WARNING: New subject. Not that I don't have any thoughts on Packer management right now, it just doesn't seem to really matter much. Everyone else has said it all.
How about that Orange Bowl game? Wasn't that exciting? Isn't it time that the NFL adopt the overtime rules of college football? Start each team at the 25 yard line and let them go at it. It's fair. It's exciting. It's the way to go. The present overtime system is a joke that too often leaves you feeling cheated. Is this even being considered? How does the players union feel about this? Management?
And while we're changing things, let's adopt a modified version of the NBA's draft lottery. Why should a team like Houston be awarded the top pick for their ineptitude? Did they play to lose in order to get the number one pick? I don't know. We may never know that for sure. But if the bottom five teams were thrown into a lottery it really wouldn't matter and there would not be the temptation or the perception of trying to "throw any games."
I hated hearing people talk about the Packers late season victory over the Lions as the wrong thing to do. Are they crazy? The Packers not trying to win? When that day comes I'll switch my allegiance.
Thanks for listening. Anyone else out there feel the same way?
Chuck Hochmuth firstname.lastname@example.org, Lowell, IN
Sherman's teams could never hold lead
I think that it was a good move to fire Sherman, considering his slow starts and his difficulty winning games in the playoffs. Most important, though, was his tendency to let leads slip. This year we've seen stats about Parcells and Cowher being almost unbeatable once they get a solid lead of ten points.
Patrick, email@example.com, Chicago, IL
Thankful for Brett Favre
To Mr. Todd Korth and the Rest of The Faithful Green Bay Packer Fans,
Now I will start out this letter by saying KUDOS to Mr. Brett Favre for an outstanding effort in trying to be the best quarterback to try turning around an injury stricken and unexperienced football team in the Green Bay Packers this season. Afterall folks, try putting yourself in this man's shoes:
# 1: This man's brother-in-law passing away
# 2: This man's father passing away
# 3: This man's wife enduring the trauma of finding out she had breast cancer, and her time recovering from it
# 4: Hurricane Katrina tearing up his family's home
Tell me fans, would you want to quit a life-long dream of being a part of a successful football team, when you face all of this? Count your lucky stars that he didn't quit sooner, because I do believe that the majority of you packer fans would have, if you were in his shoes. I believe that the Man has a lot of years left in him to be a successful leader of an NFL football team. This year, he had just lost his supporting players as in a Javon Walker, Ahman Green, Bubba Franks, Najeh Davenport, and had to deal with, at best, a 3rd team receiver in Robert Ferguson, who i believe should be cut from the roster in the offseason, because his ability to go across the middle since the Jacksonville Jaguar game in Dec. of 2004 when get got his bell rung. Brett Favre can only win games with a supporting cast surrounding him...and the cast he had with him this year couldn't hold their own jock, for all I am concerned.
And, yes, I believe that one of the problems with the dismal year this season, was the awful play calling that the former coach Sherman allowed in the games. Yes I do know that there is an offensive coordinator that usually does the job of calling plays, but I also know that the plays wouldn't even be a factor if they weren't agreed upon before each game. Either Sherman was too personally involved with some of his coaching staff, or he didn't have the brass to throw a few "electrical" plays in the play chart every week to keep the opponent thinking. Sherman did have a few play changes....but the changes that he made were so similar to the original plays, that it didn't matter. So I do believe that Sherman was let go because his lack of enthusiasm when it came to play calling, his lack of discipline to his coaching staff and players, and when the game became big, like the playoff loss to Atlanta 3 years back, the playoff loss to Philadelphia 2 years back and the playoff loss to Minnesota last season should be enough evidence that Sherman's ability to overcome adversity in the big games was highly in question. Regardless of this season's record of 4-12, Sherman has been given several chances to show that he is a true winning coach. Regular season results mean nothing, if when in the post-season, Sherman came up short every time.
Now as far as some of you Packer Fans questioning Ted Thompson as being a highly respected, and a successful leader as far as the GM duties are concerned, you have nothing to stand on. Yes, Ron Wolf did hire Mike Sherman to be GM as his replacement when he stepped down, and he also allowed him to run the team as well. Anyone can see that there is no successful team in the NFL right now that has the same person as head coach and GM. The duties combined are way too much for any single person to endure....look at MIke Holmgren in Seattle. But people, this was Ted Thompson's first year as the Packers GM. Ron Wolf wasn't successful his first year either. Give Ted Thompson a break!!!!
The off-season choices that Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy make will definately be a measure to how the Packers perform next season, and will quite possibly be the answer to Brett's decision to retire, or be the leader that we all know he can be.
