by Michael Lombardi
December 21, 02009
Steve Reed of Carolina Growl reports that Vikings quarterback Brett Favre got into a heated discussion with coach Brad Childress on the sidelines in the second half of a lopsided 26-7 loss to the Carolina Panthers.
“Brad wanted to go in a different direction. And I wanted to stay in the game,” Favre said afterward. “It's not 70-6, but we were up 7-6. I said I'm staying in the game. I'm playing.”
Favre added, “No way being up 7-6 and getting banged around a little bit would I consider coming out. I don't know if it's exactly to protect me. We had seven points. That's his call, but we talked it out.
Asked about it later, Childress said, “We were just having a good conversation about the game was heading at that point and time. And what we needed to do to head the other way.”
Have you ever known a player who wanted to come out of the game? I’ve never met one. All players want to fight through the downs of the game and keep trying to help their team win -- especially one who’s made his legacy by bringing his team from behind. So now Childress must deal with the question – who’s really in charge of the Vikings? What was he trying to accomplish by trying to take out Favre? Keeping him healthy was the main concern, but what message does it send to the rest of the team if he removes Favre? How can Favre’s teammates keep fighting to win when the coach removes their quarterback?
There can’t be a double standard when it comes to leadership as it relates to Favre. The team will lose its trust in Childress if it senses that he’ll be inconsistent with his actions. In “Management of Trust,” the third essential area of leadership, the leader must be consistent with all his actions — toward all his players. Once the locker room establishes a double standard, this can make it very difficult for the leader to lead. Childress must get control of the situation, along with getting control of his defense, which looks very suspect when it plays outdoors trying to cover wide receivers. For me, the biggest concern of the game for the Vikings was how a very pedestrian Panthers passing game was able to torch their secondary. How can the Vikings expect to handle the Saints or the Eagles?
Is Favre so fragile that he can’t take a hit? I understand he was getting hit all over, but since the Saint loss, this game had huge implications, which meant the Vikings had to play it to the end and not retreat. I think Favre was right to want to stay in and show his teammates that he’s committed to winning regardless of the situation. Childress clearly didn’t think this through before trying to make the move — and now he has the mess he created to clean up, along with a mess in his secondary.
Favre was brought to Minnesota to win a Super Bowl, along with helping Childress get a contract extension. With the extension in his pocket, now all that’s left is for the Vikings to get to the Super Bowl. But based on their recent play, they’re not the best team in the NFC. In fact, with the Cowboys playing as they did Saturday night, they might be the fifth best team in the NFC right now. There’s much left to get done in Minnesota. Childress will need to use his leadership skills and coaching skills to get the Vikings back on track.
1. Getting Terrell Suggs back and healthy will make a huge difference to the Ravens’ defense during the stretch run.
2. Falcons back Jason Snelling is really tough to tackle. The more he plays, the more I like him.
3. How does DeSean Jackson of the Eagles not get doubled on every play? I have never seen a receiver who is always behind the defense every single week. I would double him the minute he got off the bus.
4. Miami won all the close games last year, and this year they seem to be going the other way. From talking to the Titans coaches Sunday, they held the Dolphins in the highest regard.
5. Both the Packers and Steelers defensive linemen are going to need extra time to recover from an exhausting day of pass rushing. At the end of the game, both lines were too tired to rush.
6. The Rams hold the No. 1 spot in the draft right now — but unfortunately for them, there is no top quarterback to draft at that spot. If the current order holds true, the Rams will pick in the top two spots three years in a row.
7. If New England ever gets running back Fred Taylor back and healthy, he can make a huge difference in the running game. Laurence Maroney is just not explosive enough to make big plays.
8. The Bengals might have lost the game, but for their sake, let’s hope they found a passing game to complement their offense. Sunday was the best passing day of the year for the Bengals, despite the loss.
9. The NFL Red Zone channel is the greatest invention ever. They never missed a play, from the final minutes of the finishes of the Bengal-Chargers game to the Raiders-Broncos game. How good is that?
10. Packers tight end Jermichael Finely is one of the best-looking tight ends in the league. He’s going to play in many Pro Bowls in the near future.
11. The Steelers are not the same team on defense, even if Troy Polamalu was back in action. They are no longer fast and explosive on any level of their defense, and if their pass rush is not able to dominate, they can’t slow down any passing game.
12. JaMarcus Russell of the Raiders needs to build on this come-from-behind win against the Broncos. He can win back his teammates if he does.
13. Denver gave up a first-round draft pick this year for the right to draft Alphonso Smith of Wake Forest in the second round. However, Smith is struggling to cover anyone, and the pick looks very disappointing, especially when he can’t cover any of the big wideouts of the Raiders.
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For a preview of the Giants-Redskins Monday night matchup, check out this article from Bleacher Report.