The grumblings began a few games ago. It started small, and went virtually unnoticed. Each subsequent game has urged the grumblings into a new crescendo, until the volume is now so unmistakable and so viciously loud that it is indiscernible.
But, it’s not from the fans… it’s coming from the locker room.
This doesn’t happen in Green Bay. Packers decorum does not allow for it. Green Bay Packers Coach Vince Lombardi once experienced it, and he dispatched the grumbler the next day. That’s how he handled it. If Coach Mike McCarthy followed that example, he probably wouldn’t be able to field a team come Sunday.
The latest acrimony comes from stud defensive linemen Johnny Jolly and Cullen Jenkins. Jolly head-butted Vikings running back Chester Taylor, and was unapologetic with reporters in the locker room afterwards. Then Jenkins, speaking to reporters a couple of seats away, wondered aloud if Dom Capers’ vaunted 3-4 defense was worth the paper it was sketched out on. That follows similar comments on a previous Sunday from Charles Woodson and Jenkins, asking why key personnel weren’t let loose to reek havoc according to their talents. They described it as being handcuffed.
So what’s Capers spin on this: “…I view it as more frustration coming off a very emotional game, it was a big loss… I think it’s part of the process.” Now that’s classic coach-speak. Capers and McCarthy boasts of the number 4 defensive ranking, but that number is skewed because of lopsided efforts against the 2 weakest teams, Detroit and Cleveland. Take those numbers out, and there isn’t that much to boast about.
The offense has grumblers too, albeit for different reasons. I’m sure Aaron Rodgers is wondering if he’ll last the whole season. So far, he’s got one bum ankle and now a sprained toe on the other foot. He’s been pretty lucky, but the fans are going to start yelling “stay down” as if this were some prize fighter, because the man is getting hit from every conceivable angle, and a body (even his) can only take so much.
Let’s face it folks, the offensive line is just that – offensive, and not in the good way. There’s more holes in the front line that a slice of Swiss cheese, and the lineplay stinks like warm Blue cheese on a hot summer’s day.
There’s been no cohesiveness because of the shuffling of players by Offensive Line Coach James Campen. It’s a little late in the season to try to find a winning combination here. That’s what pre-season is all about, not the mid-season. Right now you shouldn’t be purchasing new suits, you should be adjusting the fit with what you have!
The Packers can feel damn lucky that they have an Aaron Rodgers to guide their offense. Any other mediocre quarterback (Brady Quinn, et al) would be in intensive care right about now. That Rodgers leads the NFL in most statistical categories despite the woes around him is a testament to his skills as well as his resolve.
But the question remains, how long can his aura hold out before his season is ended with a blind side blitz?
With the players grumbling, there’s a sense that this team might implode – I hope not. These Packers are not an elite team, but they aren’t a Detroit or Cleveland either. Something better change, or this meltdown will continue until there is a full mutiny. “Man the lifeboats…”