COMMENTARY: Hoping for a Vikes' loss? If Childress gets boot, may fans say 'yes'
ST. PAUL Here's a proper strategy for Brad Childress today against the Arizona Cardinals: Win the coin toss and go for broke on the first series. A touchdown, or even a field goal, likely will get a hostile crowd off of his back. At least for a l...
Here's a proper strategy for Brad Childress today against the Arizona Cardinals: Win the coin toss and go for broke on the first series. A touchdown, or even a field goal, likely will get a hostile crowd off of his back. At least for a little while.
A field goal works especially well if the Vikings face fourth and goal at the 1. I think the people would be overjoyed with three points rather than watching a "run right" get stuffed at the line again.
One of the saddest things about today's game is that I've had so many Vikings fans tell me they hope their team loses so that it triggers a coaching change. That's an extreme approach but an otherwise accurate assessment of the situation. A loss to the Cardinals and Zygi Wilf probably calls in the bulldozers to raze the coach's office.
But a loss to woeful Arizona is unlikely. Instead, the Vikings probably will win and the drip, drip, drip water torture will continue. The speculation about Childress could carry on all season. The whole thing is distasteful but apparently unavoidable. And then, after the final game, Zygi has to decide if he wants to eat the contract, which would go great with honey mustard and a dill pickle.
Here's the other thing I'd do if I were Childress: Call Brett Favre over and say, "OK, it's all yours. Call your own plays. Do what you want."
Of course, that will never happen, even though Favre knows best. Childress would rather throw himself under a city bus. He never would give up that
much control. And he never would allow anyone to operate outside of the system. Therein lies the problem for most coaches: blind loyalty to a system.
I get a kick out of the way they talk about it. It's as if the system were the Constitution or the Bible instead of a collection of X's and O's drawn up by very fallible coaches. The best coaches adapt their system to their personnel. The worst coaches try to wedge their players into a system.
As a prime example, former Wild coach Jacques Lemaire, famous for his defensive system, spent a great deal of time plotting ways to get Marian Gaborik loose for long breakaway passes. He excused Gaborik from certain defensive responsibilities. Why? Because Gaborik excelled at offense.
Most coaches don't think like that. They take it personally when someone steps outside of the holy system.
Yes, all teams need a set of operating rules. But those rules are not infallible. Even the Constitution has had amendments. The Vikings had their best success last season when Favre was improvising at the line of scrimmage. And although we heard about the occasional blowup between quarterback and coach, the result made it easier for those two to coexist.
With Favre battling injuries and unable to perform at such a high level, he now is being hammered back into the system -- throwing little dinks and dunks, and only when absolutely necessary. He's being turned into an android, executing the coach's vision. Clearly, Favre doesn't like it. Yet he doesn't have much choice. Childress nearly benched him against the Jets. Not so much for throwing interceptions but for attempting to operate "outside the system."
But if Childress goes down, he's going to go down his way. You can admire that, I suppose. Or you can look at the 2-5 record and wonder why he isn't more flexible. If all the reports flying around are true, it wouldn't take much for Zygi to pull the plug on him.
One theory is that the players should take sole blame for the mess, not the coaches. Maybe, but the team has more talent than it has shown. This is not a 2-5 team. And if defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier is being touted as the savior, then why can't he figure a way to get to the quarterback? Shouldn't there be some sort of special blitz package or something? Shouldn't the linemen be twisting and turning and maybe taking different routes into the backfield?
Where's the creativity on either side of the ball?
Ah, a victory today and all these questions go away. And, by the way, the coach doesn't.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.