Read this Q&A that jsonline writer Tom Silverstein had with TT recently. I want to be one of the first to commend Silverstein for not asking easy questions. This is a good interview that asks some important questions and difficult questions for TT. It’s fairly evident to me that one concern Silverstein had throughout this season was the lack of veteran leadership. He raises this point several times in the interview and TT doesn’t take well to it.
The interview made me think of several things: TT didn’t like our defense, he cares about what’s written about him, he was smart not to touch the Favre situation, I like that he denied injuries being a major factor, he may be putting too much emphasis on the kind of person a player is which may cloud his judgment re the player’s ability to contribute (think Poppinga), and finally, and importantly, he does care about this team.
On a related noted, usatoday.com did a story on TT too. There is one interesting exchange in this interview that I thought stood out. Recently Charles Woodson shared with the media his belief that the team needs more veteran leadership, apparently implying that a lack of this kind of leadership affected the team’s ability to win close games. Read here from the article for more:
Some tried to draw a straight line between the Packers’ youth to a lack of leadership, perhaps providing a reason — THE reason? — the team faltered in so many close games. Veteran cornerback Charles Woodson appeared to be solidly in that camp, calling on the Packers’ front office to bring in some veterans. “Well, Charles is a very bright guy, so I’m not going to dispute what he says,” Thompson said. “Other than to say that, you know, we were in a bunch of close games that we didn’t win, and I think it’s a little too simplistic to say that we were too young.”
A lack of veteran leadership didn’t alone cost the Packers those games – Ted’s right. But I also think TT missed Woodson’s larger point – veterans could have helped in those games and others. Like the author of the article states, Woodson was driving at the possibility that the team lost close games because there were too many young guys out there inexperienced in those tight situations. And, a veteran leader or two might help pull the team through moments like that while at the same time just adding needed competence and depth to a questionable defense in particular.
I agree with Woodson (and I’m assuming Silverstein here) here. I actually think a good number of Packer fans probably would agree too. What’s interesting is that it seems TT is concerned about bringing in a free agent who may not fit in the locker room. Doesn’t seem like he’s considered the possibility that certain free agents might come in and actually improve team chemistry. In fact, team chemistry can often be improved simply by being better and if we add a quality free agent veteran or two (or five), we will get better (can’t get much worse), which may improve team chemistry. Packer fans remember how Reggie White came in and made the defense legit immediately. Eugene Robinson also helped quite a bit. While there aren’t many free agents who could step in and alter a defense like Reggie White, there are certainly quality guys out there who could fill our defensive holes or at least add depth, while at the same time providing some added leadership.
One final thing I do want to say is that I am not one of those people asking for TT’s head here. I don’t think he should be fired right now and I haven’t even jumped ship on his overall philosophy (though I am souring). I do think it’s important though that we question him more and more when the team is not winning. When things aren’t going well many fans naturally shift to trying to problem-solve to make this a winning team – just like TT and his staff will do. Let’s hope things get turned around this coming year – I just hope he dabbles a bit more with free agency than he has in the past.