Archive for the ‘McCarthy’ Category

Response to Steve’s Favre Interview II post

July 15, 2008

I’m falling in line with many who are questioning Favre at this point and agree with much of what Brother Steve has written on the matter. I worry that he’s become somewhat selfish over time, and part of me can see the functionality of standing up to him.

However, I disagree with parts of the last post. I do think that those 3 points of difference Favre had with Ted Thompson are significant in that they shed light on why Favre’s brother, Favre himself and the now simply out of control Al Jones keep pointing their fingers at TT. It also validates my suspicion (something we’ve written about before) that TT and Favre have not seen eye to eye now for a few years. And it also begs the questions: what else have they differed on and how big is the rift between them right now.

I agree with Brother Steve that Favre is not the GM and on one level, these 3 instances should viewed as Favre and TT simply disagreeing. And taken separately, each issue alone is probably not a big deal. But cumulatively, over time, I could see how Favre would feel a bit frustrated when he believes in something and TT seemingly disregards his thoughts. While he’s not the GM, he has clearly been the most important figure in Green Bay for some time now. That is undeniable. And he has earned that – so he should have some sway at least – more than a Tyrone Culver for example. I agree with Steve that signing Mariucci may not have been a great idea as McCarthy has more than proven his abilities already (and Mariucci was not stellar in his coaching efforts). Favre was off there and if he were off on the other 2, I’d chalk it up to him having no clue re personnel stuff. But I disagree re the other 2 issues: clearly Moss can still play and clearly the O-Line suffered dramatically when Wahle and Rivera left. I think Brother Steve arguing that Moss may not have fit in the locker room is a weak argument – Moss went on to have one of the best seasons ever by a receiver and I think it’s not unreasonable to assume he would have been very good with the Pack too. Favre was right on that one. And, Favre was partially right too on the O-Line issue. The O-Line has been a source of weakness for the last 2 years mostly (with the second half of last season sort of excepted). I don’t think Rivera should have been re-signed, but Wahle definitely should have. We still don’t know who our left guard is 3 years later. At the time, Wahle was a snubbed pro-bowler and a major reason Mike Sherman’s incredibly predictable run game somehow flourished back in the day.

And I also take issue with Favre weighing in only on issues that affect him. Of course he’d do that – if he started saying we need a new safety and a better punter, then he’d be imposing his thoughts on areas that he doesn’t know as much about. It makes sense for him to offer suggestions on matters that affect him.

As we all become more aware of the interpersonal dynamics at play between Favre and TT and Favre and MM, it helps give us more insight into the complexity of Favre’s retirement decision. That said, I still don’t see how this stuff would have influenced him as much as it seemingly did. If he wanted to play, he could have played, by all accounts. He had the support of fans, family, teammates, the coach at least…

I’ve found myself in a curious position today – wavering like Favre from understanding Favre’s position of just wanting to play now and regretting his retirement decision and the teams’ position of just wanting to bring some resolution to this by moving on with a decision they’ve already made. Perhaps in one of the next few posts, we’ll focus in on some possible solutions to this mess – again, as aspiring GMs, we need to think more re how to move forward.

Sports talk show host opinions on Favre not representative of fan base

July 15, 2008

Last Friday, I emailed the Star Tribune’s sportswriter Patrick Reusse about an article he’d written on the Favre situation. He had interviewed Drew Olson, from Milwaukee’s ESPN’s the D-List as his main source for the article. As much as I respect Drew Olson, I don’t agree with his position entirely on this Favre matter because I believe it’s been clouded by Favre-Fatigue. Olson and the other D-Listers (Bill Johnson and Dan Needles) like all the talk show hosts I’ve listened to (except Homer on ESPN Milwaukee who says the team should say “fine come back, but your done after this year”), are squarely in the camp that Favre is done, and the Packers need to move on. Anyway, the gist of Reusse’s article was that this is how most Packer fans feel (mostly because that’s what Olson thinks and that’s what he seems to hear most from his callers). Olson told Reusse that when the Brewers got CC Sabathia, people didn’t care as much re the Favre news because they were so sick of it – well, that was true only for a couple days and while plenty have tired of the Favre saga, this happened mostly because the Brewers had just completed perhaps the biggest trade in their history. But it stopped being true shortly thereafter and ever since, Favre’s situation has dominated headlines.

