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Vikings At Titans: Pre-Season Report Card

Hi Gang!  Hey, sorry about the delay in getting this out, but I didn't get to see the game live...well, I sort of did, for about the first quarter or so, but the Internet feed was real choppy.  Looked more like a YouTube video with still shots set to announcing.  But I did see the game this morning, but had a lot of things to do, like drink beer and go to a party, so yeah, sorry for the delay.

And, well, it's a pre-season game.  And as much as I love that football is back, I hate to do a full blown Stock Market Report...which will return with week 1.  But we can do a report card.

But not the typical run of the mill report card that EVERYBODY else does, nope. 

Do you guys remember, back in the day, when you were in like first and second grade?  The grades you got were S for Satisfactory, I for Improving, and N for needs improvement.  I ran across one of my early report cards from elementary school just the other day.  We were cleaning out some stuff, and I found it in one of the boxes we were going through.

Mrs. Andriotti, my teacher at Central Elementary School, Richfield, MN (right next to the high school on Harriet Avenue, if you're curious.  And if you're not, hey, you learned something new today!) had a couple of interesting things to say about little first grader Teddy Glover:

'Acts Appropriately at All Times':  N..."Teddy is a charming little boy, but has an affinity for swearing.  When he thinks an adult isn't around, he would embarrass construction workers.  I never knew the eff word could be used as a dangling participle.'

'Is Respectful of Others':  N...'Teddy almost got into a fight with Mark, who wore a Green Bay Packers shirt to school a few weeks ago.  When asked why he was so angry with Mark, Teddy replied 'because only jackasses and future Blackhawk pilots wear Green Bay Packers clothing, so in either case, he deserved an ass beating'.  I really think Teddy might benefit from military school.'

Eh, what the hell did Mrs. Andriotti know?  Oh, one other thing:  There are two people in my life who call me Teddy, and none of you are those two.  If you know what's good for you, don't do it.  You've been warned.

1st grade report card, after the jump.

QB:  I--Improving.  I'm not disappointed with what I saw, for the most part.  Yeah, Joe Webb threw a terrible pick, but McNabb was all right, and Ponder seemed to get more comfortable as his time on the field wore on.  Granted, they were all running for their lives, but what looked like a big problem area three weeks ago is a position that I feel comfortable with, at least for the most part.

OL:  N--Needs improving.  Didn't really matter who was in, there were issues.  Toby Gerhart got stuffed early on a 3rd and 1, and pass protection was an issue up and down the line.  In what little I paid attention to Charlie Johnson, I thought he looked better than he did in Mankato, and with Anthony Herrera still out, I'm not panicking, yet.  Remember, these guys have only had 9 practices and a game, and I think they'll get better.  I am seeing progress, so I'm not going to set my hair on fire about these guys yet.

RB:  S--Satisfactory.  Almost an incomplete, but pre-season is the time to see the backups, not the regulars. and I liked what I saw from Lorenzo Booker.  Nice field vision, good hands (other than the fumble); I think he'll be a nice surprise for the Vikes this year.  It also looks like Toby Gerhart is going to have an increased workload this season as well, and although he had a brief appearance, I thought he looked okay.  Still a bit hesitant hitting the hole, but seemed more comfortable catching the ball out of the backfield.

WR/TE:  N--Needs Improvement.  Still a work in progress as they get their timing down with the QB's, and Michael Jenkins didn't even play.  The Vikings look they're going to run a lot of short stuff and try and get a lot of yards after catch...or they just might be doing the short timing stuff so the QB's can get their...timing...down with the receivers.  Tough to say at this point.  Like the offensive line, I'm not getting too worked up yet. 

DL:  N--Needs Improvement.  Yes, Jared Allen didn't play, but the way that Tennessee was gashing the run defense early kind of bothered me.  The run defense is going to have to be stout if this team is going to contend, and the pass pressure was just okay.  Christian Ballard and Everson Griffen stood out for me, but like the offensive line, I'm going to reserve final judgement until I see more of them in action.  It does seem, just from the eye test, the the depth is going to be better than I thought, and that's a plus.  But depth isn't beans if the starters don't play well, amiright?

LB:  S--Satisfactory.  The law firm of Greenway, Henderson, and Henderson (© Eric Thompson) seems to be an early strength, and replacing Ben Leber with Erin Henderson looks like a good move so far.  Henderson the younger was everywhere last night, and EJ and Greenway looked like they were their solid selves.

DB:  N--Needs Improvement.  The key to success for a good defensive backfield is, in part, a defensive line that can generate pressure.  When that doesn't happen, defensive backs get burned.  Again, not everyone that will start the regular season played last night, but Asher Allen still doesn't impress me.  Chris Cook?  Early on, I saw some decent coverage, but he's still young, as was evident on that fumble/TD pass by Jake Locker.  Again, still kind of early to pass judgement, but there's plaenty of work that needs to be done.

Overall impressions for me?  It was a sloppy game, by both teams, and the game turned on the two turnovers in the second quarter.  It's tough to throw out too much praise...or too much criticism...over the first pre-season game that was preceded by only two weeks of practice and no off-season.  As we progress onward, I'm going to be looking for improvement, not regression. 

The good thing is, there's plenty of room for that, and three weeks to get ready.