I am wondering what team will take the field next year? While Mr. McCarthy says this is not a rebuilding year, there are going to have to be a lot of changes. While I don't have all of the information on free agents and our salary cap, I do have some hopes for next season:
1). PLEASE sign both Aaron Kampman and Colin Cole to five-year contracts. The best defensive lines (and offensive lines as we know) are created by people playing together for a number of years, learning how each other plays, their strengths and weaknesses and working together to compensate for that.
2). Sign Mario Williams and plug him into that equation. He is the best possible pick at our position. If Poppinga can come back and continue to be the animal he was last season, he will add depth at linebacker, so Mario is my choice.
3). Make a decision on running backs early. Keep Green for one year and see how he comes back, OR cut both him and Davenport and move forward, looking at possibly the Edge (?) or another free agent to lead. I think Samkon proved he deserved the #2 spot for next year, who knows what he will prove this season.
4). Move Carroll to a safety. I have said this before. He is obviously not able to play the corner position, but he is athletic and can deliver a hit. Move him over if he is going to stay. Work on his attitude (another reason to keep someone positive like Kampman), and put him where he will succeed.
5). Favre. First I would like to say that I appreciate everything he has done for us as Packer fans. But after hearing his interview, it is pretty evident that there are questions there, and he is not the Brett Favre of old. His time has come and I wish him well. Now it is between Nall and Rodgers - may the best man win and the other accept it graciously.
I know there are MANY other areas that need attention, but I believe figuring out these five would be a good start to the '06 season.
The record doesn't matter … I will be there. Go Pack!
Jason Eckes, firstname.lastname@example.org, Middleton WI
Was Montana's SB snub all about money?
OK, so Montana is a Mercedes and Favre is a 4x4 (Feb. 10 Letters to the Editor). Does that explain, if true, the reason the Mercedes thumbed his nose at appearing at the Super Bowl because he wasn't guaranteed enough money? If the money issues are the real reason that Bradshaw and Montana were absent, I say SHAME ON THEM! Kind of a slap in the face to the fans who followed them and supported them all those years. Somehow I can't see the Favre 4x4 pulling a stunt like that, but maybe I'm wrong.
Ingrid Adams, email@example.com, Jefferson, WI
Another way of describing Favre
I also agree with the fan who said describing Favre as a 4x4 was perfect. 4 completions, 4 interceptions.
Dave Wallen, firstname.lastname@example.org, East Peoria, IL
A few key free agents needed on defense
I believe that Jim Bates was godsend to the Packers and I'm sorry to see him leave. He pulled off something that is rarely seen these days in NFL. He brought together our terrible defense of 2004 and brought it into the Top 10 in '05. I don't know a lot about Bob Sanders, but I'm gonna take it on faith, as we fans so often have to do, that he knows what he's doing. This is where Ted Thompson has to come up big if we want to keep our defense in good shape. Our defense did what it could with what it had, which wasn't so bad but we really need to take it to the next level with a couple of free agent pickups. We need at least one free agent pick up at linebacker. I believe Will Witherspoon would be a great pickup, but after looking at some free agent news it looks like the Panthers are going try to re-sign him.
We also could use a safety or cornerback to help solidify the secondary to challenge Roman and Carroll. There seems to be some good talent at both positions and I don't think it would be that expensive to pick up one at either position. The D-Line is one the position that is all right with the status quo. Although it could be upgraded. KGB is starting to regress into a situational pass rusher which is alright but not for how much they pay him. Mike Montgomery could be his substitute for first and second down until he is ready to take the reins himself. Aaron Kampman needs to be re-signed, but I would like to see him work on his pass-rushing skills more. The interior line looks good but if the team doesn't re-sign Grady Jackson we have an awful lot of youth on the team. With two undrafted free agents (Cole and Jenkins) and two late round draft picks (Peterson and Williams) we could be headed for some growing pains without an older mentor. The defense as it is now is all right but it could be so much better with just one or two free agent pickups. We have the money we ought to use it.
Lanny, email@example.com, Leola, S.D.
We can only wonder, 'What if?'
Having read this column written by you, don't you think hindsight is great? IF is a big word, as my father used to say. If the dog didn't stop to take a crap, he would have caught the rabbit. If, we had taken Chambers instead of Ferguson maybe we'd have a better receiving team, but then who's to say that Chambers wouldn't have been the one to get hurt instead of Ferguson and that Ferguson would have been the one getting all praise. Same goes with Sander. IF the coaching staff would have left him alone and not changed his style of punting, maybe he might be in Pro Bowl today. IF IF IF. As far as Hasselbeck, was he supposed to hang around till Favre retires, then he might never have been a starter. In the meantime, we got other players for someone who'd be a back up till Favre retired.
We had two great offensive linemen in Wahle and Rivera and what did this supposed great GM do? He let them both go. You'd think he would have tried to keep at least one of them, but he wants to remake the team over in his own image. People blast Sherman for over-paying players and wasting money. Well, I see Thompson doing the same thing as far as wasting money only not on players, but on a coach who he probably decided to fire almost right after the Pack lost the first few games. To give someone a 2-year extension without a buyout is stupid. With all the hindsight on what could have been, IF we had kept these players, what would be said, if these players never play up to Pro bowl status again? Better to lose some players a year too early than a year too late. But IF is a big word.
As far as next year goes, the team has the basis to make a run at the playoffs next year and no excuses. If Farve does or doesn't come back, I see no reason why we can't be back in the playoffs. My only concern is that of the coaching staff. I'm not impressed with the staff at all. We have too many coaches from losing programs, and that translates to me a losing program. I hope and pray that they prove me wrong, but I feel like the Pack has another Ray Rhodes on their hands.
Joe Kempski, firstname.lastname@example.org
Question for Harry Sydney
What guards in free agency would you select if you were in charge, and what receivers and running backs? I agree we need to improve dramatically, but who's out there that is way above the guys we have? I would love to see them get Giles in the second round. Than maybe we could shift some of our other guys around. Thought?
Don Buckman, email@example.com, Camanche, Iowa
As for a guard, there aren't many to chose from, so this could be a draft pick which I would hate to see a pick wasted on another linemen, but they have to do what they need to do to win. As far as receivers, there's David Givens or Joe Jurevicius, which would be an upgrade. At running back the guy that's interesting is Vernon Haynes from Pittsburgh, but I wouldn't mind seeing this need addressed in the draft.
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