I will give you your viewpoint, but after watching Packer football since 1962 I think you are simplifying the situation in order to apologize for this management team's poor performance. First, Ray Rhodes was in between the Holmgren era and the Sherman era. The team started to decline after they canned the 2nd Super Bowl to Denver. Many picks after those 2 incredible seasons were busts as 1st round draft choices. Why? Because in almost every case the best had been taken already as the Pack picked last or near last in every draft.
The players the Pack needed were in the top 10-15 players, i.e., skill players at either defense or offense. Sherman may have stretched to get players he liked, but there's no safe bet in the draft. To date Thompson hasn't done that well either, so forget the comparisons. Hawk could have been picked by a 5-year-old.
I agree that time is needed for the current management team to be given a grade, but so far its not a good sight. I believe we are heading for a Forrest Gregg or "God Forbid" Dan Devine era. Mike is a nice guy, but it is obvious that his team of coaches are lost at the moment. Players are running around like chickens in a hen house when they hear a loud noise. Secondary? Where is it? WHY did Thompson PAY for Woodson? Why did he PAY for Manuel? So far, really bad decisions. If you're rebuilding, then do it and forget the vets. Go all young and ride the wave either up or down.
Last but not least and it pains me to say so but its time for Favre to take the bench when the game is out of hand. The franchise needs to know if Rodgers is the real deal for the future. Brett is my hero, but he isn't Brett anymore. Ok, maybe a few plays but not the whole game. Oh yeah, where is that vaunted "We'll stick with the running game no matter what" mantra!? Mike bagged the run during the first period of the first game!
Regardless of what people say, if the Pack had stopped the Eagles on that 4th and 26, they would have gone to the Super Bowl and likely won. Was that Sherman's fault? Yes, partly but not all his fault. Fate took its hand and our beloved franchise has been sinking ever since. Personally I think that it was the year Farve retired. God knows it was one bad year for him and I have all the respect in the world for his effort and excellence but that play killed the team.
Thompson isn't the answer in my book, but I hope I'm wrong. Someone tell Mike that Barnett is NOT a middle linebacker. Have Nick watch films of Nitschke, Butkus, Lambert, Singletary and Urlacher. He's a converted SS. Get him into space where he can cover on the weak side and find a mean killer hitting son of B to play in the middle because the middle is only for the meanest and toughest guy on the field.
Geoffrey B. Slater, email@example.com, Samara, Russia
Favre needs all the help he can get from teammates
Though I may not be a GB local, I've been loyal throughout the years of my life to my favorite team, the Packers. Living about 20 minutes outside Philly I'm not sure if I can take the trash thrown my way much more by Eagles fans after they stomp GB. I am also tired of the fact that people continue to blame Brett for all of Green Bay's misgivings. In my opinion that is completely false, maybe if he had a supporting cast that cared more about the game than money, or can prove their worth, he wouldn't be leading the league in INTs.
It's sad but all teams have down cycles. I just hope that this one won't last too much longer and that something can be done to aid Brett in his everlasting struggle to lead the team. It's not every day that you have one of the best QBs ever, on your team. Something needs to change, and it needs to change fast.
Ted Flick, Taf1058@comcast.net, Moorestown, N.J.
UK fans not giving up on Packers
Just a quick line to say all the Packers fans in the UK know things can only get better, so look on the bright side of life. Lots of luck in next game.
Tommy the Packer lister, firstname.lastname@example.org, Bolton, England, UK
Random thoughts on the Packers
Correct me if I am wrong, but I recall Holmgren's receivers also having big issues with dropping the ball back in his first few years in Green Bay. As I recall, he forced all the receivers, secondary and backs to play without their gloves. It cleared the problem up immediately. Guessing that they lacked the feel for the ball through those gloves and lead to many dropped passes. Perhaps McCarthy needs to make the same move.
On the subject of the secondary, wondering what the defensive coaching strategy is on man-man coverage because the secondary is not making any attempts at interceptions, just trying run play glove coverage in hopes of keeping a QB from throwing the ball in their direction. No QB baiting at all. Also appears that the safeties have no clue how to assist in coverage but love to play the run.
Line middle and strong side linebackers are over-pursuing regularly and getting burned on back-side runs and scrambles. Nobody playing at home where they belong.
