Happy Friday, friends. It’s time to Digest the Minnesota Vikings, who despite their 2-9 record have a bit of power behind their punches, and can knock you out if you don’t come correct. They’re lining up to have a very high draft pick in 2012, and I think that they can have a pretty quick turnaround in 2012 assuming they pick wisely, and their young QB improves. For now, though, let’s take a look at them in their current state.
Generally, I’d say that the Vikings profile kind of similarly to the Broncos in some important ways. To wit:
a. Both teams start young QBs who can look good one play and bad the next.
b. Both teams struggle to protect the passer in the straight-up dropback passing game, but both can get the running game blocked a lot of the time.
c. Both teams can rush the passer creditably from both edges, although the Vikings’ second-best guy (Brian Robison) is not really close to the Broncos’ (Elvis Dumervil) level.
d. Both teams have a good set of DTs who stuff the run well, and both teams’ LB corps are better against the run than in coverage.
One of the elements of Tim Tebow’s game that goes unnoticed is that when he plays at home in the Mile High City, the altitude affects the opponents after spending three quarters chasing Tebow around. John Elway would wear out his opponents with his ability to move around, and Tebow does the same. They have different styles but the results are the same—defenses get tired.
Talking Tebow, spiraling Eagles and big awards
If you’re wondering whether others have similarly skeptical beliefs about Tebow – yes, they do: Others being virtually every player, coach and talent evaluator I’ve spoken to over the past month-and-a-half. And you know what? None of that matters. The running game’s working, the defense is playing lights out and Tebow is winning. And opponents are starting to get affected, too, simultaneously playing scared and overextending, like a talented tennis player getting mentally undone by an opponent who’s just pushing the ball back and trying not to make mistakes. Never mind that Tebow, by all objective standards, is terrible at throwing the ball, or that his success makes no rational sense: I’m over it. I’ve accepted the fact that it just works, somehow, and it doesn’t seem like the madness will stop anytime soon.
I know what some of you are wondering, but I just can't answer that right now...
Tim Tebow is history in the making
He is a phenomenon. Since taking over as the Broncos’ starting quarterback, he has given both his critics and his supporters the evidence they need. What’s undeniable is that in each game he has started and won, he has accomplished historic quarterback feats…Tebow is entertaining, captivating, polarizing. But nearly every week, he’s also history.
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! You may recall that the other day I applauded the "spirit of what (Kerry) Byrne and CHFF are trying to do" with their "Real QB Rating" before going on to criticize Byrne's interpretation of the numbers CHFF's new metric had spit out. Well, I guess I should have looked deeper into this Real QB Rating, because as Mike Tanier explains in great detail, it has extreme flaws. Relax, Tebowmaniacs - none of this is a criticism of Tim, but rather of CHFF's methods as they relate to Real QB Rating.
So, here's the problem with it: Real QB Rating relies upon the old-school QB Rating as a framework, and it overcredits completion percentage in a big way - and as my friend Ted Bartlett has written many times already, completion percentage is completely overrated (although I wouldn't go as far as to say it's worthless). As Tanier shows, a slight improvement in completion % without adding even a yard of production has a significant positive impact on a QB rating, and that's just not going to help us evaluate a quarterback.
Raiders' McClain arrested for firing gun, assault
Lt. John Crouch of the Decatur Police Department told Comcast SportsNet that McClain has been charged and was held in custody after allegedly assaulting an individual, holding a gun to his head and firing a shot next to his ear.
“I can tell you that Rolando McClain is under arrest,” Crouch said. “He’s been charged with third degree assault, menacing, reckless endangerment and discharging a firearm in city limits.”
The bond is only $2,000, which indicates that these crimes are probably not that serious, but I suspect that NFL will be suspending Mr. McClain onces it gains the facts. The Raiders sure are penalty-prone, even when they're in Alabama on Wednesday of a game week (and what's up with that)?
Tebow makes the debut cover of the NFL’s new magazine
There’s been talk from different corners that Tim Tebow should receive all kinds of awards as his season progresses. All-Pro, Pro Bowl … some probably want to extend the Offensive Rookie of the Year award to second-year players just so he can win it…Well, there’s one cool thing Tebow’s getting for sure, and that’s the debut cover on the NFL’s new official magazine.
Vikings cut Donovan McNabb, is the Windy City in his future?
Adam Schefter of ESPN reported McNabb asked to be released by the Vikings so he could seek out another team. His request was granted, much like the way Kyle Orton(notes) freed himself from the Denver Broncos bench last week and was picked up by the Kansas City Chiefs. McNabb will now be placed on the waiver wire and any team interested in picking up his salary for the remaining five games of the NFL season can put in a claim.
Stories of the Season: Miller Much More Than the ROY
It’s time we forgot talk of best rookie and started to think in terms of Pro-Bowl, All-Pro, maybe even Defensive Player of the Year. It sounds crazy, but there may not be a better candidate than Miller right now…Focusing only on his play as a run defender and in coverage, he is still having an All-Pro caliber season…Miller is also the only linebacker in the league with more than 25 tackles that has yet to miss one…The scary part is that when most rookies are running into the metaphorical wall, Miller seems to be getting stronger. His past four games have been his strongest four, and at the moment he is proving to be an adversary that right tackles can’t contain…This might be the most dominant season from a rookie since Randy Moss defined the word ‘uncoverable’ in his first year with a chip on his shoulder in 1998.
Miller was just named the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Month