Harrison Smith Mr Nice guy in TC

Harrison Smith Mr Nice guy in TC
Hardest hitting safety in the NFL

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Breaking down the 53 man roster


Thursday’s Vikings game ended the preseason schedule and on Saturday August 31st, 19 players were released to get down to the 53 man roster. This does not mean some of these players could end up on the practice squad. The roster by Monday could even change again.

I spent the afternoon Saturday reading twitter periodically watching the NFL and all things involved and if any big names got cut.

Players Waived On Saturday (19)

TE Colin Anderson, RB Joe Banyard, S Brandan Bishop, OL Travis Bond, CB Brandon Burton, WR Stephen Burton, DT Everett Dawkins, S Darius Eubanks, CB- Bobby Felder, TE Chase Ford, OL Brandon Keith, DT Anthony McCloud  LB Tyrone McKenzie OL Kevin Murphy DT Spencer Nealy DE D’Aundre Reed  WR- Rodney Smith WR- Adam Theilen and DE Collins Ukwu
The 19 players involved today 5 of them were former Vikings draft picks with Brandon Burton, Stephen Burton, D’Aundre Reed from past drafts and 2 of the 9 2013 picks were Everett Dawkins and Travis Bond.
In 2012 only 1 of the 10 was cut and now this 2013 draft 2 were not so fortunate so I will keep an eye to see if they get signed to the practice squad.
The surprise to me like most people I am sure was Stephen Burton and Tyrone McKenzie. I believe a fight for the final spot came down to Webb and Burton with Webb winning in the end. I really thought both would be kept. I really like the camp Burton had but Webb is a guy who was showing the staff he would do whatever it takes weather receiver or special teams.
McKenzie led the team in special teams last season. This team has drafted 3 linebackers in the last 2 years in which is going to make it harder on vets to stay with the team.

The other mild surprise to me was Bobby Felder. I am truly happy for Marcus Sharels but I still thought the team would keep both. I know they can’t keep everyone.

The draft has really helped this team immensely as I break down the positions that make up the 2013 53 man roster:

Quarterbacks (3) 1 of the 3 is a draft pick- (Ponder)

Running Backs (4) 2 of the 4 are draft picks (Peterson and Gerhart)

Wide Receiver (5) 3 of 5 are draft picks (Patterson, Wright and Webb)

Tight Ends (3) 2 of 3 are draft picks (Rudolph and Ellison)

Offensive Linemen (8) 5 of 8 are draft picks (Kalil, Sullivan, Fusco, Baca and Loadholt)

Defensive Line (9) 5 of 98 are draft picks (Robison, K.Williams, Guion, Griffen and Floyd)

Linebackers (8) 4 of 8 are draft picks (Greenway, Cole, Hodges and Mauti)

Defensive Backs (10) 7 of 10 are draft picks (Cook, Robinson, Rhodes, H.Smith, Sanford, Blanton, Raymond)

Special Teams (3) 2 of 3 are draft picks (Walsh and Locke)

53 players on the roster with 32 of them draft picks computing to 60.3 percent being draft picks.
On the flip side I congratulate guys who made it the hard way, and that was being a rookie free agent at one time and fighting to either make it for the first time or repeat come back and make the squad.

List includes:

LB-Erin Henderson, QB-McLeod Bethel Thompson, RB-Matt Asiata, FB-Zach Line, DT-Chase Baker, LB-Larry Dean. CB-Marcus Sharels and S-Andrew Zendejo
It is an exciting day for football fans because now that the 53 have been announced it is one step closer to opening week.
On a note around the NFL players with Minnesota ties were released.  Detroit Lions released former Vikings safety, Tyrell Johnson. San Francisco released former Gopher quarterback MarQueis Gray.
Thanks for reading


Friday, August 30, 2013

Reviewing the Titans game

Thursday August 29th, 2013 the Vikings played their last preseason game ever at Mall of America Field and came out with a 24-23 victory.


My wife and I get to the games around 1.5 hours early each home game and go to the front row to take pictures of players close up or hope some players come over so we can meet them. Thursday I had a thrill as I got to see former Vikings great. Keith Millard come over and sign autographs. Yes, he is a Tennessee coach but that did not matter it was Keith Millard.

