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 Toxic Leadership 
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Post Toxic Leadership
Rhett Ellison’s father says free agents leaving Vikings because of ‘toxic leadership’

http://www.twincities.com/2017/03/12/rh ... eadership/

Not sure what to make of this. What do you guys think?


Sun Mar 12, 2017 6:39 pm
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Post Re: Toxic Leadership
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“That bye week was tipping point,’’ Riki Ellison wrote. “The head coach (Mike Zimmer) and (general manager Rick Spielman) didn’t understand what they had and broke it, (leading to) the departure of Norv Turner, which was the red-flag indicator and the franchise has yet to recover, and the damage (is) still taking its toll. … There is no core offensive line, no leadership on the offense from the front seven, no running back, no No. 1 receiver and a tremendous void of lack of self-drafted developed players that were part of the best run in five years to set and lead the culture.

“Added to this was mentality of physical practices that continued to hurt players on the offensive line and burn out the desire of the defense to play hard when it counted most.’’


Spielman isn't good at this job. (Which has been clear since he was hired.)
And Zimmer is an old school hard headed rub some dirt on it coach who should probably be a defensive coordinator. (or a head coach with a clear focus on defense and not much more..which is what it seemed like he has been)


Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:14 pm
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Post Re: Toxic Leadership
Sounds like an angry dad throwing around a lot of speculation. The comment about overly physical practices is interesting. The NFL regulates the amount of physical practices you can have and it's way less than when he played so not sure what that's all about.


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Post Re: Toxic Leadership
S197 wrote:
Sounds like an angry dad throwing around a lot of speculation. The comment about overly physical practices is interesting. The NFL regulates the amount of physical practices you can have and it's way less than when he played so not sure what that's all about.


Typical parent of an athlete these days. I coach two sports, one varsity, and see this crap all the time. I had a parent try and sue our school because of me and my assistant coach (my father) due to "bullying and targeting their child" after we kicked him off the team for his attitude, telling us to F off and walking out of practice. And that wasn't the first run in with the kid. Of course nothing happened of it but that's the type of parents you deal with these days. If they're kid doesn't get what he wants or he isn't treated like gold, they will turn their back on you in a heartbeat. Many of them are out of control. Still some "older school" parents out there but it's quickly fading.

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Sun Mar 12, 2017 9:27 pm
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Post Re: Toxic Leadership
Reminds of Kurt Warners wife going after the media and or fans because of their critical comments about her
husband. Yeah support your kid but it is up to him to make those kind of comments.

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Sun Mar 12, 2017 9:32 pm
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Post Re: Toxic Leadership
jackal wrote:
Reminds of Kurt Warners wife going after the media and or fans because of their critical comments about her
husband. Yeah support your kid but it is up to him to make those kind of comments.


Think about it,, you never saw parents speak out back in the day. Look now, parents like Ellison, APs dad, Brady had to "ban" his dad from talking out about Goodell, and many more

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Sun Mar 12, 2017 9:41 pm
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Post Re: Toxic Leadership
Pondering Her Percy wrote:
S197 wrote:
Sounds like an angry dad throwing around a lot of speculation. The comment about overly physical practices is interesting. The NFL regulates the amount of physical practices you can have and it's way less than when he played so not sure what that's all about.


Typical parent of an athlete these days. I coach two sports, one varsity, and see this crap all the time. I had a parent try and sue our school because of me and my assistant coach (my father) due to "bullying and targeting their child" after we kicked him off the team for his attitude, telling us to F off and walking out of practice. And that wasn't the first run in with the kid. Of course nothing happened of it but that's the type of parents you deal with these days. If they're kid doesn't get what he wants or he isn't treated like gold, they will turn their back on you in a heartbeat. Many of them are out of control. Still some "older school" parents out there but it's quickly fading.

