Archive for the ‘green bay’ Category

Gut reaction to Capers’ hiring

January 19, 2009

After reviewing Capers’ overall coaching record a few days ago, I had become suddenly nervous about hiring him. He owns a weak, weak head coaching record and an OK D-Coordinator record. As I told Brother Steve yesterday, my preference would have been to wait for a younger guy and take a chance (Keith Butler or AZ’s LB coach – apparently the Eagles Sean McDermott was not really an option after all as the Eagles wouldn’t have let him interview, according to Tom Silverstein).

However, now that we have apparently hired Capers, I must say, I’m not super pumped up but I’m also not totally disappointed. My major reason for not totally hating this move is that he has experience and I believe it was perhaps a lack of experience that made Bob Sanders seemingly freeze during some games and not make necessary adjustments. Even though Capers failed as a head coach, he may just be one of those guys who is better not being THE guy. I could be wrong here because I have seen Capers have that dumbfounded, no-clue look on his face when things weren’t going right. But something tells me that his experience may help us make adjustments on the fly – especially considering he has 3-4/4-3 and hybrid scheme experience. The one concern I had about my own preference for a younger coach like Keith Butler (and Sean McDermott before he was essentially deemed unavailable), was whether they would be able to recognize the variety of offensive plays coming at the defense and then be able to counter and adapt quick enough.

I also think at least a small part of this hire came down to MM/TT being somewhat afraid for their own jobs. If they take a chance on a young swashbuckler, and the guy/defense fails and the team stinks, chances are more than decent that MM/TT may not be asked to come back in 2010. However, by picking an experienced guy who probably has a quality overall NFL reputation, it is less risky and if the defense sucks, they can say things like “we just need a bit more time for the players to adapt to the scheme” and stuff like that.

(One thing I do like about Capers is the apparent fact that he didn’t get along too well with Bill Belichick and that’s why the Patriots had no problem with him leaving. Now, make no mistake, I greatly admire Belichick’s football mind, but his personality strikes me as, well, jackass-like. He kind of seems like that old neighbor on your block when you were growing up who terrified neighborhood kids because he was such a jackass. In fact, this reminds me, there was once a sort-of-neighbor by our grade school who was so angry that my friend hit a foul ball into his yard when we were playing baseball, that he went into the garage, grabbed a gas can, plopped our hard ball on the driveway and set it on fire. I could see Belichick doing that in a few years).

NFL.com reporting Dom Capers interviewing

January 16, 2009

The following is from Adam Schefter NFL.com Perhaps most interesting is Schefter’s implied comment suggesting the possibility that Green Bay is not an enticing place to coach:

As it has attempted to fill its defensive coordinator job, Green Bay has brought in Mike Nolan and Gregg Williams. Nolan took Denver’s defensive coordinator job, while Williams went to New Orleans. Now, Green Bay has New England assistant coach Dom Capers visiting and interviewing for the job. Which means Capers is likely to land a job elsewhere.

If Green Bay could hire him, Capers would be a superb addition. He has respect around the league, experience in the game and will be coaching somewhere soon. But Green Bay has struggled to close defensive coordinator deals this offseason. Now it gets another chance.

I can’t pretend to know much re Capers as a D-Coordinator. But I do remember that as a head coach, along with Wayne Fontes, Capers was one of the original “clueless face” coaches. I remember thinking about him as I wrote a post on coaching in the moment a few weeks back. That doesn’t mean he would be a bad d-coordinator and he does have solid experience which may help McCarthy a bit. We’ll see.

UPDATE: read here from Wikipedia – not so sure we should be interviewing Dom Capers. While Wikipedia info isn’t always right, I don’t find this to be a very flattering entry. And, I am not impressed by coaches who spend all their time at the office. I think a lot of the time, working long hours can be more of an indication of an inefficient work-style than actual hard work. I’d rather have a coach who works 8 hours a day but works intelligently and efficiently. Working long hours didn’t seem to help Capers to a winning record, that’s for sure.

