Wisconsin men’s basketball coach Bo Ryan announced on Monday that the 2015-16 season will be his last. Assistant coach Greg Gard seems to have a good shot at replacing Ryan. Then again,the Badgers could opt for someone like Tony Bennett in Virginia or UNI’s Ben Jacobson.
Either way,speculation on who will replace Ryan kicked into full gear merely seconds after Ryan made his announcement. A few gullible folks even fell for the joke that Minnesota Gophers coach Richard Pitino is being considered.
If Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy announced later today that the 2015 season would be his last,who would be the first person that popped into your mind as a possible replacement?
You could go the big name route and see if dropping a hellicopter full of money on Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden might bring them to Green Bay. A move like that would generate plenty of headlines,but it doesn’t seem like something Ted Thompson or Mark Murphy would do.
Bringing in a big name from the college ranks would also create plenty of splash. Can you picture Nick Saban or Urban Meyer roaming the same sideline once occupied by Lombardi,Homgren and McCarthy?
How about Brad Childress? You’re one of the saps who bought the Pitino-to-the-Badgers tongue-in-cheek “report” if you think that’ll ever happen.
In all liklihood,if McCarthy did announce he was stepping down in a year,the Packers would probably turn to an under-the-radar assistant already on their coaching roster,or an assistant tucked away in obscurity on another coaching staff. I’ve got no inside info and no way to prove that my hunch is correct,it just seems like that’s what Thompson and the Packers’ brass would do.
No pomp. No circumstance. No big ordeal. Just find a good coach and bring him in,regardless of national recognition.
Of course,being nationally recognized doesn’t automatically disqualify you from also being a good coach. If someonelike Cowher or Saban was hired,it’s not fair to assume the Packers went for name recogntion over football acumen.
Thankfully,it doesn’t appear that McCarthy will be pulling a Bo Ryan anytime soon. He should be around for a while to orchestrate one of the league’s best offenses,oversee a perrenial Super Bowl contender and give us bloggers and those who lurk in the comments sections of the blog posts we write plenty of fodder to bitch & moan about on the rare ocassions when the Packers don’t come away with a win.
Now that minicamp is over for the Green Bay Packers,the Packers Hype Train is leaving the station. It’s time to decide if you’ll get on board or wave goodbye from the platform as several Packers Hype Train cars pull away.
This kind of thing happens every offseason after minicamp. Coaches,fans and media get a glimpse of the team and certain players or team units are pegged to break out during the upcoming season. This time around,the hype train seemed to center on second-year WR Davante Adams,the defensive line,CB Quinten Rollins and,of course,WR Jeff Janis.
Packers defensive line
I have to admit,when I started seeing people claiming that the Packers’ defensive line could be a strength this season,I was skeptical. No way I was buying a ticket for that hype train.
But the more I thought about it,the more I began changing my mind. Now,I’ve got my ticket for the defensive-line hype train and I might even buy a few drinks after I climb on board. Here’s why:
Mike Daniels is already an excellent player. B.J. Raji will be returning to his old nose-tackle position and Letroy Guion will be looking to have another above-expectations season after missing out on a big contract following his offseason arrest.
Datone Jones ane Josh Boyd are entering their third seasons,which is the year when you often see young defensive linemen “get it.” Both of those players also probably realize that they’re approaching put up or shut up time if they hope to earn a nice big fat raise in their second NFL contracts.
The Packers defensive line has a lot to prove,both individually and as a unit. That extra motivation,combined with Jones and Boyd entering a season where,if healthy,should have plenty of opportunites to put it all together,will lead to good things up front.
When I went to buy my Davante Adams hype train ticket,they were already sold out. Apparently,Packers fans stormed the box office after Mike McCarthy had nothing but glowing things to say about Adams at a recent minicamp press conference.
I’m fine with missing the Adams hype train this season. Honestly,I don’t think it’ll be a completely smooth ride. There are going to be a few mechanical issues,the food in the dining cart will be hit or miss and the bar staff probably won’t know how to make a good Old Fashioned.
I think next year is when you’ll want a first-class seat on the Adams hype train. That’s why,when I saw tickets for this season were gone,I snatched up a seat for next year at a discounted price.