Anyway, right now as we all deal with this situation, the sports talk show hosts are the ones who have to deal with it most. So, when you and I wake up and think about what we’ll be doing today, we can think about other things. But for these guys, for the last 2 weeks (minus a couple days for Sabathia), all it’s been for them is Favre this and Favre that. I too might get a little tired of the lack of topic diversity and talking about it non-stop. So I can understand the talk show host general tendency to slide negative on things like this, because it’s exhausting and frankly, given the information that is coming out, Favre’s position has become harder to defend. But the risk that’s run here is that these talk show hosts are major holders of local opinion on sports matters and while they do shape public opinion often, sometimes their opinions are simply not representative of the fan-base. So when I emailed Reusse, I told him that his sourcing was narrow and I guessed that it was probably closer to 60% of fans actually wanting Favre back.

Consider these two polls, the first a Green Bay poll done on Sunday and second at jsonline:

What do you want Favre’s roll to be in 2008?

  • 33% starter, 19% back-up, 15% coach, 34% stay retired

Should the Packers trade Favre?

  • 18% yes, 74% no, 9% release him

(Of note: 53% of respondents were female).

jsonline poll:

Which QB do you want to start next season for the Packers:

62% Favre

36% Rodgers

2% Someone else

So, my overall point here is that some of the loudest voices are the ones lining up against Favre – but don’t be fooled into thinking that is how most Packer fans feel. In fact, the polls and stats I’ve read seem to indicate the opposite.

As for me, I continue to be frustrated like most fans and if anything, I’ve come around to thinking that the organization has handled this perhaps better than I initially thought. As I said yesterday, I can’t fault the team for wanting an answer prior to the draft. So, I too have grown increasingly frustrated with Favre’s back and forth. But there remains a part of me that still believes that he would be very effective if he were to play in 2008 for the Packers because he can clearly still play.

But the more this plays out, the more I can see a trade materializing…

Did Ted Thompson just open door to Favre’s return?

July 12, 2008

Read this excerpt from an ESPN article updated late 7/12 here, re the Favre situation:

Speaking later to ESPN.com’s John Clayton, Thompson said he is prepared to accept Favre’s return and not necessarily as a backup.

And McCarthy added Favre wouldn’t coach. So, if this doesn’t mean he’d have a chance to start at QB, does TT have thoughts of converting Favre to safety? LB? TE? What the ;aklsdfj;alsdjfoiqwhto does this mean? Is TT opening the door to Favre’s return?

In this article, I do appreciate at least reading that TT appears to be aware that this situation is sensitive, but I wonder how he could have thought that his terse text message response wouldn’t have been problematic.

Ugly, ugly, ugly, all around.

Favre asks for release – crap…

July 11, 2008

Read here from Chris Mortensen at ESPN. This is not what I was hoping would happen. This is monumental news. Now the Packers have to do something.

What I thought a few weeks ago to be unlikely is playing out right in front of us: Brett Favre may play for another team. It makes me feel sick frankly.

As we’ve maintained here at Packergeeks, we’re not pleased with how Favre has handled this whole thing. He should have stated clearly that he wanted to play again in some kind of press conference. (Though I do wonder if he chose not to do this when he got the impression that perhaps the team didn’t want him back). He has now cast himself in a somewhat selfish light as he goes on to pursue life with another team.

Ted Thompson again, is also at fault for this. His lack of communication at the least I’m sure has made the entire retirement process more difficult for Favre. Sure, Favre’s his own man and can make his own decisions, but when you get the strong feeling that the GM of your team doesn’t want you there, it has to have somewhat of an effect on you. I think we’ll find out as this plays out that somewhere along the way, Favre and TT had a big falling out – where TT may have even said directly to Favre that he wants to move on without him – that he wants him to retire.

One of the things that continues to surprise me re this situation is TT’s lack of effort to encourage Favre to return because TT has proven to have a good take on talent. Favre is a great player and still is the best QB on this team. It is just extra surprising to me that a GM who handles other matters seemingly so well, has been so rigid, removed and absent the last few weeks during such a critical time for the team.

