It’s time to face the facts. Vikings fans are disappointed right now with the team at 0-3. Beyond not playing 60 minutes of consistent football the biggest problem on this team has to do with two things. As likable as Leslie Frazier comes across as a human being and I’m sure he’s a nice guy and all… the NFL is built on winning and Frazier has failed us thus far. And if you think we’re being two harsh here at TVA, national columnist Jason Whitlock is already suggesting Frazier be canned. We’re not ready to break out a word that rhymes with dire on the head coach, but there are two key reasons he’s not getting the job done. First reason…
Loyalty to a Fault
Frazier’s message has been inconsistent to say the least. He at one point said a Super Bowl victory is not that far away and then weeks later said that Vikings fans have to be patient. Pick your battles Leslie. Perhaps Frazier’s biggest mistake to this point has been not cleaning house from the get-go. While we watched the Lions beat us today with playmakers in Matthew Stafford (age 23 — 32/46 for 378 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions), Brandon Pettigrew (age 26 –11 receptions for 112 yards), Calvin Johnson (age 25 — 7 receptions for 108 yards and 2 TDs) and Ndamukong Suh (age 24 — 5 tackles, 1 sack and two QB hits) we had to watch guys like Donovan McNabb (age 34 — 22/36 for 211 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions), Visanthe Shiancoe (age 31 – one reception for 8 yards, to Shank’s credit it was for a TD) and Bernard Berrian (age 30 — 0 receptions on 4 targets). When Jim Schwartz took over the Lions he cleaned house to rebuild around his own choices. Meanwhile we’re stuck with guys that Frazier simply has faith in — a number of which are Brad Childress leftovers. There’s no way you can tell us at TVA that Shiancoe isn’t stunting Kyle Rudolph’s growth and we wouldn’t be better off building for the future sooner rather than later. Does Berrian bring anything to the table anymore? Change is needed. Maybe even at the QB position, which leads us to another point…
The only way to win in the NFL these days is to have a legitimate downfield passing attack. To say you’re a conservative offense is a suicide pill. All it does is lead to stacked boxes expecting a running game. Part of the reason we lost in the second half was not being aggressive.
When looking back at our 3 losses McNabb has been out thrown in every one – Philip Rivers 335 yards to McNabb’s 39 in week one, Josh Freeman 243 to McNabb’s 228 last week and Stafford 378 to McNabb’s 211 today. Looking at the top 5 passers so far this year in Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Cam Newton, Stafford and Rivers you have a combined record of 10-5. While its not all McNabb’s fault having a shaky offensive line and throwing to “weapons” (sarcasm in the quotation marks there) in Berrian and Michael Jenkins the fact of the matter is we have to move past him. Let’s see what Christian Ponder brings to the table. Can he throw a deep ball to Jenkins, who seems to be catching every target this year? Can he find Percy Harvin in space to let him turn a 5-yard pass into 50 yards? Can he develop key chemistry with his summer workout buddy in Rudolph to give us a building block?
Frazier’s counter argument to this has been that we have the best running back in the league in Adrian Peterson. While that’s true, the difference per season of your best RB to your average starting RB is about 600 yards. Meanwhile the difference between your top QB to your average starting QB is 1500 yards. Yards are yards Leslie — and a lot of those tend to equal more and more points. There’s no way this team won’t get over the top until that’s realized. Also do you honestly mean to tell us that an explosive passing game wouldn’t further help Adrian’s career?
At conclusion of the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears game analyst Troy Aikman said there are few things in this league more dangerous than a young and confident team. Well Detroit has exactly that right now and we don’t. And that, our loyal readers, is pretty depressing. Might be time to salvage what’s left of this season and build for the future. Right Frazier?
Jon Merckle may be followed on Twitter @thevikingpig