Defense appears to be lacking sense of immediacy and confidence. Doubt they are buying into the defensive scheme and playing like it.
Offensive line is simply to small to drive their blocks regularly. Veterans are failing their cut blocks regularly still and throwing them on the first step instead of letting a play begin to develop before throwing them. Tauscher is missing his cut blocks regularly. Wondering if he and Clifton are gun-shy?
Can't keep tight ends and backs in to block regularly during plays as it hampers ability of receivers to get open in double coverage... which is regularly occurring.
Short game or long game does not matter without consistent blocking and ability to break a run open or a deep pass. Eventually they will simply blitz and play short.
Koren Robinson has to be brought into the mix and let Ferguson sit the bench. Ferguson appears to feel "safe" at receiver and not only has lost his speed, but appears his desire also lacks anything but check cashing on payday.
Stock needs to get his guys together in a big way as does the defensive coaches. Time to stop being players coaches and start coaching players. If you could count of the players to be true professionals and not need motivation, then you would not need coaches. Obviously they need direction and motivation as well as coaching but far more in need is accountability.
Giving Carroll his walking papers was a start. Manuel can also be shown the door and McCarthy needs to tell Thompson that the guy is a bust at Safety. Or bench him if he must, but do something to take problem off the field. The downside is that someone less experienced will likely be torched. The upside is that a rookie has an upside whereas these failing veterans have no upside left.
Mike K., email@example.com, Green Bay, WI
Sherman's drafts, free agent signings equals disaster
I couldn't agree with you more regarding your assessment of Mike Sherman's draft choices over the years he was in charge. Couple that with free agent signings that also didn't work out (Joe Johnson, Hannibal Navies, Mark Roman, etc.) and big money spent to retain the likes of Cleditus Hunt, it's no wonder the Packers are in the state they're currently in.
I think Packer fans, myself included, were spoiled with the quick turnaround made in 1992 when Bob Harlan and Ron Wolf were brought in to run the franchise after 4 disastrous seasons of Lindy Infante and Tom Braatz at the helm. Wolf came in, cleaned house, and went on to help bring the Super Bowl back to Green Bay. He drafted wisely (albeit his #1's weren't much to write home about), made some brilliant free agent signings and hired the right coaching staff. Thompson is in much the same situation. If his draft choices pan out and he can find some quality free agents to plug in, the Packers could be a force to contend with over the next few years. My only concern is the coaching staff. I was somewhat surprised at the choice of Mike McCarthy to lead this team and my only hope is if things don't improve quickly, Thompson doesn't take too much time to pull the plug. By Sherman staying on for so long, the Packers went from playoff contenders to league doormats. The potential for improvement is here, the Packers need a coaching staff that can develop it.
Mike, firstname.lastname@example.org, Shoreham, N.Y.
Thompson has made his share of blunders
I think you made some very valid points regarding the mess that Ted Thompson has to clean up. I do think it is a copout to put the blame solely on Mike Sherman. Ted Thompson has made some very stupid moves as well. Marquand Manuel? That guy is a joke. They should've made a move for a better safety or left Mark Roman alone. He wasn't that bad last season and is definitely better than Manuel.
During the off-season, he was contemplating signing Charles Woodson AND Lavar Arrington. While I think Woodson was a good choice, he should've strongly pursued Steve Hutchinson, the all pro guard who happened to go to their division rivals. Had he done that, it would've helped shore up the major problem on the offense. With Hutchinson and Colledge or Spitz, Wells, Tauscher and Clifton, the line would probably be a major strength on this team. The problem is that there are basically three rookies in the middle of that line; which probably explains why Favre has a concussion this week.
I think that Thompson's ego is so big that he wants to show everyone that his draft picks will work out. Remember, he did draft Manuel, so obviously he would be a good guy to give a big contract to. The Packers had plenty of cap space this year and did nothing with it. Frontload the contracts so all the hits are in the years that there is a lot of cap room, but get some talent in there. That's my take on Thompson so far. I hope I'm wrong, but I'm not impressed with him thus far.