Gregg Williams signs with New Orleans

January 15, 2009

Read here from jsonline – Gregg Williams no longer an option. I was intrigued by the jsonline article this morning that talked about Tim Lewis. I don’t know much about him except that I felt really bad years ago when it looked like he might be paralyzed after making a tackle. His experience is interesting though and I like the fact that he’s worked with both the 4-3 and 3-4. I’m on record preferring a change to a 3-4, but I think it would be nice to have someone who has experience with both. I also am drawn immediately to the fact that he’s worked with Dick LeBeau. His 4 year D Coordinator success in Pittsburgh was also impressive. Sean McDermott is also a guy to keep in mind as anyone who has been working with Jim Johnson for more than a few years has to have picked up some good ideas. While Gregg Williams may have been decent, I do wonder if his personal style would have fit under TT/MM (I get the sense he’s fairly strong-willed). He apparently has had some issues in the past getting along with head coaches, including last year with Jack Del Rio. Right now in fact, I’m getting the sense that it may be a good thing that we didn’t land any of the initial, hot candidates because some of these other guys may be just as good. It’s not like we missed out on a Monte Kiffin, Dick LeBeau or Jim Johnson.

That said, I do have some concern, as some of you have mentioned, about whether Green Bay is still a place players/coaches even want to come. I wonder if some coaches have concerns about TT and/or MM. Reggie White made Green Bay a place lots of players and coaches wanted to come. And I believe Favre helped maintain that for years. But now, I have to admit, I’m not so sure it’s as attractive a place to work.

Packergeeks season grades

January 14, 2009

Bob McGinn came out with his season grades. Read here for this article. In his overall summary, he made some good points and some of his grades were dead on. But there was plenty to disagree with. Perhaps the biggest issue I have with how he grades is that he is so dependent on stats. It’s almost like he tries to create a mathematical formula to come up with grades. I know, I know, numbers don’t lie etc etc etc. But they don’t tell the whole story either. Take his D+ for Brandon Jackson based solely on his low 3rd down reception average (doesn’t mention his quality blocking for Rodgers on 3rd downs and his stellar 5.5 yards per carry).

Offense

  • Rodgers – A. McGinn wrong giving Rodgers B. Rodgers great. Inconsistent O-line play, no run game – Rodgers great. Will get clutch victories soon, then it will become routine. Also will become better leader starting next year.
  • Grant – C+. Grant didn’t avoid tackles well this year. Wasn’t terrible though (O-Line didn’t help him much). Should be fine next year if the line improves (and perhaps has a new offensive scheme).
  • Brandon Jackson – B. McGinn was way off here giving Jackson a D+. Jackson was pretty good and only had a low 3rd down reception average because of a shoddy O-Line.
  • DeShawn Wynn – B. Maybe didn’t play enough to get a grade but answered when called upon. He has vision our other RBs don’t have.
  • Korey Hall – D+. Injury problems again. He’s not bad and when healthy could be a valuable player. If not, he may end up being yet another guy who should just play his natural position – LB.
  • John Kuhn – D+. There were too many times when Kuhn didn’t get to the right spot at the right time.
  • Greg Jennings – A. No need for comment, just very good.
  • Donald Driver – A-. Driver is still good and he still gets the job done. I gave him a “-” because he can’t seem to break tackles like he used to.
  • Jordy Nelson – C+. I like Jordy’s attitude and sure hands. He strikes me as a quality #3 receiver. If he gets stronger, he might be able to shed tacklers like I imagine he did in college.
  • James Jones – C+. Jones was too injured almost to be graded. But when he was actually on the field, he showed he still presents a scary option.
  • Ruvell Martin – C+. It is now trendy to talk about Ruvell’s blocking ability ever since Packergeeks gave him the unofficial title of “best WR blocker” last year. But he is a great blocker and a high level team guy.
  • Donald Lee – C. Lee wasn’t too special this year. He’s still a quality TE but I almost wonder if the priority to develop him has given way to what seems like an overwhelming priority by the staff to develop Finley.
  • Tory Humphrey – B-. I can’t pretend to know how good Humphrey was blocking etc, but it seemed to me that whenever he got a chance, this guy came through.
  • Jermichael Finley – D+. His last couple games were encouraging – mostly because I like the way they tried to use him. As he adjusts to the NFL, he could become really good.
  • Colledge – C. Still nothing special to me. McGinn will throw stat after stat at you and it seems “cool” presently to talk about how Colledge was a “bright spot”, but I just didn’t see it very much.
  • Clifton – D. Clifton is just not good enough anymore. Physically his knees don’t work, his hip probably doesn’t work. I’m not sure he makes the team next year.
  • Moll – D-. He is not good. Though yet again, he is another player the Packers tried to convert. Apparently Moll was mostly a TE in college.
  • Tauscher – C-. He really struggled this year. C- is a bad grade from me, but especially bad for a guy whom I’ve given high Bs or even As in the past. Tauscher has been one of our best players over the years, but 2008 was not a good year for him. I do want him back, but I think other teams will come after him looking for a bargain.
  • Spitz – C. I saw in some other post-season grades that Spitz did OK by some. I don’t get that. I like that he can play center in a pinch and I didn’t notice a drop-off at all when he did. But I’m just not sure he’s that good yet.
  • Wells – C-. I don’t see what others see in Wells. I think he is too small and is often responsible for giving up the push up the middle at the line of scrimmage.
  • Barbe and others – who knows.

