Letters to the editor

Fans sound off on Packers' woes

Thompson has simple decision to make
Todd:
There are some who are on the Fire Sherman kick while others say he's a good coach and should stay. The facts show that Sherman has a winning record. He has a number of division titles, has been to the playoffs as a head coach more than Infante, Gregg, Starr, Rhodes, Devine and Bengtson COMBINED. The team under Sherman was one play away from the Super Bowl. Hmmm ... based on this info why fire him? Ray Rhodes was fired for 8-8.

Ted Thompson's decision is actually quite simple ... he should be able to make the decision by answering one simple question: Has Mike Sherman made the proper moves to make Green Bay a better team or kept it at the same level since he took the team over from Mike Holmgren (for all intensive purposes) and Ron Wolf?
Joe C, rjcousin@yahoo.com, Woodbury, MN

Reasons to fire Sherman … Letterman style
Todd,
Here are Dave Letterman's top 10 reasons why Sherman should go:
10. Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers....we're not talking apple

9. He could substitute the pen in his mouth for a fine Cuban, if he could figure out how to win

8. Count on a loss on opening day

7. Superb eye for talent...... and trades up for punters

6. Phila playoff game......4th and 1 punt, 4th ad 26, complete, game over

5. Has worked hard to create home field disadvantage

4. He has mastered slow starts to the season, very tough to overcome today!

3. Appears clueless much of the time

2. Only has 2 playoff wins … in 6 years

1. Enjoys GM salary without the duty and continues to worsen; will never be anything more than average at best

P.S. He is a nice guy, but that won't get you too far in the NFL. Please Ted do something!
Craig Schlomer, Packmancrs@msn.com, Mount Laurel, N.J.

Time has caught up to Favre
Todd:
I ride a Harley and I can tell you that it is not the perfect machine, but some of the die-hards will not have it that it isn't the best bike in the universe. It's that same type of mentality that makes some fans rave that Favre is as good as he ever was, and is still the best QB in the league. One has only got to look at the numbers to see that he is not as good as he was.

No doubt he was fantastic and along with the rest of the team, and the coaching staff, brought us many memorable years. That said, one must face the fact that time marches on and some of the young QBs are the best in the league today. That is not to deride Favre, but just facing reality and not making him out to be the only QB in history who played as good on his last day as he did at the height of his career.

It seems like most of the announcers also have a love affair with Favre constantly raving about how "only Favre could do that" when in fact other QBs are doing exactly what he does and then some. Peyton Manning will probably break most of the records, yet he doesn't get the accolades that Favre does. It's time to just be realistic about the way things are today while acknowledging that Brett was indeed exciting and wonderful to watch in his prime.
Grant Thomas, intewedm@yahoo.com, Brookfield, WI

Random thoughts on Packers
Hi Todd:
I haven't written in a while, but I thought I'd weigh in on the year we're having, and render some random thoughts on our Packers. First and foremost is a look towards next year, and our coaching.

Does Mike Sherman deserve an opportunity to continue as the Packers Coach? My personal opinion has been up and down with Mike Sherman as coach over the years. I am now decidedly down.

To me he has shown a propensity to be conservative at the worst times in games; or if not conservative, the opposition is out-coaching him. His game plan seems to be score points and then sit on the lead. Unfortunately the other team has this desire to score points, too. Under Mr. Sherman they have done so, and he seems to lack the understanding and concept of using his offense to continue scoring (New Orleans game being an aberration) and take the pressure off the defense.

Under Sherman's conservative approach we have seen a switch from the West Coast Offense to a hybrid emphasis on running back. We have seen him announce (when we acquired Ahman Green as running back) that the team was Ahman's. No longer was it Brett Favre's team, and Favre (the consummate team player) acknowledged and supported this. This, more than anything else, should have been alarming to all Packer fans. The leader of the team has to be the quarterback. When you create doubt; when you upsurp that belief, what ensues is mediocrity.

Under Mike Sherman the approach has been to run first. Give the ball to the running back, and pass if you have to. Games have taken on a predictability that emphasizes his conservative approach. Run. Pass if you have to. But Run. Score points, and sit on lead. Defense called upon to stop other team. Oh, should have drafted better on defense. Cletidus Hunt? Can you help me out here? Remember the bonus? Oh you don't care because you already have your money. Defense can't hold other team. Brett can you bail me out here? Just get us into field goal range. What do you mean score a touchdown? Why do that when three points will do? Why not do just enough to win?

