NFC North: Vikings-Titans
I was disappointed that Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew didn't stand next to coach Jim Schwartz this week and respond to questions about the team's series of offseason incidents with its 2011 draft class.
There is a level of public accountability that a general manager must accept when players he drafted run into trouble. But more important, Mayhew's absence continued to shift public perception onto Schwartz for what is an organizational problem.
It was Mayhew, not Schwartz, who made the final decision to draft Nick Fairley, Titus Young, Mikel Leshoure and Johnny Culbreath. I'm not sure if anyone deserves substantial blame or criticism for what's happened, but I do think it's unfair that Mayhew has left Schwartz to answer for all of it. So goes this week's Blogger Blitz.
There will be a good bit of quarterback discussion this week in the Twin Cities after Gus Frerotte injured his hand late in the fourth quarter in Nashville. But in watching the game from afar, what stood out more than anything was the way the Titans manhandled the Vikings in a physical sense.
Coach Brad Childress has put a special emphasis on building the Vikings' offensive and defensive lines. Even in their losses over the years, the Vikings have always played a punishing brand of football on both ends. I don't think they backed off Sunday, but the Titans -- defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth among them -- seemed to be playing at a more physical level.
Childress' whole program is built on dominating the line of scrimmage to facilitate his power running game on offense along with a run-stopping defense. But on Sunday, the Vikings ran for 80 yards -- 28 of which came on a touchdown run by Adrian Peterson. That means the Vikings totaled 52 yards on their other 19 carries.
On the other side of the ball, Titans rookie Chris Johnson rushed for 61 yards on 17 carries and probably would have gone for 100 if he didn't have to share carries with LenDale White. Johnson is as quick of a back as the Vikings will face, but I saw plenty of open running lanes for him.
The Vikings are 1-3 for a lot of reasons. One reason I never would have suspected: Getting pushed around by an opponent.