I don’t doubt McCarthy or Aaron Rodgers when they say Adams has what it takes to be great. I just don’t think greatness will happen in 2015. We’ll see improvement,but not enough to match the recent hype.
Me buying a seat on the Quinten Rollins hype train is the equivalent of me buying shares in Google before Google was Google.
The very best-case scenario for the Packers is Rollins turning into the cheesehead version of Google. But even if he doesn’t turn into an all-world corner,he still has the raw talent to be a contributor for several seaons. That’s why I feel comfortable buying low on Rollins at this time. I think he’ll be a player and give me some return on my investment,even if he might not make me rich enough to buy all the cheese curds in Ellsworth,Wis.
Also,the Packers will likely need contributions from one of their rookie corners this season. I’m putting my money on Rollins being that guy.
I have no idea where the Jeff Janis hype train is headed. It might travel all the way to the promised land. Or it might drive straight into the river.
Normally,I’d steer clear of a train if I couldn’t figure it out where it was going. But McCarthy is one of the people adding coal to the Janis hype train. If the coach is saying good things about a player,there must be something behind the hype.
That said,I’m still going to give up my seat on the Janis hype train. If the Janis hype train ends up being legit,at least I’ll have a good view from the platform to watch it pick up speed.
Welcome to Surviving Sunday,my weekly column during the offseason that summarizes the Packers news of the week,mixed in with my own thoughts and opinions. Toward the end of the post,after I’ve brought you up to speed on everything that went down with the Packers during the week,I mix in some non-Packers links and thoughts that are sometimes silly,sometimes serious,but hopefully,always interesting.
We’re a week into the CheeseheadTV and AllGreenBayPackers.com marriage. So far,nobody has had to spend a night on the couch after a big fight. We’re also sharing household chores and listening to each other — two keys to any sucessful marriage.
I had the honor of kicking things off with this post about key players the Packers will face in 2015. From there,you saw great pieces like this one from Thomas Hobbes on trading Brett Hundley and this one from Jay Hodgson on the Packers and playcalling.
And remember,this is the boring (reeeeeeeallllly boring) part of the offseason. As the season approaches and things get more interesting on Lombardi Ave.,the CheeseheadTV and AllGBP.com marriage will start cranking even more high-quality material.
Let’s get to the news of the week:
Packers news,notes and links
The Packers three-day minicamp consisted of one full-squad practice,a team-building activity (sporting clays) and a day where veterans were excused early. For a team that wants to get off to a faster start this season,and a coach who has lamented the reduction in the number of opportunities he has to work with his squad in the offseason,you’d think the Packers would want to make more of their time in minicamp. Then again,the odds of suffering a needless injury are greatly reduced when you send the veterans home early one day and spend another day shooting discs out of the sky (assuming Dick Cheney doesn’t show up).
Ty Dunne is heading home to work in Buffalo and cover the Bills. I’m going to miss the outstanding work he did on the Packers’ beat these last several years. I’m also going to miss his podcasts with Bob McGinn. Farewell,Ty. Thanks for all the coverage and best of luck trying to stay awake covering those Bill games in December when the team is 5-10.
Besides Aaron Rodgers,Matt Barlow at Acme Packing Company wonders which Packers player will be the most critical to the team’s success in 2015. I’ve got a darkhorse candidate for you: B.J. Raji. If Raji can come close to returning to his 2010 form and solidify the defense up the middle,great things will happen for this team. Darkhorse candidate runner-up: David Bakhtiari. He’s had a solid first two seaons. If he stays healthy and improves again in 2015,the Packers offensive line will once again be in great shape.
Who the hell is LaDarius Gunter? Sounds like he’s got a shot to be the next solid Packers’ find in undrafted free agency. We shall see…
When the Packers sweep the Vikings this season,McCarthy should bring a ping-pong paddle to midfield for the post-game handshake with Mike Zimmer.
Non-Packers links and other nonsense
All of us at CheeseheadTV send our throughts and sympathy to the victims and families of the Charleston shooting. It’s long past time to put an end to this B.S.,America.
My previous sentence applies to the rest of the world,too. I’m in the middle of reading “One of Us,” which goes into detail about a shooter who murdered 77 people in Norway. Just awful,awful stuff.
