Weasel Move

The more I ponder Brad Childress‘s decision to rub Chris Kluwe‘s nose in it by bringing in four punters to try out, the more irritated I become.  I really think it was a weasel move by Childress who is clearly feeling the heat.  Not that I don’t think Kluwe deserves criticism for what went down in the punting game Monday night – obviously, he does.  If the coach says kick it out of bounds, then you have to kick it out of bounds.  At the same time, Kluwe is not the only Viking who didn’t do his job Monday.  The offensive line was not up to snuff, and there were some big breakdowns in the secondary too.  But did Childress single out Cedric Griffin or Tyrell Johnson for a public bashing?  Did he go after Matt Birk or Ryan Cook or Anthony Herrera?  Did he lay into Adrian Peterson for having one of the worst games of his short career?  No.  He focused all his wrath on Kluwe, the punter.  He made it seem like Kluwe was the only guy who screwed up.  And it wasn’t enough for him to undress Kluwe in his post-game comments – he had to take it further by bringing in four punters, to “send a message” to Kluwe that he’d better shape up.  Yeah?  Well, if that’s such a great motivational technique, why not use it on other guys who haven’t been up to par this year?  Why not bring in a bunch of cornerbacks to scare Cedric into covering better?  Why not audition a bunch of offensive linemen so those guys will know they’d better start opening some holes for the running backs?

The fact is, Chilly would never dare use such heavy-handed tactics in “sending a message” to other guys on the team.  Punters and kickers occupy a different little world all their own on a football squad – you can rip them and bash them and cut them loose, and it’s unlikely the other players will ever rush to their defense.  Do you remember anyone on the Colts saying anything against Peyton Manning when he excoriated Mike Vanderjagt in public?  No.  Cause Manning is a quarterback and therefore a real member of the team.  Nobody – and I mean nobody – is going to get mad at Chilly for messing with Kluwe.  But what do you think would happen if Chilly called out a defensive back that way or an offensive lineman?  True, their teammates might not respond in public, but you can bet such action would foment plenty of behind-the-scenes grumbling, if not outright mutiny.  Just recall what happened when Childress cut Marcus Robinson loose, then deigned to denigrate his skills and abilities in front of the media.  Plenty of guys vented their ire against Childress in the locker room, and even somewhat to the press.  You can bet no one will mind much that Kluwe’s getting beat up though – and that’s precisely what makes it such a wormy move for Childress to single him out.

It’s clear that Childress is starting to feel the heat.  The fans have all but turned against him and now many in the media are beginning to kick him around as well (the MNF crew basically lambasted his coaching during the final minutes of the first half Monday night when the team had about as much urgency as a stoned turtle).  So, Chilly, like the true jerk-off coward he is, has begun looking for scapegoats.  Kluwe makes a convenient one for the reasons I outlined above – he’s just a punter, so no one will mind if he gets bruised a bit.  Kluwe is such an easy target, in fact, that the whole affair has actually been treated like somewhat of a joke.  I bet Kluwe isn’t laughing though.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see his performance take a dip in the wake of this.  The extra pressure could prove fatal to his confidence.  And whose fault would it be if this really top-notch punter, a guy whose importance becomes all the greater in light of the Vikings’ offensive ineptitude, suddenly went down the tubes?  It would all be on Childress for calling him out, then making a mockery of him at practice.  And Childress, I maintain, is acting out of pure selfishness by taking this approach in the first place.  He’s not doing it for the team – he’s doing it to cover his own ass.  He’s behaving in a petty, vindictive, frankly absurd fashion.  Obviously, the pressure is getting to him.  He doesn’t seem to handle pressure that well during games, and he obviously can’t handle it after them either.  He becomes defensive whenever anyone criticizes him, and invariably finds someone to lay the blame on.  Honestly, have you ever heard Chilly admit to making a bad decision in a game?  Can you ever remember him saying, “Today my coaching was just crap.  Our game plan was crap.  We just didn’t do the job?”  No.  It’s always the execution.  It’s always, “Those guys need to go out there and play better.”  This is pure arrogance, and it will end up biting Chilly in the ass.  Eventually, he will get even more desperate and resort to calling out some player who isn’t Chris Kluwe, and then the guys will get enraged the same way they did when he dissed Marcus Robinson.  He will lose the team and Zygi Wilf will have no choice but to fire him.  And on his way out, I have no doubt he will find plenty of people to blame.  And none of them will be him.

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  • http://www.vikingsvalhalla.com/Luft_Krigare/ Luft Krigare

    That sound you are hearing is my standing ovation. Great rant! …And how so very true.