Rick Sanchez, email@example.com, Tustin CA
Tough times to be a Packer Backer
Despite growing up in Wisconsin, since college I've lived all over the country. In and around Wisconsin a fan gets group consolation in his/her misery, but you can't possibly imagine how much a fan suffers when the Green and Gold embarrasses themselves again and again ... especially in nationally televised games.
Matt Redmann, firstname.lastname@example.org, Phoenix, AZ
If losses continue, more will follow Carroll
What can I, or anyone else say about the ugly performance by the Packers against Philly (McNabb) in the second half? While watching the whole game with my son, we noticed the play of A. Carroll. We agreed that he was playing flag football and seemed lost and overweight. A first round pick? WOW! We also agreed that he will be released by the Packers before the plane lands in Green Bay. What happened to his speed?
Speaking about speed the whole defense lacks speed, and mobility. I thought A.J. Hawk looked foolish on his attempt to tackle McNabb on his second TD run. To improve the secondary the Pack got Woodson and Manuel. They haven't shown anything. It was no shock to me when we read the next morning that Carroll was released. Why not try and trade him? I have a feeling a lot more will follow him.
I look at the last five years of Green Bay drafts and scratch my head. Greg Jennings seems the only player with quality. I know Rodgers has not been given the chance. Favre must show more leadership on the field and on the sidelines no matter if the Pack is winning or losing because the coaches look like a bunch of pilons. No leadership, no game plan, and no emotion. It's going to be a long year, or should I have said a short season. For our beloved Packers, I still remain a loyal fan.
Peter Stoyanovski, email@example.com, Pickering, Canada
Are the poor drafts totally Sherman's fault?
Sherman certainly failed in the capacity of GM....however, are the other personnel people still there who influenced those decisions?? (Dorsey, McKenzie, scouts,etc.). Should they be held accountable as well??
Tom Seidel Thomas.Seidel@morganstanley.com San Diego, CA
What if Jim Bates was still coaching the defense?
Long overdue good news on the departure of T-Buck the second!
As I watched the defense on Monday Night I could not help but wonder how much better they could have been if Jim Bates had stayed on with the defense...he worked and works the very best out of his players.
Finally, I was shocked as the geriatric (but apparently very spry and wiley) Donovan McNabb closed in on the end zone and AJ Hawk missed knocking him 5 yards backwards and let him score after McNabb did some strange hip wiggle. A.J. looked to have a perfect angle to knock out Donovan's dentures and somehow whiffed. Perhaps it was deference to age? It would have been some consolation on a night where I got tired of hearing the booming Linc Financial chorus of "Fly Eagles Fly" far too many times.
Gregg Petersen, Sig29@aol.com, Columbia, MD
Reaction to letters in Reaction to the Action
I am reading your latest edition of Fan Mail comments from "Reaction to the Action", dated Oct. 3.
I have to say I am mystified as to how such (some) people can really call themselves TRUE FANS.
Jason, from Deforest, WI, tends to nail most of what I've been seeing. I agree that if your Head Coach has passion, it extends itself onto the field thru the players, who take that passion as a sign of admiration for them as players, and they can then turn it into a "Father's concern" in all areas. It's just a part of the human equation, and that's as it should be. Mike McCarthy very well could be better served showing (quite a bit) more passion out there on the field. Packer fans will NOT denigrate him for doing so. That you can bet on!
Mike, from Manchester CT, however, needs to take a step back and review his History of the Packers. Both Mike Holmgren, and none other than VINCE LOMBARDI, were "Rookie Coaches" who turned our team into the leader of storied franchises in the NFL. Do they call it the Papa Bear (Halas) Trophy for the Super Bowl - named for the Chicago Bears? I think not. So, having Lambeau Field as the training camp for coaches is considerably out of line.
Although, I would agree with this comment: "Why do we hire Kurt Schottenheimer - AGAIN? This special teams coach is useless, the opposing teams have excellent field position on the majority of returns."
Kurt wasn't doing any good the last time he was here. It can't always be the personnel; sometimes it has to be the teacher.