That sucks. My dad used to coach my baseball teams (20 years ago or so) and every parent liked him, except for one kid's parents who pulled his kid from the team because my dad wouldn't let him pitch (he was one of the worst pitchers I have ever played with... my dad had him try pitching in three games and he ended up with an ERA of infinity... yeah, he was that bad). They said he messed with the kid's style. It was the dumbest thing ever. The next year, the kid's coach did the same thing as my dad and the parents did the same thing. Eventually he was banned from the league (which was hilarious).

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Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:24 am
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Post Re: Toxic Leadership
I don't know about the particulars of his claims, but there is something rotten in Denmark.


Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:52 am
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Post Re: Toxic Leadership
autobon7 wrote:
Rhett Ellison’s father says free agents leaving Vikings because of ‘toxic leadership’

http://www.twincities.com/2017/03/12/rh ... eadership/

Not sure what to make of this. What do you guys think?


I think his comments should be taken seriously, not casually dismissed as the rantings of a frustrated parent. That "frustrated parent' dynamic shouldn't be dismissed either since it's clearly a factor but his comments aren't occurring in a bubble and he was on 3 Super Bowl-winning teams in SF so he probably has some understanding of what good NFL leadership looks like.

There's obviously unrest in the Vikings locker room. Turner leaving midseason was a huge red flag indicating deeper problems. Zimmer's critical, intense style has clearly rubbed some of his players the wrong way. The team's season spiraled out of control after a 5-0 start last year and that was indicative of more than just OL issues, although they were a big factor. It was also indicative of management issues, including drafting and development issues. It may be that the team is dysfunctional from the top (ie; the Wilfs) all the way down. The Vikes certainly haven't proven they have championship-caliber ownership or leadership within the organization.

It's difficult to know exactly what's going on with the team or how seriously to take the comments of a frustrated parent but since there are other indications of leadership issues and since this criticism is coming from a guy with 3 SB rings who, if I remember correctly, actually led at least one of those SB teams in tackles, I don't think we should just write the comments off. Rhett Ellison's been a "good citizen" type of player for the Vikings. His father's comments, combined with Ellison's decision to sign with the Giants, imply that Ellison may have been genuinely frustrated by what he saw going on with the Vikings. Has Rhett Ellison ever struck anybody here as a selfish, egomaniacal player, a prima donna who needs things "just so" to be happy? He certainly doesn't strike me that way. Maybe he had good reasons to be frustrated, and to leave, and maybe he communicated those reasons to his father.

It's something we should consider.


Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:03 am
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Post Re: Toxic Leadership
Mothman wrote:
There's obviously unrest in the Vikings locker room. Turner leaving midseason was a huge red flag indicating deeper problems.



absolutely.

Quote:
It's difficult to know exactly what's going on with the team or how seriously to take the comments of a frustrated parent


Also true. He is the same parent who reported that Ellison was moving on prematurely and generally seems to make a lot of racket in the media.

I think his reasoning about players leaving being the indicator that something is wrong with the Vikings leadership doesn't make much sense either. We don't even know that the Vikings tried to retain those players. From the outside in, the players they have let walk haven't been ideal fits for the team's system or are getting older. The one exception being Patterson, who I think could fit as a gadget player in this new offense. Utilizing misdirection could be a key for boosting a suspect pass protection (ala carolina) and the Jet sweep action with Patterson, for example, could be a good way to do that. I could also see them drafting a TE early and going lots of 2 TE for some of the same reasons.


Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:17 am
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Post Re: Toxic Leadership
fiestavike wrote:
Also true. He is the same parent who reported that Ellison was moving on prematurely and generally seems to make a lot of racket in the media.

I think his reasoning about players leaving being the indicator that something is wrong with the Vikings leadership doesn't make much sense either. We don't even know that the Vikings tried to retain those players. From the outside in, the players they have let walk haven't been ideal fits for the team's system or are getting older.


Good point. I certainly don't think they had an intention of keeping Matt Kalil or Charles Johnson, for example.


Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:49 am
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Post Re: Toxic Leadership
There is no way to validate the accuracy Ellisons' Father's comments. However, it cannot be denied that something went seriously wrong after the bye week. The Vikings can not talk about it all they want, but there were obviously problems. Consider:

Team goes 5-0, including beating 2 eventual NFC playoff teams and last years' NFC champion
BYE WEEK
Team goes 3-8 afterwards
Week 8, team is unable to move the ball against an utterly putrid Bear's team that was ravaged by injuries.
After Bears game, the Offensive Coordinator, a guy with over 30 years of NFL experience resigns.
Team has a chance to rebound against a free falling Colts team and instead plays it's worst Defensive game of the year.

Each of these events is pretty bad by itself. The 3-8 slide and OC resignation mid-season are both extreme events that individual would sound the alarm of MGMT problems. The fact that all four happened in an 11 game stretch tells us something isn't quite right at Winter Park.

We know there is something afoot with Zimmer's leadership style. We've seen too many examples of the team laying an egg in a game they should win to think otherwise. I listed that as one of my three critical things to fix this offseason.

As always, the question is if it can be fixed.

A telling sign will be how a guy like Kalil performs on CAR. If he suddenly reverts to pro-bowl form it will be a strong indication that the coaching regime has big problems.

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Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:17 am
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Post Re: Toxic Leadership
mansquatch wrote:
A telling sign will be how a guy like Kalil performs on CAR. If he suddenly reverts to pro-bowl form it will be a strong indication that the coaching regime has big problems.


I wouldn't agree with that. T in Carolina's offense is probably one of the easiest places to play tackle in the NFL. They use zone read plays on nearly every snap to freeze the defense and Newton's mobility keeps DEs honest.


Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:44 am
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Post Re: Toxic Leadership
I mostly lurk on here, but I'm a Zimmer fan and I wanted to say something. I think Norv Turner had a lot to do with the problems last year. Things weren't going the way he wanted so he quit, and I believe he caused a lot of division and strife in doing so. It's weak to quit in the middle of the season when you don't get your own way, and that's what he did. I think he fed into a lot of hard feelings and worked against Zimmer in that way. It's not surprising that they lost when he not only left them in the middle of the season, but, in my opinion, caused morale to drop. I think he intentionally wrecked morale on his way out. This is probably not a popular opinion but now that they've moved on from him, his son, and players/staff who were part of the problem, I think the winning starts again.


Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:50 am
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Post Re: Toxic Leadership
MountainGirl wrote:
I think Norv Turner had a lot to do with the problems last year. Things weren't going the way he wanted so he quit


Norv Turner has a long history in this league and he doesn't have a reputation as a flake. He didn't just quit because things weren't going the way he wanted.


Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:54 am
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Post Re: Toxic Leadership
fiestavike wrote:
MountainGirl wrote:
I think Norv Turner had a lot to do with the problems last year. Things weren't going the way he wanted so he quit


Norv Turner has a long history in this league and he doesn't have a reputation as a flake. He didn't just quit because things weren't going the way he wanted.


That's what he said. He didn't like the direction they decided to go with the offense, so he quit. Not professional and not good for the team. Any losses after that are his fault IMO. But let's see how things go without him and without any distractions this year.


Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:30 am
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Post Re: Toxic Leadership
Its not just Norv, its an organization that would put together a head coach and a VERY veteran OC who dont see eye to eye. An organization that would let the OC put his baby boy in charge of a developing QB. AN organization that lets its OL decay while paying a premium for an aging RB and young QB...to both of their detriment......all of this is on Spielman.


Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:43 am
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Post Re: Toxic Leadership
MountainGirl wrote:
That's what he said. He didn't like the direction they decided to go with the offense, so he quit.


That's not what he said. He said:

"It's something people may not understand. It's not me against somebody else. The situation was such ... I don't think I could get done the things we needed to get done. It wasn't something you just wake up and decide. It's been building. It wasn't going to work with me. So let me get out of the way and let them have a chance to make it work."

