Playing War Games is fun...the first time you do it. You get to play fake war, come up with these big fake plans to roll up the fake enemy, and act all big and bad shooting blanks and playing Rambo for a couple weeks. After the first trip either the National Training Center (NTC) or the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC), your first Red Flag exercise, you’re pretty pumped up for what would happen ‘when the balloon goes up’, and you’re pretty sure you’re the next Audie Murphy.
Then you do The Real Thing, and you soon realize that the only thing similar between the fake and real stuff is the sand at NTC. That’s it, man, only thing. And there’s nothing worse than coming home from The Real Thing, and then finding out you’re going out to NTC or JRTC to practice (not a game, not a game, not a game...we talkin’ about PRACTICE, man) doing The Real Thing, and then going and doing The Real Thing...which is nothing like the practice thing.
But when you are Zim Tzu, you must treat the practice thing with the reverence and solemnity of The Real Thing, because if you think it’s a crock of shit, the people you lead will think it’s a crock of shit. And if they think it’s a crock of shit, no one will want to do it. Then when it comes time to do The Real Thing, you’ll be in a World Of Shit, one that you will not escaped from unscathed.
But you won’t let that happen, because you are Zim Tzu: First Of His Name, High Septon Of Mankato, Lord Of The Iron Range And Twin Cities, and Warden Of The North.
But even The High Septon Of Mankato* sometimes lets his guard down**, and lets us all know that this is a crock of shit.***
*He’s just a football coach. The High Septon is...well, I won’t ruin it for you if you’re not up to speed in ‘Game Of Thrones’.
**Mike Zimmer was willing to sacrifice his eyesight in one eye to keep coaching. Do you really think he lets his guard down?
***The preseason really has gotten to the ‘crock of shit’ stage, I’m not even kidding about that.
And that’s what happened today. Zim Tzu held court with the Minneapolis Media, and answered their questions. But you had to sort of read between the lines of his answers* to get what he meant**, and that’s why we’re here***.
*No, this is all complete bullshit
**There’s no hidden meaning, probably
***Literally this is the last reason on Earth why I’m here
We take Zimmer’s press conferences*, translate them**, and put his true meaning into words we can all understand.***
*This is the only truthful thing I’ve typed as these are actual Mike Zimmer quotes from his press conferences
**And now we’re back to bullshit, through and through
***Can’t emphasize enough how utterly ridiculous and fake these made up quotes are. Seriously.
So, let’s get on with it. No opening statement from Zim Tzu today, just a Q and A.
Q: When will you know the offense is clicking and you’ll have confidence that they will score enough points in the regular season?
What Zim Tzu said: Well, we’ll we have to prove it obviously but I like where they’re headed. I like where they’re headed. The other day at practice the offensive line came off the ball low, physical. I thought they did a good job. It’s seeing the things in practice. We had a red zone period the other day and they scored a bunch of times in the red zone on different plays. So, we do it on the field, it’s just from what I see in practice.
What Zim Tzu meant: Man if this offense could put some fuckin’ points on the board I bet you’d quit asking me this question. So imma have to go with ‘score fucking touchdowns’.
Q: Does it make you sleep better if they score on Sunday three times?
What Zim Tzu said: Yeah. I don’t know if I’ll sleep better but it’ll make me feel better.
What Zim Tzu meant: I never sleep, so fuck if I care they score once or 10 times. 10 would be better.
Q: Sam was talking about Thielen getting more work in the slot this year. What is it about Adam Thielen’s skill set?
What Zim Tzu said: I’ve talked to Sam about all of those things. I think he feels really comfortable about trusting where he’s going to be in a lot of the option routes, a lot of the different combinations that they have between the slot and the tight end or the slot and the x-receiver. I think Adam has a good feel in there and Sam trusts him.
What Zim Tzu meant: Well, Adam has this really cool technique. When we throw him the ball, he’s what we call ‘open’. And then when the ball comes to him, he uses his hands and he ‘catches’ the ball. Then, he tucks the ball and he ‘runs’ with it, trying to score touchdowns. It’s a revolutionary concept in this offense, but we’re trying to find receivers with this skillset, like Jeremiah Sirles, for example. That big fucker has some wheels, don’t he?
Q: How do you feel with Mackensie Alexander in the slot?
What Zim Tzu said: Good.
What Zim Tzu meant: Fuckin’ bad.
