lol. i wonder wat starter said that? that would be funny if it was daunte
Tice says one thing; players hear another
BY SEAN JENSEN
Embattled coach Mike Tice maintained his resolve Monday night that he's the man to lead the Vikings.
But an 80-minute meeting Tice called with his players earlier in the day left some wondering if their coach was on the verge of resigning after an embarrassing 30-10 loss in Atlanta.
With his assistant coaches outside the meeting room and reporters waiting for his weekly address in the media center at Winter Park, Tice engaged in what one player called a candid "state of the Vikings speech," during which he questioned the effectiveness of his own leadership. The team, before the season considered by many to be among the NFC's best, has stumbled to a 1-3 start.
In making his point, Tice said he provided an anecdote from his childhood, involving his late father Jack, who implored his son to never quit.
"The point of the meeting was, 'We're one-quarter into the season. Of course we're all frustrated. Of course we all have had thoughts of what we can do better. But none of us can quit right now. We need to battle our way through it,' " Tice said.
"If some people can't understand the message, that's their fault."
Some players praised Tice, with one veteran calling the meeting very "useful," and one starter noting that if the Vikings are going to turn around this season, Tice is "going to have to lead us."
But three players said Tice told them he contemplated resigning hours after the Vikings' blowout loss to the Falcons, a point two players considered deplorable.
One starter said Tice delivered a "rambling resignation speech."
"He quit on us," the starter said. "I lost all respect for him."
"You could tell he gave up on us," another player said.
According to that player, Tice also said he would not be surprised if Vikings owner Zygi Wilf made a coaching change.
The confusion at Winter Park on Monday is the latest example of communication issues that have plagued the team thus far. They include
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ A revolving door of players on the interior offensive line.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Defensive players who are confused and frustrated about the team's style of play.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Players on both offense and defense who lament the various changes in game plans from week to week.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Assistant offensive coaches who have shifted from the field to the booth, as play-calling duties and game adjustments have been tweaked.
The Vikings are considering bringing offensive line coach/offensive coordinator Steve Loney back to the field and sending running backs coach Dean Dalton to the booth, so that Loney can be more involved with the line.
Grasping for answers, the Vikings might bring in consultants who worked with Tice in the past to evaluate the team.
During his press conference Monday, for which he was 50 minutes late, Tice laid out his plans as the team searches "for an identity" on offense and defense. He said that the offensive and defensive coaching staffs would evaluate one another's schemes and players, and review their analyses together Wednesday night. He also would consider input he got from two respected staffers at Winter Park Scott Studwell, the director of college scouting, and Paul Wiggin, the senior pro personnel consultant. Then, on Thursday, the Vikings would begin working on their next game, against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Oct. 16.
Tice appeared emboldened and committed to the challenge of overcoming the shaky start during his news conference.
"That goes with losing. If I am not doing my job, then they should call for my head," Tice said. "Right now, I'm not doing my job because we are 1-3. I need to continue to work to do my job better. I believe when it is all said and done and evaluated at the end, I will have done my job."
Tice noted that his wife had a suggestion for him after Sunday's loss in Atlanta.
"(She) said... I am not yelling at the players enough," Tice said.
Tice downplayed the effectiveness of that, adding that he has a "veteran" and "more mature" team.
In the meantime, the Vikings are trying to settle down, as they try to regroup for an important stretch during which they play four of their next six games on the road.
"I was in a situation where we were (0-3 in 1998)," linebacker Sam Cowart said, recalling his rookie season with the Buffalo Bills. "It was bad. I told the guys it was a lot worse than it is here, and we went on to make the playoffs. We can definitely turn it around."
One player apparently got Tice's message loud and clear.
"I don't want to be 1-3, but I know it's a long year," quarterback Daunte Culpepper said.
"I still feel like we got a team to do what we set out to do, and that's win our division and be world champions. Nobody said it's going to be a straight shot. You got to go up and down sometimes. But I'm ready and willing for the journey."
The starter that said, "He quit on us".... should maybe look into the mirror for another person who quit. A guy can only take so much lousy play from his players before his steam runs out. Apparently players are allowed to be human, coaches aren't.