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!