As far as I'm concerned, Brett still has 3 or 4 god years in his arm and knowledge of the game, and I hope that he has started his conditioning for next year, because I believe that Brett Favre is still THE MAN to lead the Green Bay packers to the Super Bowl.
Clint Malueg, firstname.lastname@example.org, Green Bay WI
What's going on in Green Bay?
As a dedicated fan of the Green Bay Packers for over 40 years (Shareholder living in Maryland and all) I am at a complete loss as to what this organization is doing!! Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy had better take the Packers to a better than 8-8 season next year or I expect that both of them will be gone.
Let's face it, Green Bay only has our rich football fan history for players to be drawn to. In a era of Free Agency and "What's in it for me?" mentality, players are only coming to Green Bay for one thing - MONEY. In a small NFL market and no high profile players like Reggie White or Brett Favre there is little draw unless we are winning enough games to get the extra cash/incentives that comes with winning and the extra TV dollars. Remember, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is still being worked out. Green Bay has little to bargain with as a small market Team that has small TV draw if we are not winning games. The latest polls show that our TV market has already dropped and without a guy like Favre to bring in the fans that truly just love to watch a football professional like him, we are lost. I remember many, many seasons of losing records prior to another Mike coming to Green Bay. He didn't need any time to turn the Packers into a winning (and money making) team. I hope this Mike can do as well - for his, and our, sake.
Jeff Behnke, email@example.com, Gaithersburg, MD
Hopefully Favre will return to Packers
I am just a Packer fan in Arizona. I hope Brett doesn't quit this year, I love my Packers. I was born and raised in northern Wisconsin, and I have loved the Packers for many years. Even is they lose, I still love them and I think we have the best fans in the league, and the best team. Brett is just a super man, and a real hero, as he loves to play the game, and he isn't conceited and is just a regular guy. Let's go to the Super Bowl next year guys, your No. 1 fan in Az.
Sherry Cluff, firstname.lastname@example.org, Arizona
Sherman's coaching staff let him down
I am surprised by the support expressed for Sherman following his firing. It seemed like most people were calling for his head during the last half of the season. The only thing that seems to be in his favor, professionally speaking, seems to be the win-loss record during his tenure. It is my opinion that the players compiled that record inspite of poor coaching. When the chips were down, and coaching was important, the Pack always came up short during Sherman's tenure. It seemed like he didn't have the ability to build a support staff of coaches who could get the job done.
Blaming Thompson for the Pack's inablility to hold on to top players seems to ignore the fact that as GM Sherman wasted lots of salary money, and Thompson was confronted by salary cap problems. I think it will only be fair to judge Thompson's performance from this time forward.
It's amazing how so many people who don't have any inside knowledge of football are suddenly experts on how to run a football team. It makes you wonder just how successful they are in their occupations, and whether they have risen to the top. I admit that I only know what I see, and the Packers "crashed and burned" under Sherman's watch, and that's reason enough for me to be glad he's gone.
Rather than be full of anger and bitterness, I'm looking to the future with hope. I'm also sick of Favre's "playing games" at the end of the season. Will he or won't he? If you aren't as eager to play next year as we are for the season to begin, stay on the stinking tractor and let the future QB of the Pack take over!
Grant Thomas, email@example.com, Brookfield, WI
Sherman's firing was way overdue
There is no question about Mike Sherman's excellent work ethic, football knowledge, and his likeable guy qualities. I wish him the best wherever he ends up. But his firing was overdue and it WAS NOT due to one losing season. Sherman's own assessment of his 6 years in GB is excellent. Absolutely NOT. He did a good job, but good doesn't win you championships. The Sherman Packers never had a championship stride in their step. They were never disciplined, time managed, ready for the season, or even in top physical condition. We all know the bad Sherman GM decisions so there's no point in that argument. He just plain lacked the leadership skills and emotion to take them to the next level. There is a reason he's only interviewed for 2 jobs now instead of all of them!
Injuries hurt this year but there were still games that should have been won but we were just plain outcoached (MN twice for example). Sherman never got on players when they screwed up, even No. 4 (MN playoff loss last yr...illegal forward pass on the 5 when he easily could've dove for the 1st. Sherman and Brett smiled about that. Unacceptable!!!)
