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Friday, November 12, 2004
OK, Sarafar1, I'll try to clearly state my point of view on this...
since you've asked. Actually, I'm working on an article on this exact topic, and have been for some time. I'm kind of waiting for the appropriate time to lay out my case (the end of the season), but I will share some of my thoughts on the entire subject of Favre, Sherman, the Culture of Carelessness, and the Future of the Packers.
This is not going to be an attempt at an in depth, detailed explanation. That's coming later. But I will let you know that:
icon_sad.gif I think that a Culture of Carelessness pervades this team. It started in Holmgren's last year here (1998), continued through the Rhodes year, and continues through the Sherman era. There was a slight improvement in Sherman's first two years, but we regressed last year and appear to be regressing further this year.
Although turnovers are the most obvious measure of carelessness, it isn't the only one. Procedure penalties, sloppy tackling, missed coverage assignments, imprecise route running, and weak special teams play are all the sign of a team that doesn't pay attention to the details.
Clearly, the Head Coach/GM has to answer for this. If we were in the bottom of the league in rushing yards for 5 years in a row, people would demand change. If we were in the bottom of the league in defense for five years in a row, people would demand change. In fact, if we were near the bottom of the league in virtually any significant category people would demand change. But we are near the bottom of the league in turnovers....the KEY STAT.....year after year, and there is no change and no huge outcry. Why?
The reason why is because when you talk about turnovers it is impossible to not discuss the role of Brett Favre in all of this. He has been below average in turnovers every year for the past 6 years. Indeed, no NFL player has more turnovers in the last 6 years than him. Last year, he came within one interception of being the worst in the league in that regard, and this year, he's near the bottom again.
Public comments by Favre would seem to suggest a somewhat cavalier attitude about the turnovers. His Acolytes offer up a virtual endless feast of excuses: Bad line, poor running game, bad defense, injury, bad receivers, inexperienced receivers, etc. But the bottom line is that over the last six years, Favre has had better health than most QBs, better defense than many, a better running game than just about anybody, and as good or better receivers than most. The simple fact of the matter is that he is careless with the ball, and people don't want to acknowledge that.
Benching Favre, as you certainly must acknowledge, is replete with repercussions. The guy is an icon and the coach who benches him does so at his own peril. Additionally, if you're going to bench your star player, you'd better have somebody to replace him who can at least give you a chance at winning. The Packers, IMO, don't have that right now and haven't had it since Hasselbeck was traded away. So even if Favre is making some terrible decisions with the ball, as he did in the fourth quarter against Washington, benching him and putting in Nall doesn't improve your chances of winning.
As regards Sherman, I've stated on several occasions that I think he is a good coach and an adequate GM. I also stated after the Titans game that I thought he had lost the team----I was wrong, apparently. Or maybe we just hit a soft spot on the schedule at a good time.....Time will tell.
You know I'm big on statistics, so try this one on for size. When you look at coaches who have won a Super Bowl with a team in the last 25 years or so, the vast, ovewhelming majority of those coaches won the title within their first five years. To me, this would suggest that if Sherman doesn't do it this year it is unlikely he'll ever do it. There are many good coaches who have never won the Super Bowl....Tony Dungy, Don Coryell, Bud Grant.........and perhaps Mike Sherman is one of them. At this point, I don't know......but I think the percentages indicate that he may well be.
The Future of the Packers. At this point, I'm assuming that the Packers continue to make errors that cost them games, and they either miss the playoffs or barely squeak in and then make an early exit. If this doesn't happen....if the Packers really put it together, take care of the ball, win a lot of games and make it to the championship game, then obviously I'm wrong in my assessment of the situation.
But if I'm right, then I think the Packers need to look at some changes in direction, including Sherman's dual HC/GM role and whether or not we can be serious challengers for the trophy with a QB who makes so many bad decisions with the ball (IMO, we cannot). The Packers can continue to stay the course and remain a marginal playoff team for the near future, or they could remodel. I'd be in favor of remodeling----that is, say goodbye to some of our high priced guys like Favre, Sharper, Hunt, and Wahle and replacing them with draft choices and free agents.
At some point.....and this is really going to infuriate the Fans of Favre.....the team is going to have to say "Will we be better of getting
fill in the blank at QB while he's entering the prime of his career, or will we be better off sticking with a declining Favre? (yes, I know, to his true Acolytes he isn't declining, but in his own words and the opinion of most objective observers, he is). Do you let a young talent like Brees slip away in order to squeeze another year or two out of Favre? Or do you make the change and rebuild around a 26 year old QB instead of a 36 year old QB?
But anyway....those are some of my thoughts in a nutshell.