The Vikings always come to the field after the blowing of the Gjallahorn. Thursday night former Vikings running back Rickey Young blew the horn. Young scored the first ever Vikings touchdown at the Metrodome, now known as Mall of America Field.

The team captains came out for the coin toss. The captains for this game were Joe Webb (offense), Larry Dean (defense) and Marcus Sharels (special teams).


I asked my wife on the way up to the game, would we see more purple or more blue? The blue I am referring to was the seats we sit in. It was a late arriving crowd because 10 minutes before kickoff the place seemed half full.  The stadium did not fill but I was pleasantly surprised just how many people came  and even more surprised how many stayed late into the 4th quarter people still were there.

Thursday night 5 fans were on the field each holding a suitcase in which one of them had an England flag inside. The one that opened their suitcase and had the flag won the trip to London to watch the Vikes take on Pittsburgh. The woman that won it had the look as though she was going to pass out but did not.

Each home game a lucky fan wins a trip to Mexico by playing trivia. 4 fans each game are asked a question and the one with the closest number to the answer wins the trip. Thursday was a strange and truly challenging question.

Q-How many Miller lite pints of beer does it take to fill Mall of America Field? A- just over 3.5 billion

One last nugget on fans- 3:11 left in the 3rd quarter the wave began and before it was all said and done fans were shredding any paper they could find including game programs each fans find in their seat. It was a confetti wave like you may never see in your life. Paper airplanes were flying onto the field. Security came up but in my section the security guard just stood at the bottom of the steps and watched. If a plane made it to the field fans cheered. It was kind of dangerous walking down the steps after the game with so much paper covering the steps.


I am becoming a bigger Desmond Bishop fan the last 2 weeks. He is explosive and appears to play with the intensity we need. I love his hustle. I am predicting a start for him in Detroit.

I love the running back play of Matt Asiata and Joe Banyard. I thought Asiata ran with authority including his touchdown. Banyard too showed his strength and also his desire to find pay dirt. The swing pass should have been stopped for a no gain or loss but the first move he made on the defender and the next 10 yards was very impressive.

The unfortunate injury to Vikings Guard, Seth Olsen was scary at first sight. I saw Eric Sugarman come on the field instantly. The next thing I see is Suagarman putting both his arms straight out and looking at the Vikes sideline. This was a signal for the stretcher. The Vikings showed true team support as all 90 guys were on the field and kneeling. The paramedics get Olsen on the straight board and begin to roll him to the locker room.  The first guy to come up and pat Olsen was Banyard. It was on the screen pass to Banyard when Olsen got hurt. I was truly impressed with Banyard for this gesture.

The next salute goes to game captain, Marcus Sharels. What a night for him after missing last week’s game when his father passed away.

The opening kickoff of the 2ne half I saw the wedge open from my view in the upper deck. The next thing he saw it because as you know 109 yards later it is 6 for the good guys.

The interception he made was a great drop in coverage running right in front of the receiver to steal the ball.

Captain, kickoff return for a touchdown and an interception all in one night for this man who said he has always been told he is too small. The fight he is in to make the squad I hope makes the coaches decision that much easier.

Two guys who are not projected to make the team made plays that stood out. Darius Eubanks (#49), made a great hit causing a Titans fumble and later Eubanks made a great break up in the end zone.

Rodney Smith (#83) made a great sideline catch from Cassel and later in the game made an important catch from Bethel-Thompson. Smith is 6’5” and weighs 220. I am hoping he will be signed to the practice squad.

I was very impressed with both kickers, Vikings (Walsh) and Titans (Rob Bironas) on their ability to kick off deep and out of the end zone. Walsh was 5-5 on hammering it out and Bironas first half was outstanding but the 2nd half not quite so good as we saw Sharels work some magic.

A 4th game can be ugly with no regulars playing however Thursday I found entertaining and even better with a W for the purple. A kick by Walsh to win it never gets old.

I mentioned Rodney Smith and Eubanks but now add Collins Ukwu (#67) as his hustle to the botched  snap by Titans quarterback, Rusty Smith helped end the game and get the Vikes their only win of the preseason.

