Has Packer Nation Gone Off the Deep End?

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Calm down, Packers fans. Things are going to be OK.
Calm down, Packers fans. Things are going to be OK.


OK, I do know what everyone is yelling about and it’s understandable….to a degree.

The 2013 season has completely come off the rails for the Green Bay Packers who are 0-4-1 since quarterback Aaron Rodgers went down against the Chicago Bears with a fractured collarbone.  Green Bay since then has gone through three starting quarterbacks (Seneca Wallace, Scott Tolzien and Matt Flynn) that have all struggled badly at some point.  The Packers defense, meanwhile, has suffered a complete meltdown.

Unfortunately, though not necessarily surprising, so has a decent chunk of the team’s uber-passionate and ever loyal fan base.

Everyone knew it would be a struggle for the Packers to win without Rodgers.  What so many didn’t expect, however, was that the team would basically not even be in any of the games since the 2011 NFL MVP went down.  The defense in particular would have to step up and they didn’t.  That’s not necessarily a surprise, either.

Many Packers fans, however, are suddenly in a white hot rage and ready to storm Lambeau Field with pitchforks and torches.  Packers Nation consists of some of the most knowledgeable fans in the NFL yet the team’s longest losing streak in years suddenly has them thinking the return to the dark ages (post-Lombardi to the arrival of Mike Holmgren, Ron Wolf and Brett Favre) are suddenly upon us.  They want to fire everybody, including the general manager that just three short years ago hoisted a Lombardi Trophy.

If this non-winning streak has taught me anything (it’s not a “losing streak” due to that tie against the Minnesota Vikings) it’s that Packer fans are the most spoiled fans in the NFL with the exception maybe of fans of the New England Patriots.

This is not to lecture fans about their passion for their team.  That passion has made Packer Nation one of the most revered in the NFL and has sold out Lambeau Field even when the team was much MUCH worse than it is right now.

What I am saying is that Packer Nation needs to get a grip.  There is no reason to fire Ted Thompson or Mike McCarthy.  There is a definite argument for firing Dom Capers, but even some of the defensive issues have been out of his control.

What Packer Nation needs to comes to terms with is this: it’s the NFL. Stuff happens. Seasons like this happen to every team, even the good or great ones. Look at the Packers’ next opponent, the Atlanta Falcons.  They were the number one seed in the NFC last year and were within a whisker of the Super Bowl and now are possibly in position for the first overall pick in the 2014 draft.  They also lost a franchise player for the season in wide receiver Julio Jones.

Stuff happens.

The streak the Packers are enduring right now could easily happen to any other team with a franchise quarterback.  How would the Denver Broncos do with Brock Osweiler instead of Peyton Manning? How about the Giants with Curtis Painter and not Eli Manning? The Patriots without Tom Brady?  They’d more than likely be in the same predicament as Green Bay.

Some will argue “What about the Patriots with Matt Cassel?” keep in mind that was the exception not the rule.  I’d counter with the 2011 Indianapolis Colts.

Many Packers fans are seemingly convinced major changes need to be made and that’s just not true. Look at the injuries the team had to endure this year, Rodgers aside.  They’re without one of football’s most electrifying talents in Randall Cobb, they basically didn’t have last year’s best cornerback in Casey Hayward at all, Clay Matthews, the defense’s MVP, missed significant playing time and James Jones also missed a couple games. Arguably their best offensive lineman in Bryan Bulaga went down for the year during training camp.

The Packers overcame an injury epidemic in 2010 to win Super Bowl XLV and battled through a similar bout last season to make the playoffs, but fans need to realize that those types of seasons don’t occur too often.  It’s a stretch to say to the Packers were “lucky” per se in 2010 and 2012, but don’t forget they still had Rodgers.

Looking to the rest of the season, 2013 is more than likely a lost season. It’s a tough pill to swallow for sure, given how good the Packers were looking heading into the game against the Bears when Rodgers went down. Fans have every right to (and arguably should) hold their team to high expectations.  Thompson and McCarthy have the same goals.  This season was the doomsday scenario and unfortunately, it became reality.

This isn’t to say Thompson, McCarthy and Capers don’t shoulder some of the blame for the year.  The revolving door at the backup quarterback position caught up with them and the inability to find a suitable replacement for Nick Collins hindered the defense. Those are on Thompson, but that’s not worth firing him for.  He undoubtedly has learned his lesson about the backup quarterback position and they will certainly address the safety position in the draft.

Multiple opponents stated they could tell what Green Bay was going to do on offense and that’s on McCarthy.  I wrote earlier this year that the Packers offense was too predictable and was swiftly lambasted by many for it.  I hate being right, because that means Green Bay struggled.  McCarthy is still a creative offensive mind and he likely rested on his laurels of the team’s run from 2010-2012. This season is enough cause for the head coach to add some new wrinkles to the offensive playbook, especially with a (finally) established running game.

As for the maligned defensive coordinator, there is a better-than-decent chance that Capers won’t be back in Green Bay next season.  Thompson did infuse the defense with new bodies via the draft and yet many of the same issues plaguing the defense in 2011 and 2012 carried over into 2013. Yes, there were injuries but the problems were there for two years and it’s not just injuries that led to them reoccurring again in 2013.

All these problems aside, the Packers will be right back in contention next season. Rodgers will be back. Randall Cobb will be back.  Casey Hayward will be back.  The team has at last a stud running back in Eddie Lacy which was having noticeable results on the offense before the Rodgers injury.   James Jones will be a free agent, but the team stands a decent chance of retaining him.  Jones needs to look no further than Greg Jennings to see what happens when a receiver leaves the Packers for alleged greener pastures.

Things are murkier on the defensive side of the ball, especially if Capers is fired, but the defensive line is much improved. Johnny Jolly brought much needed fire to the line and Datone Jones has shown promising flashes.  The futures of the aging Ryan Pickett and soon-to-be free agent B.J. Raji remain in doubt, but Mike Daniels’ emergence will likely soften the blow of their potential departures.

The linebackers are in decent shape too. A.J. Hawk has played like a man possessed this year and Matthews will of course be healthy again. Nick Perry showed improvement over his rookie season and Jamari Lattimore could very well challenge Brad Jones for more playing time.

