Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Green Bay's Next Top Scapegoat.

A couple weeks ago, I almost posted a question asking who Packer fans (and Packer bloggers in particular) would promote to #1 scapegoat now that Packers fans can't hyperventilate about Bob Sanders after every loss.

The mob has spoken and the answer appears to be James Campen. Andy Hayes goes so far as to suggest that the Mark Tauscher could step in and do a better job than Campen. Really? How could anybody that is not part of the locker room possibly pretend to know that?

It could just as easily be a lack of talent to work with. You can't make General Tso's Chicken out of a platter of chicken poo poo. On the defensive side of the ball the Packers have 5 former first round draft picks in the front seven (this is not even counting Justin Harrell). The Packers don't have a single first round pick on the offensive line. The Packers just haven't invested much in the offensive line.

So is it nature (Thompson didn't acquire enough talent) or is it nuture (the talent is there but Campen can't develop it)? That's a pretty complicated question, and I am dubious that too many (if any) bloggers are competent to offer an even semi-informed opinion on the topic.

Nevertheless, people have an innate need to find really simple (and unfounded) answers to complicated questions. Too many injuries? It must be the trainer's fault. Is there a contract holdout? It must be the negotiator's fault. Too many sacks? It must be the offensive line coach's fault. That's just the way it is.

So congratulations, Campen: you're Green Bay's Next Top Scapegoat.



  1. As a counterpoint, it seems like the reason these guys are getting beat up front a lot of times is poor technique. A good coach would have drilled that into their heads by now. It's like the change in special teams this year. Mike Stock would tell them where to go and when, but not what to do when they got there. Slocum brought it back to the basics and drilled blocking and positioning into their heads instead. I suppose the jury's still out on whether that's working, but the concept seems sound.

    Either way, Campen's been o-line coach for what, 3 years now? It may not be all his fault, but he certainly has to share in the blame.

  2. If a student is poor at alegebra is it because the teacher is not drilling the quadradic formula into his head enough, or is it because the student is lazy, lacks confidence, or just plain can't learn?

    How can we tell as observers from the outside?

  3. Sure, but if the entire class doesn't get it I would suspect it's not being taught effectively. Thompson may not have invested any first-rounders on o-linemen, but there are some 2's and 3's in there. Those aren't throw-away picks, and many of them were highly regarded when they were picked (for whatever that's worth). I just have a hard time believing that ALL of them are busts. I do think that Thompson has neglected the tackle position though, in general, so he's not free and clear either.

    You are right that it's nearly impossible to tell from the outside, but logic seems to tell me that there's a pattern here that shouldn't be overlooked.

  4. There is one 2 (Colledge) and one 3 (Spitz).

    That's it.

  5. And its not that they are all "busts." I think that is over-simplifying it. They mostly middle of the road players. You put one or two studs on that line and the middle of the road players don't look so bad. But you line up five middle of the road players on the line and there is no where for anyone to hide.

  6. Clifton was a 2, but that's splitting hairs. I guess I just don't believe you have to be a first round pick to be a stud (nor does being a first round pick make you a stud). It seems to me that these guys have the tools to succeed, but they lack the technique, discipline and communication that a good o-line coach should be teaching them. Just my opinion.

  7. Clifton wasn't a Thompson selection.

    And while you don't have to be a first rounder or second rounder to become a stud. If you line up all the studs in the league you will find more first and second rounders than fourth rounders.

    It's just a matter of probability. Ideally, you have a mix of higher round picks developing along side the lower round pick.