All you needed to do was watch Vikings head coach Brad Childress' postgame press conference following the 28-24 loss to the Packers in Green Bay to know that he was upset with QB Brett Favre's play. Favre threw three interceptions — in a seven-throw span in the third and fourth quarters — that killed the Vikings' chances of winning. The biggest killer was the pick-six that Favre threw to Packers LB Desmond Bishop that put the Vikings in a two-score hole in the fourth quarter.
The PFW Spin
Favre has 10 interceptions, three more than he had all of last season. All his pertinent numbers are off from 2009. He's making more risky throws, completing fewer big passes. Childress is most upset about the errant passes, the high-risk throws that either end in a big play for the Vikings or the opponent. He sounded off after the game on those three interceptions.
"It still goes back to taking care of the football," Childress said. "You can't throw it to them. You've got to play within the confines of our system. Sometimes it's OK to punt the football and you can't give seven points going the other way. Not in a game like this. Not with a high-powered team."
The irony is that if Percy Harvin catches Favre's low-percentage pass in the back of the endzone (Harvin's foot touched out of bounds) on 1st-and-30 from the Green Bay 35 in the final minute, Childress probably wouldn't have harped on his quarterback's mistakes Sunday. Favre would have rallied the team, 2009-style, and become the hero again.
Childress said he "did have a thought" to pull Favre from the game before he led the Vikings down the field on a drive that ended with a Randy Moss TD. "I was going to give him that next series and he took us and moved us down the field," Childress said.
Even during last season, we saw when Childress and Favre butted heads. It came to a head in the loss at Carolina, but really, the coach was miffed prior to that with decisions Favre made in games, especially in the second Lions contest in 2009. And Childress appeared to be most upset with the Bishop interception on Sunday, not just because it was returned for a touchdown.
"I'd have to look at that one to know where we're going with the football because I believe the play was designed to go to the other side and I think Percy's standing there in big air," Childress said.
Favre didn't disagree with Childress' assessment, per se, but he deflected it with talk of his suddenly tender ankle. Two weeks ago, it was Favre's elbow. Now it's back to the ankle that was supposedly the reason he almost didn't come back this season. Favre even said he might not play Sunday at New England if he thought his ankle was too injured to go.
"If I can play but not be effective, then it's not worth playing," Favre said. "I hope I use good judgment, so we'll see. I'm no spring chicken anymore. I don't heal as quickly. I know the heart's in the right place, though, I know I left it on the field, it's just disappointing that it didn't work our way."
Childress likely knows Favre's heart is probably in the right place, but what does the coach think about his player's head? Does he think Favre is capable of pulling the team out of this spell with smart, tough play?
The third-rail topic, clearly, is Favre's involvement with the NFL over the Jenn Sterger allegations.
It's not the place to wonder if Childress thinks Favre is doing all he can to eliminate distractions and focus on his day-to-day preparation. But you have to wonder if Favre is trying to slay all the negative talk by playing at an even more swashbuckling level, by trying to be the hero every game.
There's a good chance that Childress and Favre will have more disagreements if the 2-4 Vikings continue to disappoint and Favre's uneven play continues.