The secondary is the defense’s Achilles heel. Morgan Burnett and M.D. Jennings turned in poor performances this year and have made a safety a top priority for the Packers to address in the offseason. Sam Shields (assuming he stays and he should) and the return of Hayward give the Packers solid options at cornerback.  The future of Tramon Williams is in doubt as he’s struggled since Collins was lost. He might get 2014 to see how he does with improved safety play.

Should Capers be fired, it’s unclear what defensive scheme Green Bay would utilize.  Judging by the current personnel, the Packers seem committed to a 3-4 but depending on what candidates they would interview, a move to a hybrid-type defensive scheme could be possible but a total switch to a 4-3 shouldn’t be ruled out either.

The only thing that could keep Green Bay from returning to contention in 2014 is yet another injury epidemic.  Given the Packers’ recent run of bad luck in concerns to the injury bug, one would think Thompson and McCarthy would prepare for 2014 assuming a bunch of players will again miss the season.  While injuries are a part of football, you can’t just play that way.  You just can’t assume Aaron Rodgers will go down.  You can’t play this game scared.   Injuries happen and the roster needs to be flexible enough to adjust. Thompson has done that fairly well over the years.

Green Bay has enjoyed such a brilliant run these past 20+ years that seasons like this suddenly cause a mass panic amongst the fans. A lot of younger fans weren’t around for the 70s and 80s.  I was nine years old when Favre and Holmgren came to town.  Still, I have watched enough football that sometimes seasons like this happen and that’s just the cruel nature of the National Football league sometimes.

Step off the ledge, Packer fans.  Has 2013 been lousy? Sure. Don’t forget however that there are plenty of guys coming off injured reserve next year and that Rodgers guy will be back healthy and will be fired up like never before.  Thompson will fix the roster. He’s still the same guy who has found gems all through the NFL draft.  One losing streak (sorry, non-winning streak) has not changed that.

Let Detroit or Chicago enjoy their time at the top of the NFC North.

Green Bay will rise again. The Pack will be back.


Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com.


121 thoughts on “Has Packer Nation Gone Off the Deep End?

  1. Well done Kris. Gutsy article that helps to put some of this stuff in perspective. Ultimately, you are right about the return of all that talent off the IR list. This team will look like a contender again.

    Still, there are some systemic problems on this team that returning injured players will not change.

    – A head coach that sees himself as play caller before being a head coach.
    – Refusal to address missing team needs other than through the draft.
    – Drafting players out of position then trying to retrain them from scratch to play another position (O-line, OLB, TE)
    – Sticking with schemes that you either don’t have the players for or that aren’t working.

    I don’t want to rip on TT and MM because those guys got us here. And, before Rodgers went down this team looked like it was marching. Nobody was crying for heads. Since then, all the flaws of this team have boiled to the surface. But the weaknesses of this team is what all the other teams are exploiting and our top guys need to take care of this business even if it means changing some of their practices.

  2. It is people like you that settle for mediocrity that caused the first dark age. Anyone that knows football knows that product on the field stinks from top to bottom. AROD is so great he can make the stink go away sort of, except for those who claim he doesn’t have enough 4th Q comebacks because every time he does, the defense gives it back. You are just so wrong. I can not stand any more of the idiocy of MM or the horrible defensive players drafted by TT. I want a total new braintrust. I have lost all faith in this one. Nine years of TT and we get this?! C’mon man.

    1. Take heart, Kris. As I’ve said before, it seems that the highest compliment that can be given is that Archie is convinced you’re wrong.

      So nice work!

    2. Stating things like “anyone who knows football” but not offering anything empirical to back it up is lame. Talk like a grown-up.

  3. While you make some valid points Chris, with all due respect I have to disagree. Very few teams could withstand the loss of a QB like Rodgers, the Colts went 2-14 the year they lost Manning. But the following year wholesale changes were made because ownership saw exactly what the team was without Manning. During the Part of the schedule most fans couldn’t wait to get to, the Packers have gone 0-4-1. The last year the Steelers went to the SB was against the Packers. Big Ben was suspended the first 4 games and the Steelers went 3-1 with Charlie Batch. Why? A great defense built the exact same way TT builds his, the draft. TT has bubbled and fumbled the draft for the last 3 years except this past year although I really wonder where he went after the 4th round. Just look at 2010, 11 and the 2012 draft and tell me where you see greatness with the exception on Cobb and maybe Hayward. 2012 is still early and could turn into a solid draft, we’ll see but the 10, and 11 draft are complete failures. At the end of the season I’m sure TT and MM will be here. Capers should be gone with a second thought. If Capers is actually retained, then all three should be fired by Murphy and committed. I also hope that TT is urged to sign some Mid-Level FA. It won’t take the guys that break the bank to improve ILB, S, and TE. One last thing. How can you even defend a guy that gave Burnett a $24 dollar contract with play like that. Calling Burnett average is a compliment. It will be a interesting off-season but 4 things should be certain. Fire Capers and his staff. Fire Slocum. Fire Campen. Get a quality OC to replace Clements. If he’s kept, he’s kept as a QB coach. Game planning and adjustments left after 2011 with Joe Philbin.

    1. ^This. I’d like to add that our strength & conditioning staff should be closely scrutinized. I think they are part of the problem with the Packers inability to field a healthy team.

      1. Excellent Point Jim. While there have been many injuries which couldn’t be helped, I’ve never saw a team with so many Hamstrings, Groin and Muscle pulls. EVER!

    2. You do realize that when Ben was suspended Pitts had the entire offseason to get Batch ready to be the starter and prepare for that. While McCarthy had Rodgers get hurt, moved to his 2nd, then 3rd and now 4th string QB! Do you have ANY idea how dumb it makes you sound when you don’t acknowledge facts like that?

      I hear you criticize McCarthy’s play calling all the time. Tell me… What are your credentials in football game planning and play calling? I’m guessing NONE… Yet you a fan who knows NOTHING about it criticize the playcaller of one of THE MOST PROLIFIC offenses in the NFL during his tenure as HC?!!

