Packers hanging by a thread for 2009


By Jake McCormick

If I haven’t admitted this before, I’ve been a big Star Wars nerd since I was a kid. I don’t dress up or recite all six movie scripts verbatim, but I definitely have my geek moments. One of those occurred to me on Tuesday afternoon.Packers Vikings Football

Sometimes I’ll pick up Episode I: The Phantom Menace if my nerd gland needs an itching. Between Darth Maul’s double-bladed lightsaber, the stunning visuals, and an action packed beginning to the Star Wars saga, why wouldn’t I want to watch it? Then, after 20 minutes into the film and just as my excitement increases, Jar-Jar Binks makes his first appearance. At that point remember why I don’t usually choose that episode in the saga; its few problems are so big that they overshadow any of the movie’s big strengths.

That’s what it’s like to be a Green Bay Packer fan in 2009. On paper, the Packers are loaded with weapons and playmakers, including a fantasy football dream of a quarterback and a defense that scores and creates turnovers as often as the Browns’ offense. But both sides of the line would lose the game in an intersquad scrimmage. That isn’t a good sign heading into Sunday’s game against the red hot Cowboys, winners of four in a row. Green Bay is the raccoon at the beginning of Ace Ventura 2 hanging onto their 2009 hopes and expectations by barely a paw, and just like in the movie things don’t look good.

If the Packers lose to the Cowboys Sunday, I’ll be lobbying for them to bench Rodgers for the rest of the season (for his own safety) and throw each game from here on out. It shouldn’t be hard to do when you still have to face the Ravens, Steelers, Cardinals, and Seahawks. Please pass the Prozac, and Xbox 360 controller; all indications are that I’ll be taking by frustrations out on these teams virtually.

Obviously these team failures go farther up than just the 11 men starting on both sides of the ball. Ted Thompson came into this season confident in his personnel, and even boasted of their “strengths” as a group. As much as I love some of the playmakers he has brought in over the past five years, Thompson’s refusal to strike that important balance between free agents and the draft is becoming the very thing that will cost him his job. The funny thing is I’m not even mad at him for the Packers’ lack of urgency, playcalling, discipline and leadership.

All of that falls squarely on the shoulders of Mike McCarthy, who is quickly becoming a Mike Tice replica of a frumpy meathead with no coaching discipline and a rigidly predictable playbook. McCarthy keeps saying that the penalties are being addressed, the line is fixable and Aaron Kampman can play linebacker. Unless he’s got some sort of magic on/off switch, it doesn’t seem like any of these things are going to manifest themselves now that we’re at the midway point of the season. The only good decision he’s made since Favre left town was playing Aaron Rodgers, who is just as acquainted with 300 lb men in other jerseys as he is with his own o-line.

dom-capersHowever the season ends, it’s clear that McCarthy is not the coach we thought he was and should be relieved of his duties. Even better, demote him to the quarterbacks coach again, because that’s apparently all he can do right. Paging Bill Cowher, Mike Shanahan, Jon Gruden, and Mike Holmgren…

“Wanted: Offensive-minded coach that instills discipline and respect in his players. Only half the work of a normal coach is required, as the defense is already in transition. If your specialties lie in pass rushing, blocking, and quarterback play, please contact the Green Bay Packers immediately. Trust us; this job shouldn’t be as hard as it has looked to the current administrators. Pay based on performance.”

Can someone get that up on Craigslist?