Frazier Named Coach For The Vikings
Leslie Frazier has gotten ready for nearly a quarter-century for this opportunity, interviewed unsuccessfully (but impressively) 7 times, and this is how his big shot comes.
The scenario Frazier’s inheriting now in Minnesota is not precisely one a coach would even consider moving into. A veteran team full of win-now kind of competitors is 3-7, its quarterback is a 41-year-old whose mind is constantly susceptible to wander back to the great life on that compound in Mississippi, its once strong lines have underachieved on both sides of the ball, and the locker room is on the edge of implosion for a lot longer than most folks fully grasp.
However, maybe that’s just what makes Frazier perfect for the job. No, it is not the way Frazier would have drawn it up, but his crisis-management skills are there. That’s the way Tony Dungy sees it, in any case. Frazier’s leaned on Dungy, a mentor of his and the coach he is most compared to, in his 1st handful of days on the position, and Dungy sees a protégé set for the challenge.
Childress’ issues in that locker room stretch all the way up back to 2007, when the coach docked receiver Troy Williamson a game check for missing a Sunday to be in South Carolina due to a death in his family. His handling of Tarvaris Jackson in 2008 — swearing he was the man, then removing him following two games for Gus Frerotte — ruffled more feathers. And following the 1st Favre circus, last summer, it required a 6-0 start to keep a lid on the problems bubbling beneath. A 3-7 start forced that chaos to the surface, and now Frazier’s on clean-up.
But he has been part of solving broken situations before. Dungy refers to the 2006 year, the second of Frazier’s 2 as his secondary coach in Indianapolis. That team, if you keep in mind, fell apart down the stretch, a 44-17 beatdown in Jacksonville being the exclamation point on a 3-4 finish that came after a 9-0 start. That the Indianapolis Colts were able to summon the confidence to reel off four playoff wins right following that, Dungy feels, had something to do with the comforting effect Frazier had on the defense and the squad.
The variety of Frazier’s experiences ought to aid the squad. Where a lot of coaches are even to one tree, most usually headed by men like Bill Parcells or Bill Walsh, he’s got a bunch of stickers on that suitcase of his. He played for Buddy Ryan and Mike Ditka as a portion of the 1980s Chicago Bears, and coached for Andy Reid plus Jim Johnson in Philadelphia, along with Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati before joining Dungy, and then Childress.
To paraphrase, he’s well aware there’s more than one particular solution to get the job done. He started Wednesday with some jarring change, raising the intensity at practice for that veteran group, a similar strategy to what Jason Garrett did in placing the Dallas Cowboys in pads on his first Wednesday as head man at Valley Ranch.
Garrett had some conflicts that Frazier does not, but it seems like the rallying cry will be comparable in Minnesota. Garrett asked his participants to look in the mirror, and be accountable to themselves.
Frazier stated it in a diverse way, that he demands his competitors to be “mentally engaged” on Sundays, hinting that, in some manner, they have not been previously. That amounts to a message similar to Garrett’s, which is to perform at a level it is possible to be happy with. It’s obvious the Minnesota Vikings haven’t carried out that at all points this season, and maybe it wouldn’t have mattered against the Packer juggernaut last Sunday, but it’s good to guess they would not be 3-7 at full-go.
If Frazier can get the team going at that speed, then the likelihood surely is there that the position he has been seeking that came in a disjointed way becomes the situation he wanted all along. Given the CBA anxiety ahead, the huge competitor decisions arriving the coming year — with Sidney Rice, Pat Williams and Ray Edwards on the list of team’s free agents, and a clear need at qb — if this team performs well for Frazier down the stretch, he could possibly be around for awhile.
That will not answer a number of the larger troubles in Minnesota, however. The biggest one, on the nfl side, will be creating a apparent chain of command between coaching and personnel that has not existed in a long time. Further than football, there is the team’s survival in Minnesota long-term, with only 11 games left on the Metrodome lease.
But for the time being, Frazier can’t bother about any of that. This Minnesota Vikings team, to a man, believes it ultimately has a coach it can get behind. And Frazier’s position is to deliver for those competitors.
Dungy, obviously, knew this day was coming for Frazier, saying, “There was never a doubt in my mind. You see him around people, the way he leads, the way he communicates, the way players gravitate toward him. I thought (it would happen). Really, it was obvious.”
So he’s excellent for this job. What the next six weeks should signify is whether this job is good for him.
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