Sunday, December 30, 2007

On Brad Childress (short term)

After a 14-18 record in his first two seasons, there should be serious discussion about whether or not Brad Childress should return to coach the Vikings for a third season. There's not an obvious answer: an argument could be made either way.

But it takes a serious lack of rational thought to blame Brad Childress for today's loss at Denver. Childress didn't make Chester Taylor fumble at the goal line, costing the team 3-7 points (and he didn't make Taylor fumble later, leading to a Denver score). Childress didn't make Troy Williamson drop what would have been a 72 yard touchdown catch, costing the team 7 points (and he didn't make Williamson drop a third down pass later, either). The Vikings were playing a winnable game on the road at a difficult stadium, and at times they were playing really well. The Vikings lost because of obvious bad mistakes by individual players: it's difficult to put a whole bunch of blame on a head coach for fumbles and dropped passes.

I know those Viking fans who pure and simple loathe Childress will see this loss as his fault. And if you convince me that Brad Childress made Chester Taylor lose two costly fumbles and that he also made Troy Williamson drop two very easy passes, I'll agree with you.


  1. I was ready to fire him after the Green Bay game but he convinced me that he can coach. I'll give him another year at least.
    The obvious problem with this team is at QB. Jackson might be better next year or he might still be learning. We need a serious back-up option in case he can't do it.
    Or we should just go out and get a serious starter and let Jackson play back-up. (Bring on McNabb!)

  2. Anonymous8:37 PM

    You can blame childress for having williamson on the field. Troy appears to lack the body control/coordination that allows NFL caliber wideouts to adjust to passes downfield. He looks almost functional on the slants and hooks, but downfield he's a disaster, making one play in three years. After that first dropped pass I think his head was out of the game, he was too afraid of failure to succeed. You can blame childress for failing to put a tight end on the right side of the line to help Cooke. The Vikes overcome the fumbles if they can block a three man rush for more than 3 seconds, but with Cooke on an island at right tackle, they can't. The last quarter of the season opponents have moved their speed rushers to the left D-end position opposite Cooke and the Vikes have not adjusted. What I've seen the last two games is a team playing flat, and I'll go ahead and conclude that the team would show a little more life if they believed in what they were doing. I don't think the team has bought in to the game plan, and it shows on the field as the players go through the motions on too many plays. In any case, if we can add two starting safeties and a good wideout in the offseason even Childress should be able to coach us to the playoffs next year.

  3. Anonymous9:10 PM

    Shimrod is correct, coach puts players on the field.
    Williamson is an odvious disappointment. Cut in pay at the very best for him.
    Taylor fumbles twice and still gets carries. He fumbled several times in his two yeras, Chicago last year was costly. Yet he plays.
    Childress talks about accountability, yet he does not seem to always follw up. Case in point, Dwight Smith and the weed, yet Childress wants to "wait for the facts". Smith admitted to it, that is a fact.
    Accountable when he wants you to be and who you are.
    Time to move on and admit he was not ready to be a head coach.

    No, he did not personally fumble or drop passes, but as coach for two years he needs to make sure his plans and players are in place,

    Any explanation why Peterson gets so few carries?
    Almost like the old Dean Smith story that he was the only one to hold Jordan down, Childress seems to be able to hold AP down.


  4. I can tell you why Peterson's getting so few carries: because in the last four games, he's averaged 2.7 yards per attempt. That means first of all he's not productive on the carries he's getting, and second of all he's taking away further carries from himself (his poor runs both put the Vikings into passing downs and fail to sustain drives, both situations which take away further potential carries).

    Even if you ignore the 14 carry, 3 yard game, Peterson has averaged 3.5 yards per rush in the last three games. It's not that Childress isn't giving him the ball enough; it's that he's been unproductive.

    Personally, I'm torn on whether Childress should return or not (I'd make the argument that next year's team will be improved, and it wouldn't serve much to try start over with a new system--but I also wouldn't shed a tear to see Childress go). But I'm also sick of seeing him blamed for things that aren't his fault.

