Stillers vs. Vikings Post-game:
The B&G were thoroughly trounced last night 24-10 in a game that was not nearly as close as the score might suggest.� The Stillers turned it over (5) times; the defense got (1) pick.� Lose the turnover battle, lose the game and, while wins and losses mean little in pre-season, two disturbing factors did emerge in the Twin Cities.� Consider that the D-side starters have now had (7) series, (2) in Hotlanta and (5) last night.� They have been scored on (5) times, yielding 27 points in about 3 � quarters.� Not good.
Then there�s the passing game.� Excluding the 1st possession, when Coach Mularkey mixed dinks and dumps with the Bus�s power running, the Stillers did nothing through the air.� Not good, the Vikings were 28th in the league last year defending the pass; the Stillers were 29th throwing the ball and, in this battle of dwarves, the Vikings did not so much dominate as the Stillers capitulate.� The play calling was poor (again excluding the 1st series), the QB lacked poise (excluding Tee) and the receivers apparently sunk their arms to the elbows in bear grease just prior to game time.��� Here are some salient facts, position by position:
Stewart:� I have him at 5/9 for about 36 yards; the TR reported 6/9 for 50.� No matter, both tally less than 5 yards per attempt; add an INT and a fumble and there is your Playmaker.� Kordell was active and effective in the 1st series running several solid play action fakes and, once, actually hitting Bruener while rolling left.� Very nice but things went downhill fast.�
�The Stillers began their second series after Hank brought a punt back 27 yards to inside Viking territory.� The Bus rolled over Marvel and Tylski for 6, giving him 6/39 on the night.� Second and short, with the Vike defense reeling; a perfect down and distance for a play action to the EZ.� Instead, Coach Mularkey called a little square out and, while Spike had the CB on his hip, Kordell flipped a duck that dropped about 5 yards short.� Very poor, naturally, Stewart next locked onto designated 3rd down WR Bobble Shaw who, naturally, failed to come up with the tough catch.�
This was about it for the night; overly conservative play-calling combined with miserable execution and the Stillers went 3 and out.� Josh pooched about 25 yards to the 16 and the Vikings went 84 yards on 17 plays.�� Contrast that Stillers 2nd possession with the Vikes 4th when, following Kordell�s outstanding throw to OLB Ed McDaniel, Culpepper went up top to Moss for 59 yards to the Stiller 3.� That�s aggressive play calling; that�s the kind of passing game that would perfectly complement the Stiller�s power running attack; sadly, there is no evidence that the Stiller�s have the personnel to achieve this balance.
Tee Martin:� Tee was 3/11/31 with an INT; most of the yardage came on screens.� Tee competed but was victimized by absolutely dreadful play from his WR.�
Tommy Maddox:� A horrific 2/8/22 with a pick.� The worst aspect is that Maddox looked nothing like the confident, determined field general who reached under center in Atlanta.� Maddox had the deer-in-headlights-look that has been a feature at QB here for some seasons now.� Maybe, Maddox got dinged early when, under a heavy rush, he did hit Blackwell for a 1st down.� I have no clue but would point out that Tommy�s next (3) passes were as poor as any hurled anywhere in the history of the National Football League.� Maddox ended his night when, again under pressure, he flipped what was intended as a middle screen but, in fact, was a toss that actually traveled backwards.� Ruled a fumble, this abominable effort was plucked by DE LeManzer Williams and returned for the final score.� The results matter less than the fact that Maddox showed poise zero in this game.� Very troubling.
Running Backs:� Good effort by all; the Vikings are helpless against the run.� Witman returned to action and actually looked fairly energetic during his brief stint.
Spike:� Had (2) balls thrown in his direction; neither was catchable.� Maddox and Spike had some chemistry in Georgia; Spike�s best game last year was the opener against the Ravens with Graham under center.� It is troubling that Stewart and Burress seem to have no connection established.
Hines:� Damn good; made a tough snatch early and ran hard on a double reverse.� Two touches, 20 yards.� Ward may be the only football player in the WR corps.
Bobble Shaw: Poor; (1) drop and no receptions.
Toy:� One reception for about 5 during the 2-minute abortion.� Tiptoed for 14 on a KR.� Had a pass interference penalty and a crucial drop from Tee resulting in an INT.� Toy is no factor at all and that is entirely on merit.
Blackwell:� A catch from Maddox, (2) drops from Tee and a holding penalty.� Just the veteran presence needed.
Brown:� Nice catch from Maddox for about 19; some miscommunication late when he went inside while Maddox threw out.� The out route was open.
Baker:� Crucial drop inside late.