Next up: decision time by the coaching staff. I would not want to be them

The biggest talk after the game is how many receivers do the Vikes keep? Do they keep Stephen Burton or Joe Webb, or both?

It’s an exciting time to be an NFL fan because less than 10 days and it’s the kickoff to 2013 season.

Thanks for reading



Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Facts, figures and other info in helping you get ready for the Titans game

Thursday August 29th we find the Vikings playing the last preseason game of the year. It is the game that for some fans is hard to watch because the 1st stringers get very little action if any while the rest of the team makes its pitch to the coaches on why they should be on the 53 man roster.

For many players throughout the NFL it may be the last time they put a uniform for their team they are trying out for. It is the hopes of many that other teams are watching the players so if they are cut that team may invite them for a tryout.

In spending 15 days in Mankato I have watched all 90 try out and will enjoy watching them Thursday do what they can to make the Vikes squad.

One thing for sure is we will not see Adrian Peterson face off againt the man who wants to race a Cheetah, Chris Johnson.

Let’s look at some info regarding the game: Vikes vs Tennessee

Date: Thu Aug 29 at 7:00

Local TV-Channel 11; with Paul Allen and Pete Bercich doing the play by play

Radio- Paul Allen and Pete Bercich

This is the 5th time in history the Vikes have met Tennessee in the preseason. The Vikings have a 3-1 edge.

The 12 times the Vikings have finished below .500 in preseason they have ended the regular season below .500 6 times. I am of the mind the team will not join this stat. The team will win double digit games is my hope.

Lets look at Vikings offensive stats in the first 3 games


Ponder and Cassel both have 37 attempts. Ponder has 184 yards and Cassel 269 yards. Ponder has completed 62.2 percent and Cassel in completing 51.4


1-Joe Banyard 13 carries 61 yds.  4.7 average

2-Toby Gerhart 17 carries 50 yards 2.9 average


1-Cordarrelle Patterson 8 receptions 84 yds for 10.5 avg per catch

2-Stephen Burton 6 receptions 98 yards for 16.3 avg

3- Webb and Carlson both have 5 receptions



Jeff Locke 16 punts for 43,4 yd average  36,8 net and he has kicked 7 inside the 20 yards line. His long is 61  yards thus far



1-Bobby Felder 11 tackles

2-Mistral Raymond 10

3-Desmond Bishop  and Larry Dean both with 9

Special Teams

Rhett Ellison and George Johnson both lead the team with 3

Here is some help with pronouncing names on the roster

Matt Asiata - ah-see-ah-ta    Cordarrelle Patterson - core-dare-ul

Jeff Baca - BA-ka                  Mistral Raymond - MISS-trail

Joe Berger - BUR-jur             Brian Robison - ROB-ah-sin

Joe Banyard - BAN-yurd       Andrew Sendejo - sin-DAY-ho

McLeod Bethel-Thompson - muh-CLOUD    

Audie Cole - ODD-ee            Adam Thielen - THEE-len

Darius Eubanks - U-banks     Collins Ukwu - OOH-kwoo

Brandon Fusco - FUSS-co

Toby Gerhart - GARE-heart

Letroy Guion - la-TROY GUY-on

Matt Kalil - kuh-LIL

Troy Kropog - crow-POG

Cullen Loeffler - LEFF-ler

Marcus Sherels - SHARE-els

 Michael Mauti - MAW-tee

Overall- It is a football game with over 100 players playing for their careers. The Gophers are home to UNLV at 6:00 at TCF Bank Stadium. The state fair is in swing and the Vikings game plus the heat wave all in one night.

I will be interested to see how many fans come to this last game. All I know is I will be there in my purple wardrobe.

Thanks for reading





Monday, August 26, 2013

Busy day at Winter Park on Monday

 The past I have written for my home town paper a blog about the Vikings from a fan perspective. The paper ended my article after 3 years but the Vikings were nice enough to keep me on the press alerts by email. I will be able to keep the fans up to date with various activates including a break down of the opponent. 