Brother Steve is on the phone right now saying that he’s pissed that Favre would ask for a straight release without allowing the Packers to at least try to get something for him. He’s also pissed at TT thinking this all may be an ego move on TT’s part because Rodgers is his man. Steve notes that if the Packers were to win a Super Bowl with Favre, everyone would talk about Favre. But if they win with Rodgers, everyone will talk about TT.

This is just so ugly. Now what? The Vikings? The Bears?

I need several beers…

Favre situation could hurt Packer locker room

July 8, 2008

Readers Joshywoshy and Arealpackerfan both make a similar, solid point when evaluating this whole Favre situation. They both mention that the locker room will suffer and that essentially, this whole matter could end up being quite divisive among teammates, fans and even staff (I think it’s safe to say it already has been divisive). This is becoming a major concern. One of the things that has happened this off-season is that the Packers and fans have rallied around Rodgers as our hope for the future. Not only has Rodgers done well so far stepping into this role, but the team, fans and staff have all developed sincere excitement that Rodgers is the new man. To have Favre drop this on us now, puts that positive momentum on hold at least for now. It immediately brings with it a budding QB controversy and destabilizes what had become a stable, positive environment under Rodgers.

So, I can understand the many arguments that I’ve heard from our readers and on radio noting that it’s at least unfortunate for Rodgers and team chemistry that this is happening right now. And, I can also understand why readers are frustrated by Favre’s timing and his indirect communication on this matter. In fact, I think Favre apparently leaking comeback rumors out there to see how his return might be received is not too different from back in junior high when you’d tell your friend to tell his cousin to tell the best friend of a hot chick that you like her. Just come out with it.

At the same time, if TT truly did tell Favre “I’m on vacation..” and then didn’t respond to him otherwise, I think that’s really bad form. TT doesn’t need to have a prepared response and all that – right now he just needs to listen to the Hall of Fame QB who has been the face of the organization for 17 years. I’ll admit, this would be a bit different for me right now if Favre had 12 TDs and 19 INTs last year and the Packers finished 9-7, just shy of the playoffs. I’d be squarely in the camp of wanting to move on with Rodgers. But the Packers finished 14-4, went way further than ANYONE predicted and most “experts” credited Favre with leading them to this accomplishment. To me, his clear demonstration last year of the fact that he can still play very well is the reason TT needs to deal with this and deal with this right now. I don’t know if it means Favre should be welcomed back open arms – but TT should AT LEAST TALK TO THE GUY to see what the hell is going on! Sorry Ted, I know it’s hard work, especially when you’re good at what you do (for the most part), but being the GM of the Packers IS a damn vacation!! It’s the best job one could have!  So do your job TT and handle this matter before it gets further out of control.

Ted Thompson to Favre: “I’m on vacation…”

July 7, 2008

Lance Allen of WTMJ Channel 4 (Milwaukee’s NBC affiliate) just reported that he learned from a source that Favre sent a text message to Thompson on Saturday requesting to talk to him and TT responded with “I’m on vacation…”, and that he’ll call him later. While I can understand any man’s desire to keep his vacation time sacred, TT isn’t any man and this isn’t just any issue. Again, I recognize that this is a difficult matter for him to have to deal with and I don’t necessarily envy the position he and McCarthy are in right now. But at the same time, he is the GM of one of the most important teams in sports. If I were the Packers GM (remember, that is the ultimate goal of Packergeeks), I’d call Favre immediately to try to get this thing sorted out.

STEVE ADDS: If this report is true (and I heard it elsewhere today, too) it’s appalling.  I think both Favre and Thompson have handled this poorly and lack of communication is largely responsible for an entirely avoidable problem.  But for Thompson to respond this way goes beyond stupid.  It lacks class.  He just made his job much, much more difficult.

Ted Thompson wanted Favre out

July 3, 2008

(The initial part of this post was first drafted back in March, around Favre’s retirement time, but it was not posted because Steve wanted to “do more research”…I’m trying purge Steve of his journalist tendencies and have them give way to blogger tendencies, but no dice. We’ve actually both thought that TT has wanted Favre out now for a while – dating back to last year. We’re writing this now because if this Favre thing is pushed further, I’m pretty convinced we’ll all see that TT never wanted Favre back anyway – TT did everything he could to make it clear to Favre that TT was ready for the Favre era to end).

