Mike Sherman, I believe, is in his make or break year. I think this year, or I hope this year will be his best coaching job to date because any excuses he might have will be eliminated. Sure he was spread too thin trying to do too much as GM and Head Coach. He was never cut out for both jobs in the first place. But how could he turn it down? Look at his decisions and tell me he wasn't in over his head as a GM. But now he can concentrate on what he does better, and that's coach football.
Am I a Sherman fan? NO, but I do think he is a good coach. This year I hope he will do a better job of understanding the strengths of the team sooner than after the bye week. Hopefully he will do a better job of communicating with his players and letting them communicate with him. He also has to be better at defining what type of team this will be. Will the Packers be a running team, play-action team, a going-for-broke team, or a move-the-chains team? Sherman has to stick with it to stop the confusion I've seen over the last few years.
Mike Sherman must understand that the division has changed and NO ONE fears the Packers anymore, and coach accordingly. His clock management must get better before halftime, and his ability to understand the flow of the game must improve. If he's going to call the plays, do so because it's about winning.
Sherman must be willing to get rid of the dead weight on the staff as well. Offensive coordinator Tom Rossley is a friend. He did a lot of behind-the-scene stuff, but because Sherman now has more time to prepare the game plans, what is Rossley's real role if Sherman is calling the plays?
Trust me I think Sherman is a good coach, but he could be so much better and will need to be for the Packers to have a good year this year. I understand the winning record and percentage and where he stands. That's good enough if you like watching other teams play in the Super Bowl. NO MORE EXCUSES!
Tom Rossley has been the focal point of many arm-chair quarterbacks that have thought he's been a terrible play caller. I have defended him because every coach is involved with the game planning and calling. The head coach hears every play and has the power to veto the call.
My problem with Rossley is that many times it appears he has no clue of what to call in crucial situations, which was apparent when Mike took the play calling from him. Then the Packers started to get in a groove and for some reason Sherman gave it back to him, and he didn't seem to handle it. My question is why is he still the play-caller? If he isn't calling the plays, why is he still the coordinator? Too many times this team has been too predictable and didn't use the straight drop back from the I-formation enough. This puts pressure on the linebackers with the threat of the run. By doing this they would have allowed Bubba Franks more room to run in the middle of the field getting him more involved in the passing game because of Ahman Green's presence. As good as this offense is it could be so much better. PRESSURE'S ON!
Jim Bates is a special guy and the Packers are lucky to have acquired this man. He very much reminds me of the late Fritz Shurmur. Bates has the ability to make everyone believe in his system probably because it is a simple system, one that lines you up and just let's you play. But Bates is smarter than you think. Why, you might ask? Because he is in a NO LOSE SITUATION. If Jim can just help the defense improve any, he's a miracle worker and if he doesn't he can blame it on the lack of talent. He's a motivator, he's full of energy, he shows passion and fire, and he's really auditioning for a head coaching job. With Mike Sherman not having his contract extended yet and this really being a rebuilding year that no one wants to mention, who knows what's going to happen in the future? But we know change is looming if this team doesn't do well.
Let's look at what Bates must overcome: A weak defensive line that consists of an overachiever in Aaron Kampman, a no show in Cletidus Hunt, a pass rusher-only in Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. Grady Jackson wants more money, but he is coming off an injury and has weight issues. Bates has linebackers that are playing out of position because they have no one else to push them. His two second-year corners – Joey Thomas and Ahmad Carroll - are fighting with each other and neither one is ready to start, though, one of them will have to. Bates also has safeties that wouldn't start anywhere else, and young players that they hope can play. They are young and are the jack of all trades, but master of none. The Packers drafted corners that could be safeties or defensive linemen that might be linebackers HOLD ON JIM!
John Bonamego, Frank Novak and Brad Miller and nothing special nor worth talking about. The schemes are terrible and produce nothing. TIME TO HELP, NOT HURT!
Editor's note: Harry Sydney's column appears each Tuesday on PackerReport.com. The former Packer fullback and assistant coach answers questions from fans each Friday on PackerReport.com. If you have a question for Harry, e-mail it to PackerReport.com managing editor Todd Korth at email@example.com.