Craig: Play-callers are easy targets

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 12, 2012 - 5:25 AM

Any seemingly sound decision that doesn't work out is going to be roundly second-guessed.

hide

Coach Leslie Frazier knows the Vikings will have to be able to run the ball when protecting a late lead.

Photo: Genevieve Ross, AP

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

No one in sports gets second-guessed more than the 32 men whose NFL job includes having about 15 seconds to radio in the next offensive play to the quarterback.

Calling three consecutive runs from inside your 20-yard line with a five-point lead, less than two minutes left and your opponent down to two timeouts makes perfect sense.

Unless, of course, it doesn't work.

If it doesn't work, you're too conservative. You're playing not to lose. You are, in Fanland, an idiot.

However, had you thrown the ball incomplete inside your 20-yard line or -- worse yet -- thrown an interception, you would have been considered an even bigger idiot.

Second-guessers win. Always.

"Exactly," said Leslie Frazier, who had the beauty of talking about second-guessers after the most improbable of his seven victories as Vikings coach.

There were a few sequences that attracted the usual NFL-caliber second-guessing following Sunday's 26-23 overtime victory over the Jaguars at Mall of America Field. The above-mentioned scenario came when the Vikings' offense took possession with 1 minute, 51 seconds remaining.

What should have been a game-finishing drive by Adrian Peterson and an offense that's trying to build its identity as a power-running outfit became a 33-second possession that gave the Jaguars the time to score a go-ahead touchdown with 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Frazier was asked how he and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave should balance a commitment to their budding but still-fragile identity and the risk of the entire universe knowing they're going to play the conservative odds.

"You want to be able to run the ball when people know that you have to run, and we have to get to the point where we can do that," Frazier said. "There are going to be more games where we're going to have to be able to take time off the clock. We'll have to figure out a way to get a first down, and we'll have to get to the point where we are able to throw the ball in those situations as well. Right now, where we are, we took the approach we thought was necessary."

Actually, Musgrave's play-calling would have been OK without a first down in that situation had receiver Michael Jenkins not been penalized for an illegal cut block on Peterson's 3-yard run on second down. The Jaguars declined the penalty, but got what was essentially their third timeout handed back to them.

"That messed us up big time," Frazier said. "We can't have that."

Had Jenkins not been penalized, 40 more seconds would have run off the clock. So instead of having 1:18 left at their 24-yard line, the Jaguars would have had 38 seconds left and no timeouts.

Another sequence that was open for second-guessing came when the Vikings had first-and-goal from the 3-yard line with 28 seconds left in the third quarter. After a run by receiver Percy Harvin, a 2-yard completion to running back Matt Asiata and an incompletion to tight end John Carlson, Peterson looked visibly upset as he ran to the sideline while the field goal unit ran past him the other way.

"He's a competitor," Frazier said. "So obviously he wants the ball."

Peterson had run for touchdowns of 3 and 2 yards up to that point. Of course, had he carried the ball again inside the 5 and been stopped, Musgrave would have been called too predictable.

Second-guessers win. Always.

Frazier was asked how closely he judges the play-calling as opposed to the execution when he's evaluating his team's performances.

"I evaluate the execution more, but I do look at the play-calling," Frazier said. "Usually, the play calls are things we've done that week in practice. So I kind of have a feel for when things should be called and when they shouldn't be.

"It only becomes an attention-grabber for me if there's something being called at a moment where we really didn't talk about this player or using this play at this certain time."

That wasn't the case in that Peterson-free sequence that started with first-and-goal at the 3.

"We thought we had some things that would be effective for us," Frazier said. "Percy had a great game for us and was really running hard. We did some other things we thought would work. We just didn't get the execution that we needed. But I guess you can always second-guess after the fact."

And oh, how people do.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Minnesota 16 FINAL
Buffalo 17
Atlanta 7 FINAL
Baltimore 29
Tennessee 17 FINAL
Washington 19
Seattle 26 FINAL
St. Louis 28
Cleveland 6 FINAL
Jacksonville 24
Cincinnati 0 FINAL
Indianapolis 27
Miami 27 FINAL
Chicago 14
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Detroit 24
Carolina 17 FINAL
Green Bay 38
Kansas City 23 FINAL
San Diego 20
Arizona 24 FINAL
Oakland 13
NY Giants 21 FINAL
Dallas 31
San Francisco 17 FINAL
Denver 42
Houston 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Boston 95 FINAL
Brooklyn 90
Minnesota 112 FINAL
Oklahoma City 94
Golden State 83 FINAL
Houston 90
Charlotte 96 FINAL
Chicago 101
Utah 91 FINAL
LA Lakers 98
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
San Jose 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Calgary 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
St. Louis 0 FINAL
Anaheim 3
TX-San Antonio 20 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 27
Syracuse 30 FINAL
Wake Forest 7
Purdue 38 FINAL
Minnesota 39
Western Ky 38 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 45
(12) Baylor 27 FINAL
(22) West Virginia 41
(11) Kansas State 31 FINAL
(17) Oklahoma 30
Iowa 31 FINAL
Maryland 38
So Florida 38 FINAL
Tulsa 30
Tulane 13 FINAL
UCF 20
Virginia 13 FINAL
Duke 20
Akron 20 FINAL
Ohio U 23
Western Mich 26 FINAL
Bowling Green 14
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
Massachusetts 36
Appalachian St 53 FINAL
Troy 14
(25) UCLA 36 FINAL
California 34
Texas A&M 0 FINAL
(4) Alabama 59
Army 17 FINAL
Kent State 39
Kansas 21 FINAL
Texas Tech 34
UAB 22 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 34
Rutgers 17 FINAL
(13) Ohio State 56
(8) Michigan State 56 FINAL
Indiana 17
New Mexico 31 FINAL
Air Force 35
NC State 18 FINAL
Louisville 30
(21) Clemson 17 FINAL
Boston College 13
Ball State 32 FINAL
Central Mich 29
Cincinnati 41 FINAL
SMU 3
(9) Georgia 45 FINAL
Arkansas 32
Oklahoma State 9 FINAL
(10) TCU 42
San Jose St 27 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Miami-Ohio 41 FINAL
Northern Ill 51
New Mexico St 17 FINAL
Idaho 29
Colorado 28 FINAL
(20) USC 56
(23) Marshall 45 FINAL
FIU 13
Southern Miss 30 FINAL
North Texas 20
Georgia Tech 43 FINAL
North Carolina 48
Tennessee 3 FINAL
(3) Ole Miss 34
Utah State 13 FINAL
Colorado State 16
Missouri 42 FINAL
Florida 13
Kentucky 3 FINAL
(24) LSU 41
(16) Nebraska 38 FINAL
Northwestern 17
Georgia State 27 FINAL
South Alabama 30
Washington 20 FINAL
(6) Oregon 45
Iowa State 45 FINAL
Texas 48
(7) Notre Dame 27 FINAL
(2) Florida State 31
Nevada 42 FINAL
BYU 35
Stanford 10 FINAL
(14) Arizona State 26
Hawaii 10 FINAL
San Diego St 20
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Columbus 3 FINAL
Red Bull New York 1
Seattle 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Ottawa 6 FINAL
Hamilton 16
Montreal 20 FINAL
Toronto 12
Calgary 33 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Edmonton 24 FINAL
Saskatchewan 19
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close