Letters to the Editor

Packers fans air thoughts on Packers' off-season needs, Moss and 'The Mooner'

2007 off-season wish list
Hi Todd,
I want to give kudos to the Packers brass by giving Al Harris his due. Now that should set an example of how to ask for money and not be a baby about it. Next should be Barnett, but I know management is waiting to see how the Briggs, or Thomas deals (if any) pan out. Then there is Ahman Green. I would like to see him back with the team, but if not Jamal Lewis could become available. Team him up with Marshawn Lynch (if we draft him) and we should be set at the RB position.

I read that the Patriots haven't done any negotiating with Daniel Graham. It would be a nice pickup for the Packers. Along with the so-called rumored Randy Moss trade for a 3rd round pick. With those two on offense Favre would probably salivate.

Please answer these questions: Do you know how many draft picks the Packers have in 2007, and what order they are? Do they have any compensatory picks?

Go Packers! Can't wait till the draft!

Lou, louiem007@bellsouth.net, Coral Springs, FL

The NFL will award compensatory picks for each team probably in late March at the owners' meetings. I believe the Packers have one pick in each of the seven rounds because they didn't trade any 2007 picks away last year.

LB assessment is right on, column is encouraging
Dear Todd,
Thank you for two good articles on the recent Packer Report site. Your assessment of the linebacker situation was right on and I hope, if the talk about buying another LB for a big price is right, that those who have power to make such decisions will read your very logical, well written article and think better of their options.

Your other article about the loyalty of the veteran Packers was most encouraging to me. Being a Packer fan for over 60 years I remember when most players stayed on one team for their entire career. I can see that the option of becoming a free agent is a great help for the players who feel the need to get a bigger salary, but most of the ones who get to take advantage of "free-agency" are those making millions already.

It was good to read about the Jerry Kramer's work at helping the players of years gone by to get a better retirement package, too.

Thank you and the other contributors for the Packer Report!
Rod Johnson, rodjohnson@windstream.net, Young Harris, GA

The Curse of the Schottenheimers
I've read your article on Kurt and Marty Schottenheimer ... and I have to say I was one of those Packer Fans who had a HUGE disagreement with Mike McCarthy bringing Kurt back, after a horrendous turn of events in 2004. Despite going 4-12 after that in 2005 ... most Packer fans understood that it was a whole Team effort in getting there in '05,.. not just one Secondary Coach. But the lackluster Secondary performance in '04 was almost enough to turn off the TV.

Is it not the coach's job to get the players motivated and not lag around with a conservative "prevent" mentality. I call it the Curse of the Schottenheimers. Marty's exploits are legendary. He's an awesome coach who can motivate his people, but apparently only during the regular season. Oh, I like the guy, don't get me wrong. It wasn't just Drew Brees speaking out in the locker room that got the Chargers motivated. But, during the playoffs, Marty has always had this problem with holding his Team back, when the reins should have been taken off, period.

Let's go back to the Kansas City team that Marty led to a 13-3 regular season .... only to play the first round playoff game at home in sub-zero temperature and lose to the Dome-ridden somewhat lackluster Indianapolis Colts ... the odds-makers were giving Marty's team a huge lead in Vegas, too. Then, there's the 2004 Chargers vs. Jets playoff game, (again, at home) in San Diego ... Well, that game is so recent, I don't need to remind you what happened there. Seriously, how many Super Bowls has Marty won? You have to know that everyone was expecting Marty's team to be playing against the Steelers the next week.

The question becomes - is it hereditary?

Personally, I would bet that Mike McCarthy and Jim Bates (both) saw something worthwhile in Kurt Schottenheimer. I won't disagree with that assumption. One starts to wonder, though. Is this a case of micro-management, by the Schottenheimer clan? Do they have any real trust in the players? Or is it something else within themselves that stops them from being able to engage the group, take the reins off, and turn their Teams around - get them to believe in themselves?

This year, I think, is the make or break season for Kurt as a coach at any position. His stats (such as they are) speak for themselves. I don't care how you state the final month of the season. Remember, "only after" McCarthy took the reins of the defense did they begin to perform as what we had expected all along. Bob Sanders didn't seem to be able to control or advise his Assistants properly ... at least it looked that way from the stands.

Hindsight states that McCarthy probably should have done it, early on, and then the Rams game, and the Bills game, would have been ours, totally ... especially considering how well we played against the Bears Offense in the final game. Was this simply the players getting together without the coaches and making their own stand? One wonders...! It wouldn't be the first time the Players on a Team just stood up and fought back no matter what the hindrance.

I would ask that our own host of Green Bay sports writers make a deeper effort to show the public the real persona of our own Packer coaches. Maybe the fans wouldn't be so judgmental, as they were for most of the season last year. I don't want to disparage any Coach, but again .. Kurt Schottenheimer's record speaks for itself. And, it isn't all that glorious, even with having quite a bit of stellar talent in the stable to begin with. Isn't this called squandering?

Your response, Todd?
Tony LaRussa, President - IndyPackerBackers Club, ipbprez@gmail.com, Indianapolis, IN

Thanks for your thoughts. I'm sure if it were up to you, Kurt Schottenheimer would have been long gone from Green Bay by now, but as long as Mike McCarthy is comfortable with him, that's all that matters. The fact is that it's difficult for the media or fans to properly judge an assistant coach because we don't see how that assistant coaches in meetings, or in practices, or how he interacts with players most of the time. The media is given snapshots of the coaches coaching for a limited time in practices during the regular season (most of the time in training camp), but it's not like we're in the huddle, or can hear exactly how the assistants are coaching. And most players and assistant coaches will rarely rip on each other publicly. Sometimes I think Schottenheimer is a scapegoat for poor performance by players, but other times it seems obvious that the players haven't been coached properly. Makes for a great debate, eh? Still, to be an assistant at the NFL level, you have to be doing something right ... and it doesn't hurt to be related to other successful coaches!