  • Jim Moser

     I think four potential HEAD coaches should be brought in, possibly one of them has enough sense to see the writing on the wall regarding the offensive coaching , defensive coaching, and the Quarterback situation.
    Most of the personel are in place, I believe they lack direction, maybe we just need more Badger or Eagle  alumni!

  • jeege

    I don’t usually comment on boards, but the Childress bashing is getting a little old.

    Punters are supposed to do what the coach tells them to do…no, scratch that. PLAYERS are supposed to do what the coach tells them to do.

    The PLAYERS are not delivering on the field this year. Not the coach. The players. You even have a list of their faults right at the very beginning of this post. How can it be possible that so many in-state Viking fans are in such a fervor about Childress? How can so many people have forgotten the kind of team that this coach took over: A MIKE TICE led group of Dennis Green era washouts and old boys who no longer had the inspiration or talent to play the game. Michael Bennett was our RB, Daunte “Out of the League” Culpepper was our QB!

    Has everyone in my home state gone insane? Or are you all just too dense to realize that this is the best Vikings team we could have possibley hoped for Post-Denny Green.

    If the PLAYERS start showing up in more effective ways, then this season will spin around so fast that all of you won’t be able to trip over your words quickly enough to praise them. And Childress’ accomplishments will be pushed into the background while he very quietly signs a 5 year contract.

  • danzinski

    Dear Jeege – I clearly acknowledged in the opening of the post that the players should be held accountable for their performance.  But so should the coach.  And that’s the whole point of the post – Childress is willing to sell out his players in public but will never acknowlege his own failings.  And a coach like that will never succeed because his players will always wind up resenting him and he will finally lose the team.  This team is being paid too much money to be 7-9 or 8-8.  It has better talent than that – especially given how diluted the talent pool all over the NFL is – and Childress is a big part of the reason why.  You can stick your head up your ass and ignore this but I can’t.

  • jeege

    My head is not up my ass. Name three times that this coach has thrown his players under the bus beyond this once. (Include quotes or don’t respond at all.)

    He did this time, and deservedly so! Talk about pathetic. Your coach tells you to do something and you go out and do the exact opposite thing he says to do in two VERY key situations both firing up the fans and making Reggie Bush a star in the process. Up this point Bush has never delivered on his potential. This game was a coming out party for him and the blame rests solely on Kluwe’s shoulders. Chris Kluwe made Reggie Bush a legitimate NFL superstar this week and you are honestly going to fault Childress for making a point of that?

    He is a punter. A punter punts the ball when and where the coach tells him to. If you blow it, there are plenty of guys waiting in the wings who can do more than just blast it for seventy net yards (impressive though that is). I like Kluwe, I really do. I think the guy has cajones for coming back from that horrific knee injury, but if you can’t punt a ball out of bounds TWICE in a game…than you should absolutely not be kicking in the NFL.

    Now back to Childress for a second, please list for me just three times he has sold a player out. And I mean really sold him out like he has here with Kluwe. Give me quotes and/or links to an article.

    Or don’t say anything at all. Because frankly, I think you are full of shit.

  • danzinski

    “Now back to Childress for a second, please list for me just three times he has sold a player out. And I mean really sold him out like he has here with Kluwe.”

    So you admit he sold Kluwe out.  Isn’t once enough?

  • jeege

    I readily admit that. Its a fact.

    My point is that he deserves it. Miss one punt, shame on Kluwe.

    Miss two in the exact same situation and keep the other team’s hopes for winning alive: Shame on Childress for trusting him.

    i.e. Punt it where Coach says or say goodbye to your NFL career.

  • jason

    The reason the players aren’t delivering this year is cause I think they don’t want to play for Brad (Les Steckle) Childress. With that much talent on your roster and that so called “Kick Ass Offense” we shouldn’t be bashing on the man. When you have to count on your defense to score points to win, there’s something wrong. We signed Thomas Tapeh to a nice contract for a full back, and I don’t even remember seeing him all year. Remember one thing,  there was a reason Andy Reid called plays when Childress was with Philly.

  • jason

    As far as kluwe goes, childress labeled him as his best offensive weapon, kluwe screwed up, big deal, you don’t see Wilf bringing in 4 coaches every week. What about V. Shiancoe, no tight ends brought in after all those dropped touchdown passes, and honestly, Do you think Brad really asked Kluwe to kick it out the last 2 times.  All the previous punts were covered and Bush didn’t go anywhere. I think B.C. knows his days are numbered and he is getting a little desperate.