Isn't it ironic, that this team, this offense, just a few months ago was on the brink of immortality. Just 9 yards away ... seconds actually. Not only did this franchise sport the NFL's league MVP ... they were on the brink of breaking one of the NFL's most prestigious records. Today, this same team is just seconds away from notoriety ... or just one play from re-establishing its respect.
Sure Toine' is gone, as he has settled into his retirement ... and now the team points to this as being the definitive reason to the defenses demise ... but what could be further from the truth? One look at anytime during Toine's career up north, when this mammoth of a hitter went down, and was unavailable to this team ... the defense suffered mightily. So what did we do ... we replaced him with a speedster ... with little pension toward proficient tackling ... and still we wonder ... why? After all ... this is a passing league ... where we need to match receivers ... step for step. No one considered that what we need was a proficient man eater ... like "Hands of Stone Sanford" ... a beast of a man ... that can lay lumber the size of ancient barn support beams ... but to no avail. You know, like having the notoriety of breaking someone's Femur ... on your own team. That's the zone that I want to roam in ... without a care in the world. Were the names Lott, Browner, Haynes, etc., ... were they truly shut down corners in the mold of "The Olay Artist" known as "Prime Time". Or was there much more to roaming into a zone. Maybe its a thought process ... maybe not ... but we all remember Ronnie Lott correcting the commentator by saying, "You mean, not my quickness ... but rather my slowness" ... but always ON TIME. So what is it that we need ... lumber vs. speed ... "Hands of Stone" vs. Soft Hands? We know how our franchise answered that question so far ... the only question is how will they adjust to correct this monumental mistake?
Where could we find the combination of size, speed, vertical leaping ability, and hands so soft that anything thrown his way could potentially end up being a pick six? You know ... almost like a wide receiver that we could mold into a deep safety to replace "Hands of Stone" moved into the slot. In Minnesota ... they can never realize potential ... they can only destroy or waste it. They'd rather get their heads pounded in rather than take immediate corrective action. They can never see the forest standing right in front of this sequoia. Yes, this individual does exist and he's about to become a free agent as he has no true value to this organization. "Well ... we could ask him to do this ... but he'll reject it because it's not what he wants." Problem is that he's never rejected anything that would get him on the field. He's been moved from wide receiver, to quarterback, to wide receiver, to special teams, to gunner, to a blocking terror on the corner to assist AD on touchdown runs. Wow, there could actually be someone within this franchise that could dart-on Calvin Johnson, as a safety, to catch anything that is within his path? It's a sure bet that the dude can't tackle ... we'll of course ... we'd all probably be wrong. How is it that this cheatin' scum bag up in the Boston region can convert a wide receiver to defensive back, with the drop of a dime ... but we must always act as if our hands were tied. "These guys have put in the work ... it's their time to start, regardless if they are overwhelmed or not, and regardless of whether they have any chance of success ... and that's what we will do." This is desperation time and it's time to open Pandora's box. It's time to convert errant passes into interceptions. Maybe it's time to move Webb into the deep zone, pushing Jamarca into the slot with the sole purpose of applying lead to any pencil that desperately needs it. Joe Webb and Everson Griffen are the future of this organization ... they need to be under long term contracts ... the sooner the better. There is nothing like a paycheck to send the right message. The future lies within our draft picks ... like Gerhart... regardless of cost. It's not with other teams off casts.
There is only one franchise in the league that has everything it needs to transform itself ... and it's destiny ... immediately. Can you guess what franchise that is?
Sure, there's been a cosmic or polar shift within this franchise. The ones that despise this franchise refer to it as a "Quarterback Controversy". In the old country, they'd go by the name, "Putz" or a "Putz with Ears". They are easily identifiable every time they utter the phase "Quarterback Controversy". Of course this excludes this humble narrator as this is for teaching purposes only. In their loathing for this organization ... this franchise ... they throw around this term to refer to a historical record, were organizations fall apart ... because they actually believe ... or better said ... buy into such a ridiculous concept. Somehow, you've always known this ... but you just couldn't put your finger on it.
The significance of this historical event, regardless of what you might think, is an internal correction that was desperately needed. Let's face it ... this franchise has acted poorly ... in fact, we all collectively have been quite embarrassed by their actions, while we all wished that it was out of sight ... out of mind. Hey, they are apart of my history and much of what they have done has been beyond intelligent, but all has not been consistent.
Benching Ponder was his first step toward reality. The way he was handled, coddled, smoke screened, and excused, for his actions on the field, was beyond reprehension. These actions by our organization crippled him. No one in our normal society, crippled in this way can possibly survive in the real world ... let alone the worlds greatest stage ... THE NFL. Sure ... in time ... he advanced, where looking back upon his film, he was actually much more proficient than anyone gave him credit, however his mind set, due in part to this crippling behavior, caused him to falter when it counted. After all, my back was covered, even if I made a horrendous mistake, or just didn't care enough to succeed on every level. Why? Because there was never ever real true consequences to his actions.
