This post has been a while percolating for me, and a couple times I thought about kicking it off, and felt I should get it out there. And then I would come to my senses and figure, no its not about piling on or venting frustration . . . or some catharsis that I need. And seriously, I don't want to be that guy, you know the one who's moping in the corner mumbling to himself like Dustin Hoffman in "Rainman". And seeing as how a number of things I am wondering about came during our "free agency" period and run up, maybe this is a bit late. On the other hand I also didn't want to pop off a post without thinking it through, and giving it time for the "big picture" to appear and make me realize I was flying off the handle and looking more foolish than I will be once this is done. But WTH are they doing up there? I know there is a plan, or is this another "Ron D. F___G Moore" style dartboard (reference Battlestar Gallactica on how someone parodied his design on who in the cast was a Cylon - cast list on dartboard . . . toss dart - BOOM write them as next cylon and ignore all that 'continuity' crap no-one will notice or care) on our roster and cap?
Let's start with one that still has me puzzled, even after all this time to let it sink in:
IDIOT - Lets cut one of our best players, who played out of his mind good in his last year, and is massively respected in the locker room. Lets cut him while he's working out in the building getting ready for next year. Let's not really allow him to know the hammer is coming by asking him to take a pay cut. Lets keep a guy who is making a metric A$$load more money, who is also in the final contract year without asking him to restructure either. Lets not allow his agent to go out into the "free tampering" period.
SAVANT - Lets make some CAP space relief so we can actually make a play in free agency. Lets get younger across the board with some of the up and coming younger players who need to get on the field to improve. Lets make sure he has the ability to hit free agency early so those that are below him in ability (okay yeah that is almost everyone) don't keep him from hooking up with a team for the year. Lets then try to bring him back.
RULING - um yeah even after all this time I really don't know which they are, and maybe I won't until next year. It took a while to know we did right with Sidney Rice after all, but even then it might still turn out okay for them long term. The biggest problem I have is that the Coaches and FO seem to be trying to instill a new culture at our beloved franchise, one the recognizes good play and good intangibles (leadership, character, off field presentation) which by all rights 'Toine had by the bucketful (if not actually measured in truckloads). While Allen certainly deserves to play out the year, so did Winfield. Why pick on Winfield? If you are going to push for restructures you would think that treating all the best players and leaders the same way would be your best approach. KWill was pushed for a restructure, but Allen is not and 'Toine gets cut. By the same token we KNOW that KWill and Allen are starters this next year, while the hope is Winfield is playing fewer snaps (and therefore overpaid), or moved to a new position (and again overpaid), or both (and heavily overpaid). Then again look at our Draft for the year with Floyd, maybe KWill is starter, maybe he's splitting time.
Okay moving on to:
IDIOT - Yeah . . . I got nothing except a QB at 12 and a Punter which have their own topics
SAVANT - Do I really have to list the genius that our drafts have been recently?
RULING - SAVANT and that's before I see all our players for this year actually play. I will note that we do have some odd pickups over a couple of positions, but those will be detailed later. But even in the late rounds I like some of the choices so far. Still while the SAVANT tag is present it really gets based on last years draft and how they performed, rather than being locked up for a couple years. I mean even PuntF__er was there to pick up AD2KMVP, which is proof that a dumb blind lame squirrel can locate an orange peanut by accident on occasion. Still we took a Punter, and then we took some players further on that almost look like camp bodies. Which in some ways is expected, but I have always expected that you draft players that can contribute, or at least get a couple years worth out of them. I am not sure all this years choices fit that mold.
And now for another Fun one:
Chris Kluwe - Punter / Social Activist
IDIOT - Lets draft a Punter. . . Seriously, drafting a punter. And while we're at it let's not take the one that has all the awards and better stats. Lets talk about our guy in the media, and bring what seem to be personal issues out . . . . in public.
SAVANT - As long as our Special Teams guy says he is better, you bet you take him. CAP space is not blown on special teams.