Defense

  • Woodson – A. Maybe one of the best seasons ever by a Packer corner. His tackling this year was unreal.
  • Harris – B+. Harris is still good. Yes, he is vulnerable against the big/talented guys, but generally he still holds his own.
  • Bigby – incomplete.
  • Collins – B+/A-. Collins was a lot better at actually catching interceptions (though he still dropped a few) but I think the most important thing about the Pro Bowl nod is that he will be even more confident now. I think he had questions about his own skills going into this year and now I think he’ll have more faith in what he’s doing going forward.
  • Peprah – C-. Often injured. Shows signs of talent for tackling at times.
  • Tramon Williams – B-. Was great filling in for Harris but his level of play dropped in the 2nd half. I still think he has the skills to be a starting CB though.
  • Will Blackmon – C-. This grade is for his contributions as a CB, which weren’t great. He had one great tackle play against Jax that caused a fumble but outside of that, I’m not sure he’s that good of a corner. I really like him in the return game and may give him a B to B+ there.
  • Jarrett Bush – C-. His mistakes cause headaches, and overall I’m not sure he should be on the team. I do like his enthusiasm though.
  • Aaron Rouse – D+. Disappointment. I do wonder if Sanders just never found a good way to use him. Rouse has unique LB-like size for a safety and I hope that the new D-Coordinator can maybe find some special ways to use him. I’ve said it before, but I think having Collins, Bigby and Rouse on the field for the same plays at times could be an intriguing combination.
  • Brady Poppinga – A. Just kidding, D. He and Spencer Havner should switch roles.
  • Desmond Bishop – B. If I read again about how he missed a tackle on Chester Taylor (a tackle that only MAYBE Patrick Willis would have made – certainly not Barnett) or about major coverage let downs, I’m going to puke. He did more in his short time out there than any part-time player. He caused 3 forced fumbles in very very limited action. YOU CAN’T KEEP SOMEONE ON THE BENCH WHEN HE’S CAUSING TURNOVERS AND MAKING PLAYS AND YOUR STARTERS AREN’T!!! Sorry, bitterness.
  • Nick Barnett – C-. Barnett was not sharp this year before his injury. Not sure what it was but his level of play dropped significantly from last year when he was pretty darn good.
  • AJ Hawk – D. Gotta wonder if that chest injury affected him more than he let on. Any kind of injury of the chest is kind of scary. Either way, he was bad this year and I think Winston Moss is right when he says that AJ is not playing freely/instinctively because he’s too assignment-focused.
  • Chillar – B. He was good. Yes, he had a few missed tackles and poor plays here and there, but overall, he was probably our best LB.
  • Kampman – B-. Kampman wasn’t as visible this year. I don’t think he was stellar and I think if he rated himself, he would say the same. But I do recognize that he was double-teamed constantly because if opposing lines didn’t do that, they’d have been bored doing nothing.
  • Pickett – C-. Pickett was not the same. Like Tauscher, a C- for a player like Pickett is a bad, bad grade. We expect high “B” performances from him but he didn’t deliver this year.
  • Jolly – D+. I had high hopes for Jolly. I thought he’d be great. He wasn’t. He plays hard and has enthusiasm, but I just don’t know how effective he can be. Perhaps he was affected negatively by having a weak right DE next to him all season.
  • Montgomery – D+. A small part of me was pulling for Montgomery to be a surprise this year. He wasn’t. His rush “moves” are slow and he didn’t contain the edge well against the run.
  • Jeremy Thompson – D+. Lots of development to do for this guy.  Thompson plays hard and is excited about being out there. Just didn’t perform. He consistently over-pursued or just plain got burned on plays. He plays small, more like a LB. If we move to a 3-4, he may actually have a shot at helping at OLB.
  • Colin Cole – C. I can’t say for sure why I believe this but I think Cole came on at the end of the season. For most of the season though, he was pretty absent.
  • Alfred Malone – C+. He’s a guy I’d like to see more of. He took advantage of his chances to play and looked OK.
  • Jason Hunter – C-. Had hopes that he would get more playing time and perform better. I believe an injury sidelined him for a bit. May be another guy who would fit in a 3-4 defense as an OLB.
  • Justin Harrell – D-. Harrell’s injury issues are sad. Considering the ongoing back problems, I’m not sure he’s going to be able to play at all anymore. I’m over the fact that it was a blown draft pick – dumb mistake by TT – more surprising than anything. But this is sad because if you see an interview with Justin, you’ll realize pretty fast that he’s a good kid. He, himself feels badly for letting down Packer nation and has said so.

