Monday, December 21, 2009

Andy Reid 2.0

I didn't sleep well last night for a myriad of reasons, so this is going to be a completely unfocused, rambling, incoherent piece. Anything more or less than that wouldn't be fair to describe the team that showed up last night.

Two road games, two gigantic eggs. The Arizona game could be logically explained to an extent - the Cardinals are a Jekyll and Hyde team that's very dangerous when they put it together. Carolina however is 5-8, for a reason. Cut and dried, they suck. Sizing them up wasn't exactly rocket surgery. There were three very obvious common sense things you could expect from the Vikings in this game:

1. Double-team Steve Smith at all times
2. Blitz the everloving shit out of Matt Moore on every obvious passing down
3. Give the ball to your best player at least 20 times

How many of those things happened? Exactly zero. Brad Childress, aka Andy Reid 2.0*, made sure they wouldn't. I'm thinking I was wrong about a couple weeks ago - the writing IS on the wall. Maybe they peaked in Week 8 in Green Bay, only we couldn't really see it at the time because the next four weeks were a bye and 3 easy home games against teams whose records are now a combined 12-30. If you expect the Vikes to beat Arizona, Philly or Dallas ANYwhere, you are delusional or have brain damage, or both.

*By 2.0, I mean to imply "next version" as well as "decidedly worse version", kind of like how Windows somehow gets worse with each version.

The Childress-Reid comparison goes beyond the obvious. As I've written previously, the Vikings are built a lot like Reid's Eagles, particularly when Childress was there as the o-coordinator. The X-factor is Favre - he makes everyone better, especially the wideouts. What happens when Favre is expected to do too much? They look a lot like the 2006 Vikings - painfully predictable and zero creativity on both offense and defense. A whole lot of "we just have to out-execute the other team" stuff, hard to do when 1, you abandon the run after the first half, and 2, you can't get any pressure on the quarterback. The Vikes haven't put themselves in any kind of position to "out-execute" anyone.

Going back to Favre, the difference between Favre and Tarvaris Jackson (or even Gus Frerotte) last night was marginal. In fact, there were several instances where they could have really used Tarvaris's legs to get the hell away from Julius Peppers. The apparent issue with Favre is that he is audibling out of runs far too often. Works great in Weeks 1-11. Then teams get you on film. Honeymoon's over. I wouldn't be shocked if Carolina's plan all along was to goad Favre into making those reads.

Andy Reid 2.0 has his most important decision coming up against the Bears. If Favre is screwing things up by giving up on the run too quickly, does he sit? Will Favre pull a Scottie Pippen and bench himself like a whiny bitch out of protest? Should Tarvaris come in on occasion regardless, like the Eagles use Mike Vick and the Dolphins use Pat White? Will the Vikes lay another egg on the road against an inferior team?

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