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Monday, January 03, 2005
This report card is not on the players becasue that would take too much space and not be accepted by most on this board anyhow.
But a quick glance at a few players will suffuce:
Brett Favre gets a solid grade of B+ despite 3 games of folly - Hey 4000+ yards - 30 TD's with only 17 INT's you deserve a very good grade
Mark Roman gets a D+ from me based on the fact that he played the run well in 14 of 16 games and he played the pass well in 6 of the 16 games - Roman had 5 games where he completely shut down his guy and allowed 1 or no receptions. Conversely he had games where he could not cover a snail and allowed way to many big plays.
I bring these two players up becasue I think both of them should return for 2005: Brett becasue he is a legend who is still one of the better QB's in the NFL and Roman becasue this kid can play football and had the worse year he has ever had in an uniform going all the way back to his soph year in high school.
But if the Packers can get a better safety for an upgrade it would be foolish to ride on Roman's history This year showed how far a player can drop in this league if he is in the wrong system. The question is can Roman rid himself from this poor season and revert back to the player that I know he is?
The coaching staff is where I want to take this post!:
WR coach: Ray SHerman did a solid job this season even though there is some areas that again show some weakness on the part of the coach. Unfortunately I believe Ray Sherman wants to leave and might go the college route. This season ,might have been Shermans best one as receiver coach
OL Coach: Beightol again did a solid job and gets a very good grade of B+ despite the OL laying eggs in 4 games this season. a 25% ratio of good to bad. Execution and motivation factors did creep in on this unit but I believe most of the criticism has to be placed on the shoulders of the players. The assistant coach has the resposibility to fire these guys up but the point of crossing does exist where it is the players who have to want it -
RB coach: Johnny Roland is no SYlvester Croom but he is more than adequate from my standpoint. In watching the RB's this year I saw a group who came to play in most of the games. The area of concern is the RB's are hitting the hole maybe a step to soon at times and not being patient. Maybe this is the reflection of the coach and maybe it was just the eagerness of Fisher and Davenport to make something happen to certify their playing time. I keep Roland
QB coach Bevell: I do not make him the OC as many on here have suggested. I liike Bevell and think he can develop into something special. Not everyone is cut out to be a coordinator. Some are masters when it comes to teaching and comes to coaching but when they "step up" to the coordinator they are not as good. Maybe I am wrong on this but I think Bevell is the teaching genius type
DL Coach: I am sorry but Franklin is not the answer here. We bring in quality players and good rookies to develop and we get nothing much out f them. Players with less ability and less athleticism are developing all around the NFL and yet we do not get much from this unit. It has to reflect on the coaching. Hunt is a very good player if he wants to be - Peterson is a darn good player that is not developing - Just two players to name a couple where we should be getting solid results. I believe a change here would work some "majoc" with this unit. Jethro is a nice guy and might get along well with the players but I just do not see him as being a very good teacher.
LB coach: Duffner struggled this season and the play of the LB's struggled as well. They had great games and they had games where the LB's seemed out of position and out of sync all day long. Duffner is one of the young coaches who has the eyes of other teams. I do not know if Duffner slipped due to disappoinment of not getting the DC job or not. That might have played on him all year long with the struggles of the defense under SLowikk. He has to think that he could have done a better job than Slowik. And you know something. When I watch Duffner and listen to what others say about him he comes across as a coordinator type on mentality. Maybe indeed Sherman chose the wrong guy and should have gone with Duffner and kept SLowik,as his assistant head coach and DB coach. SLowik is one of the better DB coaches in the NFL and is a solid teacher and motivator. Duffner if from what I have heard has the type of mind condusive t being a coordinator. -- I keep Duffner
DB coach: Kurt Shottenheimer is a fine coach. The trouble is he does not appear to be on the same page with SLowik. Look this secondary regressed in almost every phase of play under Kurt. Bob SLwik had this unit playing solid fotball despite the sporadic play from Edwards and others in 2003. I have shown all the stats where SLowik had this unit well coached. Slowik is an excellent position coach and a very smart person. Shottenheimer comes with a solid reputation as well. But when you look at what this unit did in 2004 and what it had done in 2001 through 2003 you have to wonder what in the heck is going on. Players out of position and players looking totally confused about their assignments and switch overs. Players running around but not in any sort of scheme. Players missing tackles becasue of being 1 step out of line. The overall cohesiveness of the secondary seemed to be out of whack and some players just flat out did not play well at all. I wonder if it was the problem of the DB coach or if all the players just flat out stunk the place up? I also think the DC maybe wanted his pupil Lionel Washington t run his secondary and that might have created space enough between the DC and the DB coach where things never worked out? If Shottenhiemer wants to leave I d not make an effort to keep him.
DC: I personally think Bob SLowik is one of the better defensive guys in the NFL. I think and know that he is one of the best at working from a deficiancy and getting the most out of players. To me it would represent a gross misjudgement to fire Slowik. We would be losing one of the best defensive minds in the NFL. But here is the problem. While he was the DB coach he was responsible for his unit. Now as the DC he is responsible for game planning and game management and has to rely on the other defensive position coaches to have thier units primed and coached for the game. If the coaches are not on the same page as the cordinator then all havoc breaks out and we get games like the Colts - Eagles and Titans and even Jacksonvile. A lot of criticism has been leveled at Slowik that is essentially not his doing but it is easy for fans to throw their darts at the man in charge. Maybe Slowik hands were tied and he could not make changes due to the poor preparaton from the assistant coaches and he knew that.
I do not know for sure but I have to believe that Slowik was greatly disturbed with the coaching from the deensive assistants this season.
The question comes to mind then what kind of grade do I give Slowik whom I admire greatly. I give him a grade of a D (in waiting). Slowik has the inside ear of Mike Sherman and it is the job of the coordinator to insist that the coaches have their units prepared for whatever scheme or design that the coordinator asks for in a game. If it is not happening then the DC has to go to the Head Coach and say my hands are tied. If we see changes in the assitant coaching ranks then the grade of a D will go up in my mind as the DC then did his job. Look I am not going to wear colored glasses and smooth over a poor performance just becasue I respect and admire a person greatly. Slowik did not do a good job in many phases of his reponisibility . But I also have to argue that many times he appeared to call the right schemes but the players just did not respond to them. And that falls to the assistant coaches in my mind.
Is it possible that the Green Bay Packers do not have the brightest minds in their players? Is it possible that we need an infusion of players with solid instincts to run SLowik aggressive think on the move type of scheme? Do we run off Slowikand bring in another guy and for the 4th straight season incorporate a new defense? Or do we pinpoint the problem as maybe we need 2 or 3 different assistant coaches who are on the same page as the DC?
Hey I look at what SLowik wanted to do and I liked it. I thought it was going to take some time to get it implemented but overall I like it. I think it works for the NFL today. You are basically asking your defense to flow to the ball and make reads on the move by the seat of your pants thing. You need fast and quick players who have good instincts. Another wrinkle that I saw SLowik trying to develop was an insurance point on each scheme. If the first line of defense was weak or did not work there was an insurance built in to compensate by some overlaping. Here was the problem. The overlapping did not work out and players got exsposed. We saw big plays develop becasue players were not positioned correctly and over read and over played . This extending resulted in no insurance on each play. The assitant coaches did not do well in providing the "2nd line of defense " that Slowik wanted.
The question then comes to mind. Do we have the right payers for SLowik's defense? The same defense that took 3 years to develop in New ENgland - Or do we have the right assistant coaces to teach the players what is expected? Or do we have the wrong guy as the coordinator.
I realize almost everyone on the board will howl that we have the wrong guy in charge and to this I say you guys are completely washed up and going on emotion and not really studying the issue at hand.
Yes I think SLowik did not do as well as he should have. At times I believe he was pig eyed and missed things. But the defense he has develped is quite a good one if implemented correctly. It works. But I believe the factors under him greatly tied his hands and limited his ability to coordinate a game the way he wanted as well.
Again If Mike Sherman makes no moves to upgrade his assitant coaches on defense then he is basically undermining Bob SLowikand SLowikshould move on to another team as a DB coach. And if Mike Sherman does not listen to SLowik on the kind of players he need to run his defense them Bob SLowik is not the right man for the Packers.
Mike Sherman has to decide if he wants Slowik as his defensive "genius" and give Slowik the coaches he needs and the players he needs.
If we see nothing done and we go into the season with SLowik as the DC and the same assistant coaches then misery again in 2005 for the defense. The draft and of course Free Agency will be telling as well. Just watch and see what kind of defensive players SHerman adds to the team. That will tell you quickly if SLowk has SHerman's absolute faith.
Of course to the delight of this board this comes all moot if Sherman does what most on the board wants and that is to replace Slowik. A huge mistake and a gross display of judgement in my thinking. Some of these players have had basically 3 different schemes the last 3 seasons. I for one would like to see a consitant scheme of a 2nd year for the players.
Just better input from the assitant coaches and an influx of 4 or 5 new players that conform to the style of defense the packers will use. And a 2nd year for the returning players as well. Bob SLowik is quite a defensive minded guy. I would hate the thoiught of running him off .