      Again, do you understand how idiotic that makes you sound? A fan who knows nothing on the subject criticizing and expert on the subject.

      Someone once said, the epitome of ignorance is criticizing something you know nothing about or not admitting when you know nothing on a subject while professing your mastery of the subject!

      1. I would like someone else calling the plays simply because the Packers needs someone on the sideline with authority who’s paying attention. Capers and Clements are in the booth and McCarthy is staring at his play sheet. It has lead to poor in game management on numerous occasions. Maybe if McCarthy had a dedicated Assistant HC that would work too.

        1. That’s at least reasonable issue to bring up. You might have to consider that another playcaller might not be as good and affect the game more by poor playcalling than some clock mgmt. That of course is an issue that arrises w/ a lot of HC who call plays either offensively or defensively.

  4. How much longer is TT going to be GM anyway? He’s 60 and in his 9th year. He’s not going to be doing this forever.

    The situation reminds me of a team with an aging fan favorite QB whose best years are maybe behind him, but who might have a little left in the tank. Do you replace him now or do you stick with him until he’s completely lost it?

    1. Like or not, TT will be leaving within the next few years.

      Wolf stepped down at 62 after 10 years. That doesn’t mean that TT has to do the same, but he is getting to the age where it’s increasingly likely.

      1. Wolf quite becuz he was frustrated by NFL rules making trades nearly impossible and other measures that affect roster moves, namely the salary cap. By all accounts Thompson has every intention to keep active in the NFL till he feels he can’t put the time in anymore. Thompson isn’t going anywhere till he’s good and ready and that time doesn’t appear to be coming for a minimum of 5 yrs and I’m guessing as long as Rodgers is playing QB.

  5. Well-written, Kris. You make some great points. We all know the Pack will be back, the question is how soon?

    My main concern is what I saw happen to the Packers on Thanksgiving against Detroit. The team quit. When a team quits it is not a player question, it is a question of leadership.

    Does Mike McCarthy have the ability to regain the confidence of this team and get the Packers to play again at a Super Bowl winning level?

    I’ve tried to remember a time when I saw either a college or NFL coach have a team quit on them and then that same coach get that team back and win a championship. I cannot think of one coach. Maybe McCarthy has that ability, but I expect that two years from now we’ll be looking back at the 2013 Thanksgiving game as the beginning of the end to the Mike McCarthy years and Aaron Rodger will be 32 years old and still have only one Super Bowl ring.

    1. Your comment about the team quitting has me worried. I didn’t see the game – thankfully – but I have heard this several times now. I also saw the replay of Tramon Williams shoving the ref, then claiming that he though it was someone else. All this goes against being a Packer and being team first. If there is rot of this nature on the team then getting healthy is the least of our worries.

    2. I think you could say the Giants have quit on Coughlin – maybe even a couple times.

  6. Funny, stuff like this has happened to the Pats, but they won anyway.

    With this crew it’s an excuse. It’s somehow the fans’ fault for expecting too much.

      1. People lose track of the fact that the ongoing (aside from a year or two in the mid 2000’s) success of this franchise is nearly unprecedented. We ARE a spoiled group. There are regular posters here who weren’t born until after #4 became the starter and have seen only 2 sub-.500 seasons.

        Our rantings will have no impact on personnel moves, coaching changes or the like…nor should they. The people who run sports teams should NOT have rabbit ears. Their accountability is to winning, not to fans.

        That being said: the key word is accountability. As a teacher, I preach it to students daily. LIkewise, it should be preached from the ground up in any team setting. This is where the future of the Packers will be made or broken. All personnel in the Packer organization must be accountable for every performance, personnel move, etc. If, when this season is done, management and coaching shrug these performances off to injury, then it probably is time to move on.

        But, again, don’t assume that things must get better just because you make a change. Sometimes you get what you ask for, and sometimes you get what you ask for.

        1. Success can be maintained if the management doesn’t get too comfortable about past results. I’m starting to wonder if we aren’t seeing this now.

          I look forward to Rodgers’ return so that the offense, defense, special teams, and coaching improves their performance.

        2. A spoiled group would be a fan who expects their team to win without a top 5 QB. If you have a top 5 QB, you should expect your team to win more than one Super Bowl. These QB’s don’t come along very often and the fans should be upset if Thompson’s method’s give us less of a chance to win the big one.

          1. How many SB do Brees and p. Manning have in their careers? Oh wait… The same amount as Rodgers and Favre! Gee, imagine that!


    This is a very good team that has a few holes. Safety, TE, DT (if Raji/Pickett leave), CB (if Tramon Leaves), WR (if Jones leaves).

    Capers might/should lose his job. I like the idea of a hybrid scheme. Perhaps coached by Rex Ryan once he’s fired?

    1. If we bring that blowhard Rex Ryan to Green Bay, I will leave. I do like the hybrid scheme, especially since we seem to have all these players that don’t really suit a 3-4 scheme.

      1. The man is a blowhard no doubt. But he knows how to run a defense. And perhaps more importantly, his defenses play aggressive, assignment sure football.

        Capers has the x/o knowledge down 2nd to none – but do the players understand it? Are they sold on the schemes? I see (once again) a lot of half hearted defense.

        Rex would fix that.

    2. I’ve been thinking the same thing about Rex Ryan. He’d be a great DC for the Pack. His coverage schemes are brilliant. The Jets have probably been the only dominant defense in the NFL in recent years that didn’t have a pass rush. I realize he can be an idiot at times, away from the field, but Rex would definitely shake up the defense. Which, I think we can all agree they need.

    3. Clearlyeople need examples to see what a bumbling stumbling idiot Thompson is! 2010 draft he trades AWAY PICKS to move up and draft Burnett. Cam Chancellor, the ALL PRO Safety could have been in had in the 3rd,4th (Opps forget bumbling Ted traded that for Burnett) AND 5th Rd in 2010. Do the Packers need a tough ILB or Cornerback? Yup, sure do. They could have KJ Wright AND Richard Sherman in the 4th and 5th Rounds respectively. Instead Thompson was outdone again by the Ex-Packer John Schneider when TT took Alex Green, Devon House, and DJ Williams!! 2 of them aren’t even with the team and those 3 are ALL PROS!!! If you need more examples I’ll be glad to give them. These are just 3 examples of how POOR Ted T has drafted! How people continue to sugarcoat it, blame it on this or that is laughable at this point. As they say on countdown, “Common Man”!

      1. How many SB does Seattle have? How many does Thompson have? End of discussion you should STFU now.

        Besides which your someone who knows NOTHING about scouting criticizing one of the best in the NFL in scouting! Do you understand how Ignorant that make YOU?!

        1. Maude your funny. You make ignorant comment after ingot nay comment and didn’t even address what I was talking about. If you didn’t have all these personal issues with people because of your ignorance, or get kicked off other sites for your homophobic slurs, I’d consider your points you make. Most time it’s just babble. I stated a point which you took in a whole other direction. Normally I don’t respond to your posts because it’s so obvious your the only one that thinks your brighter, smarter, or better than anyone else. If he was the best in scouting explain the 2010, 11, and 12 draft. I’ll wait right here. I know with your nursing background your the best Stroh so put on your dress and make a valid point.

          1. In case you missed it the Point is Winning SB’s! Thompson has one and hopefully counting, how many does Seattle have?

      2. Lets take a good look at a couple other moves. In ’05 a GM of a team that has a franchise QB is picks another potential franchise QB when 23 other team MOST of whom had NO franchise QB didn’t. Thompson’s brilliance in full effect.

        The following year NE and GB both have major needs at WR. Thompson has his choice but trades down w/ Belichek who drafts Chad Jackson, while Thompson collects more picks and gets the WR he wanted all along in Greg Jennings! Thompsons Brilliant isn’t he?!

        Want a more recent one… just this year everyone in the scouting community acknowledges Eddie Lacy is the best RB in the draft, yet 2 RB are chosen before Thompson picks are chosen, when his pick comes up he has 2 RB on the board, he trades down and still gets the RB he wanted, who is now a strong candidate for ROTY.

        Oh and that’s not to mention Thompson fleecing Belichek a 2nd time to get CM3!

        Don’t want to recognize the great that MADE the Packers perennial contenders while criticizing a move or 2 later in the draft at a position of much less importance. Go figure…

          1. Since your clearly so qualified to criticize an expert on a subject you know nothing about, I felt if prudent to point out a few glaring ommisions of your at positions of much importance. Who gives a rip which draft you chose to fit your misinformed criticisms?!

            1. Not misinformed, just a different point of view. One the majority side with and not just here, other sites. But judging by every website I’ve read your posts, the problems you cause with other readers so this is the norm for you. Keep it up it’s humorous.

        1. 2 or 3 moves by a GM in 9 years. How about the 3 I mentioned? How about drafting Harrell even though he’d been hurt his Senior year. How about the Neal pick, he could have been had in Rd 5. Same with Alex Green. There’s no point arguing with you Stroh, I’ve sat back and watched you insult and attach people for years. Here’s a idea, no matter if you think it’s right or wrong state your opinion save the insults.

          1. Not 2 or 3… That’s 4 but then we know your not good at counting past 2 so no surprise. I’ll save the insults when you start being rational!

          2. Either way is 4 move at a couple of, if not THE most important positions on a football team! You know QB and Elite pass rusher are FAR, FAR more important than a safety. Oh, wait, I guess you don’t know that. No surprise really. Thompson made Franchise changing moves, and you busting his balls about missing on a 3rd rd choice or 2?!! Really? Get serious!!!

      3. No points for referencing anything done by ESPN, which is the sports network for drama queens. Everything there is so over-hyped, overplayed, and melodramatic.

        But one bonus point for calling it “common man”.

  8. AJ Hawk has played like a man possessed? Possessed by what?

    Before yesterday’s games he was the 110th rated LB out of 114 NFL linebackers by Profootballfocus. On Thanksgiving he was embarrassingly bad for the nation to see.

    You lose all credibility when your Green and Gold goggles refuse to allow you to see how bad some of our players really are.

    1. The sad thing is he wasn’t the worst linebacker on the field! Brad Jones was AWFUL!!! I can’t understand why it takes the coaches so long to realize how bad a player is. Lattimore was a Beast and actually seemed to make Hawk look better. Yet, he’s still on the sidelines now that Jones is back. If the Packer fans are spoiled for expecting the team to step it up while the QB is out then the Packer’s organization has bigger problems than we think. We should’ve won at least half of the last 4 games. The defense is just down right SOFT!!!

      1. I think the author was just trying to get a reaction out of the fans.

        When our run D has been gashed for 5 weeks in a row and he claims inside linebacker AJ Hawk is playing like a man possessed, I half expected him to say Newhouse is a competent LT like so many homers were saying last year.

        Can anyone believe MM/TT let Newhouse “protect” Rodgers’ blindside all last season? It is a miracle he did not get injured before this season.

        1. I actually agreed with most of the article – AJ Hawk excepted.

          AJ is a competent LB. When he’s kept completely clean. The reason the defense as a whole has collapsed is because the defensive line has collapsed. Why? Who knows.

          1. Sorry, but Hawk is not competent. He is slow, soft/unaggressive, a complete liability in coverage (we were laughing on Thanksgiving seeing him flail about trying to cover Bush and he got absolutely embarrassed by Packer castoff Ross), and has been paid like a top 5 pick – a terrible combination.

            When you are rated by the highly-regarded PFF as one of the 4 worst LBs in the entire NFL it says a lot about you.

            That this writer and certain Packer fans still insist Hawk is a good player shows just how delusional many have been about this defense.

          2. Actually, Hawk is in line to set a career high in tackles, and has already set a career high this season in sacks (albeit mostly in one game).


            I’m not so sure that Hawk, who was drafted to play the middle in the 4-3, might be somewhat mis-cast in the 3-4. I’m not an expert talent evaluator, though (NEWS FLASH!).

      2. Hawk tends to play at his best only when an aggressive ilb next to him. He played well with Bishop and Lattimore, but doesn’t seem to play well with Jones. That is why I have been wanting to see a jones-Lattimore combo to see how they fare together, but of course we won’t be seeing any of that as long as Capers is DC.

    2. Have you been watching Hawk and Jones at all?? Outside of two games these two guys are AT BEST average, at times they are very sub-par linebackers…we need a big improvement at that positon…big…

  9. worthy is a bust, raji was a one year wonder, and we have the two worst ILB in the league who are starting, perhaps the two worst starting safeties. datone jones has shown very little. the D is an out and out disaster. i think Kris B who usually makes a whole lot of sense, is drinking KoolAid.

  10. Until the strength and conditioning coaches are fired you will continue to have more injuries than any other team in the NFL. Therefore your argument holds no water, actually it leaks like a cow pissing on a flat rock…

  11. When Packer fans look back at this season, they’ll zero in on the 1st Bear game and point to it as ground-zero of the expose of who this team was and what needed to be done to make it competitive.

    The team has significant deficiencies, and the removal of AR from the equation has revealed them in all in a shockingly short period of time. AR was the dressing on the wound that once removed, revealed the rotten, supperating flesh beneath it that needed to be cleansed and debrided before the body could become healthy again.

    So the question isn’t really is the diagnosis valid or not? The question is whether TT and MM are the physicians that Packernation believe capable of healing the patient?

    If people don’t believe that they are, it’s because the patient was under their care during the time so many symptoms were ignored prior to it reaching this point.

    1. AR puts a lot of pressure on opposing teams to try to score every time they have the ball because, ya know what? They think the Packers are a threat to score every time they have the ball. Since AR doesn’t throw picks, even efficient opposing quarterbacks were made to look sloppy.

      The Packer defense has been a beneficiary of that over the years. Why, in part, has the defense let the Packers down over the last several days? Because they’re not put together to play against an opposition’s entire playbook. When opponents have the benefit of being able to run anything, they can target those deficiencies on the Packer D that are much more visible.

      Don’t get me wrong: I strongly believe the coaches and players on the defensive side of the ball have let the team down. AR was the smoke screen for the deficiencies we’re now seeing. When AR got hurt, they needed to strap it on and win some games where the offense couldn’t…they clearly can’t do that.

      Your comments about doctors and patients is right on: the defense being exposed in this way may–in the long run–be good for the team. The deficiencies are plainly exposed. The question is whether management will do something about it or choose to keep things they way they are and hope AR doesn’t get hurt again. Salary cap football makes it hard to retool an entire unit, but it’s amazing how much difference one or maybe two playmakers can make.

      1. “Because they’re not put together to play against an opposition’s entire playbook. When opponents have the benefit of being able to run anything, they can target those deficiencies on the Packer D that are much more visible.”

        This makes a lot of sense. Another thought this brings to mind – even in games where Rodgers played but the Pack did poorly (especially before the arrival of Eddie Lacy and an effective run game), the recurring tactic has been to get our offense off the field quickly, and when this happens repeatedly, the same thing applies – opponents can target weaknesses on our D, sustain drives, and after a while our D just looks gassed.

        Let’s hope they address the biggest personnel needs (players and coaches) in the off-season!

        1. Both good and valid points. Nice to see some folks come on here wearing their big boy pants.

  12. I am not too worried. You can’t win the Super Bowl every year. Lots of breaks and bounces have to go your way to win one. You should be thankful right now they won one 3 years ago.

    The D obviously needs to be improved. DO they even play a 3-4? Most of the time I see two down DL-men with two OLB edge rushers.. Tough to get pressure and stop the run with that set-up most of the game.

    1. “I am not too worried. You can’t win the Super Bowl every year. Lots of breaks and bounces have to go your way to win one. You should be thankful right now they won one 3 years ago.”

      Only too true. Just ask Peyton Manning. If elite QB was the ticket to punching SB wins, then tell me why Joe Flacco has two?

        1. Thanks. Brain-fart…Trent Dilfer QB’d the other Baltimore SB.

          But Peyton Manning is an all-time great QB, and he’ll be lucky to get a second SB.

  13. I agree with a lot of this article, except the part about Packers fans being knowledgeable. Passion is not knowledge, and Packers fans have tons of the former but little of the latter. I grew up here, moved around the country for a decade or so, and just moved back a couple years ago. In the interim, it was as if the whole state turned into Kentucky or Mississippi.

  14. Well move away then….i’ve lived in the Detroit area and south Fla…i’ll take the Green Bay area any day…and by the way, there are more hillbillies in south Mich and Fla than anywhere…methheads…

  15. Thanks Kris.

    I agree with most of what you wrote. The linebacker thing has me scratching my head too though.

    Offensively, I don’t think too many teams would survive losing not only their MVP caliber QB, but also the #1, or #2 wideout, the starting tight end, and most of the starting offensive line at on time or another. The fact they aren’t already eliminated from winning the division is a testament to either how bad the division is, or how good the Packers are; I’m not sure which.

    Defensively, I am starting to agree that a replacement for Capers might be a good thing. The defense has suffered far fewer injuries, and has performed terribly. Running so much nickle has given them very little chance of stopping the run in my opinion. I’m not sure they should change the scheme, but have someone else run it might not be bad.

    1. Agreed. Good article with one odd part: Hawk played pretty well to start the year. Sure, he had his usual coverage deficiencies, and took his bad angles, but at least he played aggressive and even made some big plays. But the last third of the season he has reverted back into the caricature of an ILB that I remember from years past. Bad tackling, stuck on blocks, coverage liability, passive, poor angles, helmet coming off half the time, jumping on tackles as someone else makes them. . . .

  16. Here are the winning percentages of active head coaches with at least 50 games coached:

    1. Sean Payton – .660
    2. Bill Belichick – .653
    3. John Harbaugh – .652
    4. Mike Smith – .641
    5. Mike McCarthy – .637
    6-32 = everybody else

    But let’s add some historical context…

    Offensive genius and all-time great 49er coach Bill Walsh – who had the unbelievable good fortune of playing with Joe Montana and Steve Young at the helm – had a winning percentage of .609, which is 28 points less than McCarthy. Maybe Walsh’s offense had become even more stale and predictable than GB’s huh?

    Hall of Fame Cowboys coach Tom Landry was even more pathetic than Walsh at a measly .607. No way we could handle than kind of loser in Green Bay.

    Air-it-out Don Coryell (with Dan Fouts at QB) embarrassed himself with a 572 percentage. Tough-as-nails Chuck Noll was even worse at 566.

    Curly Lambeau had a career winning percentage of .631, six points less than McCarthy. Holmgren’s winning percentage was 40 points less.

    So yeah, let’s fire McCarthy. McCarthy sucks.

    Maybe we could hire that awesome coach in NY, Tom Coughlin. His winning percentage is almost 100 points BELOW McCarthy’s.

    Mike Tomlin, Andy Reid, Mike Shanahan, Pete Carroll, Jeff Fischer, Marvin Lewis all have lower winning percentages than McCarthy.

    So you’ll forgive me if I laugh hysterically at all the bluster, blather and bravado from the “Mike McCarthy Sucks Club,” whose members want everyone to think that if you are OK with MM, then you obviously don’t know football.

    I suppose they would have fired Bill Walsh and his crappy track record too. Judge for yourself who knows football and who doesn’t.

      1. Cool. Here’s another little tidbit for you then…

        The winningest team in NFL history is the Chicago Bears at .578, Dallas is second at .572, Miami is third at .567 and Green Bay is fourth at .564.

        Mike McCarthy’s winning percentage is 637. So if McCarthy’s record thus far could stand by itself, it would be 59 points higher than that of the winningest franchise in the entire history of the NFL.

        If that doesn’t say, “Fire the man!” I don’t know what does…

      1. That data is misleading. You can achieve that win-loss record by having a team that comes close, but rarely makes it into the playoffs. Is that satisfactory? Or how about a team that usually (but not always) makes it into the playoffs and follows it up with a “one and done” performance in the playoffs? Is that satisfactory? Would you reward either GM or head coach under those scenarios? I just need to know how low I, as a Packers fan, should set the bar for satisfactory performance.

        1. Misleading how? A team that is 10-6 every season and goes 1-1 in the playoffs would have a win pct of 0.611. You could argue that there are two seasons (15-1, 13-3) that help bolster MMs record as a coach (there’s also a 6-10 in there, too), but as Ditka says: you are what your record says you are, and MM has proven to be a successful regular season coach, and he’s won an SB.

          That said: you are what your record says you are…and right now this is a sub .500 team.

    1. marpag, you are so right on, don’t change a thing it is too scary. If you like the results of the last 5 games don’t change a thing and you will get the same results. marpag lets see if we can lose out…Maybe we can go 0 and 16 next year. We have the greatest in MM and TT, please don’t do that scary thing called change. We are getting to good at losing badly, don’t ever change… And don’t you even dare think anyone should be held accountable. It’s because of injuries, we shouldn’t expect to win another game until 2020, then the injury bug should settle down a bit. No Change marpag

      1. When you criticize someone for not rushing to fire a coach after a FIVE GAME stretch, you brand yourself as a fool.

        Nevermind the fact that the team did not even have its all-star, MVP quarterback during that five game stretch, you’re still a fool.

        If I am wrong not to consider the past FIVE GAMES, what are you when you seem oblivious to the 119 games that the Superbowl winning Mike McCarthy coached prior to that?

        1. marpag, I am not saying we fire anyone, I am saying there are changes to be made. If MM and TT refuse to change anything then we talk about firing someone. You seem to be happy losing ugly week after week, thinking that when AR comes back everything will be honkey dory. I say lets win a few without the best qb in the league. But that would take CHANGE (which is scary). That would take a team effort, which seems to be exactly the opposite of what you and MM/TT want. It appears that you guys would rather stick your head in the sand and wait for the hero(AR)to return and save the day…

          1. So you’re NOT saying that we should fire anyone, huh? Well, this IS instructive…

            I refer to Comment #10, above, posted under this very same article, in which you say, “Until the strength and conditioning coaches are fired you will continue to have more injuries than any other team in the NFL.”

            Given the fact that you seem to have forgotten this comment less than 7 hours after you wrote it, I’m not really surprised that you don’t have a clear historical perspective on McCarthy’s 8 year tenure as head coach of the Green Bay Packers.

            1. marpag, so you believe firing strength and conditioning coaches is the same as firing head coach and manager. Ok I got your philosophy now…

        2. Way to go Marpag! We have members on this blog who would have fired Vince Lombardi. Yes, this team has issues. Yes, this teams defense had failed us during the last 5 games. But as you have so clearly pointed out MMs record stand head to head with anyone in the league and in history. Too many spoiled fans who are quitting on the season and on the season and the team because they think the season is over. To them I say go root for Bears, Leos or Queens and maybe they will learn something about football over there, the way Jennings has learned. Thanks, Since ’61

      1. How many warts did Joe Montana cover up for Bill Walsh on his way to a less impressive winning percentage than McCarthy?

    2. The data can be misleading, but given time, stats are usually definitive. For eg., Landry inherited a terrible team. 1st year he went 0-11-1. His next 4 years his teams won 5 games or less each year but at that time he was given a 10 year contract extension in recognition of the job he had done with terrible talent. His 1st 5 years resulted in a horrible winning of .294% (18-46-4). Landry coached 29 yrs and had 20 consecutive winning seasons. 5 Super Bowl appearances and 2 wins (with 2 of the losses to the Steelers’ juggernaut in the 70s). He also lost twice to the legendary Lombardi Packers in the NFL championship games in 66 and 67. He invented the 4-3, and the flex defense. He recognized the value of taller Def front 7 players. McCarthy has never had anything other than a HOF QB, [albeit one (Favre) who was declining but still good and Rodgers who was young but ascending], in a league where the QB position is far more important and dominant due to rule changes than any other position. Using winning %, McCarthy is a better coach than Landry, but I personally doubt it. BTW, I hate Dallas.

      That being said, I think McCarthy is a well above average HC who should be retained. I wouldn’t mind having someone else call plays and issue challenges LOL.

      1. Thegreatreynoldo said: ” I wouldn’t mind having someone else call plays and issue challenges LOL.”

        There’s the rub. In my uninformed opinion, MM won’t give up playcalling unless he was forced, and that would most likely lead him to resign.

  17. Looking at this through my “Green & Gold Googles”, I see us making the playoffs on the last day of the season as Detroit and Chicago falls on it’s face!

  18. I agree with Kris that us Packers fans are somewhat spoiled. I have followed GB since the 60’s and have seen the good and the bad.In the 70’s I couldn’t even find a GB Jersey and took alot of BS from fans of other teams. The teams in the 70’s didn’t seem to have any desire and uinfortunately that same I don’t give a crap attitude was obvious on Thanksgiving. For the first time in years someone told me they were sorry I was a Packers fan.Maybe some excuses for the offense – but none for the defense they simply folded. Time to heavily evaluate the defense from both a player and coaching perspective. If we need to blow up the defense then do it. Clay Mathews (and his large salary) can’t do it alone. He needs some DL’s and some cood CBs to back him up. If it takes signing a qulaity FA or two – do it. First 3 priorities in draft should be safety, backup QB, then TE (assuming Finley doesn’t come back). It may be too late for ARod to save the season – only way we get to playoffs is to win division.

    1. Packer fans are not spoiled. What a silly notion. When we realistically have a chance to win a Super Bowl because we have a once in a lifetime QB we don’t want that chance wasted. That’s all there is to it.

      1. I’ve been lucky to have lived long enough to have seen two once-in-a-lifetime QBs in GB…

        1. Bart Starr and Aaron Rodgers? 😉

          I’ve been following the Packers since around 1959 or 1960. Bart Starr has an incredible playoff win-loss record. I’d love to see Rodgers have similar results.

          1. I’m not THAT old! 😉

            I like your characterization of Starr. I wonder what kind of QB he would have been in the modern NFL? I suspect a Troy Aikman, but I just don’t know.

  19. A couple of things have become evident through these comments and the ongoing banter about this team. Most of us are leaning towards getting rid of Capers – A change will do us good. But then, most of us recognize that we only have one good linebacker, fat guys on the D-line, no safety and small, soft corners. So now I am wondering what is our new DC going to do with this crew?

    Many of us want MM to let go of play calling and I fully support this – a change will do us good. Still, with an O-line full of low round draft choices or non-drafted free-agents, will the next guy be able to expand the playbook? How do you run an offense when your only UDFA center goes down and you have to move a guard (that doesn’t really play center) into that position and then shuffle a bunch of lunchmeat around to form a O-line? Seems that we are probably getting what we deserve from this talent pool.

    I am not sure that we will get anything different in the short run until some of our studs are back and until Ted takes care of some unfinished business.

  20. It would be great to have some facts once in a while. He talks about uber-passionate
    fans as a code word for emotional and non thinking and then goes on to state these emotional and non rational statements:

    “What I am saying is that Packer Nation needs to get a grip. There is no reason to fire Ted Thompson or Mike McCarthy. There is a definite argument for firing Dom Capers, but even some of the defensive issues have been out of his control.”

    Huh, Why. Where are the solid arguments.

    As a Packer fan I have issues with the GM, Coach and DC. Who should get fired, if any, I don’t know. But I do know a rational way to figure it out. Lets go t o a neutral site that grades every player on every play for every team. Lets see if Thompson is giving the coach and DC enough talent to win with. Luckily for us, Pro Football Focus does just that, and I have subscribed to their premium stats.

    As you can guess, we have a very good offense. Everybody except the tackles grades out as a legitimate starter in the NFL, except for the tackles. I think we can excuse Thompson for Bulaga and Sherrod getting hurt. Maybe Thompson and McCarthy could have found better backups or played better players. I am not sure. Out of 116 Tackles who have played this year, Barclay ranks 92, Newhouse 101 and Bahktiari 106. Not very good backups!

    Now on defense. First I would like to highlight a couple of non factual statements the author made. He says the defensive line has improved. Lets look how they stand against the rest of the league. We will only compare them to other 3/4 teams for accuracy sake. Out of 75 players who have played a DE in a 3/4, Daniels is the 8th best DE in the league, very good so far, Wilson 48, Jolly 70, Jones 72, Raji 74. Considering there should be 30 staring 3/4 DE’s on the 15 teams that use the 3/4, you can see that the authors statements were not based on fact and were just a fans bias speaking.

    “The linebackers are in decent shape too. A.J. Hawk has played like a man possessed this year”. BIG HUH!!!

    Of the 114 players that have played ILB this year, Lattimore ranks 7, Jones ranks 33. I like this tandem. DID HE REALLY SAY HAWK HAS PLAYED LIKE A MAN POSSESED THIS YEAR. WOW!!!!!! Hawk ranks 110. Considering that there are 47 (15 3/4 teams and 17 4/3 teams) starting NFL ILB’s, this is atrocious. Just the opposite of what the author states, Hawk may be most responsible for the horrible play on defense this year by the Packers. Previously I analyzed all the Packers on the current roster going back to 2008 using PFF stats, Newhouse and Hawk were the two worse players on the current Packer roster.

    At DT, Pickett is decent, 39th out of 49 starting DT/NT.

    At OLB, Matthews ranks 33rd out of 76 players to have played OLB in a 3/4. Considering that there are 30 starting OLB’s on 3/4 teams, not so good, but Matthews usually ranks very high and has been hampered by the hand. Perry ranks 38, Mulumba 70, Palmer 73, Neal 75. Neal is a waste of time and a 2nd round pick.

    Cornerback, Williams 20, Hayward 60, Shields 113, House 138, Hyde 141. Considering 32 starting corners, not very impressive. Again, the author stated this “Sam Shields (assuming he stays and he should) and the return of Hayward give the Packers solid options at cornerback”. HUH!!! Shields rates 113 out of 188 players that have played corner. 113 out of 32 starters. HUH!!! Where does he get this stuff. He says us fans are irrational and then makes this stuff up. Wow.

    At safety, Banjo ranks 117, Burnett 126 and Jennings 138 out of 164 that have played safety. This is ridiculous and Burnett just got a huge raise from Thompson. What for!!!

