Lurtsema's Reaction: McNabb and OT

Former Vikings defensive lineman Bob Lurtsema gives his take on Donovan McNabb vs. Brett Favre, as well as the new rules governing overtime in Lurtsema's latest "reaction." Strange how the guy who didn't know the rules of overtime, Donovan McNabb, is now paired with the subject of overtime.

VU: What is your reaction to the reports of Donovan McNabb listing Minnesota as his top destination if Philadelphia is intent on trading him?

BL: What's they've done in Philadelphia is benched him two years ago at the half and then benched him the next game. And then he came back and took them to the playoffs. I don't know if that's Andy Reid's way to motivate McNabb or not. McNabb always seems to be the type of guy that needs to be challenged. He plays down to the competition in a lot of different situations. Some players will consistently play at the same level. That's not saying he doesn't compete in the majority of games, because obviously he does or he wouldn't make it to January like he has so often, but he seems to do the best when challenged.

I would have to say the Vikings would be better off throwing draft choices to move up and get a true quarterback of the future to play behind Brett Favre his year. Get somebody in for the long haul. Are they going to put a band-aid on the quarterback position of this team every year? Childress has obviously coached McNabb in Philadelphia and is supposed to be a quarterback guru. He's going into his fifth year as head coach and the Vikings are still out in left field for a quarterback a year or two from now.

Here we are talking about a quarterback controversy and Brett Favre isn't going to say a word until May. It would be nice if he told the team on the side the day before the draft, but I know he's not going to come to training camp and he doesn't deserve to go to camp. He would be burned out before he left. As beat up as he got at 40 years old, today isn't the time to say he's coming back. I cannot say this enough times to fans: As athletes get into the twilights of their careers – the prime is 28 to 33 – anytime you asked a 35-year-old or older ballplayer to retire they will not be able to honestly tell you until at least mid-April or May.

VU: Do you think that deep down the Vikings believe that he will end up playing for them when it comes down it?

BL: If they feel that they have the communication problem corrected, it's a no-brainer that he's coming back. As long as they have the chain of command for play selection, being 80 percent coming from Brett Favre and 20 percent from the coaching staff, I think he'll be alright. I mean that seriously because Brad Childress can orchestrate a good game plan, but when you come into a game and you're going against a defensive coordinator like Gregg Williams and the week before was straight 4-3 and all the sudden they are playing a 3-4 – he makes so many changes that your orchestrated game plan can be thrown right out the window until the opposing defense goes back to the defenses you planned for. It's a chess game, and Childress can do a good job of orchestrating a game plan. But the key is who makes the adjustments. That's where I, as a player, say they let the player make the adjustments on the field. I've been out there as a regular when we've gone against coaches calls because we knew it didn't give us the best opportunity to make a play. The coaches would chew us and give us the old "you had better be right" speech, but we knew that. I'd better be right or I would be gone. If I was a rookie, I wouldn't do it. But as a 12-year veteran I would do it all day long – not to be uncoachable or a troublemaker or an instigator, just from wanting to give our team the best opportunity to win. Some people don't buy my story when I tell them that, but when you've lived it, you know it's out there.

VU: Going back to your statement about drafting a quarterback and wanting a long-term solution at the position, would you rather have one year with Favre or five years with McNabb? Take salary out of the equation.

BL: You know I love Brett Favre, but I would take five years with McNabb since he knows the system. I would take five years with him knowing that they would draft some rookie quarterback with great potential that they can teach it to. The perfect scenario would be to trade up for Sam Bradford and let Favre have one year with him. Do it like Mike Ditka did with Ricky Williams and trade away the draft for your player. If you were St. Louis, would you take a one, two second-rounders and two third-rounders for the first overall?

VU: What do you think about the changes they are making in the overtime rule for the playoffs?

BL: Actually, I like it. Some people don't like it because if the first team that gets the ball scores a touchdown, then the other team doesn't get a chance. I just feel if you're in that situation, you'd better bring your best game. If you can't get up for overtime – and it's just in the playoffs – in that situation and you let a team run all the way down and score on you, then that's fine with me. You were given a great opportunity. If you hold them to a field goal, you get the ball and have a chance to win if you get a touchdown, or tie it up and continue if you get a field goal.

I love the onside kick rule that if you get an onside kick, recover it and score that you win. I love that. I love if you get a safety you win and they don't get another chance. Those are all great football plays. So if you want to grade everything and you're talking about the onside kick – which is the greatest call I've ever seen in the Super Bowl with New Orleans – or a safety, it's a great play that deserves to get you a win in the playoffs in overtime. It's my same philosophy with a team that shoves it down someone's throat on the first series, where you just have to say it was a great series. I think the touchdown, the onside kick, the safety – I love them all.

VU: You said this is just your reaction for the playoffs, but it seems like there is growing momentum for them to pass this for the regular season as well in May. Do you agree with that as well?

BL: No. Because the system they have now is more than adequate. It's a long season. When you come to the playoffs, the end is obviously in site. If a team were to play a couple of overtime games in the regular season, it doesn't make any sense because of the violence of the game, the physical nature, the long time frame of the season, TV rights. It would just be utter confusion if they did that.

Bob Lurtsema registered 57 regular-season sacks and three in the playoffs during his 12-year career as a defensive lineman in the NFL, playing with the Baltimore Colts, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks, and was the longtime publisher of Viking Update. He joins for a weekly Q & A session, and his monthly column appears in the magazine.

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