...find his lost mojo
Well fans, all the good news from last Sunday is on the defensive side of the ball. The Vikes continue to mount a heavy pass rush without much blitzing, and the secondary responded with three interceptions, two by Jamarca Sanford, who has rediscovered the use of his hands and seems to have nosed ahead of Tyrell Johnson on the depth chart. Who realized at the start of the game that the Vikes nickel package of cornerbacks was Chris Cook, Marcus Sherels, and Asher Allen who, for now at least, will no longer be known as “Ashes.” Against a Cardinal passing offense featuring Larry Fitzgerald, these three would seem like sending David out to meet Goliath armed with marshmallows instead of the smooth stones.
That is how the Tampa Two defense is supposed to work, giving up the short passes in front of the defense, while applying enough pressure on the opposing QB to either ruin his accuracy or force the mistake, which is how Cards QB Kevin Kolb reacted Sunday. One of the inherent weaknesses of the Tampa Two, however, is that it leaves your defense on the field for long stretches chasing the QB and receivers, and if the offense doesn’t contribute by holding the ball part of the time, it is the defense that will make mistakes as it runs out of gas. This is what we’ve seen in the second half of the Vikes’ first four games.
The glaring weakness in the Vikings Tampa Two defense, then, is more Donovan McNabb than any defensive player. Facing a big deficit in the second half, other teams have stacked the line of scrimmage to take away Adrian Peterson and the run, daring McNabb to make them pay in the secondary. He hasn’t been accurate enough to do it. The Vikes go three and out and give the ball back, the defense begins to bend at the waist, arms akimbo, tongues lolling, and another lead slips away.
Those who watched the Lions grind Chicago down into Bearburger Monday night will have legitimate hopes for the Purple next Sunday evening at Soldiers Field. Mike Tice’s offensive line gave up Jay Cutler like a human sacrifice – the Lions’ pass rush ripped out his still-beating heart. The Vikes should be able to do the same or worse, if the Bears don’t make adjustments, and it could be that our secondary might carry the day again.
Unfortunately we can’t rely on McNabb to do it, who seems to have lost his stroke for good. This is very strange for a QB, who generally loses his arm long after the wheels go wobbly. He needs to see a specialist to check out his fundamentals, or maybe just a trip back to the old neighborhood to see if he can find his lost mojo. Otherwise, look for Christian Ponder under center sometime in November.