    OK, the author states that Thompson and McCarthy should not be fired but that Capers definitely should. HUH!!! WHY!!! I don’t know who should be fired or if anyone should, but does it make any common sense to fire the DC when given such poor talent to utilize on defense. Is it his fault. Maybe it is, but then Thompson should be held accountable also. On Defense, the only players that rank as starters are Daniels, Matthews, Lattimore, B. Jones and Williams. How the hell can you play good defense with this mess. How can you blame the DC and not the GM. Come on now. I don’t mind a good emotional article once in a while, but don’t write one while degrading other emotional outbursts also.

    1. I think the editors here at Jersey Al could save you some time if they started every single post with PFF’s ranking of all our players. That way you wouldn’t need to post this on every single freaking thread.

    2. How about if we measure the GM the way his boss does? Its called WINNING! Thompson has assembled a team that is a perennial playoff and SB contender. Wins and losses are the only thing a GM is judged on, not some fan site that grades players how they see the play, instead of what matters.

      1. PFF is useful but also very limited. It’s just impossible for the graders to know what every player’s assignment was on every play. I imagine it’s especially difficult to grade a Packers secondary that blows so many coverages.

        An example: on the 2 plays where Megatron beat Shields for quick slants, he gets downgraded. But on at least one of those (don’t really remember the other) there was no linebacker in the hook zone because Hawk bit on the play fake. It was most likely Shields’ assignment to let Johnson have the inside route, and to keep on his outside. Shields played quite well overall against Johnson (how many corners knock down a deep ball against Johnson one-on-one deep, let alone pick one off?) and has covered well almost all year. I can’t agree with his PFF grade.

        1. Exactly two bears. Kudos to the coaches for making Daniels #8. I love Daniels, but he isn’t the 8th best DE. The coaches are maximizing his strengths. He might be the 8th best situational sub pass rushing DE. And he is making strides in overcoming his ht and wt limitations too, but he is not a 2 or 3 down lineman at this stage. Kudos to TT for drafting this 4th rounder.

          I would like to see the authors and or commenters size up the position coaches in some depth, maybe as a series of articles. IDK enough to opine in detail, but I can look at general results, i.e. the bottom line.

          O-line coach Campen gets lots of criticism. I see 4th rd Bakh LOT battling but needs strength. Too early to tell. I see 4th rd Sitton as a very good G. I see UDFA EDS as an average C. I see 4th Rd Lang as an above average G. I see UDFA Barclay as a below average ROT, but he is not terrible. I see 5th Rd Newhouse as a bad T. PRETTY MUCH ALL LOW DRAFT PICKS HERE. 1st Rd Bulaga I see as above average – I was hoping he would become either very good or elite, but he hasn’t, not yet. Don’t think Campen has had much chance to work with 1st rounder Sherrod, at least not on the field, and its too early to tell much now.

          Campen was named O-line coach 1-15-07. So Wells developed. Meredith (5th Rd) and Barbre (4th) didn’t do much for the packers but were behind Clifton and Tauscher much of the time. Meredith started 12 games last yr, albeit for Tampa, and Barbre is playing too. Tretter has been injured. Otherwise, TT drafted Schlauderaff 6th rd in 2012, Meredith 5th rd in 2009, Giacomini 5th rd in 2008 and in 2006 drafted College (2nd rd), Spitz 3rd, Moll 5th rd. As I recall, there was some criticism at the time that College and Spitz were drafted too high. Far as I know no other o line coach got much out of any of the above players. As far as I can see, Campen seems to have done a reasonable job with the material provided.

          1. The gradings are on a per-play basis. 3-4 and 4-3 DE’s and OLB’s are ranked separately. Daniels was 8th highest among 3-4 DE’s.

  21. Its all the fans fault. If we were more understanding of MM,TT,DC shortcomings we would have at least 3 more wins. Damnit fans knock it off so we can win again. Just smile and say they are the best. We need to win again and it is all on the fans 100%. The only way we will ever win again is if the fans straighten out, damnit…

  22. It’s funny, after reading many gloom and doom posts over the past few days from this site and CHTV, I thought to myself, my God, do these posters go from one-extreme to another.

    When the Pack were 5&2, all I saw from many posters was the only problem the Pack would have is getting their fingers sized for their SB rings. That 2013 was TT’s greatest draft ever and what über talented FA we would have to role the checkbook out for(Shields, Raji, EDS or James Jones for instance).

    Suddenly Rodgers gets hurt, the Packers lose and five games later the whole team sans Rodgers needs to be gutted. That includes the GM, HC and coordinators.

    Kris hit on a major point. Numerous teams have had bad years and come back strong the next year. Just last year the Saints were 7&9 the Eagles 4&12 and KC had two wins. The current season isn’t over, but they’re all in a good position to garner a playoff spot.

    I kind of hoping the Packers tank the rest of this year and get in the top third of the draft. I think the o-line could be excellent next year when the injured guys come back to blend with the holdovers from this year. They need a safety, TE a NT and maybe another edge rusher if Perry can’t stay healthy. They need better schemes on O & D & ST for that matter. Else, not as bad as we think. There’s no reason, with a little tweaking, and a commitment to a more WCO approach, that this team can’t be a juggernaut again in 2014.

    1. When the Packers were 5-2, these extreme posters, AKA Packers fans, complained about the defense that let opposing teams move the ball at will. Not going from one extreme to the other. Nothing’s changed, except now our offense can’t move the ball. Picking on the fans for being concerned or even unhappy is BS. They play the game because we’re interested. Otherwise, they’d be selling used cars or bagging groceries.

  23. The Pack are gonna be just fine next season. Even after all the injuries they suffered early in the year, they still looked like a super bowl contender till Rodgers went down.

    Rough seasons happen. Look at the Ravens and Giants between their recent super bowls. I don’t think the Giants made the playoffs in any of the seasons in between. The Ravens had their bad seasons as well.

    A lot of people expect a dynasty because they have Rodgers, but that’s not realistic. P. Manning’s only won one super bowl and Brady hasn’t won one in nearly ten years.

    I’d like to see them hire a new DC, draft a safety and a real ILB. If they can stay healthy next year, there’s no reason they won’t be contenders once again.

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