McGinn reviewed the Packers season in Sunday’s journal/sentinel. I’d link to the article but for some reason, it costs money to link to it online. There were a few themes he mentioned: Favre, Bob Sanders, the zone blocking scheme and Ryan Grant – and I disagree with him on each one.
The most problematic was his take on Favre. He was clearly very upset with how Favre played in the second half of the Giants game and talked about how badly Favre has played in his last six playoff games (presumably excluding the Seattle game). He then went on to talk about whether or not the Packers should have Favre come back next year pointing out Rodgers is ready and implying that he and some in the Packers organization believe it’s time to move on. I will admit, I have started to question Favre’s mental toughness myself over the last few years. We have all seen that face he makes from time to time (fortunately not too often this past year) on the sideline when the team starts losing – you can almost tell from his non-verbals that he doesn’t seem to have faith in a comeback. And, I too have noted that he’s struggled to rise up in some big games (Dallas, Chicago, Giants) like we expect our veteran HOFer to do. And, it might be pointed out that some of Favre’s poorer games happened at the end of the season, when I would argue that he may have been mentally fatigued (at his age especially).
However, I think when McGinn goes so far as to wonder if the PACKERS should have Favre back, it is almost a case of journalistic sensationalism – just trying to spark a controversy in the wake of brutal loss. While I can appreciate his disappointment in the loss, I think it’s ridiculous to go on and suggest Favre should be gone. Favre is probably THE major reason the Packers got to the NFL Championship game in the first place. He had near MVP numbers (might have been MVP without Brady’s historic NFL season), he was a positive leader of a very young group and I think he also had a role in developing McCarthy. Sure, Favre’s final pass of the season was a bad and yes, he wasn’t able to push his team into the Super Bowl – but he had an amazing season that shouldn’t be tossed aside because of one mediocre game. McGinn also tries to trumpet the rise of Aaron Rodgers, who has only played extensively in one NFL game and though he played well, he was injured immediately afterward in practice. I just can’t get excited about a player who is so injury-prone and who gets tossed around like Phillip Epps. The irony is that McGinn gave the Packers passing offense an “A” this season and Favre and “A-” – interesting how he can go from that sort of grade (which he rarely gives out) to suggesting Favre step aside.
But McGinn also took on the Packers defense implying that perhaps Sanders should be cast aside in favor or Gregg Williams. Williams may have a decent mind, but I think Sanders did a decent job this year (except for deciding Poppinga should start). The defense is young and should continue to grow more comfortable with Sanders’ system – don’t see the need for much change there. McGinn also wondered about ditching the zone blocking scheme. I also disagree with this. I wouldn’t ditch it just yet because once the O-Line woke-up and Grant emerged, this system was working very effectively. The only possible tweaks I see for the run game/zone blocking might be drafting or otherwise bringing in a few new O-Linemen to replace Colledge and maybe Spitz too.
Then McGinn took a shot at Ryan Grant, again implying that because Grant didn’t have a big playoff game against the Giants, he may not be the long-term answer. (He also gave Grant a season grade of “B” – which makes no sense when a player leads the NFL in rushing in the 12 games he started – no sense whatsoever). Again, reading his stuff, I just get the sense that he is intentionally being harsh and or questioning things just to create controversy.
Stay tuned for Packergeeks final season grades as well as Super Bowl analysis.