Special Teams

  • Mason Crosby – C+. Still helps us on kick offs quite a bit. His misses on potential game-winners obviously hurt. But a bigger concern to me was the few kicks he had (like the first miss in the Bears game for example) where it seemed he had no idea how to kick. My unofficial count had this happen 3 times. He came out of his kicking form way early, didn’t focus on the plant foot whatsoever and kicked a low-flying duck-hook type kick each time. Sort of like he was afraid of someone running into him or something. 2 of these were in cold weather, but weather in which the opposing kicker made longer field goals. Still, I like Crosby and am not too worried about him.
  • Derrick Frost – F.
  • Jeremy Kapinos – B-. Came in under tons of pressure and performed OK in poor conditions. His numbers weren’t great but as I said before, numbers don’t tell the whole story. He had big kicks when we needed them and importantly, didn’t hurt us down the stretch. Packers should throw millions at Shane Lechler this off-season.
  • Brett Goode – B+. He was…um…goode. Not sure why McGinn would give this guy a C or whatever he gave him. He was a sure-snapper. I didn’t give him an A only because I’m not sure how he was blocking and coverage-wise.

Coaching

  • McCarthy – C-. Mike McCarthy was off this year. He was distracted by Favre and distracted by having a baby. Neither thing his “fault”, and neither thing a small thing. I think next year he’ll be more focused and get back to being the creative, quality playcaller I think he is. This past year, his game-flow and playcalling was really subpar though.
  • Sanders – D+. Sanders did have a couple outstanding games, like the Colts game and the first Bears game. He was on the money for those games. But he was not consistent and his inability to adapt to changes throughout the course of a game was a major liability for us. Good guy it seems, but we’re ready for a new defensive coordinator.
  • Mike Stock – D. Stock’s fall was interesting. The special teams in 2007 were a key part of our success. They were consistent and solid for the most part. In 2008, however, this was a major weakness. Penalties, weak coverage, the Frost nightmare. Stock’s stock could have gone either way as he was on the rise after 2007.
  • Joe Philbin – ?. Not sure what he does. I’m sure he contributes in some way, but it’s hard to know exactly how because McCarthy is so involved with the offense.

