Moss, who, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, told Vikings owner Zygi Wilf after their loss to the Patriots that Childress was a bad coach and should be fired. This story is more believable than complaining about the catered food during a team meal as the reason Moss was sent packing earlier this week.
Now, I'm not condoning how Moss treated the catering folks, but most players I've been around hate the food served to them and are not shy about expressing their complaints. Sending Moss down the road had more to do with his complaints to Wolf, along with his press conference where he praised Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Moss is not the first ex-player to complain about Childress, in fact, I am sure there were some ex-Vikings and current players who knew exactly how Moss felt.
What Moss did during the postgame press conference was wrong. What Moss allegedly said to Wilf after the game was not the time or place to have that conversation. But Moss has never been shy or politically correct when it comes to expressing his opinions.
Childress became the head coach of the Vikings from his days of being offensive coordinator in Philadelphia. He was a media darling, and his agent, Bob Lamonte, had teams lined up to hire Childress as their head coach. Childress had this image that he was an offensive guru, who could run a high-powered offense after never calling plays for the Eagles. Once he arrived in Minnesota, the Vikings front office, players and fans quickly found out that Childress was not the offensive guru they thought, nor a great communicator, and they also learned his game management ability was below par.
So Moss heads down the road to Tennessee, and the Vikings are left to clean up the mess they created. But the biggest part of that mess that needs cleaning up centers on the head coach and his ability to lead, communicate and run the team. Even though the way Moss presented his case against Childress was wrong, Wilf has to privately acknowledge Moss's evaluation of his head coach. Firing Childress this week because of Moss would have been the wrong move for Wilf to make, but after the season Wilf has to give this a strong consideration.
It's all on the line now
Can the Vikings win a Super Bowl with Childress as their leader? I strongly doubt this can happen. But this is the question Wilf must ask himself after the season. He has to know from being in the building and talking to current and former players that Childress is not a communicator, nor does he endear himself to the players or have the command of the offense that can inspire the players.
The script: My first 15
- For some reason, the song "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" by Gordon Lightfoot always reminds me that winning games in the months of November and December will take having to deal with inclement weather, much like the crew on the Fitzgerald faced. Tough winds, bitter cold and poor field conditions are a great equalizer, and some teams can steal a game or two because of the winter weather. How teams are built to withstand these elements is essential to finishing strong. Cleveland, for example, does not throw the ball well, is slow on both sides of the ball, but has a power run game and plays each opponent hard. The slower the field, the better the Browns will play.
- A battle for first place in the NFC South this week features the Bucs and the Falcons. Atlanta is playing at home -- which always makes them play better -- against a Bucs team that just can't defend the running game, nor excel on stopping anyone on third down. But the Bucs play hard and never quit, as evidenced by six of the eight wins for second-year quarterback Josh Freeman have happened in comeback fashion in the fourth quarter.
- Miami-Baltimore will not be a game for the faint of heart. It will be a battle of toughness, and the winner won't be the team that runs the ball well, but rather the team that makes the big plays in the passing game. Miami is outstanding at picking up scheme blitzes and should be able to handle the Ravens' pressure packages, which will put the secondary in trouble.
- Baltimore needed the week off to take a break from all the competitive and physical games they had back to back -- which translated into allowing 57 points in the last two games. The Ravens beat Buffalo, with their B game, and this game against Miami will require their A game, which will require quarterback Joe Flacco to attack the Dolphins' secondary.
- The Bills have played five quarters in each of the last two weeks, yet still do not have a win for their efforts. They have improved, especially on offense, where quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has been very effective. The Bills can throw the ball but are limited because of their offensive line. Fitzpatrick should play well north of the border, as the Bears are not a hard defense to figure out, but rather they rely on being a defense that is hard to block. Both teams have bad offensive lines, and the winner will be which bad line plays well.
- The second time playing a team in the same season is never easy and winning twice is even harder. Adjustments are always made and unless one team is not interested in playing, then these games can be exciting down to the last minute. The Saints need to become more consistent in every area. Beating the Steelers last week was great, but not beating the Panthers this week means a step back. The Saints dominated the last game, expect for the score, barely winning 16-14 in Week 4. The longer they give the Panthers hope that they can win, the tougher this game becomes to win for them.
- Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald returns home to Minnesota to face a Vikings team that is desperate for a win. Besides getting no production from their quarterback position, the Cards defense has been horrible all season. Arizona has been outscored at the half 129-65 in part because they lead the league in turning the ball over. Could the Vikings have asked for a more giving opponent to help them end their losing ways?
- Charlie Whitehurst gets his first start in front of a bad Seattle offensive line against a Giants defensive line that has been playing well. The saving grace for Whitehurst is that when the Seahawks play at home, the 12th man home crowd seems to have an impact on the opponent. The Seahawks are going to need the Giants to turn the ball over to win the game. But if the Giants protect the ball, they are the better team -- even in Seattle.
- My vote for the MVP of the Chiefs is their offensive line coach, Bill Muir, who has taken a poor line from a year ago, added a few pieces and turned a weak area into a strength. The difference in this game will be how the Chiefs have improved their lines, while the Raiders' offensive line is still struggling.
- The Colts won on Monday night, but it wasn't easy. In fact, even Peyton Manning said they had to grind a win. The Eagles, under Andy Reid, are 11-0 coming off a bye week, and with the Colts being vulnerable, they might be able to pull an upset. Philadelphia gets back left tackle Jason Peters, who they need badly, and with Michael Vick at QB, they can avoid the Colts' rush and potentially make big plays down the field.
- The Jets, much like the Dolphins, are a good road team and this year have won all three games on the road. Yet, facing the Lions will be their toughest challenge of the season. The Lions can control the line of scrimmage with their defensive front, and if Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez does not throw the ball with more accuracy and the Jets wide receivers don't stop dropping the ball, the Lions might win their third home game of the year.
- If you are watching all the games from home, you might not want to stay away from the Chargers and Texans for long. This game promises to be an offensive showdown, and the team that wins will be the one that actually can play a little defense -- which slightly favors the Chargers. San Diego is winless on the road and has not created a turnover in four games, and unless the Chargers create a few in this game, they won't win.
- The Chargers must pressure and hit Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, like the Colts did on Monday night. When Schaub gets hit early in the game, his eye level does come down and the Texans are not as explosive on offense. I get the feeling the Texans love to stay ahead of the game instead of playing from way behind, because the tighter the game, the lack of toughness in this Texans team becomes apparent.
- The Packers are not the same team because of all the injuries on both sides of the ball. Therefore, even though they are playing a bad Cowboys team, gaining a victory will not be easy. The Packers without a run game and with only one big-play receiver healthy, will have to find a way to create big plays against the Cowboys' corners that are often left out on an island.
Second and short
Part of the problem in Dallas has been that they have not been able to correctly evaluate their own players. I have been writing for weeks how running back Marion Barber is not the same player he once was, and look at his numbers from a year ago.
He averaged 62. 1 yards per game and 4.4 yards per carry in 2009. Those averages have dipped drastically to 28.1 and 3.0, respectively.
The more the Cowboys play Barber, the more it reaffirms their problems are in evaluations as much as their attention to the details.
See you at the game...
I am headed to Minnesota to see the Cardinals face the Vikings. I wonder if Vikings coach Childress will pick me up at the airport when I arrive. I'm sure Childress is too busy to take time out of his day, but I am looking forward to watching this game. On paper, the Vikings should win easily, but after the week they had, is anything going to be easy?