I think it's important to acknowledge his obvious effort to be diplomatic and to understand that leaving midseason was surprisingly out of character for Turner. He made a point of saying it was a "building" situation. I think the key to understanding what happened probably lies in that comment and in his remark that "I don't think I could get done the things we needed to get done". Why? That comment sure makes it sound like an untenable situation was allowed to develop within the organization and led to Turner stepping aside.

From the same article linked to above:

Quote:
Turner mentioned several times "where we are as a team" as a reason for why he stepped away.


That sure looks to me like a diplomatic way to say things were messed up within the organization.

Quote:
Not professional and not good for the team. Any losses after that are his fault IMO.


That's letting the people actually involved in those losses off the hook pretty easily. The players and coaches involved in the last 9 games had something to do with the outcomes.


Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:59 am
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Post Re: Toxic Leadership
Mothman wrote:
MountainGirl wrote:
That's what he said. He didn't like the direction they decided to go with the offense, so he quit.


That's not what he said. He said:

"It's something people may not understand. It's not me against somebody else. The situation was such ... I don't think I could get done the things we needed to get done. It wasn't something you just wake up and decide. It's been building. It wasn't going to work with me. So let me get out of the way and let them have a chance to make it work."

I think it's important to acknowledge his obvious effort to be diplomatic and to understand that leaving midseason was surprisingly out of character for Turner. He made a point of saying it was a "building" situation. I think the key to understanding what happened probably lies in that comment and in his remark that "I don't think I could get done the things we needed to get done". Why? That comment sure makes it sound like an untenable situation was allowed to develop within the organization and led to Turner stepping aside.

From the same article linked to above:

Quote:
Turner mentioned several times "where we are as a team" as a reason for why he stepped away.



That sure looks to me like a diplomatic way to say things were messed up within the organization.

Quote:
Not professional and not good for the team. Any losses after that are his fault IMO.


That's letting the people actually involved in those losses off the hook pretty easily. The players and coaches involved in the last 9 games had something to do with the outcomes.


Here's the quote I read: “Mike and I just had different ideas about what we needed to do and how we needed to do it,” said Turner, 64, reached at his home in Del Mar. “It wasn’t going to work, so I removed myself from it.” So basically he didn't like the direction they were going in, so he quit on the team in the middle of the season. That's weak in my opinion. I got this from the LA Times. Here's the link. http://www.latimes.com/sports/nfl/la-sp ... story.html


Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:09 pm
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Post Re: Toxic Leadership
Trying to get into the weeds on this particular issue is a useless endeavor. We do not know the full story. The whole point of my previous post could be summed up with the old cliche "where there is smoke there is fire."

I do not and cannot know exactly what is wrong or why. I'm just pointing out that the things we saw happen last year are extremely likely to have roots in managerial issues.

It could be any number of things: Maybe the guys they drafted do not "gel" with the leadership style of Zimmer and Crew. Maybe the same is true of Norv vs. Zimm? Maybe Norv got tired of things or was in fact stubborn about his system. It could be ANYTHING, we simply do not know enough of the why or how to make any meaningful conjecture beyond the simple fact that SOMETHING went terribly wrong.

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Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:37 pm
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Post Re: Toxic Leadership
MountainGirl wrote:
Here's the quote I read: “Mike and I just had different ideas about what we needed to do and how we needed to do it,” said Turner, 64, reached at his home in Del Mar. “It wasn’t going to work, so I removed myself from it.” So basically he didn't like the direction they were going in, so he quit on the team in the middle of the season. That's weak in my opinion. I got this from the LA Times. Here's the link. http://www.latimes.com/sports/nfl/la-sp ... story.html


Not to be rude, but this statement is open to interpretation. We do not how much Norv was willing to take to conclude if he or Zimmer were the individual being unreasonable. We know they reached an impasse. We do not know if it was mutual or one sided, only that it happened.

My point is that if things were healthy they never would have gotten to the point of a mid-season resignation. As who is the problem, we have no idea. IMO everyone is likely to be at least somewhat to blame.