Because that attitude will never get you over the hump, and when push comes to shove the coach who believes in dominating every single aspect of the game and believes in not only winning, but winning decisively is a Super Bowl coach. These coaches are the Mike Holmgrens, Bill Cowhers, Vince Lombardis, John Maddens of the football world. Sherman is just a caretaker.

The travesty has been taking not only the ball out of Favre's hands and emphasizing the run, but attempting to redefine and reduce his role to one of mediocrity. Please remember that this switch happened under Sherman, and happened years prior to necessity. Now, after years of working to contain and comprise the role of Favre, Brett has finally reached a point in his career where now maybe his skills are diminishing. Now, maybe the focus should go to an emphasis to the run.

Can Favre still lead the Packers? Absolutely. Is he the player he once was? Not any more. But I would still take Favre's competitiveness and leadership before any other quarterback in the National Football League. And he is still a top 10 quarterback.

As much as I favor Favre, and respect his opinion of not wanting to start over in a new system, there are a couple of coaches available who he should considered (I did not like any of your choices in the recent Packer Report).

Jim Bates would be my first choice as a Packers head coach, followed very closely by Steve Mariucci. Defense wins championships, and Bates appears to have earned an opportunity to run the whole show. As an interim head coach at Miami, Bates did a decent job, and deserves a chance. Mariucci is a proven winner, is familiar with Favre, and would be a welcome addition.

Take your pick, I certainly would applaud either one.
Jon L. Olson, jolson8990@cs.com, Andover, MN

Fans still buying Packer merchandise
PackerReport.com,
Here in Arkansas, at the sports store, I noticed that of all the team stuff, mugs, hats and all, the Packers had the lowest stock. I commented on it, and the sales girl agreed, that even in such a bad year, the Pack is still one of the most popular teams

GO PACK, GO!
Jay Chappie, jay@tcs-info.com, Bentonville, AR

Lot of rebuilding ahead for Packers
Good morning Todd,
It's been a few weeks since I have written you and Packer Report. After watching the Packer/Ravens game, I don't know where to start with my comments. However, I will give it my best shot having never been short on words regarding the Packers. One thing for sure, Mike Sherman saved Kyle Boller's job for another week and maybe even Brian Billick's.

Let's start with Sherman. I know you think he should be brought back. After last night it's clear to me he has lost this team. Brett is pushing the game and not making great decisions. However with the "O" line being so poor I am surprised he has time to even make bad decisions. I couldn't understand some of the play-calling Monday night. When Favre lined up with an empty backfield he had no time to do anything except get hit, HARD! With our anemic "O" line, I would have had No. 33 back there to take some of the heat off. Secondly, as I look closer at Sherman's resume and his draft day decisions. I look at players we have let go and now they are doing well with other teams., Bhawoh Jue, Hunter Hillenmeyer to name a couple. Perhaps we should look at our player development. I have said it before and I will say it again. I cringe when I think of Bevell attempting to develop Aaron Rodgers. Just look at Favre's numbers under Holmgren (QB coaches were Mooch and Andy Reid) vs. Sherman (QB coach Darrell Bevell). It will be interesting to see what happens after the Seattle game. Ray Rhodes was fired for going 8-8.

I have a couple of questions regarding Ted Thompson. I just read the morning edition of the "The Green Bay Press Gazette" on-line. Harlan is so very pleased with Thompson's performance and how he is a frugal GM and prefers to build through the draft. Now I am not saying throw Ted Thompson off the back of the boat, but if that is the case then retain the players you draft, i.e. Mike Wahle. Over the last six seasons, the Packers have done a very poor job of retaining and replacing lost talent. Look at the defensive side of the ball, we never really replaced Reggie White, Santana Dotson, LeRoy Butler, Mike McKenzie, Josh Bidwell, Marco Rivera, Mike Wahle, Tyrone Williams, I could continue but I won't. One more point on Ted Thompson. I read yesterday where the Pack picked Rod Gardner off waivers. Why on earth didn't Thompson try and get a receiver after Javon Walker went down? Thompson waits until there are two games left? This should have been done in Week 2 or 3. There were plenty of them available.

Lastly, Harlan said in his article that Ron Wolf recommended Thompson for the job. I wrote a few weeks back (10/25/05 Reaction to the Action) guessing this was the case and today it was confirmed. Hopefully John Jones will be able to make a football decision! Once and for all let's get off this Ron Wolf kick. We all read every day how he will probably be the GM of some team next year. Perhaps a bitter rival such as Minnesota or Detroit!

