Monday, January 30, 2006

Oh oh...Favre to go?

Well, Packer fans, we all knew that the time would come when ol' Number 4 steps off the gridiron and onto his lawn tractor for good. According to an interview with ESPN's Chris Mortensen, Favre says, "If I had to pick right now and make a decision, I would say I'm not coming back." Ouch!

In another telling part of the interview, Favre said he had a conversation with old coach Mike Holmgren in late November or early December: "I told him, 'It might be my last game and that I was so thankful you'll be there for it.' He said, 'If it is, I'll be glad I was there for it, too.'" Favre added, "The game meant nothing, but in a lot of ways it meant a lot."

You can read the article here, and also see a video clip of the interview.

I didn't think Favre would want to go out with a season like last year. On the other hand, he makes it clear that he just isn't sure that he has the competitive fire any more. Years ago he said that's when he'd know it's time to go. Sounds like he knows.

Thanks, Brett. It's been a privilege to watch you and root for you all these years. Thanks for being a part of the greatest franchise in sports, the Green Bay Packers, and for being one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. See you in Canton!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Sanders is the new defensive coordinator.

According to a notice from the Green Bay Packers eNews:

"After a week of interviews that included several qualified candidates, Head
Coach Mike McCarthy on Saturday named Bob Sanders defensive coordinator.

"Coming into the interview process for the defensive coordinator position,"
McCarthy said, "I did not know much about Bob Sanders other than I had been
told he did a good job here last season. Bob and I met for several hours every
day last week. We talked about everything from defensive philosophies and
schemes to our own coaching and personal backgrounds. I was impressed with
Bob's football knowledge and, equally, with him as a person and his character.
I felt like this is someone I could have a partnership with and who I would
have great confidence in to run our defense."

Sanders, 52, brings continuity to a defense that ranked seventh overall and
first against the pass in 2005, his first season as Packers defensive ends
coach. A protégé of former coordinator Jim Bates, who parted ways with the team
Monday by mutual agreement, Sanders has been coaching for 30 years. In four of
his five seasons in the NFL, Sanders has coached on defenses that finished
among the league's top eight in yards per game."

More here.

D-Coordinator still up for grabs; "Super Mario" on tap?

After nailing down most of his coaching staff this past week, new Packers head coach Mike McCarthy still has yet to settle on perhaps his most important staff pick: defensive coordinator.

According to reports, the following are the top four candidates still in the running for the job: Packers defensive line coach Bob Sanders, former Buffalo defensive coordinator Jerry Gray, former New York Jets defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson and former Houston Texans defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. McCarthy held personal interviews with each candidate, which seems like something any coach would do. But apparently, this is not always the case. Tennessee refused to let the Pack interview assistant head coach/linebackers coach Dave McGinnis and Tampa Bay refused to let the Pack interview linebackers coach Joe Barry. According to reports, both would have been strong candidates for the job.

Sanders seems to be the leading candidate based upon his familiarity with the team, reputation within the organization, and knowledge of the scheme former defensive coordinator Jim Bates used.

While the defensive coordinator is a key to shaping the personality of the defensive unit, the personnel available to the coordinator is the ultimate determiner of how successful a defense can be. That's GM Ted Thompson's job. With a boatload of money available and the #5 draft pick, it's time to upgrade the defense. Mel Kiper, Jr.'s and other initial mock drafts have the Pack picking "Super" Mario Williams, defensive end out of NC State. If you care to read a draft report about him, click here. Can't be all bad picking for not only a great need on the Packers, but also a player that is described in some reports as "the best defensive end in college football."

Monday, January 16, 2006

Bates bids adieu. Singletary on deck?

In a totally unsurprising development, spurned head coach candidate and GB defensive coordinator, Jim Bates, announced that he would not be returning to the team next year but would instead pursue head coaching opportunities elsewhere. Bates described his rejection as being very disappointing given his record. Can't blame him a bit.

But now the rumor mill is circulating that Coach Mike McCarthy might try to lure his old San Francisco coaching buddy, Mike Singletary, to be the new defensive coordinator. That could be an interesting hire for GB. Bringing in a Bearz legend to scheme against his old employer, among others of course. Ah, the irony of it all!

Oh, by the da Bearz have a bye this next weekend? (smile) As I think I predicted here, da Bearz were one and done in the playoffs. And all those fair-weather Bearz fans -- aren't they all? -- starting ripping the team immediately. Ah, sweet home Chicago!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Introducing Coach Mike McCarthy

The Mike McCarthy era begins in Green Bay, Packer fans. And according to his comments at the introductory press conference, he has an "unconditional commitment to bring the world championship back to Green Bay." Ya gotta like that!

Packers GM, Ted Thompson, introduced the 14th head coach in Packers history, saying McCarthy had the "Pittsburgh-macho, tough guy" quality he liked in a coach. McCarthy also is now the youngest head coach in the NFL at age 42. One of his first tasks will be to hire his assistant coaching staff. According to reports, two candidates for offensive coordinator are Atlanta offensive line coach Jeff Jagodzinski, a former Packers tight ends coach from 1999-’03, and Tampa Bay quarterbacks coach Paul Hackett, who worked with McCarthy at Kansas City in 1993.

McCarthy also made it a point to say that one of the first things he'd like to do is sit down with spurned head coach candidate and Packers defensive coordinator Jim Bates and try to convince him to stay on. Admirable. But given how Bates must feel after being the fan favorite for the position and being rejected by Thompson, we shouldn't hold our collective breaths about Bates returning.

At 42 and with this his first head coaching gig, McCarthy certainly fits the "new face" criterion that Thompson said he wanted when he fired Mike Sherman. We'll have to wait to see what results come along with that new look.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Breaking News: Mike McCarthy is New Packers Head Coach!

According to WTMJ-TV 4 in Milwaukee tonight, Mike McCarthy is the new Packers Head Coach.

McCarthy had been serving as San Francisco's offensive coordinator. He had previously spent one year -- 1999 -- as the Pack's QB coach. There is some feeling, apparently, that McCarthy's close relationship with Brett Favre might help in keeping Brett around for at least one more year.

This selection may come as a bit of a surprise to some -- including the author of an article in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Online -- who felt that current Packers defensive coordinator, Jim Bates, perhaps had the inside track on the job.

The official announcement of McCarthy's hiring might come as early as a Thursday morning press conference.

One of McCarthy's first tasks will be to put a staff in place. He will be looking for a new QB coach as reports indicate that the Pack's current QB coach, former Badger QB Darrell Bevel, will be named the ViQueens new offensive coordinator under their new head coach, Brad Childress.

Stay tuned as the McCarthy era commences.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Coaches, coaches everywhere!

The coaching prospect carousel moves along in GB. Lots of folks coming into GB to pitch their coaching acumen. Some offensive coaches, some defensive. Interestingly, Packer fans in an online poll today at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Online site are basically all across the board, with no clear favorite. In fact, 12.5% of those responding (more than 16,000 votes at the time of this writing), indicate they "don't like any of them (the prospects)." Current Packers defensive coordinator, Jim Bates, has a slight edge over Dallas O-C, Sean Payton, and SF O-C, Mike McCarthy.

Whoever gets the crown will have the task of trying to work with GM, Ted Thompson, to get Brett Favre back for just one more year to keep the team's marketability up while the rebuilding task commences. It could be quick if the right coach and the right personnel moves are made. If not...yikes! This is a big hire for Thompson. He can decide the fate of the Pack for the next decade. Let us pray...

Sunday, January 08, 2006

We have a by this week...

...and next week...and the week after...oh, until about something like mid-August for pre-season play. And what changes will take place by then!

New head coach and probably entire coaching staff. Possibly a new kicker and punter. Possibly a new starting running back and fullback combo. Possibly a new center, new linebackers, new defensive backs, new D-linemen. And, lest we forget, perhaps even a new QB. Wow! It is all a bit much to contemplate. And it seems more like that dreaded word, "rebuilding," starts to enter our collective Packer consciousness. This is the legacy of the Mike Sherman as General Manager era.

But now it's up to Ted Thompson to hire the best coach possible, to find an up-and-comer who will generate excitement and most importantly, wins. It's also up to Thompson to deal with all the free agent issues, those possible departures or re-signings on the Packer roster, as well as bringing in the necessary talent through free agency and the draft so that this last season becomes like Da Bearz' winning seasons: a one-year anomaly.

So, Packer fans, enjoy your weekends free of football for a while. Do all the things you might have put off while the Pack was playing. We can continue to watch the coaching situation and speculate on how any of the coach prospects might impact the Pack in the future. But until the roster situation comes more fully into view later this Spring, we really won't have much of a sense of what the 2006 Packers might be able to do.'s better being a Packer fan than...who are those other teams in the division again???

Monday, January 02, 2006

Sherman's march is over.

Packers GM, Ted Thompson, just announced that he has made the decision to go in a different coaching direction and has fired Coach Mike Sherman. Thompson gave no indication at this time who the next coach might be. He also said that he had not discussed this decision with Brett Favre, stating that he felt it wasn't appropriate to discuss these decisions with any player.

So, after 6 years -- with one losing season -- Sherman's era is over. Some radio pundits actually hit it on the head, saying this is probably more a result of Sherman's failure as a GM than as a coach...the caliber of players he was responsible for drafting and signing has brought the Pack to the position that it is in today.

Make no mistake, Sherman was and is a class act. He lived for the Packers, appreciated its history and place in the NFL. But as Thompson said, "At the end of the day it's time for a new face."

The 2006 Packers will be a very different team than what we have seen before, both from a coaching and player standpoint. One can only hope that the rebuilding effort in both phases happens quickly. Now Thompson is on the hook for making that happen.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Pack wins...Favre exits?

Packers beat the spread courtesy of second half reserve play by the Seahawks and a somewhat inspired effort by the Pack...perhaps to send Brett Favre off with his last victory as a member of the Packers. His exist from the game and his wave to the crowd almost looked like a final exit. I hope not. But we shouldn't be surprised if it is. Thanks, Brett, for all the memories. I hope you're back, but if not, you've done all you can do for this team, Green Bay, Wisconsin and the NFL.

It's only a game.

Well, Packer fans, this is it. The end of one of the worst seasons in Packers' history. Surprisingly, the Pack is picked by 5 points over the Seahawks in today's game. The only way this will happen is if the Seahawks play their reserves. Game is underway...more later.