It is almost guaranteed that every moment of Peyton Manning's life involved consequences ... because it was imparted through to him by the lineage of his father. Can you envision a moment in time where Archie would grab Peyton by the neck, slamming him up against the wall, due in part to an action that was more than beyond the pail? What would that entail? Dollar to donuts ... no one in this organization ever Pondered it. In every moment in Peyton's life he's had to face this and you can see it all replayed for us all upon his face 24/7. On Sunday night, you could almost see the agreement between the weasel Isray and the ever anguishing Peyton Manning. His little Bro Eli has been imparted the same background ... he just simply doesn't care.
Disregarding the careers, the records, and the athletic skill ... how far is Peyton's self imposed standards ... imparted by lineage ... from the way Ponder was handled. You crippled him.
Is it your fault ... the fault of our power structure? Damn right it is. Can you go forward with these idiots? Absolutely ... because they can learn from this mistake. In fact replacing them with someone that is willing to make the same mistake again, over and over again, is another monumental mistake. You see organizations tend to repeat the same mistakes over and over again, because bad behavior gets deeply instilled within an organization. This franchises history clearly proves that out but it can change under Frazier. Only when you have been burned ... and burned badly ... do you truly learn from poor behavior. I'm not so sure about Musgrave ... does he have a head of stone? ... but Leslie Frazier and Alan Williams is as solid as they get. There is no mistaking this fact. In fact ... at this point in time ... most might be calling for Frazier's head whereas this is exactly when he should be strapped to a long term contract. Sell when others are buying and buy when others are selling. Can you see value ... when it's standing right in front of you? What message would it send throughout the league? Would it split the earth in two or is it business as usual?
Now apply the instilled remote control actions demonstrated by Peyton Manning and compare that to the stone-cold look of Bud Grant or the tortured outward appearance of Bill Walsh ... laboring over and over again on how to throw a "Catch-able Ball" ... and you get some idea of what is required by this franchise to finally take control of the quarterback situation.
Maybe our one and only franchise quarterback this organization has ever known was Fran Tarkenton. Regardless of what you might think, his career began within the cauldron of "The Dutchman" Norm Van Brocklin. You might think that Culpepper had a chance, but you'd be wrong, as he was crippled by Denny Green. This was clear to see. Being treated as one of Denny's untouchables always resulted into nothing more that a crippling effect. It is both sad and true. Of course, on the other hand, the Dutchman was infatuated with the preachers kid that Tee Heed his way all over the field. There was never any adversity between this Hall of Famer and his QB student, as he always remained in the pocket, and as we all know ... Fran Tarkenton played every down for this franchise .... well, not so much. Teaching, monitoring, adjusting, tearing down then rebuilding a quarterback is the answer. It's called earning your keep. Coddling and buffering never works. Sure ... I'll take the job ... but only if you can endure ass chewing 24/7.
Was Josh Freeman coddled? Has he been crippled? What did Monday night tell us about the answer to that question? Could Josh Freeman be in a better place? Not if both he and this organization finally wake up. My guess is that Josh will take the road most traveled ... the path of least resistance ... as it always flows downhill ... and will end up in the trash heap of history. Why? Because it's way too hard to work and it's impossible to admit that you're the problem. What did Cris Carter do? What path did he eventually take? Regardless of the decisions that he made ... what did you see on Cris Carter's face ... 24/7? He was never going to make that mistake again and Reggie, and just about everyone around him, eventually forgave him. Leave the Bull Whoopee at the door!
Has Ponder finally become a man ... now that the gloves are off? Did he finally learn the first lesson of life? What will Sunday night tell us? It is the direct answer to these questions. He's either been at a big pity party for himself or his eyes are finally wide open after being kicked squarely in the ass. If he doesn't beat the Packer's ... and beat them soundly ... you'll have your answer. Can you guess where my money is?
So what about the defense. Can the problems be solved? The answer lies within the time of possession of our offense. All the pieces are there ... we just need to get the proper personal in the right places. "Hands of Stone" Sanford needs to stop thinking he can catch a hotly thrown ball. After all, I couldn't catch an NFL ball either. What he needs to do is stop thinking that he'll get paid for catching interceptions and turn toward punching interceptions. Punching the ball in the slot, is another description for the tip drill where many good things can actually happen with a swarming defense. The rest will take care of itself?
My 15 bones is on it way to producing 45 bones ... for the Vikings to beat the Packers head to head on Sunday night. So what if an investment might be supplementing someone's retirement account. What did they see in Ponder? Well have that answer shortly. If you lose this contest ... you better be coughing up a lung.
The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: October 25, 2013