There is a lot of work to do in the off-season. I am hoping Thompson can improve his report card and work on rebuilding this team!

Michael Fosso, mfosso@ssww.com, Colchester, CT

Team has quit on Sherman
Todd,
As we all witnessed Monday night, the team has quit on Sherman and his coaching staff. No one in there right mind can argue otherwise. This was beyond ugly. A 48-3 thrashing put on these Packers by the Ravens?! Anyone who heard John Madden's sympathetic comments about Sherman's coaching ability needs to reminded right now that Madden was once a Head Coach himself. There is a fraternity bond of sorts between former and present head coaches. One would NEVER lobby for another's firing. EVER!

That said, They only hope for this team is to rebuild. The wheels have fallen off the wagon! The look in Favre's eyes Monday night told me that he is growing more and more weary of the team's present and future prospects. The Favre era is over folks. He doesn't want to go out like this, but this team's future looks very unappealing. I only hope that the team head honcho's have enough sense to keep him from getting injured in the process of finishing this horrific season! I can just picture him getting absolutely clobbered in the waning moments next week against the Bears by Brian Urlacher & Co. I cringe at the mere thought of it.

Mike Sherman & Co. are 50% of the problem. The other 50% has to be shared by Thompson and the rest of the Packer brass. It starts from the top folks! In any business, the success, or the failure stems from decisions made by higher ups. This is the first game this year when I have seen every single player, thru the course of a game, on one play or another, lay down and quit! Offense, Defense, Special Teams. This team has quit on Sherman & Co, plain and simple.
Gary Allen, garysremodel@sbcglobal.net, Sunnyvale, CA

Quit criticizing Favre
Dear Mr. Korth and Packer Report,
I cannot stand to hear people continue to criticize Favre for his interceptions, his play, or hear that his skills are diminishing. After watching last night's debacle in Baltimore on MNF, suggests AGAIN that even Brett Favre cannot do this alone. Believe me...there nothing wrong with Brett Favre! He's the same guy I've watched all these years. I'm talking about the play of his receiving corp.

While Brett will stand by his guys until the end, they plain and simple DO NOT GET OPEN for him. Until Javon came along (and we know where Javon has been since Week 1), Brett hasn't had anyone to throw to since his last Super Bowl in January 1998. Think about it for a minute: Is Brett supposed to sit on the ball and get sacked every passing play? Or is he supposed to "try" and sling it in there hoping his guy comes up with it? Time and time again I've seen this all year.

I've watched Brett for too long and I know that he WILL get the ball to the right receiver...if he's open! Why do you think they run that quick slant all the time? Because it's ONE move for a wide receiver coming off the block...a fake out and slant in. A quick timing play. Our receivers aren't good enough to get separation after 5 seconds. Plain and simple. Remember draft day when the Pack chose Ferguson over Chris Chambers? Hmmm ... Chambers makes even Gus Frerotte LOOK GOOD!

Finally, I'd like to use an excerpt from ESPN's Sports Reporters. It was John Saunders who so poetically wrote what I call the "horse analogy." In his message, Saunders explains that Favre's effectiveness or health is not the issue. "It's clear the Green Bay Packers have not done what Favre has done: honor a commitment to win," Saunders said. "The Packers have done nothing to surround him with the type of players that could lead to another Super Bowl. I can't stand watching Favre go down with this ship. It's like watching Secretariat run with a bunch of plow horses."
Mark, a Brett Favre fan from Farmington, MN, mlavey@questared.com

Get on with the rebuilding!
Todd:
Rather than beat up on the Packers, I'd like the thank Brett Favre for the past years when he was in his prime. They were wonderful years and now the Packers find themselves where all the tremendous teams of the past are at - in need of rebuilding. The power has shifted from the NFC to the AFC, and from the West and Central to the East.

There is no shame in admitting that time has caught up with Favre. If that weren't the case, Joe Montana would still be leading a powerhouse San Francisco. Favre's play makes it obvious that he is in the twilight of his career. The fact that he throws into coverage, overthrows, underthrows, misses open receivers, etc. are not the fault of anyone other than himself. You can be a Favre fan and still be honest about the obvious. Age catches up with everyone in a demanding sport.

