Well, the season ended like it pretty much played out all along- a big turd-fest of suckitude. Jared Allen somehow has only 22 sacks despite a monster 3.5 sack game (gee, the Bears actually did everything they could to stop him... unlike dear Strahan's last chance), neither Christian Ponder nor Joe Webb ultimately lit the field up (although Webb really did have some beautiful throws, but I'm still miffed he took a sack rather than throwing the ball away, pushing Longwell back), AP's still in a hospital bed, and... we lost. OK, I'll stop now. You all saw it. And if you didn't... good for you.
Anyways, it's no secret there are some impending personnel changes, both in the coaching staff as well as on the field. Earlier I did an in-depth overview of the top three- Frazier, Pagac, and Musgrave- but let's go ahead and expand that to the entire coaching staff, sans assistants. Let's review our various coaches, and see who's likely to be here next year, and who should really be hitting up that Kinko's Ted mentioned a few weeks back.
Leap of Faith!
Leslie Frazier, HC. Love him or hate him, he's here next year. Personally, I like that. This team fought to the bitter end, and did so most of the games they lost. Unlike the Buccaneers, who recently fired everyone from Raheem Morris down to the water boy, this team remained motivated throughout the storm. And really, that's one of a Head Coach's most important jobs- to keep the team motivated. Yes, halftime adjustments sucked, but hopefully that will upgrade with some new coordinators and assistant coaches, and can be worked on. If you can't motivate your team in tough times, though- you'll never motivate your team in tough times.
Fred Pagac, DC. Love him or hate him, he's a dead man walking. Steve Spagnuoloadfljsdfidontfeellikegooglingthecorrectwaytospellthatdamnname is free. If nobody offers him a head coaching position elsewhere, I'm totally sold on Ted's suggestion we go after him.
Bill Musgrave, OC. Frazier gave him a vote of confidence recently, preferring the continuity at that position whilst continuing to develop Christian Ponder/ Joe Webb. Me, I'm not a big fan of that, and would rather we look for an upgrade and take a shot to see if he'd be willing to change over to QB coach, but I'm sure Frazier's word has more weight with Zygi Wilf and co. than mine.
Karl Dunbar, D-line. He recently claimed he's quitting, which is a little shocking to me. Our D-line wasn't quite as truly solid (outside of Jared Allen) as it has been in recent years, but it was still a bright point in our defense, and we've got two stellar playmakers there- Kevin Williams and Jared Allen- and at least a serviceable left end in Brian Robison. The DT position next to Williams needs an upgrade, but that can be arranged, either with a move to one of our depth guys or a FA move for, oh, say, AMOBI OKOYE. Dammit. Anyways, if he is indeed quitting, we'll have to find someone new to fill that position, and seeing as how it is again our strength on defense, that will be of key importance. Oh, and not only did Jared Allen essentially blackball the idea of a move to a 3-4, so did Kevin Williams. Considering that, there's no way IMO we make that move within the next 2-3 years. A little off-topic I suppose, but worth remembering when searching for a new D-line guy, should that indeed be the necessity.
Joe Woods, Secondary. So, teams think he can be a head coach? Go for it. Preferably a team within the NFC North. No, seriously. Mike MaCarthy is a hack compared to him. Green Bay would be dumb not to make the switch.
Oh, right, the thought on him. Uh, we need a new secondary coach. And a new secondary while at it.
Mike Singletary, LBs. Like Musgrave, I sincerely doubt that Frazier will dump him, although arguments could be made that he should. Still, to be fair, the LB corps suffered schematically the same issue they did last year- they essentially had to be both the LBs as well as the secondary. So, while it seemed like there was always 10 yards right in the middle of the field- you know, where those LBs are supposed to be- I don't know how much of that issue I'm willing to put on Singletary. Tough call IMO, but I think he's definitely back next year whether we like it or not.
Mike Preifer, Special Teams. Hmmm. Special teams had both good and bad moments. I think we should keep him for now, unless there's someone way better available. Overall, outside of Ryan Longwell apparently trying to throw the game against Washington, ST play was decent for the most part.
Jeff Davidson, O-line. Like Woods, we need a new O-line coach, and once again, a new O-line while at it. Sometimes it's not fair to throw stuff at a coach's feet when he has nothing to work with. But then again, that's the way it goes. In all likelihood I think this guy's gone.
George Stewart, WRs. Unlike Woods and Davidson, despite the WR corps general woes this season, I don't think this guy is getting the axe. All in all, there were flashes of brilliance from a band of misfits (outside of Percy Harvin), like Devin Aromashodu's big catches here and there and Greg Camarillo's third down glories. He seemed to be able to make the most out of a bad situation, which differentiates him IMO from the above two coaches I think should go, and that will likely buy him some more time.
James Saxon, RBs. When AP goes down and Toby Gerhart busts out a 100+ yard game after, your job is safe. RBs is really the only reliable thing we've got going offensively right now, and how much is him and how much is just ‘AP and Gerhart are really good' is immaterial.
Jimmie Johnson, TEs. Like Saxon, his squad performed admirably, and like the desire for continuation with Musgrave, I think he's going nowhere as we are developing Kyle Rudolph. He's safe.
Craig Johnson, QBs. Unless we get a new OC and can shift Musgrave to this job, I think he's back, too. If you're going to keep a mediocre OC for the continuity of your young QBs' developments, the same likely will hold true with CJohnson, as well. Hopefully, he can ‘QB whisper' Ponder out of his seemingly shell-shocked state.
Tom Canavy, Strength and Conditioning. I wouldn't normally include this position in such a run-down but I will here because I think he needs to go. The team seemed to gas out at times, especially earlier in the season. And that falls on the conditioning guy's shoulders. Our team needs to be physically prepared to play a full 60 minutes of football. Frazier seems to have them mentally prepared, so we need a guy to match that at this position.
What say you, my fellow Viking faithful? No poll as the variety of options would break the internet. Plus, there are some malcontents out there who insist on saying ‘Other' without specification. You know who you are.