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Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:41 pm
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Post Re: Toxic Leadership
MountainGirl wrote:
I mostly lurk on here, but I'm a Zimmer fan and I wanted to say something. I think Norv Turner had a lot to do with the problems last year. Things weren't going the way he wanted so he quit, and I believe he caused a lot of division and strife in doing so. It's weak to quit in the middle of the season when you don't get your own way, and that's what he did. I think he fed into a lot of hard feelings and worked against Zimmer in that way. It's not surprising that they lost when he not only left them in the middle of the season, but, in my opinion, caused morale to drop. I think he intentionally wrecked morale on his way out. This is probably not a popular opinion but now that they've moved on from him, his son, and players/staff who were part of the problem, I think the winning starts again.


I agree with your take for the most part. I am not sure he intentionally wrecked moral on his way out.....but it was no question a by-product of him leaving IMO. Him quitting midseason was a weak move from a leader, that is something that cannot be argued with.....Its a fact.


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Post Re: Toxic Leadership
MountainGirl wrote:
Here's the quote I read: “Mike and I just had different ideas about what we needed to do and how we needed to do it,” said Turner, 64, reached at his home in Del Mar. “It wasn’t going to work, so I removed myself from it.” So basically he didn't like the direction they were going in, so he quit on the team in the middle of the season. That's weak in my opinion. I got this from the LA Times. Here's the link. http://www.latimes.com/sports/nfl/la-sp ... story.html



Thanks for the link. Again, I think we have to consider Turner's well-established character, the larger context of his comments and his obvious efforts at diplomacy. In that context, it seems more likely to me that Turner was undermined or otherwise found himself in a situation in which he felt it was better to relieve simmering tensions that were going to be detrimental to the team by leaving rather than remain and let that situation continue to build.

If it's "weak" for a coordinator to resign mid-season, I think it's even weaker to bring in his replacement and undermine what he's trying to do, which appears to be at least part of what happened. Personally, I also suspect his comment about not being able to do the things they needed to get done may have been, in part, a jab at Rick Spielman for failing to provide Turner with the kind of personnel his system clearly needs to be successful. That's speculation though.

Regardless of how we want to perceive Turner's decision to leave, it serves as a string indication that things weren't running smoothly behind the scenes.


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Post Re: Toxic Leadership
fiestavike wrote:
MountainGirl wrote:
I think Norv Turner had a lot to do with the problems last year. Things weren't going the way he wanted so he quit


Norv Turner has a long history in this league and he doesn't have a reputation as a flake. He didn't just quit because things weren't going the way he wanted.


I don't feel she is calling him a flake. I see her point completely. His decision to leave the way he did had a negative effect on the team and attributed to the downward spiral. No question. It was a extremely weak move by a leader. That does not define excellence. Norv has been in this league for a long time and has been all over the place, with the only real success coming in Dallas, 25 years ago with HOF talent all over the offense that he oversaw. Since then he has been your average coach, not the definition of excellence.


Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:57 pm
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Post Re: Toxic Leadership
Alaskan wrote:
fiestavike wrote:
MountainGirl wrote:
I think Norv Turner had a lot to do with the problems last year. Things weren't going the way he wanted so he quit


Norv Turner has a long history in this league and he doesn't have a reputation as a flake. He didn't just quit because things weren't going the way he wanted.


I don't feel she is calling him a flake. I see her point completely. His decision to leave the way he did had a negative effect on the team and attributed to the downward spiral. No question. It was a extremely weak move by a leader. That does not define excellence. Norv has been in this league for a long time and has been all over the place, with the only real success coming in Dallas, 25 years ago with HOF talent all over the offense that he oversaw. Since then he has been your average coach, not the definition of excellence.


I don't think you actually know what you are talking about, but you are entitled to your opinion.


