Insight News

Dec 21st

Head Coach Frazier shows a steady hand

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frazier_leslieWhen Barak Obama was a presidential candidate, my reasoning for supporting him was his demeanor. Things in the country were extremely volatile in 2007 – 2008, and it seemed to me that the best solution for that situation was to have someone in Office that doesn’t act impetuously. NFL head coaches Josh McDaniels (Denver Broncos 2009-2010), Mike Shanahan (Denver Broncos, preceded McDaniels), and of course Brad Childress (Minnesota Vikings), led the league in drama this year, and their paths were full of impetuous decisions. McDaniels has already been fired by the Denver Broncos after only his second year of coaching. Shanahan seems to have an uphill climb ahead of him with the Washington Redskins because players will no longer sell out for him after the questionable, impetuous, handling of Donovan McNabb and Albert Haynesworth. As I suggested with Childress a few months ago, Management 101 may be necessary for some of these coaches to dig how things work in today’s labor market.

There is certainly a place for hard nosed coaches in the NFL, but the power of the players has risen over the years as the money making marketing schemes have multiplied – I’m sure Snuggie blankets with authentic jerseys and player names sewed to them is the next thing to come. Mike Singletary, recently-fired head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, had to learn his lessons with his hard nosed demeanor towards players. It worked, but only to a point. After that point Singletary learned to reel in some of his ironclad handling of the team. Unfortunately for Singletary he couldn’t get over the fact that his quarterbacks were only as good as the teams’ losing record suggested that they were.

Leslie Frazier inherited some rough baggage with regards to the Vikings quarterback situation. As a matter of fact, Frazier inherited the biggest package of quarterback drama ever seen at the position in the form of Brett Favre. There was many an opportunity for Frazier to pull out a “stamp my name on it” type strategy to handle things, but Frazier has simply allowed the team to properly decompress from this tumultuous season, while properly managing a steady finish to the season, and allowing for good evaluations for next season. While that is a short list of duties, it takes the very best in management abilities to successfully surf the whole situation for the Vikings. With Frazier, the transition after Childress has been seamless.

The most important evaluation for the Vikings future comes with regard to the quarterback position. Quarterback Joe Webb has over delivered on his undersold ability. There has been a quiet buzz from all those who first peeped Webb at training camp, but the Vikings have been successful in not trumping up hopes for his future --the difference in approach for Webb versus Tarvaris Jackson is noteworthy. It will take a steady hand at the helm to keep the potential growth of Webb as the starting quarterback undersold. Managing success is generally the more difficult prospect for a player such as Webb, but he seems to have that genuine good ol’ country boy brand of leadership to compliment his Michael Vick-like physical ability. Webb’s athletic and quarterbacking gifts seem well suited to be managed by Frazier.

For some reason I still can’t get past the thought of Brett Favre being around next year. Considering that the Vikings were ultra-close to a Super Bowl bid in 2009, it’s plausible to believe that were Webb to seriously surprise in 2011, and a sufficient number of the Vikings many free agents return, that the Vikings could be back in the Super Bowl hunt (the Atlanta Falcons had a similar experience over the last few years and are now in the Super Bowl drivers seat). Some were surprised that the Vikings beat the Eagles so soundly (and killed Vick’s bid for MVP in the process), but the fact of the matter is that the Vikings are still one of the more talented teams in the league.

The aforementioned free agency is the second biggest ticket after settling the quarterback situation for the Vikings. It is almost hard to count the number of free agents that the Vikings will need to expensively re-sign. Depending on the various free agents available from other teams, the Vikings could actually come out better if they play their cards real cool; and if owner Zygi Wilf continues his Godfather-like sense of taking care of things with a few breadcrumbs.

That overall team potential, and those Wilf brand breadcrumbs, just might lead Favre back to the team next year; get this, even if it means just being a back-up to Webb. How’s that for a safety net at quarterback? Frazier was the ideal safety net for head coach.

The Vikings don’t need to suspend the campaign like McCain did in the 2008 Presidential Election. They just need to keep cool like Leslie Frazier and President Obama.

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