RULING - Well I am leaning towards IDIOT here, but not for the presupposed ideas that might be out there. I'm leaning IDIOT because of what I mentioned above, the new culture of making things right with the fan base, the community, and making sure it's above board. Coaches are human, and they will get just as upset as anyone else, but if our new culture is we don't air things in the media, then saying your guy does not listen to you, when it certainly looks like he's been doing EXACTLY what you want, is ridiculous. You want him to kick directionally, and he's doing that, as well as not out kicking his coverage, and he's having one of his best years in purple. And you put him down because you don't like answering questions? Priefer is one of the best coaches for Special Teams out there, and he saw a better kicker in Walsh and that's working great. Could it be that Kluwe, who has ALWAYS spoken his mind, maybe pissed you off because he refers to his job as a kids game? Which it absolutely is. And the players that really get the fan base going? Are the ones that play and look like they are having as much fun as when they were 12. Wonder why I have not mentioned his stance on the social issues? Because they don't matter. That is a social issue, not a football one, and I don't think he got fired for his stance. SAYING he has one was obviously a sore spot, be it on on social issues, HOF voting, or the state of the NFL via Goodell's Rulings. I personally will miss some of the white board fun, because they were just that, FUN! But then you go and draft a punter. While the writing is on the wall, then toss out there will be a competition. REALLY? And you expect us to buy that one? You just DRAFTED a PUNTER, and you expect that a competition will really take place? What do you think we are smoking that would make us believe that? Then you cut Kluwe before having both of them work out. It's great that you saved CAP space, but I think if you asked Kluwe to take a pay cut, he probably would have. He was saying that he got paid a tremendous amount of money to play a kids game, so he might have wanted to play longer. That's supposing of course that it was not the personality conflict going on between Preifer and Kluwe, which is what I think it was.
Hmm so what do we have next?
IDIOT - Toss him the ball behind the line of scrimmage and hope he breaks it for 10 yards . . . every play. Allow him onto the field after being injured. Don't bother to work on his contract that he has enormously outplayed. Trade quite possibly the second best player in the league away.
SAVANT - Trading him for GREAT value which helped in our SAVANT level genius draft. Get a clean locker room before any possible DIVA mentality really appears and creates the dreaded "schism". Getting an unhappy player out.
RULING - I'm going with BOTH here. I loved watching Percy play and hated losing him, but the front office did a fantastic job getting something for him before the contract was done. But some of the things tossed out into the media once again smacked of a personal grudge being aired. It was patently obvious something broke once his ankle tweaked, cause he was not with the team after that. But still one of the most electrifying players in the league and you decide to pop him on IR, then trade him, and make sure the media gets leaks so bad press goes his way. Knowing that he is not commenting, which by the way seemed to be exceptionally mature to me. You just don't take someone that high and dump them when they actually play well. You do that to a Ryan Leaf, sure, but not a possible MVP candidate as Percy was looking before the injury. But spinning the whole mess into a win-win for both sides was a master stroke.
Which of course leads into his 'nemesis':
Ponder and the state of Quarterbacking
IDIOT - at 12? After 2 seasons in the league, he should be able to look past hist first option AND HIS SECOND. He should also be able to look at more than just one side of the field. In OTA's he should not be making too many mistakes or mis-reads. During the season when you make someone pine for the good ole days of . . . Spergon Wynn . . . maybe he should SIT for a bit. And this year, just in case let's get a better backup - CASSEL? SERIOUSLY?!?!? And we'll draft someone new.
SAVANT - . . . . . . . . . Seriously? CASSEL? . . . . Well we did win 10 game last year and made the playoffs, and he played the last 4 games better showing improvement.
RULING - Still no idea, but leaning IDIOT. Cause if Ponder can actually play and see the field this year then it truly is SAVANT. But after what we did last year in not pulling him during an epically bad stretch of play, then not getting our backup truly ready to play at any point during the year, much less in a playoff game, at your most hated rival, is just an epic failure all around for our Quarterbacking state. When you then draft a very low QB and move one to WR, it seems that you are pressing heavily on an all-in approach to a particular player. At least when we did it with Favre his previous year gave us some hope that things would go better than they actually did. Right now Ponder does not look anything like a polished QB, and if the OTA's are any measure, which they really aren't, he's not moving forward from last year, but possibly already capped out. Which means we could get a couple awesome games from him, and still have some SPERGON! games throughout the year. But until we actually get to pre-season we have no true idea on if this is his year to finally "get it".
