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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Brad Childress: Ready For Anything

    Posted on Sun, Jul. 23, 2006

    [size=18px]READY FOR ANYTHING[/size]

    Brad Childress has learned to expect the unexpected in his brief tenure as Vikings coach, and with training camp just days away, the biggest unknown looms — the 2006 season.

    BY SEAN JENSEN
    Pioneer Press


    Brad Childress is renowned for his meticulous preparation and organization.

    But Childress acknowledged that the greatest lesson he has learned in his first seven months as head coach of the Vikings is to "expect the unexpected."

    With a haircut appointment looming, Childress was wrapping up an interview with the Pioneer Press earlier this week.

    In the middle of answering the final question, Childress got a surprise visitor. Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, after a single knock, burst through the door and bolted toward Childress' desk.

    Childress handled the impromptu exchange with aplomb, as the two joked about how their wives chided them for already thinking too much about the 2006 season. Although he was now behind schedule, Childress talked with Wilf for a few more minutes and walked him to his assistant's desk outside his office.

    Childress has had to deal with far more complicated issues and drama this offseason, from trading quarterback Daunte Culpepper to the Miami Dolphins and signing guard Steve Hutchinson away from the Seattle Seahawks, to enduring the hiring and ouster of player personnel vice president Fran Foley.

    During a wide-ranging interview, Childress spoke about his experiences and what he expects in the 2006-07 season.

    Q: What are you most excited about days away from the start of your first training camp as a head coach?

    Brad Childress: For the football season to begin. My wife always says to me, "You're on vacation, but you're not," because you start to turn around about three-quarters of your way through it. You're there, but you're not there, because you're already moving forward. You get to see all the fruits of your labor.

    Q: So you're excited to see all the fruits of your hard work during the offseason?

    BC: Everybody works hard. Jimmy Valvano (the late basketball coach at North Carolina State) said: "Working hard gives you a chance to have a chance. If you don't work hard, you know people are going by you." So I'm just excited to see everything about to come together here.

    Q: The team has had some ups and downs in your first seven months. What is the most valuable lesson you've learned so far as head coach?

    BC: Expect the unexpected. You can plan to go this way today, and you could be going 180 degrees the other way or sideways. And so you just have to be ready for all eventualities.

    Q: You're a meticulous planner, so did that take some adjusting?

    BC: It's not my plan that takes me in another direction. It takes something you have to be casting your gaze on. I guess there's enough time spent before and after the conventional hours, where I can get what I need to get done taken care of. It'll always be that way. I've got to get a lot of work done at other times, too.

    Q: It takes time to acclimate to a new boss. What have been your initial impressions of Zygi Wilf?

    BC: Well, all the Wilfs — whether it's Zygi, Mark or Lenny — I just feel like it's a tremendous ownership group who is going to empower our football team and our coaches, and our personnel people, to be successful. I think you saw that in free agency as we started, and that should go forward. They've been extremely, extremely supportive.

    They're not here every day. But there's ongoing communication.

    Q: How often do you speak to them?

    BC: It varies, according to their schedule and my schedule. But we're always going to touch base and check in with each other and be kept up to speed.

    Q: Rick Spielman has been added to the mix as the vice president of player personnel. What has that transition been like, as you develop a rapport with him and Rob Brzezinski (vice president of football operations)?

    BC: It's been good. Some of his fingerprints are already on our staff meeting room next door and in the college draft area. It was really good that he was able to get in here and see our football team work physically. He really got here for the OTAs (organized team activities), from June 5 on. He had a chance to see 12 practices or so.

    Q: As a rookie head coach, have you leaned on or consulted anyone for advice?

    BC: Not as of yet, because you have a plan. There are different crossroads that you could have never imagined, but you have to go with your gut, and you have to go with how you've been trained for 30 years in this business.

    Have I talked to anybody? Sure I have. Sitting in this seat, you get some free advice, also. There's a lot of that, and you got to be able to filter through it. But you have to have a plan and a vision that you see.

    Q: You called this the "plum job" in the NFL. You had a very active offseason, and Wilf has empowered you and Brzezinski to spend on players and coaches. You haven't wanted to talk about expectations. But given the talent you have, can this team be a playoff contender this season?

    BC: I guess I would reserve judgment until I watch these guys work in training camp. Now, my initial indications are they've done everything I've asked them to do, from the time I've taken this job, through the offseason, through the OTAs. But we haven't done anything (physical) and hit each other. Their work ethic is fine, and generally you do some of that team building at training camp. That's where you get to see the real football character of your team.

    The great thing is, you can't be a one-shot wonder. You have to come back every day. And usually, because of the time you spend, you can sift things out, and things show themselves to you. That's why I think training camp will always be important.

