Issues With Leslie, Part One

Yes, there's going to be a second part to this later on during the week, as I have a couple of different issues with the head coach at this moment in time, but I want to handle them one at a time.

In Tom Pelissero's recap of the game for ESPN 1500, there was one quote that I think kind of highlights what might be the issue with the Vikings' defensive scheme.

"We've been playing that coverage forever, and to see it played the way it was played (Sunday) was just bad."

And he's right. . .we have been playing that coverage forever.

I'm guessing that's the biggest part of the problem.

Yes, the "Cover 2" or "Tampa 2" defensive scheme can work in the National Football League if you have the horses to run it. When the Vikings' front four consisted of Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Pat Williams, and Ray Edwards, they had those horses because those four guys could get to the quarterback and let everyone else play coverage. Now, after having replaced Edwards and Phat Pat with Brian Robison (who, as much as we love him, has really dropped off after his fast start) and whatever rotation at defensive tackle, it's not happening any more.

It also doesn't help that this team is without three of their top four cornerbacks. . .and the one of the top four that is there, Cedric Griffin, looks like he might be done as an effective player in this league. He just can't hack it at corner any more, and I'm starting to wonder if he could hack it at safety, either. Speaking of safety, we're down two of our top three guys there, too. To highlight this, here's what our secondary consisted of for yesterday's game.

-Cedric Griffin
-Jamarca Sanford, who either wasn't communicating with Griffin or just flat out doesn't know his assignments. . .it looked like Griffin thought he was passing Demaryius Thomas off to Sanford a few times, and Sanford was unaware of it.
-Benny Sapp, who was watching games on his couch a few weeks ago
-Brandon Burton, a fifth-round pick in this year's draft
-Mistral Raymond, a sixth-round pick in this year's draft
-Marcus Sherels, who would be best suited as a special teams guy

But even with those injuries, the defense the Vikings played in the second half is unacceptable. Fred Pagac is probably a dead man walking at this point, and if Joe Woods isn't getting his resume prepped, he ought to be. I'm not sure of Frazier would promote Mike Singletary to the defensive coordinator spot, and if he did, I'm not sure how effective a move that would be.

However, it's time for this team to abandon the Tampa-2 system. I don't know if that means simply going to a more aggressive version of the 4-3 or even taking the radical step of shifting to a 3-4 (which is something that would probably involve either trading Jared Allen or attempting to convert him into a stand-up outside linebacker, which could be tricky), but something needs to be changed here.

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