Here it is. Steve and I have been speculating about this really ever since the 2006 season ended. We have reached the conclusion that by his actions (or inactions), his words and even his non-verbals (counselor-speak), TT has made it relatively clear to fans and I’m sure Favre, that he was actually NOT indifferent to Favre’s retirement decision (which was the public impression he conveyed), but that he just didn’t want Favre on the team anymore, period. We have been monitoring this scenario the whole off-season like most NFL fans with a suspicious eye cast toward TT. Following is our argument.

  • Prior to Favre’s retirement, TT responded to a reporter wondering if TT had encouraged Favre to come back by saying something to the effect of: Favre is a 38 year old man, he can make his own decisions. TT handled this reporter’s question in a dismissive fashion.
  • Mike McCarthy never spoke inclusively of TT whenever alluding to efforts to encourage Favre to come back. On a good number of occasions, MM was clear that he wanted Favre to come back, but MM never indicated “we” or never mentioned TT when referring to Favre (that I am aware of).
  • TT being extra clear once Favre did retire that Rodgers is the guy. Sure, this is a logical thing to say considering he was back-up last year and has learned now for 3 years behind Favre etc. But it was interesting that this was simply declared by TT right after Favre retired when the modern-day response for coaches/GMs to any talk of who will start is “it’s an open competition” etc.
  • TT’s handling of the locker situation – wanting a clear, tangible reminder to all that Favre is done.
  • TT making sure Favre’s retirement ceremony would take place as soon as possible – the first game of the season.
  • TT drafting 2 QBs in the draft. For a guy who “never drafts for need”, this appears to be an extra obvious message to Favre that the team is attempting to move on.
  • TT’s non-verbals during the whole retirement announcement process. I got a fairly strong sense that he simply was not that INTO the whole retirement, tribute, adoration period like most of the rest of the football world.
  • The straight comments from Favre’s family and agent that it was clear the Packers didn’t want him back. They said it then and they’ve said it as recently as yesterday (WISN news and FOX 6 both carried phone conversations with family members indicating the Packers didn’t do enough to convince Favre that he was wanted back). Given that McCarthy is on record stating he and Clements tried hard to convince Favre, when Favre and family members say “the Packers” didn’t do enough, clearly, this leaves only one person in a position power for them to be referring to: TT.
  • Rodgers is TT’s guy. TT drafted him and has pushed for Rodgers to succeed and one day be the guy.
  • The fact that Jason Wilde and many other writers are pointing out that the Packers likely won’t take Favre back. How Favre’s potential return is handled is something that is determined by TT ultimately and so when these writers state that they have inside sources indicating Favre’s return would not be welcomed by the Packers, what they are saying essentially is that TT does not want him back. Period.

I know there are those of you out there who may be frustrated that I am posting this and seemingly siding with Favre. That’s not quite true. While I wouldn’t be averse to Favre returning because I think he could lead this team to the Super Bowl, and while I do think TT has not wanted Favre on the team for a while now, I do think Favre has handled this situation poorly. A quiet part of me hopes that what he said today, that this is all just a rumor, is true so that he can preserve his well-deserved legacy and the Packers can move forward with an exciting young QB.

Both sides have handled this poorly. Both sides, in fact, are meta-messaging. What is meta-messaging? Well, frankly, it is a method of communication often exhibited by females. (Sorry female packergeeks readers, I’m just regurgitating info I learned from a communication seminar once…given by a female). The basic premise is that women, for whatever reason, sometimes do not communicate directly what is it they want or what it is they are thinking. For example, if your wife wants to stop at the ice cream shop she won’t say, “let’s stop there and get ice cream”. Instead, she says, as you drive by, “boy it’s sure crowded there, perfect summer night, those people seem to be enjoying themselves”. A few blocks later, the husband, who as usual was not being a good listener, realizes maybe his wife meant she wanted ice cream. When he asks if this is the case, his wife responds, pouting, “no, it’s too late now anyway”. Then wife is mad and husband is frustrated.

