Letters to the Editor

Packers fans comment on defense, Favre, Jerry Kramer

God bless the hurricane survivors
Dear Todd,
My heart goes out to Brett Favre and his family. Thank God they are all safe. It must have been very hard for Brett not to be able to communicate with Deanna and the girls. And what a terrible ordeal for his mother and grandmother. I just cry when I think about it. All of those people who have lost everything. Every day the news is more devastating for these victims. It sure makes the rest of us realize how lucky we are. May God bless all of them and help them get through this horrible ordeal.
Diane Herd, Marysville, Ohio

Favre is overrated
Harry Sydney,
Thank you for writing what many packer fans believe but most media refuse to print. It is obvious that Farve has played badly and continues to get 'teflon' reviews.

No great QB has ever melted down in big games the way Farve has. If you compare his playoff numbers, even including the MVP years, it is terrible. NO other QB mentioned as great has choked so badly and been allowed so many errors.

A couple of years ago in New Orleans Favre admitted throwing the ball away to avoid getting hit on several passes but it got no media coverage to speak of. The disaster against the Rams in the playoffs was the worst game I have ever seen from a QB in the playoffs.

Favre's dad dies and it is national news. One of our linebacker's father dies and most people can't name him much less understand why the LB got to miss practice a couple of times. Favre's statement on his training and running out of gas speak volumes about how he has played in recent years, especially with his boneheaded play last year in the playoffs against the Vikings.

I would like to see someone write a story with Favre's QB rankings in playoff games.

As far as Bates goes, I believe coaching is the single most important piece of a team puzzle. Last year I thought Bob Slowik was a disaster. I live in Chicago and saw how bad he was. Nepotism is alive and well in the NFL. I thought losing our best QB because (1) Sherman, a disaster as GM, rubbed his face in his contract with the timing of the new Al Harris contract - a public insult not in the media and even worse because Harris was not as good a CB; and (2) the complaints about the scheme and broken promises about moving assistant coaches up got no media time.

I think Hunt should have been cut. If he was an Eagle he would have been long gone. There is a reason they get production from people who can't get it done elsewhere. Last year the Eagles lost what most experts called the best defensive backfield in the game, but they get winning and dominating. Trotter was all pro as an Eagle and stunk as a Redskin. He dominates again as an Eagle. Why? What has changed? Coaching. How can Eagle drafts pan out and ours not? Coaching.

Why do we develop the best offensive lineman in the game? Look at the rankings of guards in the NFL and count how many were developed by the OL coach. Look the draft choices and free agents on the defensive line and see what has been wasted due to poor coaching. Is it just luck that we can draft OL and not DL? I don't think so.

The assistant coaches should be held accountable for the production of the personnel they have, if they argued against a choice, fans should know.
Mark Vietzen, mvietzen@earthlink.net

Too many holes in defense
Dear Todd,
I was delighted to read your column this morning and also at last to see a frank and critical discussion of Mike Sherman in Steve Lawrence's column in the same installment. The problems that are exploding in the Packers' preseason performance this year, however, are all merely the culmination of what is by now a long history of the same issues finally coming home to roost.

My Packer buddies and I have all been in utter dismay for many moons now with regard to Sherman's bad decision-making and the way that, under his tenure, the immense talents of such a rare thoroughbred as Brett Favre are being squandered during what should really be the most glorious period in his already sensational career. Moreover, I have written to Packer Report on this subject numerous times by this point in time, but, unfortunately, its editors seem to prefer printing more emotive than analytical letters or simply keeping a tight lid on any serious discussion of what many fans are increasingly viewing as an abomination.

I am thus certain that committed Packer fans would be grateful if you or one of the other Packer Report columnist were to write a piece on the increasingly dismal state of the defense over the past several years. The great defense of the Super Bowl XXXI team was obviously a tough act to follow, but it now seems that the entire prospect of playing that side of the ball has been dismissed––and, amazingly, it just gets worse every year.

There is much talk of Favre's mistakes, but after watching every game live on television and then rewatching all of them again on tape afterward, it is clear that it is not only the overall weakness of the defense that has to answer for this situation, but its almost uncanny tendency to give up touchdowns (or at least field goals), often on big plays, on the first or second series after the offense has put points on the board, and usually by way of a long and sustained drive. One hardly has to be a psychologist to see what pressure is put on the offense, and especially Favre. As a result, no offense can go out and play meticulous football if it is constantly trying to compensate for a defense that won't allow it to win a football game unless it scores 21 to 28 points in every outing. (And let us hope, too, that the receiving corps' long-standing tendencies to drop balls and blow routes is not once again coming so brutally to the fore! After all, last year saw some improvement in that area.)

It seems, too, that the defensive backfield has taken a lot of undeserved heat as a result of perhaps the most troubling weakness on the defensive side of the ball for some while now: the front line. Any decent NFL quarterback will tear pass defenders to shreds if allowed the time in the pocket that the defensive line has increasingly afforded its opponents over the past several years.

My Packers friends and I have had this conversation, it seems, for nearly a decade now, though it clearly intensifies annually, and we remain utterly dismayed to watch each off-season come to a close without any attention to the matter. I read one piece this summer that said no one would know how bad the Packers truly are until Favre retires, and it makes me wonder if anyone in the organization is fully cognizant of the opportunity that is being wasted with a quarterback of this caliber (Favre is completely taken for granted, and yet it remains questionable if any of the teams since the early- to mid-1990s would have been .500 without him). The window is closing, and, for my part, I am simply amazed that Favre continues to return year after year without some obvious adjustments being made. Not only does it make it harder to win, but it must make it a whole lot less fun - if not downright frustrating as well.

In any event, I think your readers would be very appreciative of some tough journalism on the subject, and I thank you in advance for any attention you might be willing to give the matter in a future column.

Brook Blair, Boulder, Colo.

Kramer left off ballot again
Well, they did it again. I just read in the newspaper that the HOF (pro football) Seniors Committee has picked the finalists for 2006. No JERRY KRAMER again.I will continue to write letters and nominate Jerry every year,but as of now I will consider the pro football HOF to be inferior to the PACKER HOF.

I hope ALL PACKER FANS are just as fed up as I am. The PACKER HOF is a much more honorable and prestigious institution.

John McNichol, Altoona, Pa.

After watching three of the Packers preseason games, I truly have a lot of doubts not only with our defense, but with our offense as well. Letting go of both of our guards (Wahle and Rivera) is turning out to be devastating. We cannot run the ball any more, or offer Favre the protection and time he needs to make plays. Maybe at least we should have tried to keep one them on board, it would have been easier to replace one and not two.

I praise the club for finally signing Bubba Franks to a long-term deal. The club really needs him, especially in the position the Packers are in.

Defensively, whoa!! Where do you want me to begin? I can certainly say that both of our defensive tackles are damaged goods (Hunt and Jackson). Do you think the Packers will be able to make a run at Corey Simon signing him to a long term deal if the get rid of either Hunt or Jackson, but not both. The club really needs to think about the possibility of signing Simon, it would be an upgrade for the club. The Packers have no one else that has stood out, and currently cannot stop the run. Simon would fit perfectly in Bates scheme.

Linebackers: I like Ray Thompson, I think if he stays healthy him and Barnett would be a good duo in Bates system.

Secondary: I just don't know about this one. They were better off staying with Sharper and they still could have drafted Collins, and gotten rid of Roman. Don't you think Sharper and Collins would have been a better duo?
Luis Mora, Boca Raton, Fla.

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