NFL: Frazier welcomes Favre input; QB hopes to simplify
AP Sports Writer
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) – Brett Favre figures to have at least a little more freedom in the Minnesota Vikings offense, now that the head coach he sometimes clashed with over strategy and play calls has been fired.
Interim replacement Leslie Frazier, who took over this week for Brad Childress, said Wednesday he welcomes Favre’s input “wholeheartedly” and pointed to Peyton Manning’s success in Indianapolis as support for a veteran quarterback-fueled game plan.
Well, here’s one item high on Favre’s list: Keep it simple, stupid!
To be clear: Favre wasn’t questioning the intelligence of Frazier or Childress or offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell or anyone else who wears a headset or clutches a clipboard around the NFL. But Favre argued passionately and humorously Wednesday for a less-is-more approach to offensive success.
“Every playbook across this league is way too thick,” Favre said. “You never practice it all. How can you become consistent if you’re running a different play every week out of a different formation with a different motion with different guys?”
The Vikings have had to shuffle constantly at wide receiver, which has clearly hindered their progress. Favre, though, insinuated that Childress over-complicated the offense without directly naming him in his diatribe against what he called an over-coached sport.
“You think those guys crack that book, go through all 500 pages? Come on,” Favre said. “You could hide a couple hundred dollar bills in there.”
Asked if there was a point in his NFL career when he felt like he was suffering from information overload, the 41-year-old Favre praised his first head coach in Green Bay, Mike Holmgren.
“A great play caller, a great coach, very demanding, a perfectionist, but I thought he was a forgiving and patient coach because it took a while for us to kind of get on the same page,” Favre said. “More me getting on the page with him. But I can just remember him saying over and over again, ‘I don’t care if they know what we run. They’ve still got to stop it.’
“And if you’ve run the same plays over and over, then you can disguise it a little bit maybe with a formation or a motion or putting a different guy in there to do that. But it’s still the same play. The concept’s still the same, and that has always stuck with me.”
Favre said he sent Childress a text message after the firing, but he said he hadn’t yet heard back.
Frazier, who was an assistant with the Colts when Manning led them to a Super Bowl title four years ago, stopped short of handing Favre a blank check to draw up plays in the dirt.
“He’s a Hall of Fame quarterback. He’s seen just about every defensive front and coverage that you can see, so his input will be invaluable,” Frazier said. “But at the same time, there are going to be some ideas and some thoughts that may not necessarily be a part of what we do, and he’ll understand that.”
On Frazier’s first day in charge of practice, he predicted some tweaks to the offense for this week’s game at Washington, without being specific.
“Hopefully we’ll see that on Sunday,” Frazier said. “We’ll all get to see the direction I’d like to see us go.”
The Redskins’ Donovan McNabb, on a conference call with Minnesota reporters, offered his own argument for quarterback input.
“That’s how you grow together in any system,” McNabb said.
The Vikings aren’t about to change the West Coast system that Childress brought from Philadelphia. Bevell is a disciple of that scheme, too, so any of the adjustments made over the final six games are likely to be subtle.
“I can’t envision that much changing,” wide receiver Greg Camarillo said. “Both coordinators are the same and all the personnel is the same.”
Frazier said linebackers coach Fred Pagac will call the defense, with input from defensive line coach Karl Dunbar and defensive backs coach Joe Woods, while he focuses on the supervisory duties that come with being the head coach.
“I do feel comfortable with doing it, and I’ll do some things in the days to come to prepare and be a little bit sharper than I’ll need to be,” Frazier said. “But there’s nothing like game experience, so I’ll get some of that on Sunday.”
As for Favre’s commitment to finishing the season, well, he scoffed at any speculation that he might quit early.
“How could you in my position not want to go out and play well? I have just a ton of pride,” Favre said.
Without mentioning the foot, ankle and shoulder injuries listed on this week’s injury report, Favre said he was fighting an illness.
“That’s what happens when you get older,” Favre said.