3 Things to Watch for in Preseason Game #1

Hey everyone, this is my first post here on Vikings Gab, so I hope you enjoy.

I was thinking about want I wanted to start off with and the first game of the year seemed like a logical place to start. Most people see preseason as a waste of time and a chance for stars to get hurt, while the second is possible, the first is not true. With that being said here are the 3 things you should be watching for in the game versus the Raiders. Just remember anything that happens in the preseason is to be taken in context. For example Joe Webb is an amazing preseason QB, but not so much in the regular season, just as Audie Cole made some amazing plays, but still couldn’t break in the the starting lineup.

1.  How do the Quarterbacks handle the vanilla defenses they will see?

As most know,defensive coordinators do not get  complicated in the preseason. They most show their basic sets with a few blitz packages mixed in. Any starting NFL QB worth his weight should be able to complete a high number of his passes as well as not throw interceptions. Now interceptions will most likely happen, but it should not be the QB’s fault, if it is we as Vikings fans should be scared. We are counting on Cassel and/or Bridgewater to lead the Vikings this year, I know I am not expecting top 10 numbers but I would hope with the weapons and the mind of Norv Turner a top 20 QB is a reasonable expectation.

What we should be looking for from all 3 QB’s is their footwork in the pocket and how tall do they stand in the pocket. These quarterbacks will get sacked this year and will get blitzed a lot, but they will need to stand tall and take what is given. Until the Vikings show they can pass, teams will still stack the box, which should leave lanes open.

The last thing we should look for from them is ball placement, they will also be running easy routes, ball placement will be important all year, it is what makes a QB go from good to great, and the great QB’s go to HOF QB’s. It is the one thing Rodgers, Brady, and Manning all do so much better than the rest. If Cassel and Bridgewater can do these things we should be happy, and slightly optimistic for a good season.

2. Who will step up and claim Linebacker spots?

I personally think this is a bigger position battle than the QB battle. There are basically three spots up for grab here. Greenway will win one because he is the most talented one on the team, and from recently interviews with Zimmer it sounds as if he will play weak-side. That leaves open the middle and strong side. What we should be looking for during this game is how does each player command the spot, who is able to take over the whole field. You want to be watching for all around LB’s, players who get to the line and stop the run, but can also smoothly get back in to coverage.

I am personally interested to see how the units work together. See the different speed on the field and how they communicate. This will also be our first chance to see Barr on the field, we will get to see his speed, which from what I have seen is amazing, but I think the most important thing with him is, does he get it or does he look lost.

Finally watch who can command the middle better, Jasper Brinkley or Audi Cole, we have seen Brinkley play a season for us before, and we have seen Cole do great things when given the chance in preseason and a little in the regular season, but this is a whole new defense than any Vikings fan has seen in many years and its important for these players to play in the system, so watch for the players that look lost VS players who are doing what they are asked and not going rouge.

3. Who will step up next to Harrison Smith?

This position has more players rotate though it than a Shakespeare play. Everyone at this position seems to get hurt right as they take the lead to start there. Robert Blanton was and still is my first choice to play there, but since he might not be playing we will have to wait and see how he does next week. I think the issue with this spot is that the Vikings have good safety for Tampa 2 defense, but not many of the safety can cover, which is why the Vikings signed Chris Crocker, a veteran who has made a career covering and playing in Zimmers defense.  In this game, just as with the LB’s we are looking for players that can cover and play in the system. Not really looking for playmakers, but players who defend the pass well. I don’t think anyone will jump off the page, but someone has a chance to finally take the spot for good, will they? We will see.

 

There are other things to watch, but none as important as those 3 things. Enjoy the game for what it is, a place for players who love the game that most likely wont ever play in a regular season game. They give their all every play just for a shot to make the team.  We are 4 weeks away from meaningful games, and I couldnt be more excited, the future is bright in Minnesota, and so is the day.. SO go enjoy it!

 

Randy Stringer

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One Response to “3 Things to Watch for in Preseason Game #1”

  1. pe urplereign57 says:

    Pretty decent analysis for your first shot at it, Randy, though you kinda need to make sure “spell check” is on. LOL

    I agree that the QB play, the LB play AND placement, and the secondary, specifically, as you wrote, who will step up alongside Harrison.

    One of the situations that I am eagerly waiting to see unfold is how well it goes in the defensive trenches with Linval Joseph and Sharif Floyd. I want to see a big change there from seasons past, except those in which the Williams wall was there.

    It is imperative that those two anchor a defensive line that will break down opposing O-lines, wear them down, stop the run game cold, and create necessary lanes for the rest of the line to accompany them to the opposing QB, = NO POINTS FOR THE ENEMY.

    I am very anxiously awaiting the moment that TB5 begins his NFL career under center as well. I’ve watched hundreds of minutes of his Louisville days, and of course, the reps he’s gotten with the ones in training camp. Conclusion, he is DEADLY ACCURATE, compared to who has been under center for quite a few years. I am one of CflashP#84’s BIGGEST FANS, and am really hoping hard to witness a thing of beauty week in and week out between those two. Combine the talent you have with Teddy Bridgewater and Cordarelle Patterson, and that’s almost like putting a match to a pound of C-4! This offense shapes up to potentially do great things on the field.

    I think it was Lombardi, but I KNOW I’ve heard Jimmy Johnson say, “defense wins ball games”. I agree. I also agree with you in that, if the linebacker and secondary play goes at a high “NFL” level, and the defensive line play follows suit, we can expect to see the Vikings raising PLENTY of eyebrows of certain “naysayers”, that SWORE the Vikings were going to be a dud team again in 2014.

    EAT SOME CROW, Y’ALL! SKOL VIKINGS!!!!

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