It was telling that one of the words that Brad Childress used when leveling criticism against Brett Favre after Sunday’s game was the word “confines.” When discussing his turnovers, Childress said that Favre needs to stay within the “confines of the offense.” He’s upset with his quarterback for having “a couple nights at the improv,” which is “something that’s off the reservation,” which is a bad thing, in Childress’ book.
Staying on the reservation and within the “confines” of the offense are good things and improvisation is a bad thing.
I think that’s the problem, in a nutshell. Childress is a symphony conductor whose musicians must stick strictly to the sheet music in front of them. Brett Favre is a jazz musician, riffing and improvising to the flow of the game.
The failure to go for the jugular at the end of the first half last Sunday, with twenty seconds, two time outs, and Brett Favre, Adrian Peterson, Viasnth(e) Shiancoe, Percy Harvin, and Randy Moss in your arsenal is the perfect illustrative point.
As Childress explained shortly after the game, they tried a run, they tried a shot down the field and that was the plan and the plan didn’t work out, so the situation dictated X. And X is what Childress chose to do by giving up.
While most people saw Randy Moss throwing his hands up to the sidelines, asking what the hell gives, what was more telling was the brief shots of Brett Favre before they cut to Randy. In those two shots of Favre, the look of utter disgust on his face is unmistakable.
The question is, are “confines,” that is to say restrictions, appropriate for an offense with this much talent and firepower? Doesn’t an offense featuring so many playmakers demand the freedom of improvisation to reach it’s full potential?
There is clearly tension, to say the least, between Favre and Childress, and it can only be the result of a fundamental disagreement over how to run the offense.
If I’ve got to choose between the two, I’m taking Brett Favre, warts and all, with no hesitation or regret.
We’ve seen what Childress’ “kick ass offense” looks like: Chester Taylor to the right for two yards, Taylor to the left for two yards, Travis Taylor underneath for three yards, punt. No audibles. No Freedom.
The personnel has gotten a hell of a lot better since 2005 but the system hasn’t adjusted to the personnel: It’s confining.
Percy Harvin had another monster game as well, racking up 187 total yards. Harvin gained 41 yards on the ground, 65 through the air and 81 on returns. He scored one touchdown that wasn’t overturned on a beautifully-executed run and nearly broke another on a 48 yard kick return.
Thank God we found Frank Walker. Fresh off the street, he provided an antidote to Chris Cook who was getting cooked himself by Aaron Rodgers. Let’s hope this was simply an issue of coming back too soon from his second meniscus tear injury.
While he he freely expressed his disappointment in the reversal, his lack of surprise that the officials admitted their error in hindsight, and the fact that it was the margin of victory that was robbed from him and the Vikings, he’s been careful to stipulate that the officials are human and make mistakes.
Which is a lot more than you can say for the Green Bay Packers fans who cheered Percy Harvin‘s injury when he hobbled off the field.
The sideline shot of Randy Moss coaching Percy Harvin up was fascinating in many respects. It provided visual evidence of the mentorship role Moss has adopted and a side to the receiver we’ve never seen.
But even more fascinating was the expression of Bernard Berrian who was sitting between the two during Moss’ lesson. Harvin was leaning forward and nodding his head in reaction to what Moss was saying, Berrian was leaning back, looking off in the distance and couldn’tve looked more disinterested in what Randy had to say.
To be fair to Berrian: We do not know what Moss was saying and it could very well have been some elementary aspect of playing the position for which Berrian needed no schooling.