One of the strangest parts of Leslie Frazier’s final season as the Vikings’ head coach was the way he handled quarterback Josh Freeman.
Freeman started against the Giants two weeks after joining the Vikings and played like a player who had no grasp of the offensive system that he was asked to run. Freeman would never play again all season even as Frazier jumped between Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel on the way to a 5-10-1 season that left Frazier unemployed.
When Frazier was fired, Vikings players lamented his loss but Frazier’s handling of that situation didn’t seem to win him many points with the team. Tom Pelissero of USA Today spoke to a couple of players, who spoke anonymously, who were left “confused” by the choice that Frazier made to start Freeman so quickly after he joined the team. One player called it a “debacle” and the other said Frazier lost credibility while trying to sell the team on his choice.
“You could tell Josh did not know the offense. Practices did not really go that well that week,” one player said. “But Coach Frazier was in the team meetings like, ‘Oh, I think this is the best week of practice we’ve had all year.’ And everyone’s like, what? What are you talking about?”
We’ll never know if handling things differently would have worked out better for Frazier, but his handling of Freeman was a reminder of how desperate teams are to find the right answer at quarterback. And Frazier’s firing is one of many reminders this year that coaches don’t last long when the answer is incorrect.