Jerron McMillan a scapegoat?

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Read here – safety Jerron McMillan cut today. I can’t defend his play this year because he has not been good. He probably did need to be cut or benched at least. But the timing of this is interesting. As I just told a friend, I feel a bit trapped between feeling like “yes, this team needs to start taking concrete actions to turn this around – enough talk”. And this would qualify certainly as a concrete action. At the same time though, Jerron McMillan is definitely not the biggest problem with this horrible defense. The scheme/strategy/in-game defensive playcalling is far more responsible for the embarrassing defensive performances in recent weeks. And I happen to think the atrocious linebacker play is a major reason we can’t stop anyone. Yet we have no idea what Capers/MM/TT are doing scheme-wise/strategy-wise to adjust. They’ve clearly done nothing of substance since the Bears game.

The whole situation is a mess and I continue to really struggle with the fact that the Bears have managed to win at least 2 of 5 games with a backup (and without their best defensive player in Briggs). The Packers meanwhile, are just 0-4-1. Backup QB Josh McCown is actually outplaying Jay Cutler by a huge margin and Cutler hadn’t had a bad season before his injury. (McCown’s QB rating is 103.)  Sure part of all of this is unlucky for the Packers, but clearly Marc Trestman and his staff worked extensively with McCown to bring him up to speed and make sure he was game ready. McCown/Trestman have handled that situation a million times better than how McCarthy and his brood of underperformers have. (And importantly, offense hasn’t been the reason the Bears have lost 3 of 5.)

But I have actually had concerns about TT’s handling of the backup QB position for years now. Yes, I too started to believe that we were OK when we all thought there was some magic in McCarthy’s QB school. But I think there are a lot of us who are realizing that just wasn’t what it was cracked up to be. Who have we produced as a backup that has gone on to do legit things in the NFL? Nobody. I remember back when Brian Brohm was anointed the backup QB. That guy was so terrible it was simply shocking he was even in the NFL (much less that he was drafted in the second round). He was the slowest QB I’ve ever seen…including Dan Marino and Lynn Dickey (at least they could throw). I remember at that time advocating for Duante Culpepper as backup – against every fiber of my being – only because I knew if Rodgers went down we’d have zero chance with Brohm. While I can admit Culpepper may not have been a great answer, Brohm certainly went on to prove he had no game…getting cut by the Packers and then fizzling out quickly in Buffalo. Bottom line is that this whole situation reminds me of a company that has no contingency plan/no disaster plan – and perhaps most concerning, a very limited ability to make adjustments to right the ship. It’s just not good business.

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4 Responses to “Jerron McMillan a scapegoat?”

  1. Scott F Says:

    now cut M.D. Jennings

  2. Dave K Says:

    Not a scapegoat. Just bad. When Richardson came back there was just no way McMillian was ever going to be needed. He was outplayed by Jennings, Richardson, and Banjo. And, if you can’t take snaps away from those three then you do not deserve a roster spot. I would be very surprised in McMillian went on to start anywhere in this league.

    About the back-up QB situation. Dave in Tucson I think laid out a good argument in a prior post why the back-up situation was really ‘a perfect storm of suck’ that needs to be taken into account. I would add that teams with elite QB’s with an offense used to functioning at an extremely sophisticated and high level struggle more then teams (like the Bears) when their elite QB goes down. Didn’t the Colt’s go 2-14 after Manning got hurt? That being said, maybe the Packers need to change course on how they view the back-up job. Drafting and developing takes too long and is too much a shot in the dark. Sign a solid vet. Guys like McNown or Carson Palmer who were both available this summer. Let him take a bunch of reps during the summer and preseason. That seems like a better recipe for a guy to win a game or two then pinning your hopes on Harrell or a last minute signing like Young or Wallace.

    As far as the defense, this last 5 games goes beyond just bad luck and injuries. They have been very bad. This defense hasn’t really been good since 2010. At times it shows hope but for the most part the defensive units the past 3 years have gotten worse each year and have completely lost the ability to stop a good NFL offense. It’s time for a change at top and rebuild.

  3. awhayes Says:

    well put Dave K. And Dave in Tucson also made some very good points in that comment. Especially agree re the defense – really haven’t been good for years, except for 2010.

    As far as backup QBs, one of the things I’ve heard when listening to Chicago radio is that McCown and Trestman have developed a good working relationship, so Trestman had a good sense for what the offense could do/couldn’t do with McCown leading. I also think of how Shaun Hill has jumped in admirably in the past when Stafford has been injured in Detroit – and I think that’s a fairly sophisticated offense. You’re right about picking up a veteran guy who could absorb the complicated offense better and at least give us a fighting chance. And you’re right about changing our approach to backups – it needs to happen.

  4. kv Says:

    a couple of points need to be made.
    right now mccown has way better skill position players than we do, a better tight end- no finley, and two wr who can get open and be thrown to when covered due to their height mismatches often are open enough even through covered by a smaller db.
    as much as i love jordy and james jones they’re not unstoppable. rodgers thew him open with back shoulder throws, theew great passes into small windows, but they are defensible more easily than megatron, marshall or some of the elite recievers.
    we don’t have the wr we did and we really miss cobb more than people realize.
    people also don’t realize when we had great offenses it was because we had 5 or 6 very good targets all catching balls and the d simply couldn’t cover everyone- someone had to be open- now we have two above average wr who are not truly elite and a prospect in his first season contributing– and a line with injuries.
    no wonder our offense is down- plus the coach is running more- so we’re facing loaded boxes and no one fears our passing game any longer– without rodgers – our passing game is decidedly not scary.
    also on defense, mcmillian blew too many coverages to keep on the field, he’s been outplayed by undrafted free agents- so he’s not a big loss- it may be the sceheme is too tricky or too convoluted or just too much zone- but he did suck when he got his chance– we move on. the bigger issue is we don’t have an inside backer or safety who can cover a rb or tight end or move in space well enough to play zone in nickel to get 50 off the field and he’s just too slow to be our nickle backer.

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