If Thompson doesn't clean house in the coaching staff, and among the players who show no professional level ability, then we are in for a long dry spell. He doesn't make enough noise to determine if he is the man for the GM position. Harlan's departure is a positive for the future. Let's cross our fingers and hope for the best. In the meantime, let the glory years of Favre et al sustain us just as the glory years of Starr and Lombardi did for so long!
Grant Thomas, intewedm@yahoo.com, Brookfield, WI

A positive note
PackerReport.com,
Hey, I know Monday night's game was awful! The Packers looked disheveled, worn out and defeated, but they still appeared to try. We will get nowhere this year, but there is next year and the year after and all fans as well as players need to put each loss away and move forward. I do hope Favre doesn't base any retirement decision on the losses and make a decision based on his desire, skill and love of the game. Personally, I hope he comes back another year and give it another go. If he decides to leave the game, thanks for all the wonderful memories. Favre, you are the greatest and nothing will change that.

Merry Christmas to the Packers, Packer Backers, and everyone else. God bless everyone!
Mary Trinko, packer_1960@yahoo.com, Lima, OH

A few problems to address
Mr. Todd Korth,
Where to start. Coach Sherman took the Packers to three playoff games in the past three years. That was before Mr. Thompson came on board and the team went down the tube. Did Mr. Thompson have something to do with this failed year? Has his presents created a problem for the coaches and the players? Something to think about. When talk is about replacing the coach everything must be considered. First, the O-line doesn't seem to be able to open holes for running backs. This is a coaching problem. The receivers cannot find the holes to get into to be open to receive Brett's passes. Brett threw some long passes Monday night and the only people near the pass were the Ravens. What kind of play-calling is this? And who called it? Again, this is problem with coaching. Who coaches the quarterbacks? Overlooking the injuries and the loss of players to the open market, the replacement players are still pros.

Monday night they played without a cause. The defense was rated 5th in the league. By who? There were missed tackles by the droves. They telegraphed the few blitzes they did try. The special teams were just as bad. Not staying in their lanes is coaching and there is no discipline. In fact, there is no discipline on the team when you look at the penalties they are having. Head Coach, take note.

So what do we do from here? Fire the Head Coach and start over? I think not. Replace the O-line coach if he cannot get the line go block and open holes. Replace the receivers coach period. Sterling Sharpe may be available. Sterling always got open and knows how to find that opening. Then shape up the defense. Yes, some are rookies and they will learn. But putting a corner up against a receiver who is six- to eight-inches taller is a definite mismatch. Mr. Thompson spent time scouting the college teams this year. Will he produce some stellar players in the draft this April? Let's hope so and get some better coaches for Sherman.
Carl Nordquist, carmar@Windomnet.com, Windom, MN

Better days ahead for Packers
PackerReport.com,
It has been a long time coming, but it would seem that we entered the time machine and gone back to the Green Bay Packers of 1969-70.

As this season has long ago gotten out of hand and a winning record (forget about the playoffs) is beyond our grasp. I have noticed more and more people abandoning the Packers on game days - going fishing, cleaning the basement ... whatever. I was shopping today and had on one of my Packer sweatshirts and I had more than a few people ask me how I could wear such a thing! Sales of Packer jerseys, hats and other merchandise is down this holiday season. Is this what we as Packer fans of the past 15 years of having a winning/Super Bowl contending franchise have become? Fans who decide that if we are not in the race for the Lombardi are not worth supporting? Fans who no longer feel a pride in wearing the Green and Gold of the Green Bay Packers, of which many of us claimed to bleed that same Green and Gold? Will we abandon the player whom many have stated is the greatest quarterback in terms of heart and desire to ever put foot on an NFL field and call for his benching or retirement? Will we turn further away from "our" Packers if Ted Thompson and company decide to give Mike Sherman another chance?

I remember the Packers of the Glory Years of the 60's. Remember the Packers of the less than glory filled 70's and 80's. And I remember thinking that Jerry Tagge or Scott Hunter or Lynn Dickey would become the next great Packer quarterback. That no matter how bad the experts said we would finish I held onto the dream that we would each season return the trophy that holds the name of the greatest coach in NFL history to that small city in that cold northern state - Green Bay, Wisconsin! And then it did indeed happen. It made all those "bad" years worth it. I think that for those of us that stay heart and soul with this version of the team that we call "OUR" Green Bay Packers. The return to our next Glory Days will be much sweeter. I would hope that the Packer Train stays full during this period of unmet expectations. But to those who jump off. We may not save a seat this time.
James Marx, BIGPACFAN@aol.com, La Crosse, WI

E-mail your thoughts on the Packers to PackerReport.com managing editor Todd Korth at packrepted@aol.com. Be sure to include your name, city/state and e-mail address at the end of each letter.


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