    Q: Not too long ago, Randy Moss and Daunte Culpepper were considered the faces of this franchise for the foreseeable future. Who do you think people see now when they think of the Vikings?

    BC: You know what, that'd be a good question. Hopefully, they see a good team. There are going to be names that pop up. But I think, collectively, hopefully they'll see a good team.

    Q: Is that the approach you want? Not a singular face of the franchise?

    BC: It is the ultimate team sport. Again, you're only as good as the guys standing next to you. You can be a great individual player, but if you don't get the protection, what good is he?

    Now, are there great individuals who make plays? Sure there are. There's always those. And don't get me wrong, I'll take all those guys we can get, but within the structure of the team.

    It's always nice to have producers. But within the framework of the team.

    Q: With three first-time coordinators, do you expect they will need extra time to develop, or do you expect them to hit the ground running?

    BC: I think they already have. Just as you learn about a team, you learn about a staff as you go through. Because of the grind, you always learn things. But they already have hit this thing running.

    Q: With a new offense and defense, what can fans expect from the new Vikings under your direction?

    BC: Your personality is going to define itself during training camp. But No. 1, don't beat yourself. The Vikings don't beat the Vikings. Taking care of the football. Taking the football away. I think those are three things that give you a chance to win a lot of football games.

    Q: What has been the biggest difference for you in preparing for camp as a head coach versus a coordinator?

    BC: Just orchestrating the whole schedule, whether it's the media schedule or the coordinator schedule. Or when the players are going where, and when they're doing what. When we're traveling to Pittsburgh.

    Q: Some felt that recent Vikings teams lacked discipline. What will you do in camp to change that perception?

    BC: We'll talk about it. How you're not going to beat yourself, and the three things we mentioned. First of all, to be a tough team to beat, you can't beat yourself. I want us to be a smart football team and a tough team to beat. Obviously, you're speaking about penalties. Two or three yards is a hard deal in the NFL.

    Q: What about off the field?

    BC: They already know my expectations for them, and I guess I'd probably leave it at that. And obviously they have high expectations of each other.

    Any coach will tell you that he doesn't like distractions, and it's hard enough to play this game if you're physically and mentally right. But to have distractions makes it harder.

    Q: With Brad Johnson clearly the No. 1 quarterback, will his activities be limited during camp?

    BC: You know, I'm actually going to sit down with Brad on Saturday morning, and that's one of the things on the list of things to talk about. He's got good enough muscle memory, so it's a balance between staying sharp with reps but not being beat down with reps.

    Q: There has continued to be speculation about Brad Johnson's contract, given his compensation is on par with a backup, not a starter. Is that something the team will deal with heading into training camp, or do you not consider that a concern?

    BC: That's something (the media) drove. We don't comment on contracts. Brad and I have spoken about it, and that conversation is between he and I.

    Q: Is there any concern about him reporting on time?

    BC: He's reporting early. He's coming on Saturday.

    Q: How important is it for Chad Greenway to report on time?

    BC: You know what, it's important for everyone to report on time, because the installation schedule is so aggressive that a day or two behind… It's hard to know Day 4, if you missed Day 1.

    Q: What do you mean it's aggressive?

    BC: There's different things happening every day. For instance, goal-line/short yardage is going in relatively quickly, the second day or so. And then you're moving on to nickel package, and then to backed up, and then the red area.

    Q: Would you rather work Greenway into games or start him from the outset?

    BC: I want him to do what he can do. Obviously, to be a contributor and a contributor right away, that'd be great. However he contributes, whether it's a role player. To me, we'll have 53 role players.

    Q: Is Mike McMahon doing well as the No. 2 quarterback?

    BC: Yeah. And I think you have to be able to put that rush around him and watch guys go. But I at least have a little book on him. System-wise, he's up to speed. Every one of those quarterbacks has done a good job of assimilating this offseason so far.

    Q: There has been speculation that the team has not been thrilled with Chester Taylor so far. How did you feel about his offseason?

    BC: If I could give you an analogy. In college recruiting, there's that period where you're being wooed by this school and that school. You go through that rubber chicken circuit, where they bring you in and feed you a big meal. Then you need to make sure that you're taking care of yourself physically. Typically, you see that with all the free agents, everybody that travels and takes trips. So I would say this: Each and everyone — and he's not the lone ranger — had to work on their conditioning level from minicamp one to the end, and I would say they all progressed. He was quite a different guy in the second minicamp than he was in the first minicamp.

    And to me, that's understandable.

    And at that point in time, two weeks before the draft, you'll find a lot of veterans are just starting (to get in shape). So he made a huge jump, as they all did. That's what I saw.