On the lighter side,Mastodon has a new music video out featuring cats that appear to be completely whacked out on hallucinogens.
After the St. Louis Cardinals hacking allegations from this week,seeing Bill Belichick in a Cardinals jersey is just too funny.
Hello? Testing. Testing. Is this thing on?
Hi. My name is Adam and I’ve spent the last five years writing for “Jersey” Al Bracco’s AllGreenBayPackers.com website. If you’re reading this,it means that 1) the ALLGBP.com and CheeseheadTV.com merger is real,not a NWO-style heel turn by “Jersey” Al Bracco to wipe out CHTV and take over the Packers’ blogosphere and 2) I’ve managed to post my first CHTV article without accidentally breaking something on the site.
I had an elaborate introduction worked out for my first post,but I spiked it because ALLGBP and CHTV didn’t merge so the writers could pontificate about themselves. We merged because we’ve got a lot of thoughts,insight,knowledge,passion and opinions about the Packers,and we think our corner of the Packers independent online universe is stronger if we work together.
Here’s to a long-lasting and productive partnership. Without further adieu,let’s get to it:
A lot of Packers fans circle certain games on the schedule. Packers vs. Seahawks. Packers vs. Bears. Packers vs. Broncos. These types of games are considered marquee for one reason or another.
I circle certain games,too,but I also do something else. Before the season starts,for each of the Packers opponents,I circle a player on each team. This is a player that I think will be a challenge for the Packers to contain and will act as a measuring stick to truly judge how good the Packers are as the season progresses.
For this post,I’m going to highlight two such players for each of the Packers 13 opponents. The first will be an obvious choice,a superstar type of player who everyone recognizes and causes sleepless nights for all teams,not just the Packers.
The other will be a player that’s more under-the-radar and piques my curiosity based on how he’ll match up against the Packers.
Nobody. Because the Bears still suck.
CB Richard Sherman: Guy was playing with one arm and still handled Jordy Nelson in the NFC title game.
DE Michael Bennett: Mostly because he’s a good player. Partly because I thought he would’ve been a good free-agent acquisition for the Packers a few years back.
(Note to my new readers: I never refer to the Seahawks by their legal name. They are always the Seachickens to me.)
OLB Justin Houston: Any player with 22 sacks in a single season is scary.
WR Jeremy Maclin: No Chiefs WR has caught a touchdown since Dec. 8,2013. There’s a very real chance that streak could still be going when the Packers play the Chiefs and I don’t want my favorite team to be the one that finally allows a Chiefs wideout to catch one in the end zone.
QB Colin Kapernick: Because he owns the Packers.
RB Carlos Hyde: Mark t down,Hyde will be a stud and a big challenge for a Packers defense built to stop the pass and try to survive against the run.
No obvious superstar choices because,well,it’s the Rams.
DT Aaron Donald: It usually takes a season for young defensive linemen to figure things out. I’m worried that Donald will be hitting full stride by the time the Rams play the Packers. Linsley,Sitton and Lang better be ready (and healthy).
QB Philip Rivers: Duh.
S Eric Weddle: Just a solid all-around player and the top-rated safety according to Pro Football Focus last season.
QB Peyton Manning: I don’t care how old Manning is and how many of his offensive linemen get hurt. He’s scary.
CB Chris Harris,Jr.: A defensive back who can more than hold his own against one of the Packers standout wide receivers.
LB Luke Kuechly: Sideline to sideline and up the gut,Kuechly might be the best in the business.
WR Kelvin Benjamin: There’s always at least one big,physical wide receiver who has a monster game against the Packers every season.
WR Calvin Johnson: Obviously.
LB DeAndre Levy: The best defensive player people haven’t heard of.
RB Adrian Peterson: Dude averages 118 yards per game against the Packers. Honestly,before I looked it up,I thought it was more than that.
LB Anthony Barr: Another possible breakout second-year star,especially in Mike Zimmer’s defense.
WR Dez Bryant: You know he’ll be all worked up about last season’s catch-not-a-catch and he’ll probably catch 20 passes against one of the Packers rookie corners.
