Notebook: Favre likes a slimmed-down playbook

Quarterback Brett Favre may have most of the NFL records at quarterback, but that doesn't mean he likes a large playbook. He said most NFL teams have too large a playbook and encouraged simplicity as the Vikings move forward.

Despite being in his 20th NFL season, Brett Favre says less is more when it comes to the playbook.

"Every playbook across this league is way too thick. You never practice it all. How can you become consistent if you're running a different play every week out of different formation with a different motion with different guys, which has been the case for us this year?" Favre said.

The Vikings will get a chance to tweak their offense this week after Brad Childress, who has an offensive background, was fired and replaced on an interim basis with defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. Frazier spent some time in the offensive meetings on Tuesday, but he said there won't be any major changes.

Part of the offensive problems for the Vikings this year – who are tied for 29th in points scored – is that Favre hasn't had a consistent set of receivers. He was expecting to start the season with his leading receiver, Sidney Rice, but when Rice had hip surgery on Aug. 23 he was out for the first nine games. That set off a domino effect that has seen players like Greg Lewis and Greg Camarillo (who was traded for three days after Rice's surgery) play a bigger role than expected.

"How can you get used to throwing slants when you never get to practice them? So be good at what you do. I always say if I were a coach, which will never happen, I would be very simple and be more, they have to stop what you do," Favre said. "You think those guys crack that (play)book, go through all 500 pages? C'mon. You could hide a couple hundred dollar bills in there."

Favre harkened back to his early days in the league when he was with the Green Bay Packers and Mike Holmgren was his coach. He said Holmgren was patient with him and had a simple offensive philosophy.

"I can just remember him saying over and over again, 'I don't care if they know what we run. They've still got to stop it,'" Favre said. "And if you've run the same plays over and over, then you can disguise it a little bit maybe with a formation or a motion or putting a different guy in there to do that, but it's still the same play. The concept's still the same, and that has always stuck with me. That's true: Don't let them dictate. We're going to do the dictating. You have to stop what we do."

Favre indicated that there could be hundreds of running plays and passing plays in the playbook and they might only run a couple dozen of each in a given game.

Frazier said he hoped some of his offensive philosophies will show in his first game as an NFL head coach on Sunday in Washington.

"I just emphasized certain points that I think are important for us to be successful as a team and what we need to be able to do on offense," he said. "Without going into specifics, I think they really understand that, and when you watch us on Sunday, hopefully that'll come across as you get a look at it. You'll say, ‘OK, I see the direction that the Vikings are going.'"


On Sunday, Favre said he would have "reevaluate" things after the Vikings' seventh loss of the season. Asked several follow-up questions about whether he would stay engaged for the rest of the season or if he'd finish the season, he never gave a direct answer.

On Wednesday, he clarified that he wasn't considering quitting before the season ended.

"Look at the performance we put out there. That was more or less what I meant by that. We have six games left. I hope to finish them all," he said. "Make that clear, I want to finish on a high note if my body will allow me and I can play up to my expectations, my standards. I want to do it. After the game, I wasn't implying that I wouldn't do it. I want to get this team back on track and that's my goal."


  • Favre on the firing of Childress: "You still have to play and I think it would be easy to pass the buck off on the next player or next coach or past coach," Favre said. "It's the way this business works. Coaches usually go first; players, you can't get rid of everybody right now. You wouldn't field a team."

  • Brett Favre said he sent a message to Childress after his firing but didn't hear back. "I didn't get a chance to see him before he left," Favre said.

  • Although his title won't change, linebackers coach Fred Pagac will essentially be taking over the duties of defensive coordinator while other defensive assistants have more input. Frazier said he wants to concentrate on the game-day duties of a head coach and let Pagac make the defensive calls.

  • Right guard Anthony Herrera was officially placed on injured reserve after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee Sunday, and Ryan Cook and Chris DeGeare are expected to compete for that spot.

  • The Vikings promoted offensive lineman Pat Brown from the practice squad to the 53-man roster and signed cornerback Cary Harris, a 2009 sixth-round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills, to the practice squad.

  • Safety Jamarca Sanford (hamstring) was the only player who didn't practice at all on Wednesday.

    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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