Anyway, my point is this: both TT and Favre are meta-messaging and we as fans are left to devour internet rumors and speculation in hopes of uncovering the truth. If either would just come out and say what’s really going on, maybe this whole thing could move forward in a more constructive way. But both sides are afraid to say something likely because they don’t want to look bad in the eyes of NFL/Packer fans. Problem is, this growing uncertainty re the truth is fostering some pretty strong reactions from fans – just listen to any sports talk radio station.

Here’s my best effort at the real truth here: after Favre’s poor 2005 season, TT wanted Favre out. Then due to the excitement generated by the strong finish at the end of the 2006 season, TT decided for PR reasons that he shouldn’t push Favre out like he had been planning to do, but instead gave barely noticeable support to a Favre return. Then, after the 2007 season, TT had further resolved to get Favre out (though it’s hard to imagine why a GM would want to usher out the 4th rated passer who took his team to the NFC Championship game). Throughout the off-season, TT did his best to dodge public questions re his stance on Favre’s return for 2008. But the truth is, he has wanted him out for a while now and when Favre finally decided to retire, TT moved swiftly (as we’ve pointed out above) to move on. Now, I suspect that Favre is actually just putting out feelers to see how a possible return would be received by the team/fans. I wonder a bit if he is intentionally trying to put pressure on the fans to put pressure on TT and the team to welcome him back. I don’t suspect he is itching to play elsewhere (as it seems only really crappy teams have major QB needs).

Either way, this situation is just not sitting well with me or really, any of the fans who have weighed in on this. (Oh, and by the way, read this from Rob Demovsky today – our guess is you’ll see more and more articles like this as it all shakes out).

Thoughts on McCarthy

June 26, 2008

A good read here yesterday from USA Today. Not much of consequence in this article but interesting nonetheless (who came up with the expression ‘nonetheless’ and how were they allowed to have it all be one word?).

Reading this article conjured up a few thoughts for me re Mike McCarthy. First of all, let me just say that we can officially declare that TT’s selection of MM was nothing short of brilliant. Period. Brilliant. I stand fully corrected as an adamant Jim Bates advocate at the time, even though he may have been good too. MM is the right man for this job. I know I’m putting myself out there a bit as some people want to see another good season before going off like this, but I‘m not one of them. I just can’t see the team being bad this year and Mike McCarthy is the main reason I can say this confidently. There is something about the way Mike McCarthy goes about things that is compelling, that characterizes a championship coach. I think in his brief time in Green Bay, we have all seen him develop quickly into the unquestioned leader of this team.

McCarthy’s steady leadership is a major reason why I’m not smarting as much as I thought I would be from Favre’s retirement. In fact, I think helping me with this transition is the fact that McCarthy’s approach to the game reminds me of Favre’s: he wants to win very badly and he’ll help the team win in every way he knows how, but he wants it to be fun along the way. And like Favre, McCarthy is immensely talented, focused, driven and serious when he needs to be. I know Mike Sherman had a fairly good relationship with most of his players and tried to make being a Packer fun, but he lacked talent and didn’t have the respect from the players that MM clearly has. There is not much more you can ask for in a coach: in 2 short years he’s proven he’s talented, successful, respected and well-liked. (One tiny piece of evidence for this is that I’m not sure a recluse and classic non-camp-attender, if you like, like Charles Woodson would have come to camp and even embraced a mentoring role under many other coaches). Players seem just plain excited to play for him.

One quality I really admire about McCarthy is that he doesn’t go about winning in a jack-ass way like a Bill Parcells, or a sneaky way like Bill Belicheck, or military dictator way like the old Tom Coughlin. There is something less fulfilling or something when these guys win because there is that feeling that they’ve trampled everyone and everything just to get that win. It reminds me of the coach in little league or pee-wee football or youth soccer who just screams at the kids all the time, putting way too much emphasis on winning. Sure, the kids may eventually come together and even become winners. And some would argue that that’s just fine, as long as the team wins. But I think winning like this is a tad less fulfilling because the road to success frankly, was likely not much fun.

