The Green Bay Packers play in the 2009 season thus far has been down right offensive. The offensive line has been the worst I seen since the Lindy Infante years as head coach. The defense he not been able to get any pressure on the quarterback and the special teams has been especially poor under new coach Shawn Slocum.
Who does the blame fall on? Mike McCarthy? Ted Thompson?
Both equally share the blame if you ask me. How can they fix it, if at all? I will attempt to right the ship.
We'll start with McCarthy.
He needs to make changes to his offensive staff, namely the offensive line. James Campen and Joe Philbin both need to go. For the past two seasons the Packers poor play up front has been a major weakness. Philbin was the line coach and Campen his heir apparent, both have failed. Aaron Rodgers is going to get hurt if he continues to get pounded week in and week out because the line can't block.
My possible candidates to replace Campen are Mike Munchak of Tennessee, Hudson Houck of Dallas, Golden Pat Ruel of USC and Joe Bugel of Washington. Bobby April would be my choice as the new special teams coach. If I remember right, his contract is up in Buffalo after this season.
MaCarthy needs to make changes. The team has under achieved so far in 2009 and in particular on the offensive line. It would be mandated and he would have to make them or he would be let go. I have no issues with Tom Clements, Edgar Bennett, Jimmy Robinson or Bob McAdoo and the jobs they have done.
Winston Moss is another that would be on the hot seat, but his contract is up and he may leave for a coordinators or head coaching position, in the NFL or college, should one open up.
Dom Capers tried to convince McCarthy to allow him to run some 4-3 looks when he first took the job as defensive coordinator, but McCarthy wanted to run a straight 3-4 even if some of the personnel didn't fit.
So far there has been mixed results with the Packers and the 3-4 defense. They were ranked in the top ten coming into week 8 (ninth overall), but have failed to get to the quarterback on a consistent basis. Also, Aaron Kampman's transition to outside linebacker has not gone as smooth as the Packers have liked.
Also, with the amount of zone coverage the Packers now play, Al Harris, at times, looks as if he has lost a step. Charles Woodson is playing out of his mind this season and looks like the best corner back in the NFL. Nick Collins has not had the big plays he had last year, but not having Atari Bigby for three games didn't help, but even Bigby's play has not been that good.
Now to Thompson.
I have supported Thompson and the way he chooses to build the Packers. I have not agreed with Thompson not dipping into free agency to help fill needs and this year it has come back to bite him where the sun don't shine.
Thompson has to start using free agency more. He needs to get more aggressive with free agency and the free agents the Packers target. He did a nice job targeting Woodson, Ryan Pickett and Brandon Chillar. But we have to remember that they were not signed or brought in during the first week, but weeks after free agency started.
Thompson has done a decent job drafting. Rodgers, Greg Jennings, Collins, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Josh Sitton, Clay Matthews Jr. B.J. Raji and Tramon Williams (who was an undrafted rookie free agent) all have made an impact for the Packers. Thompson has failed to deliver young offensive tackles to protect Rodgers (although T.J. Lang has upside) and A.J. Hawk, his highest draft choice is has not made the type of impact a #5 overall pick should make (although his play has been very steady).
I would strongly consider firing Thompson and bringing in Bill Parcells. Parcells has a clause in his contract that states he can leave his job as Executive Vice President of Football Operations while still collecting the remainder of his salary from the Dolphins. Even if he were to leave there would be no compensation going the Dolphins way because Parcells reworked the clause before H. Wayne Huizenga sold the team to Steven Ross.
Parcells once said his dream job would be to run the Green Bay Packers. Now would be a good time to live out that dream. Parcells would bring instant credibility back to the Packers. He would also bring a certain intimidation to the team. Parcells wants guys that eat, sleep and drink football and holds players accountable for their actions. Stupid penalties and talk about outside business ventures would not float in the locker room around "the Big Tuna".
If Parcells were to take over this may mean the end of McCarthy as the head coach, but if you look at Parcells track record, that may not be a bad thing for the Packers organization as a whole.
Parcells former pupils include Tony Sparano, Al Groh, Tom Coughlin and Bill Bilichick have had success in the NFL (with Bilichick and Coughlin winning Super Bowls). The teams turn around quickly and the Packers are a team with a lot of talent for Parcells to play with.
Parcells would have a young, gifted quarterback, a very solid receiving group, a talented tight end (in Jermichael Finley) and some very good parts on defense. If Parcells were to come in you would see the Packers offensive line and running game improve year one. He believes in running the ball, controlling the clock and dominating the line scrimmage.
It would be costly, but if you want to win you have to pay a price. Just how steep of a price that is may or may not been seen, but I would pay it. Parcells is a proven winner and has a winning formula. He would be the right man to take the job over (should it become available).
But I doubt the Packers will take the $8 million dollar hit by firing Thompson (or the $24 million dollar hit for firing both McCarthy and Thompson). So Packers fans are forced to deal with the fact that unless Thompson gets a mandate from President Mark Murphy to be more aggressive in free agency, I expect more of the same.
Murphy did come out and say he was disappointed with the team's performance . That is as close as Packers fans (and Thompson) are going to get to an owner issuing a "vote of confidence". One of my spy's said that McCarthy is not the same guy he was before the season began. He said he was looking like a "dead man walking" while tapping his T.V. show.
I want what is best for the Packers as a whole. I want them to win Super Bowls and be a team that other fans hate because they are so successful. I am afraid that unless there is a change in philosophy at the top, it will be a long time coming before we see that. I don't want to relive the Packers of the 1980's.
McCarthy needs to be tougher on the players and hold players accountable for their actions and mistakes. Thompson needs to stop being so tentative in free agency and both need to step out or soon both will be out of work.