Your only allowed one thing ... one choice. Do you want to win or do your want to make the pro-bowl? We have a boat load of people in the hall of fame however we have no Super Bowl championships. What you saw last Sunday was an overall change in our team's philosophy that could be nothing more than "Selfish Unselfishness" that comes from true leadership.
When you see a healthy Chad Greenway with only a handful of plays, eating his own guts having to face the follow-up interviews, you understand leadership at a new level. Although Chad has a definite leadership role on this team, the collective Viking defensive unit chose to defend with a specific scheme that didn't include his physical presence on the field. The idea was to defeat Stafford ... and this is how we are going to do it. Your wondering if Chad was injured, or if he's lost his job for some reason, whereas all Chad wants is for his team to find a way to win on the field. He's ready ... He's prepared ... and this team shall do what it needs to do to win. That's Selfish Unselfishness at a new level that hasn't been apart of this franchise for many years. The only words that should be uttered to Chad Greenway is thank you as he's made this victory possible. His value to this team in the eyes of his coaches is without question.
Then you see Adrian Peterson listed 3rd in fantasy points for running backs ... achieving no TD's. Was that in response to an offense that did not convert 3rd downs the week prior? Was that in response to receivers not converting receptions between the 20's? Was that in response to an offense for not picking up the blitz when the 49ers threw the kitchen sink at Teddy? What do you think? When you see Adrian Peterson kiss his fingers and point to the almighty after a Zack Line end zone dive what you are seeing is the leadership of Adrian Peterson's Selfish Unselfishness ... as his choice is to win the game. In other words fantasy points are meaningless. Again, the only words that should be uttered to AD is thank you. The scores will come as the team evolves. Do you think Sweetness is looking down upon Adrian recalling that the Patriots prevented him from scoring in the Super Bowl thereby bringing Chicago it's first Super Bowl Title thinking to himself that it takes a warriors heart to act in the role of "Selfish Unselfishness"?
When you see Everson Griffen recording one sack for the entire team while you witness Stafford taking the beating of his life, what you're seeing is a defensive unit that is collectively buying into the concept of Selfish Unselfishness. At some point you might see Everson Griffen giving an interview where he says, "You know, if I were invited to the Pro-Bowl it would be nice however when I witness my defensive unit perform at such a high level like it did last Sunday, sacks are really meaningless by comparison". Football is not about fantasy sacks.
Just take a look at Aaron Rodger's highlight films. Before we do so we need to discuss and review an "Out Route". In my opinion, the greatest quarterback of all time Joe Montana hated the "Out Route" maybe because he didn't have the strongest arm to make that throw but more likely because if a defensive back got a peak at that ball, old Joe was hung out to dry followed by a pick six. In a well formed pocket, the "Out Route" passing lane is typically left open between the defensive end and the defensive tackle. Now think back to the days of Jared Allen where he seemed to always be speed rushing around the left tackle where Jared would end up either behind the quarterback or on the right side of the offensive set over-running the play. For Rodgers that didn't just open up the "Out Route" passing lane, it opened up his "Out Route" rushing lane (rushing only 4 lineman). There you'd see Rodgers floating to the left, into that voided "Out Route" rushing lane with a now perfect view of the field, ready to execute, which hung-out our DB's, safeties and line backers to dry. Believe it or not, to beat the Packers, Aaron Rodgers must be maintained in the pocket. At all times, the defensive line has to prevent Rodgers from gaining a clear view of the entire field and these lineman have to be prepared, first and foremost, to collapse on Rodger's rushing lanes. Sure he'll execute from time to time from the pocket but in time his effectiveness will wane as he will become unnerved having to continually gain his success only from a collapsing pocket. The only question is will our front four be patient enough with themselves knowing that Rodgers might gain fractions of a second, or more, having to stand in that collapsing pocket. Keep in mind that additional pocket time does not work in the favor of an offensive lineman as collectively they know that they are only as strong as their weakest link ... which they cannot see from a well formed pocket ... all the time, consuming the quarterbacks forward escape routes. The only recourse is in understanding that Rodgers will try to take that extra time to escape from that pocket for a better view. Our lineman have got to believe that Aaron Rodgers cannot hit what he cannot see. One more thing ... watch the center hike the ball as snap counts are for offense, not defenses ... giving Rodgers no free plays. Execute this and our defensive unit will have achieved Selfish Unselfishness. Sacks will come from collapsing as a unit on Aaron Rodgers rushing lanes. Keep in mind that 3 or 4 steps to one side or the other, into the clear, is all Aaron Rodgers needs to be considered his rushing lane.
The offense must evolve where to be a championship team, Adrian Peterson has to become integral, not between the 20's, but in the red zone. If Adrian Peterson is the work horse between the 20's, needing a blow when we either reach the red zone or at some time within the red zone, we'll never achieve that championship. In other words, we as a team have to execute the pass game efficiently between the 20's. We are not there yet and specifically Ellison's drops cannot continue. It's not a fumble but in some ways it is worse as they are self imposed stalled drives. How we long for the days when Cris Carter would say, "You Ain't stopped us yet". There is also something that needs further explanation. Why are we relying upon a 3 yard pass when it's 3rd and five? Are we trying to help the other team or are we providing a crutch for an inexperienced offensive line that cannot be depended upon? What message does that send?
What's so refreshing about this whole thing is that no one was chasing after the meaningless things, that fantasy tells us ... is important. Fantasy is a false message. Do you think Eddleman can take that pounding over another 16-game season? I don't think so. It was frustrating not to have seen our defense sacking Stafford. It was frustrating not seeing Adrian Peterson score TD's. From chasing after that old outdated perspective ... no one on Sunday got the individual accolades that they wanted. Did Teddy get those down the field throws? Did Teddy get 300 yards passing? The answer is that no one individual got the notoriety that they are supposed to crave from fulfilling fantasy stats. What they got instead was a victory. So, what do you think this Viking franchise chose? Was it "Selfish Unselfishness"? Did that come directly from our leadership, filtering on down to the lowest level within this organization? Certainly if AD or Chad Greenway could do it ... then I can do it too.
The next level is in understanding that key members of a championship squad have been assembled under this franchise. The players have to want to be here more than they want to chase dirty money that is soon to be thrown at them to fracture this group. Successful franchises such as the Packers, Seahawks and Patriots understand this, where the decision of Harrison Smith has to be ... "I need to be here". Their role has to outweigh and be placed before dirty money. Is any mans soul available for just any price? The answer is, "No! I'm not for sale!!!"
The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: September 23, 2015