The Monday Night Football crew, especially the disgustingly balding Tony Kornheiser (have you ever seen such an ugly, wispy, thinning thing before?), continued to harp about their disappointment with the play of Purple Jesus. Of course, PJ made enough of an impact late in the game to waylay some of the criticism, but overall he had another sub-par performance. Why is that might you ask? I have watched his play very intently all season and have seen, of late, a couple of things that might explain his limited output over the last couple of games. Don’t fret, these issues have already been brought to the attention of Darrell Bevell and Brad Childress, through several of my professional and personal conduits to the team, one of which you learned about yesterday.
The most important and most easily corrected reason for Jesus’ low yardage totals of late, is the play calling. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed that every single run play that is called for Adrian is either a slant, or a sweep, or some other type of play that has him trying to get to the edge. It is every play. There are two obvious reasons why this play calling works against Jesus.
The first is that every defensive line, like the Bears last night and 49’ers the week before, can run slant stunts to disrupt the blocking schemes of the Vikings’ o-line and disallow PJ access to the edge. Also, the linebackers are able to key sideline to sideline which allows them to get out in front of the blocks of the pulling linemen or those shooting to the second level.
The other problem with always trying to get PJ to the edge is that his pads are kept parallel to the line which immediately takes away his power and his ability to juke a defender, and makes him much easier to bring down. Even Jesus can’t make those awesome cuts if he is running sideways at full speed trying to get outside of the tackles. I understand the type of damage the guy has done and will do again once he does get the edge, but for God’s sake (i.e. Jesus--yeah Holy Trinity!) run him straight at defenses. This will allow for his big line to make one on one blocks, for Adrian to use his full array of unearthly talents, and will eventually open up the edge for a big play every now and again.
Adrian and the Vikings have become enamored with the big play to the detriment of Adrian’s and the teams overall rushing success. As we witnessed a couple of times last night, and the MNF crew actually properly alluded to, Adrian in his attempts to make every run a big run loses his limited chances to make positive yardage on some of his runs. You of course do not want Adrian to lose his desire to go big, but it does need to be more opportunistic.
As I stated before, this powerful insight has been passed on to the proper members of the Vikings coaching staff. All we can hope for now is that they heed my sage advice. Look out Redskins.