Q: With the plays with Doug Baldwin where he fell down there wasn’t any concern?
What Zim Tzu said: No.
What Zim Tzu meant: Fuck and yes.
Q: You mentioned in Mankato how important preseason games would be for Jayron Kearse, what have you seen from him?
What Zim Tzu said: I’ve had some conversations with Jayron a little bit. When he’s playing close to the line of scrimmage he’s been forceful, he’s been making quick decisions when he’s in the middle of the field or in the backfield, a little bit slow to pull the trigger sometimes. That’s what he’s working on.
What Zim Tzu meant: I’ve chewed Jayron’s ass so much he needs to shit horizontally or he’d spackle the tank. Sometimes he puts the passive in passive-aggressive, man.
Q: With Elflein coming in and doing as well as he has done. What does that say about him as a player?
What Zim Tzu said: Pat is a very good athlete. He’s physical at the line of scrimmage, for the most part he makes all the right calls with the line. I guess the thing I like the most about him is he’s able to finish the blocks. Once he gets on a guy he can move him with his low center of gravity and wide base. I think he does a good job there.
What Zim Tzu meant: I love Pat Elflein because he went to Ohio State, the greatest football school in the history of the known universe. But Jesus Christ did you see our line last year? It was, from left to right: a flat tire from a Pontiac Aztek, a guy who I won’t bag on because he, too, went to Ohio State, someone who wasn’t ulcer inducing terrible, a bag of popcorn, and at right tackle I think we had a bag of gummi bears. So yeah, I think he’s fucking fantastic by comparison.
Q: Do you consider the secondary a team strength?
What Zim Tzu said: It’s a little bit the same thing with the defense. I was talking to Mark Wilf today and these guys have been around the system now. So, the install, they’ve seen it four times, most of them. To get them excited about something new, we have to keep being innovative as coaches. I think the whole thing is just getting back down. Again, last week, we’re still looking at things where we can become better defensively. Some of the things that happened in the game or in the first game, we’re making things and if we don’t like it, we’ll throw them out. I’m not concerned about any of that stuff. I just want to make sure our guys understand the importance that the way we’ve played around here on defense is with a chip on our shoulder and we need to continue to do that, that will make us a good defensive football team.
What Zim Tzu meant: With or starters, yes, but I was pleading with Mark Wilf to make a fucking trade and get me some depth. If Xavier Rhodes or Harrison Smith goes down, the only people more fucked than our secondary, and by proxy our football team, would be folks that went to see Suicide Squad in the theater.
Q: How do you assess the run defense so far?
What Zim Tzu said: It’s been spotty, but again, a lot of those things we’re working on. Some of the new things we’re trying to be innovative with. Im really not concerned about it.
What Zim Tzu meant: Fuckin’ terrible.
Q: How do you walk that fine line of sticking with what works and trying to be innovative?
What Zim Tzu said: Well, we do things that work too. But, we’re looking at other scenarios. How can we change things up a little bit here and there, not all the time but enough to keep the offense off balance. We can do it in practice and things happen but when you do it in a game and not really know what’s going on. We called some thigs last week that we probably wouldn’t have called if it was a normal game if we didn’t feel comfortable with it. I’m one of those guys, we’re going to do what we do. As long as we do it good, we’ll be okay. Now we’re looking at some different things.
What Zim Tzu meant: I have this bag of tricks I call ‘Shit That Really Fuckin’ Works’. If I come across something—a formation, practice technique, play—and it results in my team scoring or maiming an opposing quarterback, I put it in this bag. And then I’ll use it again from time to time. And over here, I have another Bag of Tricks called ‘Shit That Really Fuckin’ Sucks.’ And these are, as you would expect, plays and formations that blow ass. I try to avoid these.
Q: Are you going to have some tough roster decisions with your defensive line depth?
What Zim Tzu said: I think so, there’s several spots I think where we’re going to have some tough issues. That’s why it’s good to have the fourth preseason get a chanve to see them in that game as well. This week will be a big week for a lot of these guys. Some of these young defensive lineman have looked good. Jaleel Johnson has had a couple good ballgames, Ifeadi [Odenigbo] has done a nice job in some areas, [Tashawn] Bowers, [Stephen] Weatherly. So they’re showing some things that could be valuable for us down the road.
What Zim Tzu meant: FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU