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Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Changes coming...



by Patty
PackerChatters Staff

Many have asked me just what I would do if I were in charge of the Green Bay Packers. A funny thing because that would never happen of course

In giving it a real amount of thought, I would like to see some things done differently:

1) I do believe Mike Sherman struggles to make Free Agency decisions and in this situation this year, I believe we need to act quickly and decisively. We need an impact player and while I believe there will be few if any of those type players on the market after teams re-up or tag the best players available I do believe there are going to be some level 2 players available. We need to move quickly to get one prominent player added. A level 2 type player is very good and we have few of them on our team on the defense

2) The draft will be determined by whom we sign in Free Agency. I do not want to hear from Sherman the same line we hear every year that they just do not have the room. Not this year with some options available

3) We have 3 picks most likely in the top 60 of the draft. We need to get 3 accomplished players. This team has played it close to the vest by saying they had most of their starters and could afford to draft potential. Not this year. Taking players like Joey Thomas and Donnell Washington who have a lot of upside but are not polished players we cannot afford this year. We have to select 3 players who are more close to developed even if that means we pass on maybe potentially better players down the road. We have to get 3 players in the first two rounds who will contribute or even start.

4) The changes to the coaching staff need to be carefully examined and I believe we need to see a few changes.

A: We need a different special teams coach  sorry but we have some of the worse coverage/return units in this league.

B: Sorry to say it but I also believe we need to upgrade our DL coach. 4 years and no one is developed and no one is even close to showing Pro Bowl status. We get quality people in here and then they just disappear.

C: Depends on if Ray Sherman decides to retire or not but we might need a receiver coach added as well.

D: Personally I believe the Green Bay Packers brought in a DB coach whose philosophy is a diametric disaster for the defense being utilized by Slowik. I would attempt to get a new DB coach installed and I might and most likely would promote Lionel Washington.

E: I also make a huge effort to keep Mark Duffner on the staff

** this is a huge impact to the consistency of the coaching staff but I feel some changes need to be made.



5) I do not see any reason to list players I would select in the draft. We still have 17 weeks or so to get a good reading on the players. I can name 4 players I would select in rounds 1-3 and then tomorrow suggest 4 different names. Some of the names I list many of you would disagree with and you would have names you would select. Nothing wrong with that.

6) This team has definitive needs and we can debate for 17 weeks the order we should take or fill those needs. But what I can do is list the positions by the maximum need:

A: this team has to have a monster DT who will emerge as a dominating player and almost to the point of being an impact player. I searched the roster up and down and we do not have that player on the team. Cletidus Hunt is close but he is all puff.

B: The Green Bay Packers have multiple players who are multi tasked at DE in Jenkins,  Peterson and also Kampmann but they do not have a true power end. .the brute disruptive force who just blows the line up and collapses the pocket. I realize most of you think I am nuts but this team misses Vonnie Holliday. All this guy did was give 100% and play the power end they way Donnatel wanted.  Most of you on surface complain that he could not pass rush but I counter that this was not his responsibility. He was to anchor the line and then release and his job or emphasis was to get pressure. And he still average 6 = sacks per season. Amazing! The Packers need a big solid power player to be the enforcer on the DL

C: I like the addition of Mark Roman despite the nay-saying crew who claim he was a marginal pickup. The line that no one wanted him is a false assumption as there is enough evidence to suggest that 6 teams were interested but Roman wanted to play for the Packers. I think with proper alignment and better coaching Roman will be just fine. He is a borderline level 2 player and that is not bad at all. He is a very good tackler despite a couple of misses. Shoot every player misses a tackle from time to time. But I believe this team needs to add more talent to the safety slot and I would consider a veteran FA over a rookie. As for the rookies there are a couple I like in Nicholson and Rosegreen but basically when I look at the safeties in this draft after the top 2 I see better players already on the Packers  But that is not comforting.

D: I would love to see Nick Barnett utilized on the outside and hopefully Mike Sherman and his experiment is over. To do this we need to add a MLB and there are some available in this draft. And by that I mean some who might be good enough to start. But unless Mike Sherman relents and or maybe Bob Slowik can finally convince Sherman that Barnett needs to be outside, I would not take it to the bank on this move though.

E: I THINK BRETT FAVRE RETURNS FOR 1 MORE SEASON. There are a couple of QBs in this draft that I think with a strong team around him can lead a team very far into the playoffs and even might take them all the way. Fortunately these QB are not the ones being mentioned as round 1 types. No I actually think there are a couple who will go in round 3 or 4 that Green Bay just might consider. I know I would and that is taking into account we have two young QBs in Craig Nall and J T OSullivan.

F: I believe the team needs to add another interior OL and I would like a player who could slide over and play Center but mostly concentrate on OG  Of course this is all predicated on what happens with Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera. I really wish we coud keep Wahle. Despite his holding calls he is really pretty solid.

G: Some think we need a TE and I would look to add one in round 5 or 6.

7) There are other needs but take care of the prominent ones first and see what is there in rounds 6 and 7.

8) Things I would not do and I believe would represent absolute idiocy is to fire Mike Sherman and demand that Bob Slowik be released.  Bob S lowik is a quality defensive mind and will develop a solid unit. He is not slow as some like to diss him and I admit whenever I see that Slowit remark it makes my blood curdle and I want to strike out. You cannot be slow and have turned in 3 great seasons as DB coach. I also would not strip Sherman of his GM title. Just check out his record and you will see that he is doing a fine job. He has made good decisions and on paper made solid choices in the draft. Just my opinion but that is what this post is all about  I think it would be a travesty to fire Mike Sherman or strip him of his GM title.