Management

  • Ted Thompson – C. Didn’t like his handling of Favre. Didn’t like the Frost situation. Didn’t like the lack of depth the team ended up having. And still believe he over-emphasizes the draft vs free agency. On the other hand, I liked that he tried at least for Tony Gonzalez. I liked that he got something in return for Favre. I liked that he picked up Chillar. As critical as I’ve been of TT in the past, I am not one of the group calling for his head. He has shown flashes of brilliance and I really want to see if he can help bring the team back from this miserable season. While I’d say that the players and coaches bear the majority of the blame for this past season, I do think TT must do more to improve both our talent and depth, particularly on defense and particularly on the lines. I also think we need more veteran leadership out there in the form of free agents and I hope that TT modifies his approach to accommodate this. If he doesn’t and the team doesn’t show marked improvement next year, I’m not sure TT will be wanted back.

Ok, real rumor now: Mike Nolan new D-Coordinator

January 6, 2009

From our Madison correspondent Scott W, we have learned via a radio program that right now, Mike Nolan will be the new defensive coordinator and is in the process of assembling his staff.

Will update when more info available…

LeRoy Butler wants a 3-4 defense

January 2, 2009

Today on WSSP, LeRoy Butler argued that the Packers should consider making the move to a 3-4 defense. He said that during the Super Bowl years, the Packers would sometimes go into a 3-4 defense, especially against West Coast teams. He said that whenever they did, it opened up the defense significantly. Butler noted that blitz options and coverage options opened up. And he noted that one thing he liked about the 3-4 as a safety was that he found filling gaps for tackling (when opposing teams were running the ball) was much easier and he often got home for the tackle untouched. Butler went on to argue that the Patriots and the Steelers have had lots of success over the past few years in the 3-4 and that he believes it’s time for the Packers to follow this. He noted that the 4-3 can work fine, but it requires having 3 excellent LBs – which the Packers don’t seem to have right now.

I agree with Butler and I’ve written this before. I think it’s time for a change. Our defense last year wasn’t terrible, but it only ranked 11th overall in average yards given up per game (12th in pass defense and 14th in run defense). Not stellar. Our defense did keep us in some games and was certainly decent overall – and I think we all know that a good pass rush can make our bump-and-run style work out reasonably well. But it’s been a long time it seems, since we’ve had a suffocating defense that scared opposing teams – like Pittsburgh does every year. Let’s strive for that with something new. We could draft a nice LB or two or maybe find one in free agency or trade for one. Whether Sanders stays or not, I do think it’s time to consider mixing things up.(Butler also talked about a few of the D-coordinators presently on the market like Crennel and Mike Nolan, noting that they are 3-4 guys…not sure if Butler has any reason to believe Sanders may not last much longer or if he was just talking, which is always possible with him).

Another Stock falls

January 2, 2009

Mike Stock has decided he wants to retire…apparently. Read here for more. Something tells me that TT’s conversation with Stock was similar to the one he had with Favre before Favre “retired:

TT: Mike, we appreciate all you’ve done here. Man, gotta be honest though, you look like you’ve aged big-time over the last year and it couldn’t be more obvious that coaching has taken it’s toll on your life and your family. Don’t get me wrong though, we want you back. But if it were me, there’s no question that at 69, the golf course would be calling my name, as would grandkids and the wonderful opportunity to spend most of my free time with family that loves and cares for me and has supported my hectic coaching life for years. But that’s just me. It’s your call.

Stock: Fine, I’m done.

Vikings forfeit playoff spot due to having crappy fans

December 30, 2008

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has decided it would be “in the best interests of the NFL” to have the Packers host Philadelphia instead of Minnesota. As word spreads about the chance that the scheduled playoff game this weekend pitting Minnesota against Philadelphia may not sell out, because 45% of Vikings season ticket holders have not purchased their tickets yet, Goodell determined action needed to be taken.

“The Vikings have earned their playoff berth technically by winning the most games in the NFC North. But I’d be lying if I said the NFL was excited to see the Vikings make it instead of the Packers. The Packers have much better fans. In fact, the Packers sell out pre-season games, not to mention regular season games and of course, they’d sell out a playoff game before the tickets even went on sale. In any event, the NFL has decided that it would be in the best interests of the NFL to have the Packers host Philadelphia instead this weekend. We believe it would be a better game and bring more money to our pockets ultimately, which is really all we’re after”.