    The problem for the entire 2007 season was the passing game personnel: the QBs, WRs, and TEs were usually horrible. Whatever Childress's role in having that personnel, that's what he should be blamed for.

    The Vikes have everything else pretty solidly in place (though the pass defense could improve, too): once they put in the components of a real NFL passing game, they'll make the playoffs.

  5. Anonymous12:10 AM

    Firing Childress would be a mistake, I think. I've always believed that unless a coach proves completely incompetant in their first season (The Steckel Rule), you have to give them 3 seasons to prove out. When you flip through coaches quickly, you usually set the franchise back. Stability is important in the NFL.

    Childress has shown improvement as a coach from year 1 to year 2. He's gotten his system fully installed and been stockpiling guys who should fit into it. There are some obvious holes, but they can be filled.

    The team didn't quit on him when things were going badly, despite much encouragement in the media to do just that. (Seriously, there are a lot of people out to get the man) That's a good sign. While some players may not like him on a personal level, there still seems to be respect. And they seem to listen to his coaching and to his staff.

    Remember, most people picked this to be a 6-10 team again. While 8-8 isn't great, considering how easily they could have won 2-3 additional games, it is a step forward.

    Changing the coach would be a step back, unless it was someone who had a similar system. because a complete changeover with a new offense would pull them back.

  6. Anonymous8:04 AM

    i'm surprised you even suggest firing the guy. a few weeks ago steve young had the vikes in the super bowl. a year of improvement. considering the lack of a qb .... you can compare vikes season to the bears a few years back. and with 7 pro bowlers and likely a few all pros there's so much talent that the first sign of a competent qb means...


  7. Anonymous9:18 AM

    I hate Dwight Smith so much. Looks like he went to the Fred Smoot School of Tackling. The guy is the biggest sissy on the field getting blocked by QBs and shying away from contact at every turn. I hope another Central team signs him so we can run right at him next year.

    Bye Troy Williamson. Bye Chester Taylor. Hopefully we can get a nice draft pick for Taylor. Melwede and AD will be a fine pair of RB's next season.

  8. Anonymous11:25 AM

    Firing Childress would be starting over. Let him stay but I think he needs an offensive coordinator for his "kick ass" offense.
    Chester is good trade bait for draft picks and keep AP and Moore for the main two.
    Sorry to say but Williamson is not the answer. Fast and cannot even adjust to a ball. Visanta is not a quality tight end and the WR are all possession or slot guys.

    Pass rusher is also a priority. The guys we have on the ends are OK, but not scary for offenses.

    Good off season and we should win 10 games.

  9. Anonymous11:47 AM

    If Childress is to be fired (and he is not going to be) it should be for putting Mike McMahon, Brooks Bollinger, and Kelly Holcomb on the roster, with the latter two being added in deesperation trades. Unless Childress quietly approached somebody like Garcia, and was simply flat-out turned down, it has to be said the Childress has not evaluated qbs well, which is a pretty serious failing for a head coach with a background on offense. The Redskins are in because they decided to put Todd Collins on the roster, and the Vikings are out because they traded for Bollinger and Holcomb. To go 8-8 with a Big Ten-quality passing attack is actually remarkable, but Childress has a great deal of responsibility for that passing attack.

    Williamson was drafted with the number 7 pick by the previous regime, but no team gets rid of such a high pick in less than three years. Don't hang Childress for Williamson, especially with Rice hurt.

    If Childress doesn't bring in a legit veteran qb to compete with and push Jackson (I don't really think McNabb is going to be available), Childress is crazy.

  10. The Vikes aren't going to get a good draft pick for Taylor; looking at the running back market in the past few years, teams wouldn't even give up a second round pick for Edgerrin James. And Moore is a FA that I would imagine wants to leave, after being inactive so often this season.

    The Vikes should keep Taylor.