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Post Re: Toxic Leadership
mansquatch wrote:
MountainGirl wrote:
Here's the quote I read: “Mike and I just had different ideas about what we needed to do and how we needed to do it,” said Turner, 64, reached at his home in Del Mar. “It wasn’t going to work, so I removed myself from it.” So basically he didn't like the direction they were going in, so he quit on the team in the middle of the season. That's weak in my opinion. I got this from the LA Times. Here's the link. http://www.latimes.com/sports/nfl/la-sp ... story.html


Not to be rude, but this statement is open to interpretation. We do not how much Norv was willing to take to conclude if he or Zimmer were the individual being unreasonable. We know they reached an impasse. We do not know if it was mutual or one sided, only that it happened.

My point is that if things were healthy they never would have gotten to the point of a mid-season resignation. As who is the problem, we have no idea. IMO everyone is likely to be at least somewhat to blame.


Fair enough. My interpretation came from the words in that article combined with the fact that he quit on his team mid season, which is inexcusable IMO. Definitely up to individual interpretation though.


Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:22 pm
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Post Re: Toxic Leadership
Alaskan wrote:
I don't feel she is calling him a flake. I see her point completely. His decision to leave the way he did had a negative effect on the team and attributed to the downward spiral. No question. It was a extremely weak move by a leader. That does not define excellence.


But the question at hand is what conditions led to his departure, not just the impact his departure had on the season. He didn't leave for no reason so what is it about the team's culture and what was happening behind the scenes, within the management structure, that precipitated Turner's departure? A situation that results in the OC resigning midseason doesn't strike me as "defining excellence" either.


Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:33 pm
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Post Re: Toxic Leadership
mansquatch wrote:
Trying to get into the weeds on this particular issue is a useless endeavor. We do not know the full story. The whole point of my previous post could be summed up with the old cliche "where there is smoke there is fire."

I do not and cannot know exactly what is wrong or why. I'm just pointing out that the things we saw happen last year are extremely likely to have roots in managerial issues.

It could be any number of things: Maybe the guys they drafted do not "gel" with the leadership style of Zimmer and Crew. Maybe the same is true of Norv vs. Zimm? Maybe Norv got tired of things or was in fact stubborn about his system. It could be ANYTHING, we simply do not know enough of the why or how to make any meaningful conjecture beyond the simple fact that SOMETHING went terribly wrong.


Well said.


Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:35 pm
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Post Re: Toxic Leadership
I have never been a fan of Turner but it was obvious that something was going on behind closed doors. Then when he vacates the job when we were the last undefeated team left........He told the Minneapolis Start Tribune...."it got to the point where I didn't think it was going to work with me. So I removed myself". Great leader.....I think not.


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Post Re: Toxic Leadership
Alaskan wrote:
MountainGirl wrote:
I mostly lurk on here, but I'm a Zimmer fan and I wanted to say something. I think Norv Turner had a lot to do with the problems last year. Things weren't going the way he wanted so he quit, and I believe he caused a lot of division and strife in doing so. It's weak to quit in the middle of the season when you don't get your own way, and that's what he did. I think he fed into a lot of hard feelings and worked against Zimmer in that way. It's not surprising that they lost when he not only left them in the middle of the season, but, in my opinion, caused morale to drop. I think he intentionally wrecked morale on his way out. This is probably not a popular opinion but now that they've moved on from him, his son, and players/staff who were part of the problem, I think the winning starts again.


I agree with your take for the most part. I am not sure he intentionally wrecked moral on his way out.....but it was no question a by-product of him leaving IMO. Him quitting midseason was a weak move from a leader, that is something that cannot be argued with.....Its a fact.


I agree as well. I've mentioned before that he knew the OL was struggling and was still burying Bradford under center going into 7 step drops. Notice how there was a drastic change in the passing game when he left? I honestly think he was being stubborn. He wanted to run the offense the way he always has and didnt want to change it. I could see Zim going to him asking to shorten up our drops and get the ball out quicker and that just wasn't his style.

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Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:01 pm
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