The game Sunday night ended in a loss on the scoreboard. The real loss potentially was when I  saw Kevin Williams take the cheap shot. I went to bed concerned what Kevin Williams future would be. Here it is a statement from the Coach himself:
Eden Prairie, MN (August 26, 2013) – “Kevin Williams suffered a hyperextension injury to his right knee in last night’s football game. An MRI exam today revealed a significant bone contusion as well as a posterior capsular strain. Kevin was fortunate in that there was no injury to any of his ligaments.”

– Head Coach Leslie Frazier.

In other tough news the league has announced Jerome Felton has been suspended 3 games for violating the league policy.
Here is a statement from GM Rick Spielman:
Eden Prairie, MN (August 26, 2013) – “We respect the league’s decision and Jerome understands it. Jerome is focused on returning to the playing field in week four vs. Pittsburgh.” – General Manager Rick Spielman


"Jerome Felton of the Minnesota Vikings has been suspended without pay for the first three games of the 2013 regular season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. 

Felton will be eligible to return to the Vikings’ active roster on Monday, September 23 following the team’s September 22 game against the Cleveland Browns.


Felton is eligible to participate in the final week of preseason, including Thursday’s game. His suspension starts on Saturday, August 31."

Thanks for reading

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Review of the 49ers game

The game is over and now the slicing and dicing begins by media and fans. Game 3 with starters playing into the 3rd quarter gives people much more to discuss for both teams involved.

The first play of the game was already an improvement. The first play in Buffalo we see Ponder get hammered after Kalil missed a block. The game Sunday night Ponder was able to avoid a rush and launch it deep to Greg Jennings. Yes, it was incomplete but I like the thought.

The first series ends in a fumble deep in Vikings territory and the 49ers are in the red zone. I love the defense and what they did to hold the 49ers to a field goal. It involved a nice stop by Greenway and Harrison Smith on a wide run attempted by Frank Gore as he ends up losing a yard.

I loved the hustle by Brian Robison tonight. It was scary seeing a couple collisions between Jared and Robison in the backfield. It is the last thing we need to do is lose either one of these guys.

I liked Kevin Williams play including a nice knock down of a pass. It is truly unfortunate to see what the 49ers offensive linemen did to Kevin. I worry about the overnight. The camera shot we saw made it look horrific the way his knee bent in.

The Vikings took their share of dumb penalties but I felt the 49ers played a little too cheap. I know its preseason and guys are doing what they can to make the team. I can think of 2 more examples with one when Our Vikings receiver, Burton was stopped and hung up by a 49ers defender only to watch another hit the defenseless receiver helmet to helmet. The other that comes to mind is the touchdown catch by Joe Webb as he is being tackled by the face mask.

Adrian used as a decoy gave the opportunity for Toby Gerhart to get the extra carries. I thought Toby made the most of them and ran hard. The carry on 3rd and short he had no chance with the offensive line missing a block.

Matt Kalil had a tough night with too many penalties but I did like Coach Frazier decision to pull him out for a play and to cool off.

Jeff Locke had another good night. I really love his ability to pin the other team deep in their own end. I loved the hustle on one punt by A.J. Jefferson to get down the field. He made even a better play by realizing he was by the goal line and did not touch the ball allowing Loeffler to stop the ball at the 2. It was a heads up play by Jefferson.

I was shocked to hear Cris Collinsworth pay a compliment when Ponder threw a nice ball with good touch to Jerome Simpson.

My thought on Ponder is this. He showed me tonight he is not a quitter. He did not have a lot of yards passing but he has a 95.6 passer rating and went 17 for 23. The offensive line struggled so I liked his ability to stay in the pocket and run up the middle when he could.

He showed tonight his ability to find his receivers, Jennings and Simpson as they both had 2 catches for 24 yards. Jennings also made a big play drawing an interference penalty on the 49ers in the end zone. A very nice veteran play made by Jennings in drawing the flag.

Zach Line for the 3rd straight game made a great showing in hopes of making it tough on the coaches to decide if he stays or goes. Toby Gerhart made a 12 yard run and on that play who made the key block? Yes, Zach Line. The same drive Line is rewarded with a touchdown catch from Ponder.

The battle between Joe Webb and Stephen Burton goes on. We see Burton stop on a route resulting in an interception then later in the game makes a big catch on a TD drive.

