View Full Version : Vikings Notebook: Defending The Redzone

08-08-2006, 11:54 AM
Vikings Notebook: Defending the red zone

August 7, 2006

Author: Mike Wobschall, vikings.com

When a team crosses into its opponent's territory and finally gets to or inside the 20-yard line, all bets are off. The red zone is often times where games are won and lost. A turnover in the red zone can leave an offense devastated, but a third and goal conversion can lift them to victory.

One could argue the advantage goes to the defense in the red zone because the field is smaller, meaning there is less territory to defend but the same amount of players to defend it. On the other hand, it could be advantage offense because the defense has its back to the wall, with little margin for error.

Ultimately, the defense's goal is to hold the opponent scoreless at all times. But when they are backed up deep into their own territory, the goal is to force the offense to settle for a field goal try.

"It's just a different mindset," Vikings defensive end Kenechi Udeze said. "Your intensity should always be high, but once you're in the red zone everyone knows the stakes are raised. We (the defense) look at it as a chance to make a big play or hold the team to three points, or not even that."

Safety Dwight Smith, who recorded two interceptions while with Tampa Bay in Super Bowl XXXVII, said turnovers in the endzone can be game-changers.

"You as a defense, you want to tighten up and not let them get in [to the endzone]," Smith said. "You want to hold them to three or hopefully get a turnover because turnovers down there demoralize an offense."

"They're (the offense) threatening your territory," defensive back Dovonte Edwards says. "It's a whole new attitude you have to have down there in the red zone. Everything happens quickly down there and a lot of fastballs get thrown at you. Plus they're going to attack from both sides. It all happens a lot faster in the red zone."

"Everything does happen quicker," Smith said. "It has to because the field is shorter and the ball has to be released sooner. Plus, routes are shorter, so everybody has to be on their key."

Regardless of who hold the advantage, the importance of success in the red zone is paramount to both sides. Teams designate a significant amount of time to red zone defense/offense during training camp and practices during the regular season.

Installation process

Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell spoke after Monday morning practice and was asked how many plays the team installs each day: "We have a program that we are trying to install. I can't tell you the exact number of plays because it changes every day, but we are putting it in by situation. Today was the second time we were in the red zone, so we had whole another set of red zone plays. The guys are working hard, they are studying hard, they're paying attention in the classroom, and that's what it takes."

Highlight reel

Quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan and receiver Chris Jones hooked up for the day's best offensive play. Despite good coverage from Fred Smoot, Jones was able to haul in O'Sullivan's pass along the left sideline. The ball appeared to go through Smoot's arms despite his attempt to bat it down and Jones was able to hang on while falling to the ground.

Defensive back Cedric Griffin made a nice play during the full-team portion of practice. Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson attempted to hit receiver Ryan Hoag on a deep pattern down the middle, but Griffin displayed good closing speed and was able to knock the ball down before Hoag could get his hands on it.

Roll call

Pat Williams practiced today for the first time. He had missed time because of cardio-vascular and conditioning issues.

Kevin Williams sat out of practice today.

Ronyell Whitaker left practice early this morning but practiced with the team this afternoon.

Dovonte Edwards did not practice this afternoon.

Charles Gordon continues to sit out after sustaining a leg injury last week.

Roster moves

The Vikings have signed free agent defensive back Ahmad Treaudo on Monday. Treaudo, out of Southern University, spent time on the Falcons practice squad in 2005. The Vikings placed safety Tank Williams on injured reserve.

Defending The Redzone (http://www.vikings.com/news_detail_objectname_VikesNotes8706.html)

08-08-2006, 12:24 PM
Uh Oh, JT O'Sullivan is on the move to be our starter by week 1..

08-08-2006, 01:46 PM
"VikesfaninWis" wrote:

Uh Oh, JT O'Sullivan is on the move to be our starter by week 1..

My guess is Jones wasn't his target & he was trying to connect with another receiver 10 yards from the play. :grin:

08-08-2006, 06:26 PM
I cant wait to see tha trick plays and all that from this offense, Childress is a great offensive mind

08-08-2006, 06:42 PM
tank tanked.