Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Sherman Axed, No Reggie Bush

After defeating the Seattle Seahawks JV Squad--and falling from 3rd to 5th in the draft order in the process--the Packers fired Head Coach Mike Sherman. None of the assistants have been let go--yet--but many of them have contracts expiring at the end of this month and will be free to walk away at that time. Hopefully Offensive Coordinator Tom Rossley is included in that bunch.

My thoughts: Sherman is a good, good man who simply didn't have what it took to take this team to the next level. Injuries completely derailed this season, but it can't be ignored that in 6 years he has failed to get this team out of the second round of the playoffs, and has accounted for the only 2 home playoff losses in the franchise's history. In their best chance to make a run at the championship under Sherman, the team blew a 14 point lead on the road against Philly, culminating in the 4th and 1/4th and 26 debacle that led to the firing of Defensive Coordinator Ed Donatell.

Sherman's main shortcoming was in his tenure as General Manager, where he had numerous drafting and free agency mistakes, which ultimately doomed him when Mike Sherman the coach ended up coach a team devoid of talent--and what talent was there ended up on injured reserve.

He also failed to even remotely reign in Brett Favre, who--as much as I love him (I had tears in my eyes after the Seattle game, just thinking that that could be the last time I ever got to see him play)--has killed the team with poor decision-making. It's well documented how good Green Bay's record is when committing 0 or 1 turnover, and how piss-poor it is when committing 2 or more.

That said, he's a good man and I hope he lands on his feet.

Who will be hired as his successor? The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Bears DC Ron Rivera, Dallas Assistant Head Coach Sean Payton, Browns OC Maurice Carthon, Steelers OL coach Russ Grimm, Packers DC Jim Bates, Steelers OC Ken Whisenhunt, and Giants DC and ex-Packer Tim Lewis are on the list. Eagles OC Brad Childress was previously mentioned, but did not get named in the most recent article. JSO also speculated that Kirk Ferentz and Bobby Petrino could be candidates.

I don't like the idea of coordinators of mediocre offenses (Carthon, Childress and Whisenhunt) being candidates, nor do I like the idea of a guy who has not run an offense or defense (Grimm) being named head coach. I know he's highly regarded, but I'm having Mike Tice flashbacks here. Carthon is probably just a Rooney Rule candidate.

My personal preference is Bates. He did an outstanding job with a defense that doesn't have a ton of talent on it. Who would've ever thought that a team starting a rookie, Ahmad Carroll, and Mark Roman could lead the league in pass defense? Granted more of that had to do with crappy QBs, but still. The players seem to love him. He's an in-your-face leader. He's close with Favre. And he did an excellent job as Miami's interim coach last season (going 3-4 and beating New England). I also would not have a problem with seeing them bring in an offensive-minded coach and keeping Bates as DC, if he would go for that.

I can't understand the fascinating with Brad Childress that NFL teams seem to have. I've never watched Philly and thought "Boy there's an offense I wish Green Bay ran". He transformed Brian Westbrook into a weapon and then stopped giving him the ball. In the last 4 years, Philly has never ranked higher than 9th in total offense. Granted apart from the Super Bowl season, they've never had a WR that was above average. They could do a lot worse, but I'm not sold on Childress.

I'd prefer Bates with an offensive guru as OC.

The win against Seattle put Green Bay out of the Reggie Bush derby, but as it happened they would have only picked 3rd as they didn't get the help they needed. They should still be in prime position to get AJ Hawk or Mario Williams and add an impact player to their defense. Once it became evident that they wouldn't get a top 2 pick, picking 5th is probably the prime spot to be. They wouldn't take Ferguson (I don't think) and either Hawk or Williams will be there at 5.

Without looking it up, I believe this is the first time since 1992 that the Packers have had a draft pick in the single digits (Jamal Reynolds went 10th when they traded Hasselbeck to Seattle...good pick). Which also means they should be in great position to get a RB/DL whoever in round 2.

The team also has about 25 million in cap room (add 8-10 million to that if Favre retires) and should be able to go after a top-notch free agent or two. The one good thing about a season this bad is that it makes for a very interesting (read: Shorter) offseason. The coaching search, the draft, free agency. I love it!


Anonymous said...

The Packers have will have the 4th most cap room next year. The estimate I saw was $22 million under the cap. Only Cleveland, Arizona and Minnesota will have more cap room. If Favre retired, the Packers would still take the cap hit. They don't subtract money off the cap just because a guy retires. His signing bonus would still count against the cap and it would be in one lump sum based on how much of it is left over the remaining years of his deal.

The coaching situation is interesting. So many openings in the NFL right now. I disagree with you as I think Childress is probably the best assistant available. I get the feeling Minnesota may land him though. They have the best combination of money under the cap and quality of talent right now out of all the teams looking for a head coach. I think Ferentz is interesting. I don't think Bates would be a good choice. I feel he is overrated as a coach.

Packer487 said...

The Packers would have some dead money if Favre were to retire, as they would be on the hook for the remainder of his signing bonus (which really isn't that much), but they'd get to subtract his base salary off their books (which is about 10 million) plus they wouldn't have to pay his roster bonus. So they'd have a couple million in dead money, but they'd take about 12 million off their books for a net cap effect of -$10 million or so.

About Childress: I'm going to have to plead ignorance more than anything. On the surface I see a guy who ran a unit that just wasn't THAT effective. I never watched Philly and thought "Whoa, there's an offense I'd like GB to be running!" For all I know, he could be great at developing guys, great at talent evaulation, etc. But the numbers don't bare it out to me that he's a great coordinator.

The only thing to go on with Bates as a HC is his stint as Miami's interim last year, and he took a bad team to a 3-4 record. The players love him (one of the guys on Miami...forget who...said he would run through a brick wall for Bates) and the Packers players seem to feel the same way. He accounted for a huge jump statistically in the defense this year despite the loss of their biggest playmaker (Sharper)...

He's a known quantity to me. He's got the defense on the right track, and he's shown (albeit briefly) that he could handle running the whole show.

I don't like the idea of the defense having a 4th coordinator in 4 years. If you can hire an offensive guru and keep Bates as DC then by all means go for it, but I don't know if Bates would stay, and I KNOW they can't find a better coordinator than him. He's been successful everywhere he's been.

Packer487 said...

Haha! That he is. I love those brawls at the end. The best was Timmy Miller and his man just slapping at each other trying to not get penalties. Jack and Turnbull weren't too worried about it.