C Travis Frederick: If BJ Raji is ineffective and Letroy Guion regresses (or can’t stay away from the bong),Frederick will be opening up gaping holes inside all day and keeping throwing lanes open for Tony Romo.
LB Khalil Mack: An outstanding run defender.
QB Christian Ponder: Haha. LOL. Just kidding.
HC Bruce Arians: You know he’ll have a gameplan ready to contain the Packers offense and exploit holes in the defense.
RB Andre Ellington: Yeah,he was banged up last season,but if he’s healthy,I can see him running free against the Packers.
I’ve read a lot of about Aaron Rodgers and “trust” during the last few weeks of this painfully long and more-boring-than-usual Green Bay Packers offseason. Here’s a story about Rodgers trusting Davante Adams more. Here’s a story about what Jeff Janis has to do to gain Rodgers’ trust. Here’s one on what Janis has to do during practice to win the QB’s trust.
I’m not disagreeing with any of these stories and the value of trust between a quarterback and his receivers, but step back for a moment. How fortunate are the Packers that they have such a plethora of talent that they can place such an emphasis on trust? The answer is extremely fortunate.
Most teams don’t have the luxury of not playing guys who struggle or take longer than normal to grasp the playbook or offensive signals. The Packers are so deep at the pass-catching positions that they can hold players like Janis back or give Adams a reduced role as they learn and grow. It’s also a nice test to see if the up-and-coming players truly put in the time to earn the quarterback’s trust and grasp the offense instead of relying solely on their raw ability.
A lot of other teams probably find themselves playing receivers who aren’t quite ready mentally, but they have no choice because they don’t have a roster filled with the likes of Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.
On the other hand, I’m not so sure Rodgers should be using the trust talking point too often this offseason. The back-shoulder timing route — the one where Rodgers throws to the sideline, the receiver stops, turns toward the sideline and makes a contested catch — rarely worked in 2014. The receiver often kept running downfield and Rodgers ended up throwing to a large empty space out of bounds.
Rodgers obviously trusted his receivers to make those throws, but something was lost in the line of communication along the way.
In addition to continuing to build trust with his young receivers like Janis and Adams, Rodgers should also spend some time fine-tuning communications with his veteran weapons. The back-shoulder throw has always been a great weapon and I’d like to see Rodgers and company return it to glory in 2015.
Packers News, Notes and Links
- Aaron Rodgers did a lot of media work this week. My favorite was probably this Pete Dougherty Q & A in the Green Bay Press Gazette.
- As long as he stays healthy, I see no reason why Eddie Lacy won’t top the 1,100-yard mark again like he has his first two seasons.
- There are 44 Packers set to appear in Jordy Nelson’s charity softball game. If I were a big-time professional athlete, I’d host a professional wrestling event instead of a softball game for my charity event.
- Sam Shields says the Packers cornerbacks will be better than last season. Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt says not so fast. My take: The potential is there to be better than last year, but potential and actual ability are two different worlds. We’ll see how the corners stack up after a couple of rough games, injuries and the ups and downs of an entire season.
- Letroy Guion needs to put down the bong if he wants to stay in the league.
Non Packers links and other Nonsense
- The wrestling world lost one of the greatest of all time on Thursday when “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes died at the age of 69. Rhodes was one of the greatest promos (interviews) of all time. His “hard times” promo remains an all-time classic. Here’s a 4-hour podcast that covers the entire wrestling career of Rhodes.
- I’m always a sucker for biographies on American presidents. I just finished “American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House,” and I’d rank it right up there with anything Robert Caro has done on Lyndon Johnson.
- Ghost is one of my favorite newish bands and they’ve got a new record coming out Aug. 23. Here’s the creepy (and awesome) video for the record’s first single.
In my Surviving Sunday column this week, I opined that one of the reasons the Green Bay Packers have started slow the last three seasons is a bland and vanilla early-season scheme on offense.
In the comments section, marpag disagreed. marpag said the Packers have started slow because they’ve played really good teams right out of the gate. “…if you ask me, blaming the loses on GB’s supposed ‘vanilla-ness’ is kind of overlooking the obvious,” marpag wrote.
