I have been a lifelong Packer fan. I have been with them through the good and the bad, the Super Bowl and the 4-12, the Mike Holmgren, Sherman, and McCarthy era, the Brett Favre days and the uprising of Aaron Rodgers. But now the day has come where I am saying what I thought I would never say: I am embarassed to be a Packer fan.
There are so many things wrong that the team continues to ignore. For all of you football fans out there, I have compiled a list, a plead if you will, of everything wrong with a thirsting team that was once a proud franchise.
1. Management. I was patient with Ted Thompson for a while. Perhaps too patient. Scratch that, most definitely too patient. First we go 4-12. Did anyone realize that 2004 was Thompson's first year as GM, and it was also our first losing season in...wait for it...13 seasons. Yes, a long tradition of being at least 8-8 and nothing short of that was cut like a thread with the employment of Ted Thompson.
Okay, now lets look at his draft history. We have nine current starters on the team that Thompson has drafted. Three of them are on the offensive line, which I will get to later. I guess you could say he has a decent draft history, but he never makes a splash that the team needs. Instead of trading up he trades down. When he did trade up in the most recent draft to get Clay Matthews, he gave up much more than needed to get him. Three second round picks for a late first round pick? There were plenty of talented players, linebackers included, that slipped into the second round. He needs to learn how to get it done in the draft.
He also seems to have some kind of disability to sign free agents.
Yes, we got Charles Woodson in 2005. We also got Ryan Pickett. Go ahead and try to name another time he went out and brought in a big name, huge star in the NFL. You see teams like the Patriots and Bengals do it constantly. Here is something they don't want you to know...they have plenty of money to waste. And so far, all they have been doing with it is just that; wasting it. How about we put less into contract extensions of players who had one good year and more into signing some players that we could use to get this team back to the playoffs!
2. Attitude. Contract extensions are something Packers are constantly asking for. "Give me the big buck." everyone says. They have no love for the game as it is. I only wish I could of been at this age in the 70s and 80s. Lawrence Taylor. Mike Singletary. Joe Montana. Those guys loved the game, and that is what made them so good.
If I could make a minor fraction of what some of those guys make, I would be happy. The Packers are lazy tacklers. I felt like vomiting in Brett Favre's return to Lambeau. We were down by only a few points. But hey, Adrian Peterson looks like a good guy, lets just let him run it down to the red zone and then let them score another touchdown so we fall behind some more like this heated rivalry is a dead flame to any of us.
I will be the first one to put the blame of that game solely on the defense. Johnny Jolly head-butted a Viking when they were about to hold them to a field goal. Also, so far this season, the Packers have only scored a touchdown once on drives that Aaron Rodgers has been sacked. In case you lost count, he has been sacked 37 times. That is a lot of drives lost because the offensive line allows it to ruin their morale in an instant. They take no pride in their work. It's just a show up, suit up, get paid type of attitude that the Packer players have.
3. Coaching. You can tell just by looking at Mike McCarthy that he is not a good motivator. He doesn't get players fueled for the game. He never runs anything special, like putting a running back at wide receiver or running a Wildcat offense. Formations like that would make the players more excited about game day and have the initial feeling that they will get it done when it matters.
McCarthy needs to be out of town this offseason. If you can't prepare your team well enough to beat a winless team like the Buccaneers, then you shouldn't be coaching anywhere.
It may be a long shot, but how about we take a look at coaches with winning history such as, I don't know, Jon Gruden or Steve Mariucci, who both have plenty of history as parts of the Packers organization. Vince Lombardi was the greatest motivator in NFL history. To go along with that, I don't even need to tell you how his teams did. I am not trying to say the Packers need to find the next great thing in coaching, but they need to find someone who can get this team back on track mentally.
4. Media Influence. The Packers let what sports networks or articles say influence how they play. If they are favored by a lot, they play lazy. If they are huge underdogs, they give up before kickoff.
I don't need to say anything else about the two games against the Vikings this season, but I am going to anyways. That defense went into a game, letting the fact that they are supposed to defend the greatest quarterback in Packer history, sink in substantially.
How many times in those two games did they intercept a Brett Favre pass? Zero. How many times did they sack Favre? Another big, fat, disgusting goose egg. They let pressure overtake them and dishearten their performance. Someone needs to tell them that they are playing on the big stage of the NFL.
There is always going to be pressure. If you really wanted to protect Aaron Rodgers being criticized by all the media saying that Brett Favre is far better than Rodgers will ever be, you would get out there on your home field and get it done. Once again, when it matters, they failed.
How long will this rebuilding process take? Does owner Mark Murphy know that changes such as firings need to take place in the very near future? How long do we have to wait for a team that is good enough to contend for a Super Bowl title? Is the franchise going to sit around changing nothing until there are Packer fans at games crying behind their paper bags covering their heads? These questions need to be answered very soon; before once diehard cheeseheads don't even bother to turn on their TVs on Sunday afternoon.