And since we are on quarterbacks lets just go ahead and get fires and pitchforks out:
IDIOT - Let's put him out there against a possible playoff team because we have no-one else and see what he can do, then we'll ignore that and draft someone else anyway. But we'll leave him at that position, kind of, while working with him as a WR in some plays for that Wildcat thing that we don't really know. Then let's make sure his focus is on nothing other than this position, and not let him play or throw all year so we can toss him out unprepared in only the biggest game the Vikings have had in years, in the cold, at our most hated rival. Next let's take his bad game and use it to move him back to WR where he has not played in YEARS, and see if he can make the team that way.
SAVANT - Let's move him to WR so he can get on the field.
RULING - Woof, um BOTH? I freely admit I am one of those who has supported Webb, but by any measure Webb has been treated pretty badly. But he also has no-one to blame for his change of scenery other than himself. Still this is part of the QB state that we seem to be living in, which closely resembles one of Dante's levels just not sure which one, or maybe its all of them. We had Webb on the roster, and realistically Ponder should have had time to acclimate. But our coaches decided to bring in McNabb not knowing just how much of a horror story that would be. And since they had reached so far for Ponder, he got pushed in. Webb was shafted with a joke of an off season competition for 2nd string, which was his second shafting at our coaches hands, and now he has the trifecta. I still believe that if our run had been with Webb starting, and Ponder backing him up, or possibly Sage even, that we would have done a lot better. Then again that would mean missing on Kalil, so not sure which is better. So total IDIOT for how they have worked Webb over. And yet SAVANT because he is helping out the WR corps by helping out on the QB reads, he is catching everything according to OTA's and he has the leadership ability already.
Which brings us to our final entry (and a great cheer is heard):
Coaches and Coaching and we have your back
IDIOT - How we handled Webb, Ponder, Schwartz, McNabb, Sage, Kluwe, Playoff game
SAVANT - Kalil, Walsh, Harrison, Wright, Childs
RULING - BOTH. If you have read all the stuff above you probably already know where I am going with this one. I think Frazier is a better coach than PuntF__ker even dreams of being. More than that the players truly love playing for him and just DON'T quit. That is something good, and yet sometimes it seems like he fixates on players and lets them play well after they should be yanked, benched, or cut. Schwartz last year outplayed Fusco just about every time he got on the field. It was noticed by quite a few, and yet we continued to start Fusco, even when it was obvious that we had a better player. Ponder and McNabb were the same thing. As someone mentioned (in one of the comments somewhere on this site) he truly makes a player feel that they are safe from a bad game or two. I take issue when that goes into like four or five. McNabb was truly abhorrent and is so clueless he to this day does not realize the one to blame if himself. And it took 6 games to sit him. Ponder had longer, and in his second year had an epic stretch of craptastic play, yet never once did he get benched. Webb plays well and his reward is to get pushed down the roster, then plays one bad game, and is further rewarded with now having to make the team at a different position. Kluwe, well he seems to have pissed off his coach, and the reward is that they drafted a replacement then called for a competition, which never happened and cut him. Sage was yanked around so many time here, mostly by PuntF__ker, but most recently by Frazier and Co, when he really should have been 2nd string QB with Webb being 3d. I think if we had given Webb as much of a chance as Ponder has had, Webb would be playing much better than Ponder is. Now Ponder might have more upside, but this year is a prove it year, and realistically I think we made him feel safe as Webb could have played with a chip this year to prove last year was an aberration, while Cassell is not a true threat. I like how our line is getting better, but we should still have Schwartz, rather than Fusco, and Charlie needs to improve, even if he is better than Fusco in my opinion. I like how they handled Wright last year, although I think he should have been on the field sooner. And I like how they are handling Childs, who reasonably might have been a complete miss, but he is getting every chance possible to comeback and play.
Well, if you read this far you have my sympathy, it took me forever to type it in. Sometimes I think Spielman and Frazier are doing everything perfect, and other times its more WTF?
But they certainly seem to be putting themselves into the Rainman role: IDIOT-SAVANT . . . . (Both)