- Matt Williamson, ESPN.com
After watching the Week 15 games, Scouts Inc. shares its 10 key observations:
1. An overrated set of bookends: The Vikings' offensive tackles are liabilities. LT Bryant McKinnie has a great reputation, but he is an average left tackle. Rookie RT Phil Loadholt is exactly that: a right tackle whose feet are too heavy for any other position and who lacks the agility to recover once beaten. QB Brett Favre is very difficult to sack because of his feel for pressure packages and ability to move so well within the pocket. He also gets the ball out on time consistently. Favre makes these two look better than they are in pass protection. Julius Peppers, who was playing with a bad hand, gave this pair all they could handle Sunday night. In fact, Peppers dominated both blockers. In the run game, you expect both to excel because of their sheer mass alone, but that just is not the case, and once again, Adrian Peterson makes them look better than they truly are. McKinnie and Loadholt weren't the only reason Minnesota struggled to create offense, but they didn't help the cause, either. Come playoff time, this could be a serious problem considering the edge defenders they will be facing.
2. Jacksonville has work to do to reach the Colts' level: WR Mike Sims-Walker has exceeded expectations this year; there are several other players on the Jaguars who are above-average starters at their positions; and there are some building blocks in place. But in the end, the Jaguars have one blue-chip player on their roster, Maurice Jones-Drew.
That just isn't enough. Where does Jacksonville excel as a team? What can the Jags hang their hats on week in and week out? In previous years, those answers were in their sheer size and overall physicality. Now, it is Jones-Drew and not enough else around him. They need to find another difference-maker or two this offseason, with at least one adding to a woeful pass defense. Jacksonville played the Colts very tough Thursday, as usual, but these franchises are a long way apart.
Scouts Inc. examines the Vikings' shortcomings at tackle, the Saints' imperfections and more.