This off-season more critical than ever before for Packers
Hi Todd,
It has been a while since I have chimed in. I have read all of the feedback on Randy Moss and this year's off-season. While the Packers to have quite a bit of cap space to play with, this is one of the most critical off-seasons I have seen in 20 years. Reason being, the improvement expected with our existing cast along with Brett's return gives them a very legitimate shot to contend in 2007. Bringing in the right players now, including those we are considering re signing, will be key to whether we can make the most of having #4 behind center or not for at least one more season.

First of all, Moss. I can see both sides to this argument. My take on it is anyone is a gamble in the NFL. I have seen Randy Moss at his pinnacle, as I'm sure many of you have when he played us twice a year. Whether you like him or not, seeing the ball go deep with him as the intended target struck fear into my heart every time. I had to respect his ability. He is a product of his environment and the confidence that he has in his team. He has a lot of respect for Brett Favre and Brett will find a way to get him the ball. How many times did he try to get the ball to Terry Glenn a few years back? To a fault, he wants to get guys involved. I don't see Moss letting him down. I understand the feelings about the "mooning" incident. That really doesn't make him a cancer. Put your hurt feelings back in your pocket and realize that this is a supremely talented Wide Receiver who immediately and exponentially improves this offense. Make the trade, Ted-O!

Nick Barnett: He has been productive and effective in his 4 years here so far. He may be a bit small for a Middle Backer, but he plays hard and with emotion. He's no Ray Lewis, but he's pretty darn near. I really think the Packers need to bring him back. If not, they need to make a play for Lance Briggs. Fat chance, as he is the Bears #1 priority this off season. Sign him to a long term deal and solidify the middle of that defense with Hawk, Hodge and Poppinga all young and effective.

Ahman Green: Simply put, he plays well when his line is effective. I think we all mostly agree the O-line can only improve, barring injury. He is getting older, but one thing no one has mentioned about this past season is that his fumbles were way, way down. I don't even know if he had any. True, the Packers passed a lot more often than in the past and never established their running game. But he gets yards and when he's gets on a roll, he's a great runner. Given the talent out there in free agency at this position (not much), I think we have to look at who is available in the draft. I don't see Adrian Peterson falling down to our slot, but if he is there, we absolutely have to take him. If we do, it may be time to part ways with Ahman. He would be way too expensive as a backup and some other team will snatch him up anyhow. If we do bring him back, it should be for 1 year again.

Secondary: This is the biggest question mark for us. I really like Nick Collins and think with 2 years under his belt, will turn into a LeRoy Butler style safety that we became known for in our "hey days". He is a hard hitting safety whose biggest need area is in coverage. Too many times he took himself out of plays by not being where he needed to. This may have also been due to a communication problem with the others, but he needs to know where to be. Al Harris has become a solid starter, although he is no Champ Bailey. He is best at the line jamming his guy and jumping the quick routes. He has struggled with the deep ball so I think it's worth looking at getting a speedy cover safety to back him up. Marquand Manuel is not that guy. Unfortunately, we gambled on him last year and it's quick to judge, but we are not winning that gamble. What I wouldn't give to have a John Lynch type in our secondary! Charles Woodson is an excellent corner and all of those who criticized us for "overpaying" the guy should look at his numbers. He nearly led the league in picks last year.

Lastly, Tight End. Bubba Franks was virtually a ghost last year. His biggest role was lining up in the backfield as an extra blocker on passing downs. I really think his numbers dove becuase of the system that Mike McCarthy implemented. He did have some key drops last year, but not too many balls when the way of TE's. I like David Martin, but he's just not on the field often enough because he's hurt. Time to cut him loose. I DO like Donald Lee and say we need to start giving him more touches. He has made some great plays for us in his 2 years. Franks is too good to let go, but more realistically in the draft than Peterson is Zach Miller out of ASU. He's a pass catching tight end and has the size. We would be foolish to pass him up given that Peterson is already gone when our pick comes up. Then we have a decision to make.

All in all, it is not up to us, but it's fun to read everyone's take on it. I'm sure we will see some great changes happen and some that we will question, but don't forget, at one time, we traded a first round draft pick for a third string QB with the Atlanta Falcons. 14 years later, all of Dan Marino's records are falling one by one by one.
Jason, jasonperone@yahoo.com, Chandler, AZ

Change defense to get more out of Gbaja-Biamila
Changing to a 3-4 defense will move KGB away from the opposing Left Tackle and allow him to use his speed and quickness. This will allow AJ Hawk to flip-flop as they move forward.
James Kautzman, Fornas1@aol.com

'The Mooner' better off in Dallas, not Green Bay!
I read Letters to the Editor (Feb. 9) and it's funny that someone from Minnesota insists that the Packers get Randy Moss, aka "The Mooner." This cancer will not put the Pack to the next level as I see it. The Pack seems like a happy family. Yes, they need more talent, but Mr. M is not the answer. Dallas is the place for him. He and T.O. will make a lovable couple and put Dallas in last place, along with the new coach Wade Phillips. What a joke.

One more thing about the TE position: Get rid of all present TEs and look to free agency. Please do not trade for one nor draft one in the early rounds. On offense the Pack's needs are at W.R. and RB with good speed and power. A back that can produce in November and December. Also get a O-Lineman. On defense, get a DE, LB, and a DB. The Pack also needs a return man. That position right now is very unstable.
Peter Stoyanovski, cadiekid@yahoo.ca, Pickering Canada

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