Moss and McNabb: Maybe Some NFL Teams Need To Cut The Head (Coach) Off Of The Snake Instead

Posted: November 2, 2010 in NFL
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See this article with photos on Bleacher Report

I’ve always found it interesting in sports when a big-name player steps up to criticize his team, they are almost always labeled as malcontents and divas.  Certainly, Randy Moss has some very diva-ish qualities, but I’m having a hard time siding with the Vikings on their (or, as reported, head coach Brad Childress’ decision alone) to waive the recently acquired wide receiver.  Moss has played four games in Viking purple, and his numbers are far from Hall of Fame caliber.  However, his mere presence has opened the field up for other guys, notably Percy Harvin, to pick up their games like they weren’t able to before Moss’ acquisition.  After a loss to Moss’ former team, New England, this weekend, the receiver had the audacity of speaking to the media, both praising Bill Belichick and the Patriots organization, and getting a shot in at the Minnesota coaching staff for not heeding his advice about how to beat the Pats.  Of course, why would Childress want to listen to Moss?  The receiver only spent the past three years in New England, and was suiting up for them less than a month ago.  What could he possibly know?

Despite having what is widely considered one of the most talented teams in the league the past few years, Childress has rapidly developed a reputation for being on the extreme short list of the worst coaches in the league.  He’s allowed Brett Favre to walk all over him, and he did little or nothing to fix the team’s most obvious glaring weakness from last year, a putrid offensive line, and Favre is getting pounded on every week because of it.  And that says nothing at all about his rather pedestrian game management, outright poor game planning, and the fact that he seems to waste timeouts by challenging plays even a blind man wouldn’t.  At this point, there likely isn’t a coach in the league this side of Wade Phillips in Dallas who has less respect in his own locker room than Childress.  If, in fact, the choice to waive Moss after giving up a third round draft pick a few weeks ago for him, rests solely with Childress, then the next guy in Minnesota to hit the pike should be Childress himself.

There have been numerous reports on this issue to the tune of, “It’s Randy being Randy,”  and the tried and true “team cancer” label is being thrown around.  But the reality here is that Childress only got close to the Superbowl last season in spite of his less-than-stellar coaching acumen.  Minnesota, who was one of my preseason favorites to reach this year’s big game, is 2-5 and spiraling out of control.  Favre is being beaten on like a mule week in and week out, and his interception total is shooting upwards because of it.  At this rate, he won’t hold up through the rest of the schedule.  Adrian Peterson is having yet another great season, but it’s being wasted by a coach who doesn’t seem to see what’s working and what isn’t and adjusting accordingly.  Their defense is still sound, and in the mediocre NFC, 2-5 can quickly become 5-5 and a shot at the post season, especially with the talent in place and a favorable schedule coming up.  But if Childress is allowed to continue running the show, that is not going to happen.  Favre is going to get hurt, and Peterson might, as well.  Without Moss, and Sidney Rice still sidelined, they are right back where they were a month ago–a team with very few weapons in the passing game.

According to Chris Mortensen of ESPN, with the Moss decision, as well as other lingering issues, Childress has lost the entire Viking team at this point.  Minnesota owner Zygi Wilf, who was reportedly instrumental in bringing Moss back in the first place, is livid at the moment, as well.  I don’t usually put much stock in polls, but the Minneapolis Star Tribune is running a fan poll about what to do with the head coach.  As of now, 80% say fire him today.  Embattled isn’t exactly the word to describe Childress.  If Minnesota doesn’t part ways with Childress post haste, this season is over.   And what’s the over/under on how many teams pass on Moss on the waiver wire?  I put it at about 20.

Which brings me to another head coach who maybe should be given a pink slip, Mike Shanahan in Washington.  Shanahan, who is still living off of the glory of consecutive Superbowls with Denver in the late ’90s, seems to have lost his mind.  Admittedly, McNabb hasn’t exactly been setting the world on fire this year, and I might even be able to excuse the decision to bench him in the last two minutes of Sunday’s loss to Detroit if he had just said it was performance based.  But he didn’t.  According to Shanahan, McNabb got the hook because, and I quote, “Donovan didn’t have the cardiovascular endurance to run the two minute offense.”  Not surprisingly, with the Redskins a touchdown away from taking the lead, Rex Grossman took the field under center and proceeded to fumble on his first play, which turned into a recovery for a touchdown and a Lions win.  Nice call, coach.  It’s good to see Rex hasn’t lost his touch from his Bears’ days, but I bet he wasn’t too winded, though, so I guess that’s all that matters.

Of course, Shanahan, who apparently is attempting to find an after-coaching career as a fitness guru, played the cardiovascular card in training camp with a disgruntled Albert Haynesworth to put the unhappy lineman in his place rather than actually figure out a way to use the former All-Pro to the most impact.  The coach, who is a self-styled offensive mastermind, was a total bust as a head coach of the Raiders, then went through several years of disappointments in Denver before building an offensive line so dominant that any random guy off the street could suit up and rush for 1,500 yards.  His two Superbowl wins are, in fact, an outlier on Shanahan’s career resume rather than an example of his skill.  After Terrell Davis’ essentially career-ending injury and John Elway’s retirement, the Broncos were one of the league’s biggest disappointments year in and year out.  Finally, the master-in-his-own-mind was run out of Denver.  If the first half of this season is any indication, he’ll not be long for Washington, either.   But if Redskins owner Daniel Snyder wants a coach with a Superbowl winning pedigree, I’m certain Barry Switzer is available.

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