Mike McCarthy had every right to chew Brett Favre out, when ever Brett makes a mistake out there. It was okay for Holmgren to do it, it's okay for any and ALL head coaches that Favre works for, to do so, as well. I don't call him Favor, for nothing, when I can see he damn sure could use one. With Brett, it's a love/hate relationship. You cannot help but respect his Linebacker mentality while he plays position of QB - it's the core of who he is. He has a tendency to try too hard at times. But, usually that's because the Players around him have lost their focus. A Leader has to try something. In Oakland, it worked miracles for a historical game. Last week, against the Eagles, it didn't turn out so well. You win some, you lose some. With every great player in the NFL, there are those bad days. It's just when we look back at Joe Montana, or Troy Aikman, or Terry Bradshaw, or anyone else for that matter ... all we tend to see is the greatness and forgive the faults. None of those great QB's were without mistakes. Trust me!
If Ted Thompson doesn't want to call this a rebuilding year, that's his business. He's the new boss, just like the old boss. We can all see that Green Bay is "the youngest team, in the NFL" along with having the youngest Coach, too. There is no way on God's green earth that this lineup would be able to get away without making mistakes. They can only do one thing, and that's get better at their craft, which will come in time.
If any fan out there thinks it's all that easy, they should apply for the job. There are so many inherent pitfalls, (that never make the headlines, nor would I want them in print), that it certainly takes years of practice to finally nail it down. I know Lombardi probably had it the easiest since he got the option of running the Team with an iron hand. Whereas, these days, with Free Agency etc., it's practically impossible to pull that off, if at all. Some fans tend to forget those things. In many ways, Vince Lombardi ran the team like a tyrant. Personally, I viewed his tenure as HC, like that of my USAF Basic Training Sergeant. After awhile, you saw what he was getting at, which then made you respect his efforts. These days you have players all over who would rather not be bothered.
Am I happy with the Packers failing at my 10-6 Summer prediction? Heck, no! Now, I'd settle for 8-8 at this point. If I was allowed, I'd query Mike McCarthy on why certain Offensive personnel were chosen to test at only one side of the line (?) But, he's in charge and knows way more about pro football than I do.
Trust and faith have to come in here at some point. I think this would be it.
We play the Rams next, at Lambeau. I would think the team, and the coaches, all know their backs are up against the wall. They have a 3xMVP on the roster who can only do so much. This shouldn't be a locker room popularity contest before someone starts to do their job. They are adults now, and it's time to step forward and shoulder the responsibility. It's time they all Lead by Example!
Tony LaRussa (IPBprez), firstname.lastname@example.org, President - IndyPackerBackers Club www.IndyPackerBackers.com
Let's hang tight with Thompson
I am writing to you not in regards of the horrendous second half lack of effort last night, but to voice myself on everyone's displeasure of how Ted Thompson is running this team. I feel that too many fellow cheeseheads have short-term memories or are too busy looking through their rose colored glasses. It seems that some have forgotten that Ron Wolf made quite a few blunders in his day as GM of the Pack, especially on draft day. Players like Jonathan Brown, Jon Michels, Jamal Reynolds, Brett Conway, Terrell Buckley ... you get the picture.
Fellow fans have to realize that there was and will only be one Reggie White. There's a reason why he's the greatest d-lineman of all time and I don't see any other third string quarterbacks in the league that Thompson can pluck from another team that has a rocket arm and a desire to achieve greatness.
Yes, Thompson should have signed a better safety than Manuel ... hindsight is always 20/20, but there are no more Reggies or Sean Jones or Eugene Robinsons to grab. Besides not signing any free agents, few fail to remember that Ron Wolf also made some bad dealings as well, ala letting Adam Timmerman, Craig Hentrich, Bryce Paup, and Edgar Bennett walk.
I TRULY believe that Thompson is taking us on the right path to building a long term winner, but Packer fans have been spoiled for 15 years because of Brett. If they want to blame anyone, there is only one person to blame - MIKE SHERMAN. His drafts were the worst, his free agent signings were questionable at best (other than Grady Jackson), and I don't even want to get into his game planning.
Ted Thompson has come into a bad situation, because he has an aging superstar that people are accustomed to see win, fans that are used to seeing their team win, a salary cap mess that made him release popular players that he didn't want to release but had to because of Sherman ineptness and has to mix the old in the with the new to keep everyone happy. I really feel he is the man for the job, but unfortunately we all have to wait a little longer than most would like to see that happen.
Jason Anderson, email@example.com, Fargo, ND
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