I know the NFL is an adult league and a bottom-line business and that winning by itself can be fun, but what excites me about McCarthy is a level-headed, Tony Dungy-like quality that makes me believe that he will not only bring home a winner soon, but a complete winner – a team that’s had fun along the road. Packer players under McCarthy appear to be enjoying this journey so far and it leaves me feeling bullish about our prospects as a team over the next few years.

Finally, Mike McCarthy has accomplished one thing that I think is critically important for a young coach: he’s set a precedent for himself (and the team of course) by making a deep playoff run. Now, there are some young coaches who might be ruined by an accomplishment like this so early in their careers due to subsequent expectations (for example, Lovie Smith). But I don’t think McCarthy is at risk here…neither is Sean Payton. Now that MM has taken his team to the NFC Championship game, it won’t be so strange when the team goes back to the playoffs. The pressure, the media-hype, the pure excitement, the preparation, the bad breaks, the injuries – all of that will be just a bit more familiar the next time it happens. Because everything in life is analogous to golf, I’ll give you this: it’s like putting for eagle. The first time you do it your mind is saying over and over “oh my God, this is for eagle, only good golfers have this chance and I suck, I’ve never done this before, there is just no way this is going in, no way, I’m going to launch it way past the hole and 3-putt, try to act cool, try to act cool, don’t let on that bowel movements may be complicating this right now, I’m going to 3-putt…” And of course, you 3-putt. But the next time, it’s simply less new “I’ve done this before, I’ll birdie at worst, but hey, give it a chance, it’s not that hard of a putt”. Anyway, the point is, once there is precedent, that feeling of success feels that much more natural the next time, and I have faith that McCarthy will just keep meeting and then pushing precedent as his career rolls forward.

Even more Culpepper

June 25, 2008

At the risk of prolonging a raging debate between brother Steve and Aaron at Cheesehead TV that should have died by now, I have a quick point to make about this Culpepper thing.

I had written around the time of our pursuit of Culpepper that I didn’t necessarily think it was a bad idea. I thought he was a legit player who might not be a bad player to turn to if Rodgers were to get hurt. I still don’t think he’s as bad a player as Brother Steve seems to think nor do I think he would be able to divide what I see as a strongly bonded Packer locker room.

But I have changed my tune on the basic thought that we need a veteran back-up. I guess before I thought we should add a veteran because I hadn’t analyzed the idea of adding a veteran back-up enough. After thinking about it more though, I’ve determined that I just don’t think it’s important that a team has veteran back-ups. In most cases, there is a reason these guys aren’t starting and there’s a reason they’re available – a very good reason. Sure, a Trent Dilfer mentor-type guy can be helpful in some cases, but in our case, with this team, with the 2 QBs who were drafted and most importantly, with Mike McCarthy at the helm, I’ve become increasingly satisfied with our QB situation.

I disagree with the worry Steve and Aaron seem to have over a scenario that would have Brohm or Flynn having to step in during the season in a real game. There is something about the way McCarthy coaches that tells me these guys would be just fine filling in. One of the things that I think mysteriously got little to no credit last year after the Dallas game, was how clearly well-prepared Rodgers was to step in. Sure, Rodgers may in fact just be really good. But at the very least some of his success in that game HAS to be attributed to McCarthy. So going forward, I think it’s safe to assume Brohm and Flynn will both be very well prepared for actin. I can’t help but think Brohm will be groomed and prepared just as well as Culpepper would have been and given Brohm’s massive success in college, I’ve essentially convinced myself that Brohm may be as good a back-up option as just about anyone who was available at any point in the off-season (including Billy Volek). Further, I’ve never cared for the philosophy that says a rookie QB needs to sit for a few years. It’s about how they are prepared and I think we may have one of the best in the business at preparing QBs.

STEVE ADDS: Whenever you say Brohm is being “groomed” I picture him with his hair plastered against his head, parted on the side, probably fixed by a woman who licked her fingers to get it to go into place.

Bill Volek would have been the best backup QB option.  But he re-signed with San Diego a week before Brett Favre announced his retirement.  I don’t know that Ted Thompson would have been interested in Volek (Mike Sherman had been, proving the old adage that even a broken clock is right twice a day.)  But I think he would have been a great pickup.


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