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The Blame Game (10/27/2010)
By Patrick Marek
There’s a scientific theory that claims if you put a chimpanzee in front of a keyboard long enough, eventually he’s going to write Hamlet. That’s kind of the attitude I’ve had with Brad Childress over the years. I keep hoping that if he keeps thrashing around, he’ll eventually come up with a coaching masterpiece. Unfortunately, all he’s usually been able to muster are tragedies. However, when it comes to shifting the blame for his mistakes to other coaches or players, Childress never monkey’s around.

Which brings me to Sunday night’s loss to the Packers. Childress was quick to throw Brett Favre under the bus for his interceptions and inability to stick with his “game plan.” However, after further review, there’s plenty of blame to go around after the Vikings’ defeat. Here’s my “blame game” list.

1. Jared Allen’s wife, (for making him cut off his mullet).

That’s right, like a modern day Delilah, Jared Allen’s wife demanded that he clip the locks of his trademark mullet. Since then he has tallied only one sack and was particularly inept Sunday night against the usually porous Chad Clifton. Coincidence? I think not.

2. Brett Favre, (for being too old and too tough).

Favre has a 19 year old brain and heart of a lion, trapped in a 100 year old body. As long as he is on the roster, he’s going to demand to start every week, and never want to come out of the game. No one can deny the man’s toughness, and ability to take punishment. What’s it going to take to knock him out of a game, getting one of his limbs torn off? Don’t get me wrong, Favre still has a cannon for an arm, he proved that with some unbelievable passes Sunday night. When he sits in the pocket and has time to throw Favre can deliver the ball as well as anyone in the NFL. When the protection breaks down and he has to improvise....interceptions and fumbles happen. Did you see the look of shock on Favre’s face after he tossed the third interception? That was a man confronting his mortality for the first time. This is the sad truth. Four times this season, the Vikings have had the ball at the end of the game with the chance to come from behind and steal a win. The old Brett Favre would have been licking his chops, the 2010 Brett Favre is licking his wounds.

3. Leslie Frazier (for playing his cards so close to the vest that he’s suffocating the defense).

Everyone knows that Leslie Frasier doesn’t like to blitz, but this is ridiculous. The key to the cover two defense that the Vikings’ employ is to create pressure on the quarterback. This year that pressure is not coming from our front four. They couldn’t even get one sack and had very little pressure on Rodgers during the entire game Sunday night. It’s never a good sign when your defensive line gives up rushing the quarterback and starts leaping up at the line, trying to block passes. Rodgers has been getting mugged week in and week out by defenses that are supposed to be a lot worse the Minnesota’s. I swear that the reason Rodgers missed the passes that he did is that he had too much time! Leslie, I know you are a calm guy, but it’s time to go crazy. Blitz early and often. Get your guys to play like their hair is on fire. If the worst thing happens, you’ll go down in a blaze of glory. If the best thing happens, you’ll finally get that head coach job you’ve been coveting. Head coaches (other than Childress) know how to make adjustments and deviate from their best laid plans.

4. Brad Childress, (for not observing flag day).

Okay, so you knew that Childress was going to make the blame game list, but what for? Is it for his incredibly predictable play calling? How about his replay of the famous “take a knee” with time-outs and time remaining on the clock at the end of the half incident? Perhaps he should make the list for getting another 12 men on the field penalty. No, Coach Childress gets the blame for not challenging the questionable touchdown pass to Andrew Quarless in the second quarter. Replays clearly showed that Quarless was losing possession while he was falling to the ground.

What happened to my crazy little flag tossing man? Childress has a reputation for throwing challenge flags at the drop of the hat (insert your own Childress hat joke here). What was holding him back? Was it brain freeze? Fear of losing a time-out? Did he have bad communication with his coach in the booth? No matter what, Childress choked on what turned out to be a key moment in the game. This is not the first time that Brad Childress has proved that he is not ready for prime time.

5. Me, (for the game being close).

Somebody must have sent my “Call Play Action!” column to the Vikings, because they dusted off the play action page of their playbook and ran about five of them on Sunday night. At least three play action passes, (although they weren’t sold particularly well) resulted in big gains. Here’s a note to our faithful Post readers. Cut out this column, highlight the next sentence, and send it to the Vikes:



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