Please understand this, I do not like one person holding the position of GM and HC. I think it takes too much time to do both. And in this era of the NFL you have to be working hard to do just one of them correctly. Currently I believe there is a plan being worked on to keep Mike Sherman in control of football, operations (by that I mean he controls his roster and the players acquired). But to alleviate all his responsibilities as a GM so he can concentrate on his head coaching would be ideal. The man knows how to coach and if he could generate all of his efforts to that facet he just might develop into one of the legends of this game. I really believe Mike Sherman is capable of being that good.

I think Bob Harlan is concerned about burnout with Sherman and to that I believe he wants to explore with Sherman an avenue that maybe Sherman will balk at right now but after the season might be better able to handle the disappointment of losing some control. I think Sherman will be asked to name another Assistant GM in charge of the daily routines of being a GM with almost equal input in roster moves and additions along side Sherman. Mike will have the final say so on the draft but the AGM will coordinate with the talent valuators on this team and will work up the draft board leaving Mike Sherman free to concentrate on 1 or 2 prime time guys (which when he is left to do does a stand up job in getting the right guy). Sherman will be far placed away from negotiating contracts and the new assistant GM will do all the leg work in finding veteran players for possible pickups.

I also think Harlan wants to address a few of the assistant coaches  something that no coach wants to hear especially right now. After the season things are easier to broach and the time will be better for an urging of Sherman to weed out a few coaches who might not be right for this team..

My opinion is that this team has basically had 3 different defenses in 3 seasons. In 2002 we played a certain defense and then in 2003 Donnatel instituted more into his plan and it screwed everyone up for about half the season but by mid season on this defense moved steadily up the charts and finished in the top ten in the important categories for actually measuring a defense (again I rail against the total yards as a barometer to defensive ranking)  Well Sherman determined that Donnatels defense schemes would not push the team into the next bracket and decided to go another direction He elevated Slowik and with it wanted a defense built on the same lines as the Patriots. Sherman wanted a more aggressive style and attacking style and a defense built on speed and movement. So instead of keeping a lot of the stuff from previous years Slowik went to work in revamping. So in essence we had a new defense for the 3rd straight year.

Throw in the fact that he lost his right corner and possibly the best instinctive player in his secondary and had two rookies in the deep part of the secondary. Consider he has had to work around losing his starting NT and the back up for him and has had very little from his power DT. Consider that his edge rusher received a lot of doubled teaming and direct schemes at him because the pressure from the inside was non-existent. And finally consider that the secondary is being coached by a different person than has been coached the last 4 years and it shows in alignment and positioning. Slowik has had to try and coordinate a defense that is confused and lost  tlost. I can hardly understand the wrath from many on this board against Slowik. The fact that the defense has played well in 8 of the 13 games is a testament to Slowiks ability. As mixed up and confused the LB' sa re with the DBs and vice-a versa I am surprised that the defense has held teams to under 17 points in those games.

Good players are being made to look like stiffs. Good players are looking slow and looking lost. Good players are looking like serviceable scrubs. I think it is a case of having knowledgeable coaches on the staff but coaches who do not compliment each other and it leaves the DC high and dry and he comes across as looking like a guy who cannot make adjustments during the game.

So I put it to everyone on the board. If you want Slowik fired then you might as well fire Duffner. These two guys work well together for the defense being instituted by Slowik. Then instead you bring in a coordinator to work well with the style of Shottenheimer (and a 4th season of a new defense) or you replace Shottenheimer and blend the 4 positional coaches together better. This is just my theory and opinion but you have a guy who might want the same thing but have different ideals on how to do it and it does not mesh well with the overall package being used.

I truly believe if Bob Slowik had Bob Slowik coaching the secondary the way it as been coached the last 4 seasons that Bob Slowik the DC would have this defense in the top half of the NFL and might have some top 10 rankings.

Anyways this was very long winded and maybe old hash. But it truly reflects my thinking on what needs to be done.

1) Get aggressive in FA this season and bring in 1 or 2 level 2 types

2) This draft select players who are close to being finished products and forget about potential...we need not to have to 3 year develop our first 4 selections

3) Bring in a new DB coach, DL coach and ST coach

4) Upgrade our backups with our 4th through 6th round picks

For the record I would try and keep Bubba Franks TE and really would prefer to keep Mike Wahle as well. but I am afraid we will lose them.

You did not believe me when I said 1 player could make a huge difference when we were sitting at 1-4. You might not believe me when I say the addition of 6 quality players could make a gigantic difference as well. Then throw in coaches who will all be on the same page and wonders can happen.


*********Specifics**********

Free Agency:
make an effort to sign 2 of these players
Gary Baxter S
Tommy Polley OLB
Darren Howard DE
Reggie Hayward DE

Draft:
round 1 Marcus Spears DE unless I sign a DE in FA
round 2A Kirk Morrison MLB
round 2B Junior Rosegreen S unless I sign Baxter
round 3 David Greene QB
round 4: Jason Brown C/OG

Now if I sign a DE and S in Free Agency
Round 1 Shaun Cody DT
round2A Kirk Morrison MLB
round 2B Alex SMith TE
round 3 David Greene QB
round 4 Jason Brown C/OG

My ultimate plan:
Sign Tommy Polley OLB
Sign Gary Baxter S
Sign Pat Williams DT (2 year deal)

Draft:
1) Marcus Sears DE
2) J J Arrington RB
2) Alex SMith TE
3) David Greene QB
4) Jason Brown C/OG
5) Matt Jones WR/TE

Trade Davenport and a 6th round selection for a 3rd round selection
3) Macus Lawrence MLB


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