I have not been updating due to lack of time but I wanted to get the list started of potential replacements for Brad the red hot Childress pepper. Gonzo, over at The Daily Norseman has written his open letter to BTRHCP ripping his Kick Ass Offense and pleading with him to get this coaching thing figured out (or better yet, get out).
And that's why I, alone in my thought process though I may be, refuse to throw Tarvaris Jackson under the proverbial bus at this point in time. It's clear that Jackson has talent. . .he's mobile, he's got a strong arm, and he appears to be a relatively bright guy. All of that stuff leads me to ask myself how much better he could be if he wasn't hamstrung by one of the most inept offenses I've ever had the displeasure to witness. Let the guy loose and let him make plays. We heard all off-season about his improvement and his progress. . .let him prove it on the field.Gonzo is absolutely correct in his assesment. Tice accomplished more with less. Jackson has been bad but he really hasn't been given an opportunity to succeed because the playcalling has been painfuly vanilla (not to mention his bandaid for an offensive line).
Don't get me wrong, Mr. Childress. . .I love my team. I always have. It's been a 25-year love affair with myself and the Minnesota Vikings, and even your ineptitude isn't going to be enough to change that. Therein lies the only small joy that I can derive from this. Either things will change and the team will get things turned around. . .or you'll continue to waste the immense talent that you've been surrounded with over your time in Minnesota, and you'll be standing in the unemployment line shortly after Week 17. In any event, it's a win-win situation for the Minnesota Vikings and their fans.
Mike Tice was fired by Zygi Wilf, and he accomplished far, far more with far, far less than you've been given in your time as the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings. At this point, I would be more than happy to welcome ol' Meathead and his pencil back to the Minnesota sidelines in your stead.
I have always been very patient with the head coaches of my favorite teams. I am usually the last to jump on the fire (Tice, Mason, Monson) bandwagon. But as of today, 9/16/08, I am officially ready for a new head coach. It was a good run for Childress and I appreciate how he has brought a culture of accountability to the team. I wish him the best but hopefully he won't end up in a drug treatment program.
The Vikings are not perfect but show me an NFL who hasn't received a negative headline. At the very least we are no longer the poster child for out of control NFL players. But that isn't winning football games.
We have a dominant defense and arguably the best running back in the NFL. The more time we waste with Childress the faster this window closes. Bring in someone new, now. There is still plenty of season left and most importantly plenty of time to establish himself and let the current veterans know that they are going to win and they'll do it in Minnesota. If Brad is the head coach heading into 2009 you will see many of the defensive veterans jump ship to a contender because they know they are wasting their time here.
The problem is I wouldn't want to waste 2008 by dumping Childress, letting Leslie Frazier play interim then going through a drawn out search in the offseason. If we can't upgrade now, then stick with status quo. But here are a few guys who I think would be an instant upgrade who are also long term solutions.
1. Brian Billick
Status - available now, working for FOX
Resume - won a Superbowl with dominant defense, power run game and an average QB
I would be thrilled to see Billick walk through the doors of Winter Park. He is tough, he is smart and he has won. Billick was known as an offensive guru who struggled to put together a great offense to match his great defenses in Baltimore. But he was able to get it together enough with Trent Dilfer and Jamal Lewis to win a Super Bowl in 2000. Obviously he has the blueprint to win with the current Vikings roster. This is a no brainer in my opinion and would be a slam dunk. Billick was the mastermind behind the 1998 offense which is the second most prolific in NFL history. The 2008 Vikings will never be confused with that offense, but imagine Jackson and Peterson in an offense with some creativity where they will actually call plays to take advantages of mismatches with the defense. These guys are like loose diamonds. In the right setting they'll be fantastic!
This would send a message to the fan base and your current group of veterans that you are serious about winning and winning now. Mr. Wilf has opened his checkbook to bring in the necessary parts but his mechanic can't put them together so it works.
2. Marty Schottenheimer
Status - available now, working for ESPN
Resume - racks up wins and more wins, knows how to utilize the run game to the max
Marty would also be a great hire. I know he "can't get to the Super Bowl" but in 21 seasons as a head coach he has had just two losing seasons and a .613 win %. Schottenheimer also knows a thing or two about winning with a dominant rushing offense and a great defense. He knows how to win. You can give me the argument that he is incapable of winning in the playoffs. But I'll counter by saying I think Childress is incapable of getting us to the playoffs. Let's worry about getting to the Super Bowl after we win a division and make the playoffs. The lack of a Super Bowl after dominating several regular season is the reason I put Marty second to Billick, but why not give the guy who can't win the big one a chance with the team known for not being able to win the big one. Maybe in some crazy chaos theory we can prove that this equation would equate to a Super Bowl.
One concern with hiring Schottenheimer is that he will be 65 years old in a week. But he does have a strong set of coaching connections that could provide a smooth transition when he is done as the Vikings one and only Super Bowl winning coach.
3. Bill Cowher
Status - available now, working for CBS
Resume - Super Bowl Champ, understands power running game
Cowher is young, he is as tough as they come and he'll get this team motivated to win immediately. Does anyone reading this doubt that Cowher could win with the 2008 Vikings roster? He did step down and one could question whether or not he wants to coach again. But maybe challenge of bringing Minnesota their first championship would be a worthy goal to step back onto the sidelines. Again, he is a coach who has won with defense and a power running game. He isn't going to have to reinvent himself to win with this roster and he could have immediate success. I'm not sure what Cowher would do for the develpment of Jackson but I'm certain he could get this offense into the end zone without the help of the Kick Ass Offense.
There you have three outstanding choices for head coach who have a history of winning in the NFL. This list will grow as guys like Herm Edwards lose their job. If I told you that you could instantly upgrade at QB, we'd all be for it. I am telling you that you can instantly upgrade your head coach, I encourage Mr. Wilf to do so. I realize that this would have a negative affect on the 2008 season. There would be some major adjustments, changing the playbook, current coaches looking for jobs while still trying to coach the Vikes. But if you take a look ahead there is a very strong chance that we will be sitting at 0-5 or 1-4 through five games. The schedule then lightens up and includes a bye week over the next 12 weeks. Things are going to continue as they do now with a boring and unproductive offense that loses close games. Why not shake things up now, maybe we lose the next couple weeks because of adjustments but I guarantee you final 10/11 weeks you will see a different team on the field.
Ziggy can wait and let this play out. But deep down we all know how this season is going to play out. We will limp into the bye week with two or three wins at best. We will surge for a few weeks and get back into the playoff conversation only to lose a key game or two down the stretch and miss the playoffs.
Don't wait till the offseason when we are competing for Billick, Schottenheimer or Cowher and your vets have already packed their bags. Pull the trigger now and do what is best for this team now AND the future. Firing Childress two weeks into the season may seem rash and may tank the 2008 season. But with Childress wearing the headset we all know this team is looking at finishing somewhere between epic underachievers and just good enough to get an mid-round draft pick. The only thing worse than firing Brad Childress after 34 career games is letting him coach a 35th.