Webb makes himself known as he used his big athletic body to haul in the fade pass for a TD. This battle I believe will come down to Thursday’s night game at home vs Tennessee.

Matt Asiata had a rough night in Buffalo with struggling with the blitz pick up. The TD by Line I see Asiata make a big block knocking down not just 1 by 2 49ers players. Nice play Matt

The defensive side of the ball I liked the play of Greenway including an impressive interception. I also like the game Desmond Bishop played tonight. I believe his game may keep him on the squad. He used his head wisely when he got head butted by 49ers player Hawkins. I liked his ability to not retaliate.

I do not know if I have seen a play take so many unnecessary penalties as Hawkins. 2 coming on one play with taunting and removing his helmet and then the head butt. Will he be a 49ers player this year? Or is his talent too much to overlook these mistakes and keep him?

The one player I felt the 49ers really went after was defensive back, Josh Robinson. I could believe the attempts they went after him. It was a game for Josh to look back at film to see how he can improve for the next game.

I leave you with this how about Jerome Simpson helping out with the runaway fan. The TV shot of Simpson next to Coach Frazier was that ever a sight.  It makes me wonder what is said on the sideline when something like this occurs.

A loss but I saw some improvement I was hoping for. I say bring on the Tennessee Titans up next and we will end up 1-3.

Thanks for reading






Saturday, August 24, 2013

Previewing Sunday night's 49ers game

Game 3 is coming soon and I cannot think of a better opponent than the San Francisco 49ers. The 3rd game as you know is really the final showing for the vets on NFL teams. This is the game where the regulars play the first half and maybe into the 3rd quarter.

The Vikes have been questioned by many just how good they will be. Game 1 infamous 2 plays and out for the first string. We know that old story as we got to read a weeks’ worth of questions about 2 plays.

The game in Buffalo once again the jury seems ready to deem the Vikes offense nowhere ready to compete.

I believe you know how I feel. It is preseason and I will not get hung up on the mistakes. I am looking for progress.

This is why I feel Sunday night’s game on National TV is huge for the Vikes fans. This is a chance to really see what the team has moving into the regular season.

A matchup against the NFC representative in last year’s Super Bowl. A game on the road for the Vikes, and even a national telecast is what’s on tap Sunday.

The 49ers led by 2012 rookie sensation, quarterback Colin Kaepernick will be a great test for the Vikings defense. I am of the opinion this season that the read option will not be run as easy this season. I just think defensive coordinators have had much more time to prepare for this new up and coming style of offense.

A defense must play well disciplined defense. I love what Vikings defensive coordinator has to work with. Minnesota’s defensive line has 5 guys who could start on any of the 31 other teams and we get the privilege as fans to know these guys are suiting up in purple for 17 weeks.

The linebackers I believe are athletic enough to contain the read option offense. Yes, Erin Henderson is new at middle linebacker but I believe his speed and athleticism will be a huge asset for this new positions. I also believe Sunday’s game will go a long way to see just who the 3rd linebacker will be. Marvin Mitchell or Desmond Bishop? I  am just thinking this could be a great game for Bishop to show the nation what the Pack let go and the Vikes picked up as a steal. This will be fun to watch Sunday on who makes a better showing. Marvin Mitchell could have a small advantage because of his special teams play as well. If Bishop can beat out Mitchell I believe Mitchell will make the team with his special teams play and his veteran years will play off as a much needed depth in the linebacker corp.

The 49ers have I believe a top 5 in the NFC tight end, Vernon Davis. The man is 6’3” and weighs 250. He is quick and gets down the field for long catches. This will be a great matchup for the Vikes linebacker’s corp. I can’t wait to see Erin Henderson cover him on a deep seam pass

The game will be an obvious big game for Ponder as he is facing I believe the top defense in the NFC. This is all I will say on Ponder because I believe we have read enough by all writers about number 7 that will last us a life time.

Adrian getting a start I am truly excited about. The reason as I stated about Ponder is the defense the 49ers put on the field. It should be a great half of football.

The offensive line took a truer beating in Buffalo last week now have a chance to redeem themselves. This game will be a true challenge and in a positive way. If the offensive line can play like I know they are capable of it will give me a better feeling coming into the season opener in Detroit.

