Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Childress Should Be Back

The trendy thing amongst Vikings' fans nowadays is to hate Brad Childress. And there are some valid criticisms, which I won't get into here. but firing Childress after this year would be a mistake, for a myriad of reasons. Plus, you know something is probably a bad idea when it's the consensus of people who don't think before writing or speaking. So I say he deserves at least one more year for the following reasons:

1. Continuity:
Bringing in a new coach is a traumatic experience for a team. New staff needs to be hired, the players need to learn a new system and the new guy is either going to have no experience at the top or be a retread. Either way, it's still a crapshoot. You might get a Sean Payton or you might get an Art Shell or Rod Marinelli.

2. Childress is a rookie:
Like all rookies, Childress has made mistakes. He hasn't been able to adjust his offense for greater success. He's had playcalling issues. The team has been racked by penalties. These things happen in a coaches first year. In Andy Reid's first year, the Eagles finished 5-11 and were swept by the Cardinals. They finished 11-5 the next year. And that's just one example of many.

3. It is a kick ass system:
While the play calling may not excite anyone, the system Childress installed is a good one. He's not running some system he made up himself--he's running the West Coast offense, which has a long history of success. He's also stuck to the running game, calling for 420 run plays, as opposed to 311 passing plays. While he (obviously) needs to work on the playcalling, he's emphasized the run and installed a passing attack that, if run right, has been a huge part of the success of Andy Reid's Eagles, Mike Holmgren's Packers and Seahawks and Bill Walsh's 49ers.

4. The talent on offense is awful:
As I said yesterday, Childress did not inherit a juggernaut. Prior to blowing out a Bears team that was playing its backups, the Vikings averaged only 18.1 points per game last year. That's not a whole lot better than the 17.4 the Vikings are averaging this year. And the offense had to replace their best reciever and had a quarterback whose performance dropped off a cliff, which isn't the best way to replicate a previous year's "success".

5. Childress hasn't been all bad:
The man has made some important decisions, including hiring Mike Tomlin, starting Artrose Pinner against the Lions, bringing in Bethel Johnson and drafting Tarvaris Jackson. And key players want to play for him: E.J. Henderson, Kevin Williams and Bryant McKinnie all signed long term deals, forgoing a free agent market that was sure to be favorable to them. Those signings bode well for his ability to convince top tier free agents to sign this off season. He's also dealt with the off the field issues, allowing the Bengals to replace the Vikings as the most out of control franchise.

6. He hates the media:
A lot of people will disagree with me on this one, but I think the fact Childress hates the media is a good thing. There have been many successful coaches who have hated interacting with the media. Sucking up to the media doesn't help a team win games, nor does it make them less likely to criticize when times are rough. And since the last coach loved interacting with the media, often looking like a buffoon, I'd rather have someone that considers it a necessary evil, like Bill Parcells, Bill Belicheck and Brian Billick, which brings me to my last point.

7. Brian Billick:
Vikings fans are sure to recognize the name of the man who called the plays for the most explosive offense ever. They also should recognize him as the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens and a man who won a Super Bowl with a team that only averaged 20.8 points a game. He's also arrogant, smug, hates the media and has a career record of 74-53, despite the Ravens finishing 8-8 in his first year, missing the playoffs, while averaging 18.5 points a game.


Xandus said...

He isn't going to get fired but I don't think that his system is "kick ass". He does have his own touch on the system, perhaps its not his but then again whos is in this day and age and to be fair I think his "touch" on the WCO is horrible. Yes we don't have the necessary WRs etc etc etc but we aren't going to suddenly snap them up either. I don't think we are going to do well next year and we are going to continue to struggle offensively as payback for our golden days of moss-culpepper. In all fairness the guy probably does deserve a break as he is a rookie but after 16 games you would've thought that we would've been headed in the right direction and so far I have yet to see that be the case, I thought perhaps the 4 game losing streak to teams that basically were as good as a chocolate coffee mug would've been the "rookie" period but alas it wasn't. I don't think it takes 16 weeks to get to know what you have to do with the guys you have, if it took me that long to figure out what to do in my job I would be laughed at, fired and probably not be able to work in the same profession.

**NB: Being tired has meant spelling might be an issue above. **

Les Steckel said...

I can swallow hard and agree Childress deserves a second year--though I wouldn't shed a tear if Zygi decided otherwise.

But I disagree with your points on the media. While I have no problem with a coach not liking the media, he needs to use it to get across to his fans. Bill Parcells acts like he hates the media, but he also lets Cowboys fans know through his words how seriously he takes his job. Yesterday, Zygi said he will be taking on a more public role in the offseason. That's fine. But the coach needs to be the face of an NFL team. If Childress can't handle that portion of the job, then he ought to return to carrying Andy Reid's clipboard.

All I ask is a little persona, the display of a little passion from Chilly. I haven't seen either.

And while the West Coast Offense is proven, it hasn't yet been successful under the courageous leadership of Chilly. Until HE has success, I don't want to hear any more smug comments from the coach about a kick-ass offense.