Turns out that outside consultant the Chicago Bears reportedly hired is worth his weight in gold.
The anonymous Chicago executive evidently pointed to the awful Minnesota Vikings offensive line Jim Schwartz exposed last week in Philadelphia and said “hey, why don’t we take advantage of that?”
And just like that, a one-win team dominated a one-loss one on Monday night as the Chicago Bears stunned the Vikings en route to an easy 20-10 victory.
Having lost starting tackles Matt Kalil and Andre Smith to injury, players who weren’t all that good to begin with, the Vikings are trying to get by with Jake Long, who was on the street a couple of weeks ago and T.J. Clemmings, players whose position title best describes their style of play because tackle is about all they could do when Chicago edge rushers Leonard Floyd, Willie Young and Pernell McPhee were screaming around the corner.
For the second time in just over a week Sam Bradford was under siege and his vaunted accuracy was lost as he turned into a skittish player who was seeing ghosts the few times the pass rush actually wasn’t getting home, best exemplified when the veteran quarterback overthrew a wide open Stefon Diggs for what would have been a sure touchdown in the first quarter.
It was a throw Bradford could make 99 times out of 100 if he didn’t believe he was about to be blasted on every single snap.
The best way to describe the ineptitude of Clemmings particularly is that Long, who was unemployed until Oct. 11 was the significantly better part of the duo. And both of them made you forget that the next actual push right guard Brandon Fusco gets in the run game might be his first of the year.
In a year filled with egregious offensive line play around the NFL, Minnesota’s tackle play isn’t even professional right now and Kalil, often the butt of jokes among the Vikings’ fan base, now looks like the second coming on Ron Yary.
It’s a problem, complicated by the fact that Bradford has no mobility and, despite his reputation as an offensive genius, Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner is an old dog who isn’t learning any new tricks.
Despite the fact his tackles offensively needed help on a consistent basis, Turner rarely used maximum protection and left two overmatched players on an island. There were no bubble screens, smoke screens or quick hitches to get the football out of Bradford’s hand quickly either.
It was classic Turner, obsessed with long-developing plays despite the fact there was obviously no time to run them.
Meanwhile, even down 20-3 against a bad football team, there was no sense of urgency from Turner’s moribund unit as the Vikings essentially waived the white flag by continuing to huddle and eschewing tempo.
The ineffectiveness of the offense also finally took its toll on the Vikings’ vaunted defense, which allowed rookie running back Jordan Howard to play Walter Payton for Halloween despite the fact he was running behind two backup guards, and also made John Fox look like an imbecile for dare questioning Jay Cutler’s competency as the Bears’ starting quarterback.
To many around the NFL, it’s an indictable offense to criticize Turner and even more were jumping on their swords for the 32-year-old veteran during the game on Twitter, rolling out the long list of injuries that have decimated the Vikings.
And I’ll even defend Turner somewhat because any head coach who actually allows a coordinator to run his side of his football the way Turner did tonight should be shouldering much of the blame.
Known for his gruffness, Mike Zimmer called his offensive line “soft” last week and he has plenty of ammunition to rip his players again this time around but he should save at least a little of that for the guy in the mirror, as well as his sacred cow of an offensive coordinator.
-John McMullen is a national football columnist for FanRagSports.com and TodaysPigskin.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen — Also catch John each week during the NFL season ESPN South Jersey, ESPN Southwest Florida, ESPN Lexington, KDWN in Las Vegas, and check @JFMcMullen for John’s upcoming appearances on SB Nation Radio, FOX Sports Radio, CBS Sports Radio as well as dozens of local radio stations across North America.