The “obvious,” according to marpag, being that even good teams like the Packers will lose to other good teams. Don’t pin the Packers’ early struggles on scheme, blame the quality of opponents.
I see marpag’s point, but I think you have to look a little bit deeper at the “quality opponents” reason for the Packers starting slow. First, let’s look at the teams that have defeated the Packers in the season’s first three games since 2012:
According to marpag, these teams combined to go 68-27-1 (I didn’t bother double-checking marpag’s math because I hate math so we’ll just take marpag’s word on this one). When you look at it from a macro perspective, marpag is right. The Packers lost to some damn good teams early. No shame in that. No need to read too much into it, right?
But if you examine the losses at a more micro level, the tough opponents reasoning doesn’t hold up, in my opinion. NFL seasons are full of ups and downs, even for the good teams. How a team plays in September is often very different from how it’s playing in December.
When reflecting on a season, you have to look at how a team was playing during a specific window to get a better gauge on exactly how “tough” they were. Did they go on a dominant run after beating the Packers? What’d they do the week after beating Green Bay?
In 2012, the 49ers waxed the Packers in week 1, beat the Lions in week 2 and lost to the Vikings in week 3. The Seachickens cheated to beat the Packers in week 3, then lost to the mediocre at best Rams.
In 2013, the 49ers once again stomped the Packers in the opener, then lost to the Seachickens and Colts by a combined 46 points. The Bengals beat the Packers in week 3, then didn’t even score a touchdown in losing to the Browns the next week (the Browns finished 4-12).
In 2014, the Seachickens had no problem beating the Packers in the Thursday Night opener. They rested for 10 days, then lost to the Chargers by nine points. The Lions managed to squeak out a win over the Jets after beating the Packers, but lost to the Bills the following week.
As you can see, the teams that have beaten the Packers to start recent seasons weren’t exactly unstoppable early-season juggernauts that couldn’t be defeated. Four of the six teams that beat the Packers in the first three weeks of the last three seasons went on to lose their next game.
Sure, these teams ended up being playoff-caliber teams, but they were beatable when the Packers played them early and the Packers couldn’t get it done.
I’m not trying to pick on marpag. His point was one I hadn’t thought of and it forced me to dig deeper into the issue and turn it into a post (any post ideas are welcome during the dog days of the offseason). And like I said earlier, I don’t think marpag is wrong in blaming the Packers early-season struggles on playing tough opponents.
I just think there’s more to the issue than simply chalking it up to the Packers playing good teams.
It was 26 years ago on Friday that Bob Harlan was elected as president of the Green Bay Packers.
Under Harlan, the Packers went from a laughingstock to one of the most successful franchises in all of sports. Thanks to people like Mike Holmgren, Reggie White and Brett Favre, the Packers became “cool” again. Harlan has even played a role in building today’s team. Before retiring in 2008, Harlan hired Ted Thompson, a general manger who has brought in players like Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews and Jordy Nelson to keep the team “cool.”
Rob Demovsky at ESPN chronicles Harlan’s impact in this piece at ESPN.com. Demovsky notes Harlan’s biggest move probably had nothing to do with personnel and everything to do with how the Packers were run. At Harlan’s urging, the Packers’ seven-member executive committee backed off from middling in football decisions.
Harlan brought in great football minds like Wolf and Thompson, and those minds were allowed to do their thing without a committee of businessmen looming over their shoulders.
Where would the Packers be today if a committee still played an active role in football decisions? Where would they be if Harlan instead used his election as some sort of power grab and ran the Packers like a Jerry Jones or Al Davis, stifling Wolf and the others in favor of his own personal glory? Would the committee have signed off on trading a first-round draft choice for an unknown and unpredictable young quarterback named Brett Favre who was toiling away on Atlanta’s bench?
Today, an entire generation thinks of the Packers only as “cool.” Wolf, Holmgren, Favre, White, Thompson, Rodgers and others deserves a ton of credit for that. But it’s Harlan who probably deserves the most praise.
