Packers: A Regime Change Is Needed

Dennis Towle Jr.Contributor IOctober 20, 2009

GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 18: Atari Bigby #20 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates an interception in the end zone on a pass intended for John Standeford #16 of the Detroit Lions as teammates Charles Woodson #21 and Nick Barnett#56 run off the field at Lambeau Field on October 18, 2009 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Lions 26-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The 26 to 0 thumping of Detroit on a blissful October afternoon normally would have been cause for great celebration in Green Bay, but it wasn't. The 72,000 fans leaving Lambeau Field were grateful for a victory, but the muted grumblings were deafening. This was not the convincing victory that the scoreboard lights indicated, this was an abysmal win by a proud Packers franchise over a Division II collegiate team.

Any football team that is 12 notches better than it’s opponent should end up with a score similar to what the New England Patriots reeled off this last weekend (59 to 0) against an inferior opponent. That score illustrates efficient confidence in your offensive system and total domination on both sides of the ball. It makes a statement.

The only statement made this past Sunday at Lambeau Field was that it’s time for a change in Green Bay.

From the opening kickoff of the game, it was apparent that little was fixed over the bye weeks. Jordy Nelson ran the kick back 100 yards to the opponent's endzone, only to have the ball come back because of penalties. There were so many penalty flags littering the field that you could actually see the route that Nelson ran by following that yellow laundry.

And that was the harbinger of things to come for the day. All told the Packers had 13 penalties for 130 yards by the conclusion of the game. The Packers are now on pace to surpass last year's impressive penalty yardage with a new milestone. Whereas Green Bay was second in penalty yardage last year (110 penalties for 984 yards), this year they will easily be first. 

It's a distinction that bad teams can boast of: the worse the team, the more penalties that team has. 

During Mike McCarthy's tenure here, having 13 penalties in a game is not without precedence. That feat was done twice before in 2007. In back to back games no less. So what is the coach's response to this fiasco, “We're probably not as clean as what we need to be…” You think?

Lombardi must be rolling over in his grave.

Great teams are disciplined teams. They have few penalties, and the penalties that they do have are more of the aggressive kind. This year's Packers lead the NFL in pre-snap penalties (illegal motion and offensive offsides). That's on the coaches and the coaching.

I dare you to remember a Green Bay special teams play that was without a penalty flag? Can't remember one, I thought so. The Packers rank near the top in that category also. That's another coaching problem.

But it is not just the penalties that are the bane of the Packers, all phases of the game are currently in a state of disarray.

While Aaron Rodgers has proven to be an exceptional quarterback, he cannot do much lying on the ground. The Packers are on pace to have 93 sacks by year's end. If Rodgers survives, and that's a big if, he may want to think retirement or at least a Lloyds of London insurance policy.

Between the penalties on the O-line, the missed assignments, and the constant player movement, it’s a wonder the Packers can move the ball at all. The Packers are averaging a paltry 4.1 yards per carry on 25 attempts, good for 19th place. That's not good enough and is not reflective of the personnel on the field. That's on the coaches and the Offensive Coordinator.

Last year's Packers finished 6 and 10, an atrocious mark. This year's Packers are 3 and 2, but statistically are the same as last year's team. So what was done in the off-season and at the Draft to improve the offensive, and in particular, the offensive line? Nothing, and that's on the General Manager, Ted Thompson.

Good teams have depth everywhere. If there's an injury, the backup steps up and the show goes on. Not in Green Bay!

When Will Blackmon (punt and kickoff returner) went down, Jordy Nelson stepped in. No problem. But, when Jordy went down, so did the punt and return games because there was no backup for Nelson. That's called depth, and the lack of it is on Thompson's hands. 

Other teams may be floundering this time of year, that's just the way it always is. But that's not the way it is supposed to be in Titletown. The fans own the team, not some guy in a suit. We expect and demand a winning product, that's our history and our legacy. When that doesn't happen, we change the regime, and we keep changing it until we hit on a combination that works. 

From Curly Lambeau, to Vince Lombardi, to Mike Holmgren, the landscape at 1265 Lombardi Avenue has changed when the Packers team needed it to. Right now, that landscape needs to change once again.