled him on the TD to Jenkins. The D let us down while Ponder showed alot of promise.

  17. By purplehaze on Oct 25, 2011 | Reply

    too true the db’s and corners on this team are on vacation already

  18. By Brad on Oct 25, 2011 | Reply

    BB is gone!!!!

  19. By Mike B on Oct 25, 2011 | Reply

    CBS is reporting that Berrian is being cut.

  20. By Mike B on Oct 25, 2011 | Reply

    It is unfortunate that we are unable to motivate these guys. I am sure he will catch onto another team good luck BB.

  21. By Mike B on Oct 25, 2011 | Reply

    Now we definately need a blue chip WR fairly soon. Our current core of WR are made up of possession type guys.

  22. By viking joe on Oct 25, 2011 | Reply

    With the injuries to percy harvin and everyone else,i would like to see them activate Caleb King in preseason he did a few good thing for us he fast quick and good hands activate him be a good choice!!

  23. By Matt on Oct 25, 2011 | Reply

    Could someone please take a look at the tape and actually analyze WHY and HOW these errors are correctable? It’s not enough to just quote Frazier … we need to know who exactly was out of position on each play.

  24. By CaL on Oct 25, 2011 | Reply

    Ponder did a GOOD job converting 3rd downs keeping drives alive, based on that Frazier needs to show more confidence in Ponder that he could have done the same on that last drive. Even if he we’re not to convert, I as a fan feel a little bit better going swinging rather than basically waving the White flag. And Yes the first down play should have gone to AP.

  25. By prijonpro on Oct 25, 2011 | Reply

    Go get Pat Williams

  26. By Aceviking on Oct 25, 2011 | Reply

    BERRIAN IS RELEASED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BERRIAN IS RELEASED!!!!!!!!!!!!!! These coaches seem to finally have some sense!

  27. By CanadianVF on Oct 25, 2011 | Reply

    Instead of worrying about fixing gap problems and Kevin Williams feelings. Why don’t we fix our zone coverage on the defense, it is brutal, it has been brutal for a long time. The Jennings td just after halftime was the turning point in the game. He simply jogged the last 20 yds into the endzone, he was so wide open. Let make that the number one priority lets fix that first!!!!!

  28. By DrinkHeavyVikingsFans on Oct 25, 2011 | Reply

    I guess I can accept one or two plays where someone doesn’t do their job. But this happened at crunch time for 6 plays, 55 yards. And this after coach Frazier called all of them out for not showing up against the Bears and all those blown 2nd half leads. Something tells me that this is no easy fix coach. Big test next week at Carolina Vikings D..

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