The 2013 draft in April was awesome and I was so excited to see these guys in Mankato. The three first rounders’ are a lock to make the team. I know Sharrif Floyd is out for the remainder of preseason so I will be excited to see how Patterson and Rhodes can compete against the 49ers.

New punter, Jeff Locke will have a chance to show the nation his leg. The 49ers have had a very good return game in the past so this will be a good chance to see how Locke does with his hang time and ability to pin the 49ers deep.

This will be another game to watch how the 3, Loeffler, Locke and Walsh work together with the extra points and field goal attempts. If the wind is a factor it will make it even more fun to see how Walsh comes through.

It is preseason and with that said I am excited to see how one 49ers play in particular does. MarQueis Gray, former Gopher quarterback is listed on the 49ers unofficial depth chart as the 4th string tight end. I wish him well and hope he can make the 49ers 53 man team.

This 49ers team is blessed with true talent and the rich get richer as the 49ers land wide receiver, Anquan Boldin. He guy wins a Super Bowl ring last year in Baltimore and now goes to the 49ers in the offseason. Chris Cook and the rest of the defensive backs will get a great test trying to stop this big physical receiver.

I know Marcus Sherels is out for the 49ers game so this will be another week to see if Bobby Felder can have another game like he did in Buffalo.

There are so many story lines and so many players to watch for. This is the last chance of the preseason to see just how this team is moving in the right direction. Game 4 is the last game for the rookies to state their case why they should be 1 of the 53.

This whole game is a recipe for a great game and a great test for our favorite team, the Minnesota Vikings. I am not concerned about a win although it would be sweet I just want this team to show the nation that last season was not a fluke and the men in purple are back for the run to ‘Mission Meadlowlands” and finally win the Lombardi Trophy.

Thanks for reading



Monday, August 19, 2013

"Pondering" the future

Preseason, as we know games do not count as far as record wise goes. We see each team play their starters 1 series or even up to end of 1st quarter and maybe a little of the second.

I have listened to all weekend and even Monday people smash talking our favorite team, the Minnesota Vikings.

I repeatedly get asked at work, How can you support that poor quarterback we have in Ponder? The statements are made quite often that we have everything but a quarterback.

I might be riding an island by myself and I am ok with that. The Minnesota Vikings are my passion 365 a year.

The 1998 heartbreak, the 2009 shocker and I still bleed purple and am proud as heck of that. We the fans do not play the game, we only support it in the best that we can.

The issue in Week 1 when Ponder played 2 plays and was pulled and the talking began. I never knew 2 passes could be talked about for a week. The one completion and one interception and that one interception was beat to death as well. Was it Ponder or Simpson’s fault? Those who want Ponder on the bench will say obviously it is on Ponder. One game, 2 plays and we have enough for the papers, talk radio to discuss it to death.

We now move to week 2 and now after a loss Ponder is dissected again. The first play of scrimmage a complete whiff by left tackle, Matt Kalil and down goes Ponder.

Yes, a couple passes were complete misfires. It happens to the best of quarterbacks. I am not saying Ponder is a top 5 but I also don’t believe he is as bad as people are talking about.

I just feel preseason is set to get the players gradually into the swing of things. Yes, I will get told Seattle put up 40 on Denver. I will add I am happy for them.

I just can’t believe the amount of panic in the little bit we have seen in 2 games. I know people have told me they don’t think Ponder has the arm strength. I have seen the arm strength in camp. You don’t have to face a fierce pass rush to see if a quarterback has arm strength.

The post pass, the seam, corner routes, fade are things I have seen Ponder look good at in Mankato.

I have got a good feel from people in the Vikings fan groups that I post this blog to that are on Ponder’s side.

I really feel that Sunday night’s game in San Francisco will give fans a lot more to feel good about. The announcement that Peterson is playing will give fans a better glimpse of the 2013 offense.

I just feel Peterson gives the offense the confidence to play solid ball. 

I have seen Ponder sparkle in Mankato, and last year the last 4 games along with the 49ers game at home.