Packers News, Notes and Links
- Aaron Nagler at Cheesehead TV wonders if Aaron Rodgers playing more during the exhibition season would help the Packers start faster (they’ve began three straight seasons 1-2). To me, the issue with the Packers slow starts isn’t Rodgers, it’s a bland and vanilla scheme on offense. It seems to take Mike McCarthy a month or so to really start mixing things up and trying different things on offense. Would that change if Rodgers played more? Maybe. Even if it does, I’d still be skeptical about playing my MVP quarterback who has had significant injuries in consecutive seasons and has already endured multiple concussions too much in games that don’t matter.
- You probably already knew this, but Tex at Acme Packing Co. goes into detail why the Packers are among the best at drafting offensive players.
- Not to toot our own horn here at ALLGBP.com, but……toot, toot. There’s been some great content on the site this week. If you missed it, check out Jay’s X’s and O’s piece on nose tackles and Thomas’s viewpoint on the nose tackle position. If you’re thirst for defensive line talk still hasn’t been quenched, check out Jeff on the Packers d-line overall.
- Lost amidst the season-ending collapse in 2014 was the fact that punter Tim Masthay wasn’t very good. The Packers brought in Cody Mandell to compete with Masthay in training camp. Hey, a little competition seemed to work for Mason Crosby. We’ll see if it also works for the other guy on the team who makes his living with his leg.
- Big Phat Eddie Lacy isn’t worried about being too fat. Lacy can enjoy all the crab legs and crawfish he wants as long as he keeps trucking defenders.
- The Sporting News picked the Packers to win the Super Bowl. In other news, I had no idea The Sporting News was still around.
Non Packers links and other Nonsense
- This guy was held captive by Somali pirates for 977 days and he’s got an amazing story to tell.
- Man, check out all the eating former Chargers center Nick Hardwick had to do in order to maintain his size. I never really think about how much an offensive linemen or defensive linemen eats. I always assumed they’re just big dudes, but obviously, that’s not always the case.
- Yesterday was the 10th International Day of Slayer. How did you celebrate?
The Green Bay Packers have completed three days of OTAs so far. Based on what we’ve learned during these three days, we can make the following conclusions about the 2015 version of the Packers:
That’s right, nothing. Zip. Zero. Nadda. Anyone who tries to make grand claims after OTAs is just desperate for attention.
But we can still learn a thing or two during OTAs. I like using OTAs to gauge how close players who suffered serious injuries the previous season are to returning. I also like reading between the lines about players who had offseason surgery or are nursing new injuries.
Keeping in mind the fact that we can’t draw any definite conclusions from OTAs, here are five takeaways so far:
Clay Matthews at inside linebacker wasn’t a one-year band-aid
Turns out moving Matthews inside wasn’t just a desperate half-season fix for the run defense. Look for Matthews to continue playing both inside and outside. It also sounds like Matthews has come around to doing more than just lining up outside. I used this description in my Surviving Sunday column, but I’ll use it again here: To me, Matthews is a bigger, whiter, longer-haired Charles Woodson type of player along the front seven. He talented and versatile to roam around and make plays from anywhere.
Casey Hayward doesn’t have the No. 2 cornerback spot locked up
Hawyard still might be the frontrunner on paper. Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt also seemed to have Hayward as the frontrunner. But Hayward is injured again and sat out OTAs with a foot issue. He “hopes” to be ready by training camp. Coming from a guy who has already missed most of one season with an injury, hoping to be back by training camp doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.
I really, reeeeeeeeeally, REEEEEEEEALLY am excited about the Packers returners
When was the last time the Packers had a true weapon as a kick and punt returner? Randall Cobb has had his moments, but he never caused the other team to poop its pants whenever he trotted downfield to return a kick. Micah Hyde’s been solid, but I don’t think other teams have to change their gameplan to stop him. We don’t know if Ty Montgomery or Damarious Randall will cause other players to soil themselves, either. But at least we have something to be excited about in the return game. No more putting a leftover defensive back, running back or wide receiver back there.
Mike McCarthy still has his beard.
And it’s awesome.
B.J. Raji is back.
The Packers didn’t sign a big nose tackle in free agency or draft one. They did get Raji back from injury. Now it’s time to find out if we’ll be getting the Raji or was an impact player during his second and third season, or a doormat like he was in his fourth year. Having Letroy Guion on board to form a rotation should help.