Bruener:� A catch early; solid run blocking as usual.� A professional performance.
Geason:� Looks smooth catching the ball, can block in-line but has no clue at H-back.� In the 2nd half, Ross was beaten outside but Cory, rather than chipping, avoided all contact so as to get into his pattern.� Not a good effort then but overall I like this player.
Tuman:� A waste of space.
Marvelous:� Took the night off early when, on the Stillers 4th possession he gave up a pressure and then a sack to Talence Sawyer.� On the sack, Marvel set up in a position where he could not possibly defend an outside rush.� Sawyer accepted this gift, stripped Stew and the Vikings capitalized with a FG.� Smith has the tools but hasn�t yet developed under Grimm�s tutelage.�
The rest of the starters played okay, though Hartings gave it up late to Hovan.�� Faneca�s return made a big difference; off the Atlanta game, there is no future for Mylinski.
Oliver Ross:� Played ROT in the 2nd half; can stick but gives up the outside.
Keydrick Vincent:� Huge and aggressive, very unpolished but seems to want to play.�
Defense Overview:� The Stillers played a soft zone for the most part.� As predicted, they had no answer for TE Byron Chamberlain nor could they deal with #3 WR Jake Reed.� The OLB weren�t featured in any rush package; therefore, the B&G got little pressure on Culpepper.� Unit by unit:
Hampton:� A good performance; knifed in and blew up a dive on the Vikes 3rd possession; combined with Clancy to stuff the Viking�s surge 1st and goal; brilliantly diagnosed a screen in the 3rd quarter running through blockers to crush the receiver.� Casey is coming on but still has a way to go.
Smith:� Got some push and had a sack to close out the Vikes 2nd possession when the Stillers sent 5.� Made a fine play on an option right late in the Vikes 3rd drive.� Smith is developing into a solid DE.
KVO:� Played hard and fairly effectively; still best as a top backup.
Bailey:� Showed some energy and some quickness but did little.
Combs:� See Tuman previous; may have gotten bigger but hasn�t gotten better.
Gildon:� As above but worse.� On the 1st possession, Culpepper bought time to hit Chamberlain for a 1st down by simply running past Big Sack as if he were a B&G traffic cone.� Sack got no pressure but did contribute on the option stop, staying in coverage to force the pitch and then coming up to turn Bennett towards Smith.� Smith did the heavy lifting but Pro Bowl OLB Jason Gildon performed adequately on this play. �
Holmes:� Not his kind of game.
Bell:� Great stick at the goal line; had a PD; plays with energy but does get lost sometimes.
Jones:� See Tuman previous.
Fiala:� Leads the 2nd unit effectively.
Kurpeikis:� Runs around but doesn�t do much.
Haggans:� Nowhere to be found.
Knight:� Nice beard; love the prophet look but if this guy is the 2nd ROLB then the Stillers will step off a cliff the moment Porter goes down.
Chad: �I felt Scott competed effectively with Moss.� On the Vikes 2nd possession, Moss broke off a� go-route and Chad stuck.� Later, Moss ran the go and Chad stuck.� Moss beat him in the EZ once but, whether by luck or vet guile, Chad got his feet tangled with the great WR and the ball fell incomplete.� Later, again in the EZ, Chad broke hard on a slant route, beat Moss to the ball and nearly made the pick.� All in all, Scott matched up decently against the magnificent Moss.
Poteat:� This guy can have impact.� Brought a punt back 27 yards; had a pick late off a bobble.� Strong effort, good results.
Flowers:� As usual, played effectively downhill but remains laterally challenged.
Alex:� Late getting over on the long ball to Moss.
DW:� Abused here when he was a Viking; abused again last night.� Victimized deep by Moss and, earlier, similarly beaten on an (intentionally) under-thrown ball.� That was good execution by Culpepper and Moss; DW did break up (1) pass but his night ended with a concussion.� A tough game for a solid CB.
Logan:� This man needs to close the deal.� In Atlanta bobbled a tough INT and later failed to come up with a fumble during a punt scrum.� Last night, came through on Culpepper but couldn�t bring the big man down.� Too bad, that was a 3rd down situation and the Vikings were able to continue their very impressive 17-play drive.� Mike has some ability but, if the Stillers are to improve deep, has to be able to convert.
Codie:� Shows some energy.
DeShea:� Had some decent moments dealing with Carter, generally, in a chase position but managed to defend a couple balls. �Victimized by a questionable PI call with Moss that did keep the Vikes 1st scoring drive alive.
Summary:� The Stillers have done nothing in either PS-game to suggest that they are playoff worthy.� In fact, they�re making the under, at 7 �, look like a lock.