Brad Childress isn’t taking my phone calls anymore. He got tired of me saying: “Play action!” over and over again. He said that I sounded like a broken record, or a dog with a bone. I told him that he couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag, and that if he kept telegraphing Adrian Peterson runs into the middle of the line he was going to kill one of the best running backs in Viking’s history, along with any hopes of getting to the promised land. That’s when he hung up, and Directory Assistance says that his number is now unlisted.
Childress may have changed his phone number, but he hasn’t changed his ways. I say “play action” so many times during the course of a Vikings game that my wife is hoping somebody invents a human mute button. I’m mumbling it in my sleep, and have an uncontrollable urge to yell “play action” in church or in crowded supermarkets. What is this, a special Viking’s version of Tourette’s Syndrome? I consulted a psychologist and he suggested that I substitute another phrase for “play action.” Now, every time Peterson gets buried behind the line I just say “Childress Stinks!” It seems to be working.
How hard is this to understand? We have the best running back on the planet. The linebackers and safeties are crowding the line, knowing that it’s going to take a gang tackle to stop him.. Our receivers are having trouble getting separation, and our quarterback is one hit away from the old folks home. Fake the ball to Peterson. That freezes the secondary and gives our receivers a chance to get free on quick slant patterns. Favre is a ball handling magician, so nobody will even know that Peterson doesn’t have the ball until it’s in the hands of a grateful receiver. If they really want to go crazy Favre could fake the ball to Peterson and whip it down the line to Percy Harvin, or zip it to Peterson after he clears the defense, or even the unthinkable...launch it deep down the field.
Let’s face it. It’s easy to take shots at Brad Childress. That’s because he deserves it. The man has the time management skills of a Roman with a sundial. His teams have been consistently undisciplined and poorly coached. The penalties happen early and often, especially in key situations. Childress tends to panic and make bad decisions in stressful situations. Look at his dismal record in challenging officials’ calls, or his unforgivable, season-killing 12 men in the huddle penalty with the Super Bowl on the line.
Childress is so conservative that he makes Rush Limbaugh look like Al Franken’s hairdresser. He is so afraid to fail that it’s almost impossible for him to deviate from his game plan. Why do you think the Vikings have so much trouble adjusting to their opponents defensive schemes after halftime? Thank goodness Brett Favre is our quarterback. Favre is the only player on the team with the guts and experience to challenge Childress on the sideline (hopefully he’s yelling “play action,”) and he doesn’t hesitate to audible at the line if a play seems doomed to failure. Granted Favre has had his own issues, especially this season, but if it wasn’t for him we would have the most boring offense in the world.
So, let me summarize. Brad Childress is an extremely poor coach with an inability to change with the times and adapt to stressful situations. He often delivers rambling, incomprehensible speeches at his press conferences, and wears funny hats. He is the beneficiary of a very talented and deep team (thank you Rick Spielman), but has done his best to mess that up by making questionable personnel decisions like trading Benny Sapp and Darius Reynaud. Worst of all, we are stuck with him because Vikings owner Zygi Wilf gave him a huge raise and contract extension before last season ended in disaster. Finally, Brad Childress has very poor phone manners.
However, I would forgive everything else, as long as he would just listen to me and call a play action pass once in awhile.