It can be done. I am not saying Ponder is going to throw 300 yards every game. We don’t need it. If he can do what he did in the last Packers game at home it will be a truly great season.

I know I may be standing on an island all by myself like I said earlier so if you want to join me there is plenty of room on this island.

The last thing this team needs is a quarterback controversy. It is my hope when the home opener vs Cleveland that the fans cheer for # 7.

I am sorry if I upset anybody but please give 7 a chance to show what he can do with all weapons at his disposal. His play will silence the critics.

I believe Coach Frazier and GM Spielman have this team going in the right direction.

Thanks for reading


Friday, August 16, 2013

Review of Game 2 in Buffalo

Training Camp in Mankato is over and now Game 2 was Friday in Buffalo. The first road test of the preseason so how would the team look?
As a fan I would love a win but if that does not occur I want to see improvement of any kind as after Friday there are still 2 more game left before it counts.
It is easy to look at Ponder and Cassel stats and be concerned. It is easy to maybe say you are not happy with the line protection. It seems to be easier in life to find faults.
I like to look and tonight it was not hard to find positives in the loss to Buffalo
1-The offensive line now has film to look at and see what went wrong. Buffalo game was the first time of lengthy playing time. The missed blocks, the bad snaps are all fixable. This by no means to me is something to panic about. I will watch the game next Sunday and look to see how the O-Line prepared.
2-Blair Walsh missed one but comes right back to nail the next attempt. Walsh continues his big leg for kickoffs. The practice time with Loefffler, Jeff Locke and Walsh will come together. They still have 2 weeks to keep on practicing.
3-Jeff Locke, showed me in the game what he showed me in camp. His ability to successfully nail the opponent was extremely impressive.
4-Bobby Felder showed Special Team Coach, Mike Prieffer that he deserves a shot to make the team. How about his hustle down field to kill not 1 but 2 punts deep in Buffalo territory? In staying with the Felder theme he looked good on punt returns and may have coaches contemplating using him in the return game.
5-Stephen Burton return kick for a TD called back. The thing on this is we saw the speed. I did like the TV spotlighting Coach Prieffer in working with McKenzie on the sideline on what he did wrong. I believe we will lose Coach Prieffer to another team as a head coach. This guy is a wizard at coaching special teams. He knows what he needs to be successful in watching the results from last year.
6-Jamarca Sanford- made an unbelievable interception after the beautiful tip caused by Xavier Rhodes. It is preseason but I love the effort Sanford put to get the ball before it hit the ground. I also appreciate seeing Sanford after his night was over still standing on the sidelines and being a team player in supporting his teammates that were on the field. His smile and giving guys high fives as they were coming off was nice to see.
7-Zach Line- In Game 1 he scored the only TD of the game for the Vikes last week. Tonight he saved a touchdown on special teams as he made a great tackle of Bills return man, Robert Woods. I believed Woods may have scored without Line’s tackle.
8-Chrisitan Ponder- The line protection made his life a little tougher and his passes were no quite there. It was the first night behind his line and no AP makes it hard to tell reality.  Ponder did make a great run as he was harassed and broke containment. He could have chosen to go out of bounds on the run but instead he turned up field and got 10 more yards to put Walsh into range for his field goal attempt. It was great awareness by Ponder to get the yards.
9-Kyle Rudolph- He simply does not stop amazing me. I thought Ponder threw a ball a little bit high but Rudolph made the catch look easy. This combo is a must for 2013. Christian throw it a little high a let Rudolph snatch it out of the air. If Rudolph stays healthy, well then the sky is the limit for # 82.
10- Joe Banyard, running back made the most of his time on the field. This will be a tough area to make the team but if Banyard can show more who knows.
11- McLeod Bethel-Thompson- I just can’t say enough about # 4. The man is a competitor and is willing to sacrifice his body. I am so amazed by the strength of his arm. He is also not afraid to take a hit as he exhibited in the game. The quick release is incredible. He is going to make it on the 53 man roster.
A loss does not always mean bad. A loss is something for the team to look at this week and get things tightened up. A loss in preseason is only bad in my eyes if I watch the next game and see the same problems.
I am a big fan of Coach Frazier and feel comfortable he and his staff will make adjustments to such things as blitz pickups and other areas they feel the team struggled in. I am optimistically looking for a big successful season in 2013.
Thanks for reading

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Putting a wrap on camp

I would like to start by saying thank you to those who had such kind words to say when I announced I would became a grandpa for the first time on Tuesday. It was a boy. I have 4 daughters, 3 sisters and now my little grandson.

