Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Packers Are Rebuilding and It's Too Late to Whine Now

I worried back in January that a switch to the 3-4 would doom the Packers to a few seasons of rebuilding. Then a couple weeks back I noted that this season is starting to feel like a rebuilding year. At this point, if I had to bet, 2009 is the first year of a 3 year rebuilding project.

Next offseason the Packers are going to need cornerbacks, safeties, linebackers, defensive linemen, offensive lineman, and running backs. How in the world is Thompson (or somebody else) going to fill even half of those needs next year? The Packers are going to be patching a lot of holes with bandaid solutions for at least another season after this one (and probably two more seasons). That's not to say the Packers can't be competitive and even make the playoffs, but I think any dreams of the Packers in the Super Bowl are on hold for three more seasons.

It all comes backs to the scheme switch. The switch left too many holes (and perceived holes) on the team. Thompson went out and bundled four draft picks to get two players in the front seven. In the process, he completely ignored the looming problems at both tackles.

The Packers were a play away from the Super Bowl just one year earlier. Why effectively blow up the team and start from scratch? It made little sense at the time, and it makes even less sense now. It wasn't a terrible idea. It was a terrible time.

By the time the Packers get everything ironed out a lot of the key players from the 2007 NFC Championship Game (Driver, Woodson, Harris, Kampman) will be retired or on different teams.

In an alternative universe, the Packers hired another 4-3 coordinator, got a huge boost from the return of Cullen Jenkins, drafted Michael Oher (and had three more higher round picks to fix other problems) and look a lot better now and in the future.

In any event, there were a lot of folks clamouring for a system switch. (Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos.) You got your wish, now stop whining. In fact, I'm revoking your whining privileges effective immediately.

We are rebuilding. There is little to do about it now, and were all in this together now.

So buck up. It's time to cope.

4 comments:

  1. If the Packers are rebuilding this year, I think their doing a damn fine job.

    You know who else is rebuilding? The Rams, Browns, Bucs, Chiefs, and Lions. Green Bay is currently on a higher level than those teams, to be sure. So if the Packers are rebuilding, while remaining more than competitive at the same time (unlike those other squad), I think the Packers brass are doing a good job.

    Other than the brutal Rams, the other three teams they've faced are a combine 10-2...with those two losses being one to GB (Bears) and one by Cinci on a miracle play by the 4-0 Broncos. I realize the transitive property doesn't count for wins in the NFL, but I'm just saying. And look at GB's two losses - it's not like the Packers lost 33-6 or anything like that. They're not like the other rebuilding teams.

    As for changing schemes, why not? Sure, it created holes…but holes were already there. Now they’re just in different spots. Scheme change or not Green Bay was going into next year with holes. In some respects, the scheme change has already worked. The rushing defense has gone from 26th in 2008 to 17th this year despite going against three excellent backs (Forte, Steven Jackson, Peterson). I know, its not a big sample set yet, and the other defensive numbers (ypg, ppg, passing ypg) are basically the same. Keep in mind that they’ve also faced 3 very good QBs (Cutler, Favre, Palmer) in the early going as well.

    Anyway, that’s my rant, keep up the great work.

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  2. I don't really think we disagree on too much, here.

    I hope you will agree that this team is in a major transition. I suspect that you also agree that the Packers have too many holes to be a legitimate championship contender this year.

    And that next year with Woodson and Harris aging, with Kampman leaving, with Collins, Pickett and Jolly all eligible for free agency. With Clifton getting older and more injureder. With the rest of the offensive line in shambles. And with Ryan Grant not good enough to carry the team's load without a good offensive line.

    It's going to be rough sledding.

    This is definitely a team in transition. So the only question is "did it have to be this way." Did the scheme switch just move position holes around?

    I've got to disagree with you there. The key was Kampman. You take one of your best players and turn him into a run-of-the-mill linebacker. Now you have guaranteed that he will leave via free agency, whereas before the switch I have little doubt that Kampman would have been extended.

    That's one whole created, but then you also have the "multiplier effect." Now, in preperation for the inevitable Thompson has to trade away the farm to draft Clay Mathews. And, as a consequence Thompson did not or could not fill the other holes (and future holes) that he could have but for having to prepare for Kampman leaving.

    I also don't equate "rebuilding team" to mean "team that sucks." I would define a rebuilding team as a team in transition that has major personnel issues to address before it could compete for a championship.

    The Packers sent a few rebuilding teams to the playoffs under Holmgren.

    I close with a question: can you imagine a team with a offensive line as bad as the Packer's ever in a million years winning a Super Bowl?

    Now I think you see what I mean by a rebuilding team.

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  4. No, I cannot imagine winning a Super Bowl with this O-Line. (Although Pittsburgh’s was pretty horrible last year: 3.7 YPC, 29th in the NFL and allowed 4th most sacks). Playoffs, though? Yeah, I could still see the Packers winning 9 or 10 games and getting in. Unless Rodgers gets killed, which is a distinct possibility. But, no, I don’t think they’re a championship caliber team right now.

    As for Kampman? I love the guy, it pains me to see him struggle. I thought he would be fine….probably only because I wanted him to be fine. It hasn’t happened. They can still franchise tag him and trade him somewhere else – ala Corey Williams.

    I guess if you have a struggling Kampman yet the defense doesn’t get any worse, it has to be improved in other areas. Right? Here's where the scheme change comes in. The entire unit (minus #74) is using their skills in a better fashion (I mean, even AJ Hawk made a play this year! Oh, wait, never mind). And I’m hoping they will improve as the season goes on. Playing Detroit twice, Cleveland, and Tampa can't hurt.

    Why move up to get Matthews? Well, I wasn’t hot on this deal when it happened, mainly because the deal was with New England. They’re smarter than us. Actually, they’re smarter than almost everyone. Anyway, I hated the deal at the time, but Matthews looks like a player. Would I rather have those draft picks instead of Matthews? I don’t have a good answer for that.

    There’s some tough decisions to make this offseason, no doubt.

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