Vikings Coaches Plan to Reduce Antoine Winfield’s Role with a “Pitch Count” This Season
The Vikings’ new defensive coordinator Alan Williams announced today (July 31) that he plans to reduce the number of snaps veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield will see this season. The idea behind this plan is to use him in particular situations, reducing wear on the skilled, yet aging member of the Minnesota secondary.
Williams used the term “pitch count” when referring to his plans in controlling the number of snaps Winfield will see each game. Last season, Antoine was sidelined due to injuries and the team hopes to keep the 35 year old in more games by giving him fewer minutes each game – using him mainly in situations where it would make most sense.
On the subject, Williams had the following to offer:
We want to be smart about how we use him, about how we play him, and really … some of that’s going to be how fast some of our younger guys or some of the guys that we brought in come up to speed. So, that’s yet to be determined. But we do know that he’s going to be on a pitch count.
What that pitch count is going to be exactly hasn’t been determined yet. It is likely a number will develop through the preseason and evolve through the early part of the regular season. It will be interesting to see if this “pitch count” will be as publicized as the famous “Randy Ratio” Mike Tice implemented for Randy Moss’s involvement in games.
On a personal note, I hope it isn’t very widely publicized. I say this for three reasons. First, I see it being something that is purely internal matter and fans don’t need to be counting snaps with Winfield on the field and worrying about when he will get pulled from a game. I also see this number as something that could be degrading to an incredibly knowledgeable and talented (albeit older) veteran. Finally (and most importantly); if this number is set and announced, every announcer and commentator will be throwing their two cents and “counting down” the number of snaps Winfield has left. There will be charts and diagrams and plenty of other nonsense depicting his game progress, and I don’t personally care to have that dictate the conversation during a game.
Then again, there might not be much else to talk about if the Vikings have a season similar to that of the last couple seasons.