    Q: Do you believe Koren Robinson is a No. 1 receiver?

    BC: He is our No. 1 receiver, and I think each of those guys will establish how many downs they're on the field. But the more contributors you have, the better. But I have every reason to believe he is (our No. 1 receiver).

    Q: What has impressed you about him so far?

    BC: This offense is a catch-and-run offense, so you're talking about a bigger body guy who has some niftiness and some elusiveness, so that lends itself to this offense.

    Q: Is Troy Williamson ready to be an every-down receiver?

    BC: Certainly, he's got a different deck of cards that have been dealt to him. But I would say he's tough-minded enough, and he's had enough adversity in his lifetime that he's dealt with this one, and he'll put himself into shape. He's already been in town recently to work with (receivers coach) Darrell Wyatt.

    Q: What training camp battle are you looking forward to?

    BC: I wish I could look at a battle at every position, because the best teams I've been with have had great competition, and it just can't help but make everyone better. But I can't cite one particular one I'm looking at.

    Q: When you were hired, you stressed the importance of the line of scrimmage. How do you feel about your offensive and defensive lines?

    BC: I would probably say check with me in three or four weeks. But I like the tempo that's being set. I think our offensive line has a chance to be a pretty good offensive line.

    Q: Who will not be able to start training camp in full health?

    BC: I don't believe there is anybody right now. But there's always someone who comes in with a tweaked hamstring. Right now, the guy that comes to mind is (punter) Chris Kluwe, who is on course and rehabilitating. We'll see what he can do.

    Sean Jensen can be reached at [email protected]

    READY FOR ANYTHING

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    NordicNed is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Brad Childress: Ready For Anything

    Nice Read,

    I've really been enjoying the BC interviews lately. He sure talks a good talk, I can only hope it all comes together for him as a coach and for us as a team...

    I'm getting a good feeling, we are going to really suprise and shut up the na sayers this upcoming season.....


    I LOVE THE SMELL OF VICTORY IN THE MORNING AIR.

  3. #3
    PurpleTide's Avatar
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    Re: Brad Childress: Ready For Anything

    Good reading... BC has a good pulse on this team. Competition at all positions is a good thing. I'm looking for a few surprises and for the 2nd and 3rd year players stepping up and playing like we knew they could when we drafted them.

  4. #4
    singersp's Avatar
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    Re: Brad Childress: Ready For Anything

    If a mod see this, please put this in the Vikings fan forum.

    I inadvertantly put it in the wrong one.

    Thanx!

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  5. #5
    shawn9876uss is offline Coordinator
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    Re: Brad Childress: Ready For Anything

    Very Nice Thanks


    Thanks PurpleMafia

  6. #6
    marcosMN is offline Star Spokesman
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    Re: Brad Childress: Ready For Anything

    A good interview. I can't wait to see what he can do with this group in training camp.

    Is anyone headed down to 'Kato for the open practices?
    -Sno

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    Re: Brad Childress: Ready For Anything

    i just hope he can bring this new playbook together!! I don't want any crappy games where Brad can't throw to the primary receiver!! Daunte couldn't even throw to his secondary receiver last season!!!
    http://www.myspace.com/pooptin


  8. #8
    Mr. Purple's Avatar
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    Re: Brad Childress: Ready For Anything

    Wow awesome read...kinda answers all the offseason questions we've all wondered about.Childress is a VERY smart and intelligent man, I like his style. He watches what he says, thinks before he speaks.I like the how he presses the fact this is a TEAM! Excited I am, Indeed.

    Theres NOTHING greater then a Florida Gator!
    "I promise everyone this. When Childress is let go in two years I can honestly say this.
    "I am not surprised"."-PurplePackerEater

  9. #9
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    Re: Brad Childress: Ready For Anything

    Great interview, I can't wait to see the team in action.

  10. #10
    COJOMAY is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Brad Childress: Ready For Anything

    I think one of the things that popped out to me as I read this was this question and answer:
    Q: Not too long ago, Randy Moss and Daunte Culpepper were considered the faces of this franchise for the foreseeable future. Who do you think people see now when they think of the Vikings?

    BC: You know what, that'd be a good question. Hopefully, they see a good team. There are going to be names that pop up. But I think, collectively, hopefully they'll see a good team.
    I think that's been one of the Vikings troubles in the past. Two many players who only think of themselves and how good they are vs what's best for the team. That is going to be the problem with the Bengals this year in my estimation. When the players can forget about their egos and play as a team or a "unit" they will find out that good things can happen.
    Kentucky Vikes Fan

    When you require nothing, you get nothing; when you expect nothing, you will find nothing; when you embrace nothing, all you will have is nothing.

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