Sunday, August 27, 2006

D Looks Solid but Who is Backing Up Brad Johnson?

The Vikings preseason is a success for the defense. A concern a year ago, the defense has looked very good this preseason. I know it's preseason so I won't write too much about it but I do think it's fair to judge the D in the third preseason game. The third game is the game with the most action for the starters.

In the Baltimore game, the Vikings looked more like the black and purple of the Ravens than the purple, white, and gold of the previous Vikings. The pressure on Steve McNair rattled him all game long and when he had time, McNair struggled to find an open receiver. While the offense drove down the field well against one of the best Ds in the NFL, it was the Vikings D that was the surprise. While the O moved the ball down the field against one of the predicted best Ds in the NFL this upcoming year, the D put on pressure, caused false starts, and made McNair look like it was not only his first year with the Ravens but his first year period. Due to the Viking's D, McNair often ran for his life and the only open players were open for short passes.

Other Game 3 Comments

Beyond the D, I had to comment on how strange a year season can be. Seeing McNair as a Raven was odd but seeing Jim Fassel on the Baltimore sideline was just as odd. Faces in strange places make preseason ball interesting to watch.

For positives, #11 Jason Carter is looking great. His jersey fits the heritage: A last name of Carter is a lot to live up to in purple and the #11 has recent significance. If he can continue to play well and make the 2006 squad, a lot of Culpepper jerseys can be recycled with the simple change of a nameplate. I wish Jason the best!

The worst part of the third preseason game was the awful announcing. I cringed often and watching the game with my friend Ryan, was entertaining as we both mocked the pre-preseason effort of the announcing crew. I rewatched the game on NFL Network and was thankful that the 2nd half was announced by the Raven's crew (the NFL Network broadcast feature one half for each home crew). The next game is Thursday against Dallas and I hope to see a better performance by the voices of TV. Maybe I'll need to listen to the game via radio...

Who is Backing Up Brad Johnson?

The most common question I have been asked this year is who is the backup for #14 Brad Johnson. Well, the future is bright but the present, anything but a gift.

Right now, the roster behind Johnson is scary and the odds of Brad Johnson surviving an entire season is bleak (I'll take a lunch for someone who claims that he plays 16 regular season games). Backing up Brad are ex-Lion Mike McMahon, J.T. O'Sullivan (you can call him J.T. O'Gone when the next round of cuts occur), and Tarvaris Jackson. McMahon has looked bad and honestly I believe him taking over the reigns of this club spell death to any playoff hopes. Tarvaris has looked great and needs seasoning. His potential probably means the end of J.T.'s 2006 Vikings career.

Who's missing? Well, Shaun Hill! On the roster from 2002-2005, Shaun is now in San Francisco backing up last year's #1 draft pick Alex Smith. I watched the Dallas Cowboys/San Francisco 49er game and kept an eye on ex-Viking backup quarterback.

This preseason has been great for Hill. In 2 games, Shaun is 7 of 9 for 76 yards. He's been sacked twice but last night showed great mobility. Last night, he scampered for 14 yards in one run last night dodging players and showing intense drive. He's racked up 28 yards rushing. He looks good and with McMahon's struggles, I wonder if he would have been a better backup for Brad Johnson. Oh well.