Training camp is officially over and I can say I completed 15 trips covering a little over 1300 miles in doing 88 mile round trip each day. The price of gas started at 3.63 and ended at 3.47 per gallon.

There were a total of 30 practices with only 2 held inside due to rain. The weather was awesome as we had comfortable conditions throughout. I do recall one day when I saw people in winter gloves. There were just a couple days where humidity got a little much. In the overall scheme of things I give the weather an A+

Now that camp is over I would like to give you things to think about and debate amongst yourselves.

The quarterback position- There is no doubt that Ponder is the starter. I do struggle listening to people who are in the boat of Ponder can’t make it. My thought is this; he has the weapons around so please give the man a chance to show. We need to stand behind the coaching staff and Ponder. I can’t believe how much negativity there is about number 7.

Matt Cassel- I love the fact we have a backup who has several years at this position. I love the experience he brings from Kansas City and New England.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson should make the team but I have heard a wacky idea that makes me wonder, what if? The notion to keep Joe Webb on the roster as an emergency qb, along with his ability to play receiver. Is this crazy to think? Look at last year when Sage Rosennfels was in my eyes a huge shock when he was cut.

Running back- Adrian Peterson and Gerhart are locks. I think one of the surprise players to make the 53 man roster will come from this group. I believe strongly Bradley Randle will be on the every Sunday roster. The camp he had was amazing. It is practice yet some of these guys seem to show more and this is where Randle exceeds.

Wide Receivers- I believe this will be the toughest group to make cuts. Greg Jennings, Cordarrelle Patterson, Jarius Wright and Jerome Simpson are locks. I will be shocked if Stephen Burton does not make it. It leaves Webb and Thielen also pushing for the 5th receiver. The ones fighting Burton for the roster comes down to Webb and Thielen. Webb is an amazing athlete and Thielen has amazing hands and quickness.

Tight Ends- Rudolph will be a key piece in the offense. The bigger key to me is John Carlson and what can he do to contribute. The catches he made in Mankato left me hoping this is what he will bring the regular season and why the team thought high enough of him to sign him to the big free agent money.

Offensive Line- A unit that has one year under its belt and ready for year two to be better than they already were. I am anxious to follow Jeff Baca  and Travis Bond, both 2013 draft choices. The team in the last few years has had a high percent of draft choices making the team. Let’s watch Bond (#76) and Baca (#60) and see if they become noticeable when they play in the rest of preseason.

Defensive Line- This line has the chance to be scary in the fact the sack numbers will be off the wall. I still think the guy who will have the biggest year will be Everson Griffen (#97). His engine does not have a stop button even in Mankato. He is an incredible athlete to watch in person.

The linebackers- Questions before camp such as: Can Henderson handle the middle. I say with a resounding response, YES!  The area I am most interested in here is Marvin Mitchell (#55) who has got 90-95 percent reps with the first string. Desmond Bishop signed the free agent deal is still playing 2nd string. I will watch this with great interest to see if Bishop can overtake Mitcell.

The defensive Backfield- I believe Safety, Harrison Smith will make the Pro Bowl this upcoming season. The man is in his 2nd year but already getting national attention. Chris Cook is the one with the most experience back there. This is the one area with a lot of questions. This area is so full of youth and inexperience. These guys will learn to grow together and be our hope for the future. Xavier Rhodes last Year College now this year stating corner in the NFL. Can he survive? Josh Robinson is attempting to replace not the person Antoine Winfield rather the position. This fans will be a lot to watch and then of course a lot to talk about on Mondays. I am predicting we will be talking nothing but good.

The one advantage this team has is 2013 coach of the year, Leslie Frazier in charge. I put all my faith into this guy that he will guide this 2013 team to the playoffs.

That’s all for now

Enjoy watching the Buffalo Bills game Friday

Thanks for reading