Andrew's answers: Tuesday's mailbag
This week's mailbag is dominated by questions concerning the firing of Brad Childress and its effect on a certain quarterback who had a dysfunctional relationship with him. Here are a couple:
You’ve mentioned the Packers were considering hiring Childress in 2006. What happened back then and were you surprised by his firing?
Once Childress made the unilateral decision to release Randy Moss without consulting his owner or front office, he was a dead man walking, with ownership just looking for the right time to push him off the plank. The right time came on the heels of an embarrassing home loss to the archrival Packers, a team that has figured prominently in Childress's career changes.
Childress was a skilled offensive coach and also a creation of agent Bob LaMonte in 2006. LaMonte, the "Arliss" of coaches' agents, annually unveils his "hot" coaching candidate for interested teams to covet.
In 2006, LaMonte's "hot guy" was Childress (most of LaMonte’s clients come through the Mike Holmgren coaching tree; Childress was on the staff of Andy Reid, another LaMonte client). Our list at the Packers at the time included, among others: Mike McCarthy, Sean Payton, Wade Phillips -- none clients of LaMonte -- and Childress, whose first interview was in Minnesota before flying to Green Bay.
LaMonte created the strong perception that if the Vikings allowed Childress get on that plane to Green Bay, the rival Packers would hire him and the Vikings would regret it.
The Vikings, who seemed to have a special interest in Packer players – they signed Ryan Longwell, Darren Sharper, Robert Ferguson and Brett Favre; they tried to sign Aaron Kampman, William Henderson, Craig Nall and others -- now could get their coach and block the Packers from getting him as well.
When LaMonte said that Childress was delaying his arrival into Green Bay, we knew what was going on. Within a couple hours, a new five-year deal worth $10 million between the Vikings and Childress was announced.
And last season at this time, the Vikings extended Childress through 2013 based on their impressive 8-1 start that was highlighted by a sweep the Packers.
Now comes the termination of Childress -- his contract, not him -- in the wake of the beat down from, yes, the Packers. Their fingerprints seem to be all over Childress and his flashpoint moments, both good and bad.
How will Childress's ouster affect Brett Favre?
The frostiness between Childress and Favre was hardly news. The key relationship for Favre with the Vikings is and has always been Darrell Bevell. Bevell is a former Packers assistant coach with whom Favre clashed early in their own relationship. Favre probably is pleased to deal directly with Bevell and no longer concerned with the man behind the curtain.
Having been around Brett, do you think he was considering walking away after Sunday?
No. Brett retiring midstream to return to Mississippi to cut grass for the rest of the season? Because of losing and some potentially embarrassing texts? Please.
Brett will play. He always plays. He plays through injury; I’ve seen countless weeks where it looked like there was no way he would play and does (he’s had a couple of those this year as well). He plays through personal tragedy, playing a day after the loss of his father and through a season where Deanna was going through chemotherapy.
The chances of the Vikings' repeating their 2009 magic were not great to begin with, as every year is a new dynamic even with the same players. Yes, it is problematic that the Vikings went “all in” with increased payments to Favre, the acquisition of Moss, and force-feeding the ball to Percy Harvin despite his migraines and injuries. Although it didn't work, no need to quit.
We had one of these seasons in 2005 in Green Bay, finishing at 4-12. And although we went through the annual offseason ritual of waiting for Brett’s decision, there was never a thought of Brett shutting down midseason.
Brett is done after this year, no?
I choose to never believe that. I have always thought Brett would play: when he took his time every offseason to decide to return; when he retired in 2008; and when he sat at home through the 2009 and 2010 offseasons. As to 2011, the mess of this season may actually work to spur Brett to prove he can do better.
To me, Brett playing these last two seasons has been more about the Vikings than about Brett. For a team to hold the door open for him through mid-August, send three teammates to go fetch him, and even sweeten the pot says volumes about who has held the leverage in this relationship.
Interim coach Leslie Frazier (another client of LaMonte) is a big fan of Favre, and may prove worthy of retaining the job. If the Vikings hold the door open in 2011, do we really believe Brett won’t walk through it again in August?
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