(CindyV wanted to know what Packergeeks thinks of the Tom Silverstein article at jsonline.com this morning).
It’s funny because I was talking to a coworker (Scott W) about special teams and defense and whether or not the zone blocking scheme works earlier this morning. We hadn’t yet read the article (or I hadn’t anyway). I agree with what seems like Silverstein’s main point – even though Stock’s group was good in 2007, his entire body of work should be considered and he’s had 2 very bad seasons and only one really good one. These are my thoughts on the ST issue:
- Kicking – last year our kickers were above average, some have argued that Crosby was just plain excellent. I’d say Crosby was very good and Ryan was decent. I do think that cutting Ryan was a mistake (as we said at the time). It was a move most people questioned at the time because Ryan’s skills and potential were apparent to most. Ryan contends that he didn’t get along with Stock because Stock wanted him to change his punting approach. Ryan didn’t necessarily dispute that but just wanted to go to a punting teacher in Arizona who has worked with punters for years for extra help. Stock didn’t want him to – he wanted Ryan to do it Stock’s way. Ryan was pissed and I think it became somewhat of a personal matter. (I read an interview with Ryan after he left when he was in Seattle and I came away with the sure impression he and Stock just didn’t get along ultimately). So getting rid of Ryan was a mistake. And, one other possibility – has changing holders affected Crosby? It is very possible. He seemed to thrive with Ryan and struggle with the others. Maybe Matt Flynn should be the permanent holder – just having him out there would also keep teams even slightly on edge because of fake possibilities.
- Coverage units – I do wonder a bit how much of a difference the loss of Tracy White makes. (White was picked up right away by the Eagles, so we didn’t have a chance to get him back). One of the concerns I have about TT is that I’m not sure he believes in the value of veteran leadership. I do. If Stock is right, that White was the clear leader of the unit, my thought would be “don’t cut a veteran leader who is good at what he does on the youngest team in the sport”. He was very good on special teams and from my understanding, a threat from another team to sign Lansanah off our practice squad is what led to the decision to drop White, just like that, so we could keep Lansanah. If he wanted to keep Lansanah so badly, maybe cutting Jarrett Bush would have been smarter, or putting Jermichael Finley on the practice squad.
- This year, I was also bothered quite a bit by the automatic block in the back penalties and what looked like guys over-pursuing and over-committing a lot. This would be an area where a coach should help by reviewing plays and teaching players both why they screwed up and how to fix it.
- So, do I think Stock should be fired? I would probably say yes. I’d say yes because of 1) the Ryan situation, 2) the terrible coverage units (the play of the return units was a bit better) and 3) completing a second crappy year out of 3.
- Going forward either with Stock or not, I do sense that communication between the ST coach, McCarthy and TT needs to improve. I still suspect that the Ryan move was a move made largely because Stock just didn’t like Ryan. TT probably went along with Stock because Stock probably pushed hard for it, but I’m guessing TT may not have had all his weight behind that move. On the other hand, I’m guessing TT is the one who made the White decision because he loves this Lansanah kid. And, I think it was a decision TT felt he had to make asap or we could have lost Lansanah. I’m guessing Stock was not too pleased with that move at all and I wonder even if he had a say in it.
One question I do have re our 2008 ST performance and the ST personnel moves is this (and it’s similar to questions I have re our defense): where was Mike McCarthy when this was all going on? I’m sure McCarthy saw shanked punt after shanked punt by Frost. Couldn’t he have stepped in and told TT to get a new punter asap? I’m sure he saw the decline of the ST coverage units. Did he say anything or offer any assistance or guidance for Stock or the ST players? .