We noticed on a couple of occasions Sunday that Tampa Bay center Evan Dietrich-Smith appeared to scoot the ball forward before the snap.
You see this fairly regularly; usually, it’s a matter of an inch or two — not much of an advantage gained, and likely explained by the center trying to get a better grip on the ball.
But it appeared to work to Tampa Bay’s benefit on one play we remembered from early in the first half, when the Bucs made the decision to go for it on fourth an inches. After the Vikings’ victory, we sort of forgot about it, but thankfully reader Ted Jacobson not only remembered but sent a screen shot of the play in question. We’ll let Ted explain:
So the blue line is the line of scrimmage where the ball should have been to the right of. The red line is the 1st down line. (I verified that those lines were pretty accurate – 1st down marker was just shy of the 44.)
So the refs placed the ball just to the left of the red line, then they let the center move it another foot or two forward, which is common, but usually not quite that far. So in the photo, all Bucs should have been fully to the right of the blue line.
The play was a QB sneak, and Glennon made a little on it, but I’m not convinced he would have had enough had the ball been correctly placed. From this vantage point, he could almost have done a kneel-down for a -1 and still made it. Almost.
Indeed, we went back and watched the play. Ted was correct about the spotting and the first-down line. We created a three-photo collage sequence.
1) Officials marked the ball six inches to a foot short of the 44 yard line to set up 4th-and-1.
2) By the time it made it was re-spotted on the hash, the tip of the ball was on the 44.
3) And by the time it was snapped, it was moved forward at least another foot, if not more, by Dietrich-Smith.
Maybe Dietrich-Smith — who was with the Packers from 2010-13 before signing as a free agent with Tampa Bay — does it without realizing it?
Again, moot point now that the Vikings have won and the game is over. Tampa didn’t even score on the drive, as Glennon was intercepted shortly after the conversion … but still interesting when a 4th-and-1 play starts from past the marker, as shown in the screen grab Ted sent.
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson took off the walking boot on his left foot Monday. He said Patterson suffered just a “bruise” on his left ankle during his final kickoff return in the 19-13 overtime victory over the Bucs on Sunday.
Patterson said after the game he wore the boot just as a precaution. He remained in the game after the injury on the offense’s final drive to force overtime.
Zimmer said he hasn’t talked to guard Vladimir Ducasse yet about the knee injury that kept him out of the game. He wouldn’t give any further details on who he planned to play at right guard this week against Washington.
Zimmer also spent part of the press conference defending punter Jeff Locke, who had three touchbacks and averaged just 35.1 net yards on eight punts.
“I really think Jeff’s a good punter,” Zimmer said. ”I really do. I think he’s a very, very good punter. I think he tries to be too precise sometimes.”
It took time for Sharrif Floyd to adapt to what Mike Zimmer and the new Vikings coaching staff were asking him to do, but the second-year defensive tackle has really come on strong recently.
Floyd was credited with eight tackles and a sack, his third of the season, in Sunday’s 19-13 overtime win over the Buccaneers. That performance came a week after Floyd had five tackles and a sack against the Bills. He now has a sack in three of his past four games.
But Sunday’s game was Floyd’s best of the season, according to defensive end Brian Robison, and Floyd didn’t argue with him when Robison’s comments were relayed to him.
“Just playing ball,” he said. “I felt free. I felt like nothing could stop me or nothing could stop our defense.”
That is noteworthy because even as recently as a couple of weeks ago, Zimmer remarked that Floyd was still guilty of overthinking things and trying to be perfect, something Zimmer has talked about since he arrived.
Zimmer wants Floyd to trust his instincts and just let it flow. And now that Floyd is getting used to the techniques — such as using shorter, quicker steps when defending the run — that Zimmer and defensive line coach Andre Patterson have been teaching him, he is apparently doing just that.
“The technique that we’ve been learning his year, I’m more comfortable with it, and I just understand everything that is going on now,” Floyd said.