Ted Thompson is doing what a GM should...make tough unpopular decisions that are correct. Let's not forget that his fingerprints are all over the current Seahawks team that is one of the best in the NFC. He had one of the best Packer drafts in years last April, and he's making decisions on the Packer's future, not Brett Farve's. He and everyone wants #4 back next year and if the future looks good, he'll be back. Let's not forget Brett is one season away from a couple of major QB records, and I wouldn't think he would want the 05' season to be remembered as his last. We have a young team, another draft coming, some money to play with, and a new coach. So have faith Packer fans. I know I do!
Wade Waltz, firstname.lastname@example.org, Waunakee, WI
Losing Bates hurts – big time!
Todd, fellow Packer fans,
Now things will really get interesting. Jim Bates is parting ways with the Packers. The Pack will be looking at virtually and entirely new coaching staff with a head coach that is an unproven commodity at best. I suppose keeping an open mind is in order and I am trying my best to do so but I am slowly losing faith and patience. The more "news" that comes down the more I am seeing a 49ers like rebuilding and that means a couple more years of 4-12 and most Packer fans won't and shouldn't have to stand for that. I really hope I am wrong. What Bates did with the defense is amazing and undeniable given the talent (or lack there of). Another year with Bates and a few upgrades in personnel and the defense is back where it needs to be. Now all is up in the air and so much will depend on the scheme the new DC will have. The players will have to learn their 3rd system in 3 years. That is a lot to overcome and if we are to be realistic we have to expect a step backwards in 2006. Again, I hope I am wrong. To Jim Bates I say "Thank You!!" and good luck. You WILL get a head coaching job and you WILL succeed. I may just make a prediction here that what the Packers will regret most about the Sherman firing will be that Bates went also - OK, I will make that prediction right now. I wish McCarthy no ill will, as a Packer fan I want to see them win. I just wish Bates would have gotten a shot. Packer fans will no doubt have quite an off season watching their team and it's changes. We now await the next big announcement(s) - who will the next DC be and will Brett return?? Isn't this fun.
Jeff Dummer email@example.com, Kearney, NE
Packers should pick Mario Williams
I guess the exit of Jim Bates was inevitable. I had hoped he would have been the next head coach of the Packers. The players liked him and he brought a lot of enthusiasm to the defense. Jim was one of the best at his coaching position. Big Loss for the Pack.
If you are the GM who would you choose with the first pick in the upcoming draft? My choice with the 5th selection would be Mario Williams, the 6-7/290/4.75 DE out of North Carolina State. He has had 25 sacks the last two years. The Pack desperately needs a player that can get after the QB and has the durability to stand up against the run. KGB just got run over this past year against the run. I hope the Pack goes in a different direction at DE.
A.J. Hawk has been mentioned as a possibility at LB, but there will be a number of good players available at this position when the Pack picks with their second round pick. Notable names might include Chad Greenway 6-4/235/Iowa, Bobby Carpenter 6-3/255/Ohio State, D'Owell Jackson 6-0/231/Maryland.
Any Ideas on who the Packers will use their "franchise " tag on this year? Aaron Kampman a possibility?
Randy Nyberg, firstname.lastname@example.org, Albuquerque, NM
Ease up on Thompson
The criticism of TT seems silly to me. He has been here one year. Many fans seem to forget the reason he was hired, the previous GM was creating a mess: 1) misallocated resources in the defensive line (co-drafted Jamal Reynolds 1st round bust, signed big bucks free agent bust Joe Johnson, awarded signing bonus to character risk Cletidus Hunt while releasing high character Vonnie Holliday, and overpaid uni-dimensional KGB to stay in Green Bay; 2) tendency to trade away draft picks; 3) failure to continue developing young QBs behind Favre.
Sherman's failure as a GM should not be surprising. He was an inexperienced new Head Coach when they handed him the dual role of GM, something which he also had no prior experience with. So while clearly Mike Sherman made the personnel decision mistakes that have hurt the Packers, Bob Harlan and Ron Wolf are ultimately to blame for making Mike Sherman the GM. Bob Harlan was willing to do something the stubborn Sherman wouldn't, recognize his mistake and hire TT.
Enter TT into a cash strapped situation regarding the salary cap. You can't pay Mike Wahle when your predecessor overpaid KGB and are still carrying lots of "dead money" from guys who are no longer on the team. You can hang onto your draft picks and try to pick wisely. You can bring in as much bargain free agent talent as you can and hope some sticks (see Harry Sydney's column today). With a veteran QB playing, you have to start drafting and developing multiple young QBs (because unlike Favre, most QBs don't make it through a single season, and Brett will retire some day). This of course means you need coaches that can develop young NFL QBs, welcome aboard Coach McCarthy.
