Dear Packer Report:
If you read the nonsense being penned about the Packers by some of the national sportswriters, you'd think they were writing about the NFL's perennial doormats rather than the team that's had 12 winning seasons in the last 14 years. You really have to scratch your head when you read goofy things like "the Packers will be so bad in 2006 that Brett will regret having come back for another season," screwy ‘Power Rankings' where the Packers show up in the bottom five, or truly brain-dead predictions such as "Green Bay will have the #1 pick in next year's Draft."
A poor season like last year was inevitable. Part of the genius of the way the NFL is run versus the other sports leagues is that they have engineered a razor thin margin between success and failure. The league wants bad teams to rise and good teams to fall — it creates greater fan interest and maximizes season ticket sales. The NFL is a business, after all. A few mistakes on draft day, a few injuries, some bad luck in close games, and any team — even one with as fine an organization as Green Bay — can find itself finishing 4-12.
I think the reasons the Packers have been in a decline are simple: the defense stopped creating turnovers, and couldn't stop the other team on crucial third downs (or sometimes even 4th and 26). Ted Thompson has addressed both these problems with the additions - and the subtractions - he has made to the defense. If anything, optimism should be in the air about the upcoming season. There is a very good chance that just as the Packers were one of the most disappointing teams in 2005, they could be one of the pleasant surprises in 2006. Of course, Sports Illustrated's pundit Peter King has already enlightened us that Dallas and New England shall be the Super Bowl participants, so I guess there's no need to play the regular season games this fall. That's too bad. I was kinda looking forward to them.
Brian Hill (co-author of the football novel ‘OVER TIME'), firstname.lastname@example.org, Fountain Hills, AZ
Thompson critic not about to be quiet
I have been a great fan of yours for along time, but your article (May 26) of where are the critical voices now, I disagree with. We (us who were critical) are giving Thompson his chance to see what he does and I hope he is successful. But even by Thompson's words he failed last year. Collins - 1 out of 11 drafts - was the "only" draft choice that did anything. Poppinga did a little – PERIOD. All the rest did nothing, but we are hoping!!!
All of his free agent signings SUCKED and killed us - PERIOD!!!! Gado was a rare, lucky desperate find and I hope he makes it.
Thompson did the right thing in letting Sherman go. Sherman who is a good, dedicated man was overrated … his record was overrated. Give any coach starting out, Brett Favre in his prime, Ahman Green in his prime, and a very good offensive line, and he would dance for joy. With all the job openings he didn't get a bite from anyone … that is because the rest of the league knew he was overrated.
There still are a ton of questions, especially on the offensive line. But I won't mind shutting up, or give Thompson his credit …just put wins on the board - PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jan Mandel, Janmandel@cox.net, Phoenix, AZ
When you look at the big picture Ted hasn't done a bad job at all considering all the issues he's been faced with, but does that compute to wins? We will have to wait and see. But compared to who he replaced this ship is going in a better direction. Trust me on that.
Let's give Thompson's plan a little time
The reason why you haven't heard from Thompson's critics is because it's time to see what his draft choices and his choice of coaching staff will do. You can better believe if the Packers go 2-14 you'll be hearing for his head. Right now its a wait and see time of the year.
Joe Kempski, email@example.com, Tempe, AZ
I understand your hesitation but make a stand! Anyone can jump on or off the ship as it sinks. I could be totally wrong, but then again it won't be the first time or the last. I stand by my words and I think Ted Thompson has this team going in the right directions.
Ferguson a team player
I hope Robert Ferguson has a great year. He has a terrific attitude, a great work ethic, and is a team player. He is also gracious to fans and respectful of his opponents. So far, luck hasn't been fair to him.
Those who criticize him forget that he was temporarily paralyzed in a vicious hit the year before last. He exhibited courage to come back last year. He makes no excuses but rather plays through injuries he probably shouldn't have. His passion for the game is not in doubt.
The Packers have an outstanding group of receivers. Not only are they talented and very hard-working, they are fine people who are easy to root for.
The Pack will be Back.
Hjordis Olson, Colfax, Wis.
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