Perhaps the reason Brad Childress is pursuing Brett Favre that, during his tenure as Vikings head coach, the quarterback position has been pretty dismal.
One of the first acts Childress made as head coach was to dump Daunte Culpepper. The coach and the QB butted heads almost immediately when Childress attempted to discover what progress Pepp was making in rehabbing his knee. When he basically was told that wasn't any of his business, he dropped the hammer on Culpepper and moved on with a trade of the former first-rounder.
It should be noted that almost the entire time Childress was in Philadelphia, he had Donovan McNabb as his quarterback. Like him, love him or hate him, McNabb has been the face of the Eagles offense for a decade and he brought some stability to the Philly attack. Childress has had no such luck with the Vikings.
In 49 games as Vikings head coach (48 regular season, one postseason), Childress has had five different starting quarterbacks – Tarvaris Jackson, Brad Johnson, Kelly Holcomb, Brooks Bollinger and Gus Frerotte. Jackson was supposed to be the long-term answer, but injuries derailed him in 2007 and ineffective play got him benched after just two games last year. As a result, the Vikings have had a very hard time maintaining any sort of continuity on offense.
One of the keys to long-term success is consistency. Players like Favre, McNabb and others like Peyton Manning and Drew Brees have enjoyed consistent success because there is no question about who the quarterback is and they have been able to remain healthy and playing. The Vikings have yet to see that kind of consistency with their own offense.
In Childress' first season, Johnson got pulled no less than three times for awful play. In 2007, Jackson's string of unrelated injuries kept him from showing any consistent increase in production from one game to the next, as one injury after another found him back on the sideline. In 2008, it appeared as though Childress gave up on T-Jack and stuck with Frerotte – even when it was clear that his body couldn't handle the strain of a full season.
The Vikings have been able to accomplish quite a bit the last two years without the benefit of a star quarterback. They are the defending division champions and, to hear them talk, their goals for 2009 aren't just to repeat as division champions, but to go to the Super Bowl. Can they do it with their current crop of quarterbacks? That's the big question.
Childress was weaned in the NFL as a quarterbacks coach and then offensive coordinator who had McNabb as his guy the entire time. They enjoyed their share of success over the years. If one wonders why Childress is apparently so willing to go after Favre, the NFL's QB ironman, perhaps that in itself is the reason. Five different starting QBs in less than 50 career games as a head coach is about three quarterbacks too many. Although he may not be the player he was a few years ago, Favre could give Childress something he hasn't had as the Vikings head coach – the knowledge that he will have the same QB trotting out onto the field from one week to the next.
A quest for quarterback consistency?
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