Bob Harlan promoted Mike Sherman to GM. Mike Sherman was a good man and a hard worker who endeared himself to the community. His only flaw was a stubbornness that precluded recognizing his own mistakes. Bob Harlan doesn't share that flaw and removed Mike Sherman. TT is cleaning up a mess that took a few years to create. Most fans have negligible football experience, don't grasp the detailed workings of the salary cap guidelines, can't manage their own credit card accounts or discipline their own kids, and yet they have a preponderance of advice and opinion on what an NFL GM and Head Coach should do. I'll leave it to the experts to give that kind of advice. I have no idea how well the TT/MM era will play out. I do like what I've seen and heard so far and wish them the best!
Eric Simpson, email@example.com, Racine, WI
My Team MUST be ready to win in 2006
Now that Mike McCarthy is Head Coach, along with Ted Thompson I sure do hope that they don't do ANYTHING STUPID!!!! Thompson said that he received many E-Mails! If this is the case, why in the world would he choose McCarthy? He is from a team that also had a similar season as My Team did! I will look into this further and make further judgments! But I thought I should listen to what he had to say first!
This is a BIGGER PROCESS than the 2 of them think it is! This is not a Mike Holmgren/Ron Wolf team! Yes, Brett MUST indeed return and leave him alone when he does return! As I have said before this contract nonsense can be dealt with! Give the star players LONG TERM CONTRACTS! Green, Gado, Walker to name a few, Diggs as well, along with KGB, Kampman, all of these players MUST LEAD My Team! Can they turn this around quickly? Yes! IF they keep Brett and at least 8 out of the 14 free agents! It is a MUST! And to trade others, who are just bench players, or practice players what ever that is? To me, EVERYONE plays!!!
My Team MUST BE READY TO PLAY! This was NOT done last year and the reason Sherman got fired! Like it or not, when the all of the star players were in there, Sherman looked like a genius, but had no idea on what to do after that! I'm not saying the man didn't give up, BUT you must be prepared for that in case this does happen again. Thompson should not be let off the hook either, this man did very little if anything to help!
To be a Green Bay Packer, First and foremost it's a GREAT honor, NOT BIG BUCKS! If players are in for that reason, then they have no IDEA what the great history of My Team is all about! All the Hall of Famers, Ring of Honor, Championships, Super Bowls, the list is ENDLESS! Not to mention a sell-out crowd at EVERY HOME GAME SINCE 1959! Even at Pre-season as well! Lambeau Field is the only place I know of where you can add 50,000 more seats and I bet they fill it! all up! Talk about fan base? Just think for a moment having 130,000 at a Packer game and as everyone knows, IT WILL STILL BE A SELL OUT CROWD! And to be honored by fellow Fans is Priceless! Yes contracts should be done fairly, I'm not saying play for free! But this idea on giving a player 7 million dollars a year is STUPID! And last but not least: Get back to where My Team belongs!
Tom Fast, firstname.lastname@example.org, Hendersonville, N.C.
Thompson has made some good moves
I believe that Mr. Thompson is in the process of laying a foundation that will allow this program to be successful for years to come rather than having one year success stories. I don't believe in short-term thinking or fixes when it comes to building a football team. Letting Rivera and Sharper get away was something this organization had to do if you are thinking long term. Anybody who has watched the Packers play over the last eight years knows that Sharper was not worth six million dollars. Yes, he had a good year this year but he still can't tackle or cover. Ted tried to pay him what he was worth (2 million) but Sharper refused and left. How can you pay Rivera an $8 million signing bonus? No way at his age, again doesn't make sense long term. I would have loved to see Mike Wahle stay but paying a guard a 12 million dollar signing bonus didn't make sense for the Packers based upon the position the previous GM put this organization in. As far as replacing the two guards Ted attempted to do that based upon who was available and fit into the salary cap restrictions he was dealing with. Please remember at the end of the 2004 season the last four games with Rivera and Wahle this team failed to rush for over a hundred yards. I trust Ted will get the offensive line issues addressed this year.
This team is getting younger and faster and I believe that is moving in the right direction. I agree that building a team through the draft is the right approach and dealing in the free agency world is very risky. Just do some research and you will find that big-time FA signing fail more often than they succeed.
As far as the Coach McCarthy hiring we will have to wait and see. Something a person just needs a chance and once giving that opportunity they excels. You see it all the time in the corporate world. Sometimes age and experience does not beat youth and potential.
E-mail your thoughts on the Packers to PackerReport.com and Packer Report managing editor Todd Korth at email@example.com. Include your name, e-mail address, city and state.