(Goodell also reportedly muttered under his breath after making this decision that not allowing Minnesota to play would spare viewers from having to see Jared Allen’s unbelievably bad mullet).

Quick Detroit/NFL thoughts

December 29, 2008
  • Glad we won that game. While some did make the point (Brother Steve included) that a loss might have lit a hotter fire under the management of the Packers to make something happen in the off-season, I think ultimately it was important that we didn’t lose that game. We have some young guys (including a young head coach) with football egos still developing and a loss yesterday could have done major damage.
  • Rodgers was awesome yesterday. Watching and reading interviews, I know that Aaron Rodgers cares about his stats. He pays attention to them carefully. And, I wouldn’t doubt that when he threw the bomb to Driver he knew it put him over 4000 yards. And you know what? I don’t care if he tracks his own stats. Doesn’t bother me at all. If it helps motivate him to play well and it doesn’t interfere with him trying to win games, I could care less. I’ve been very pleased with Rodgers. Quality guy, quality player.
  • Grant finished the season with over 1200 yards – putting him at #9 overall in the NFL. Our expectations were certainly higher for him than what he produced, and I do have concerns about his role in not breaking the big gainers – but overall, not terrible. I also was very impressed with our back-up RBs: Jackson and Wynn. Both found ways to contribute significantly whenever they had a chance this year.
  • Defense was OK yesterday, but should have been better against lowly Detroit. I do really like this 2008 trend of interceptions. Collins and Woodson have to scare opposing QBs quite a bit not only because of the picks but because of their return abilities afterward. Tramon Williams has added nicely to the interception threat too.
  • I do wonder re Sanders’ job security. Replacing Sanders with Mangini would be a quick improvement as Bucky, Trav and others have pointed out if Mangini were willing.
  • Favre should retire. He didn’t look good yesterday. It’s too bad he had to go out like that. Despite being an important part of getting the team to 8-3 (yes the RBs were good as was the D and the O-line, but Favre was passing well and importantly giving the team needed leadership), he really faded down the stretch when the Jets needed him most (though their run game also faded big-time it seemed). It’s just time for him to go.
  • Good for Miami and Chad Pennington. I wonder what Brother Steve thinks now of my man-crush on Pennington.
  • Nice effort by Detroit as Ace said in a comment. They came to play and they played hard. They’re very bad, so they didn’t win. But they tried hard.
  • Anyone see Rian Lindell’s FG attempt in Buffalo? Hilarious. Wind blew it 40 yards to the right. Unreal.
  • Hard to watch that Philly/Dallas game not just because of the blowout but because I can’t stand either team.
  • Anyone watch Tarvaris drive the Vikes down the field for the winning FG? Nice. He and the Vikes face a big test this week against Philly.
  • Not sure how Wade Phillips still has a job. I would have fired him earlier this year. That guy is terrible. Talk about having a glazed over look on the sidelines! He just doesn’t look like he knows what’s going on or what to do next. He doesn’t have a big enough personality to deal with being the Dallas head coach. Holmgren would fit well there and he could help make Romo a complete player…perhaps one who can eventually win a big game.
  • Did Arizona switch back to starting E James again? I think so. Interesting.
  • I’m not sure Orlovsky is terrible. He has had moments this year that have been impressive (along with Detroit-like moments). Their QB situation will be interesting to follow this coming off-season – as will all the other drama.
  • Steve said the other day that he and I should apply for Detroit’s GM position. He said that it would be impossible not to do a better job than Millen and co. Impossible. He wasn’t being arrogant, he was being accurate. I would submit that anybody who has heard of the NFL could do a better job than those tools.

Heartened by Packergeek readers

December 23, 2008

Despite the horrendousness, as it were, of last night’s loss, I am heartened by one thing: our readers. We have witty, astute and football-wise readers who comment here. As I was composing the previous novel/post on my Bears Game Thought, I kept reading reader comments from last night and the dead-onness, if you will and hilarity helped me get through writing such a critical/depressing post.


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