Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The party's over.

Well fellow Packer fans, the season is over. That's not just the conclusion after the Pack's heartbreaking loss at Lambeau on Monday night. It's the conclusion of former GM Ron Wolfe, quoted in an article in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

In a revealing article, Wolfe discussed the quality of the players currently forced into play because of the host of injuries which have plagued the Pack this season. He summed up the current roster like this: "They're playing with guys who are NFL Europe-caliber. It just doesn't work." Wolfe equated the current team to an orchestra with a five-star conductor (Favre) leading a two-bit band. Thanks, Mr. Wolfe, for saying what no one else in the organization will say.

Wolfe also gave Sherman more praise than many fans do, including me. He said that as current GM Ted Thompson was evaluating Sherman as coach (and I would have to believe that is a given) that one of the things he has to take into account is whether the team has at least been competitive. Wolfe noted that five of the team's eight losses have been by three points or less; the biggest loss margin was 14 points. They have been in games, but are not talented enough to overcome even one or two mistakes.

As to the future, Wolfe apparently did not voice an opinion on whether Favre would retire or not next year. But he did say he thought it would make no sense to sit Favre down to play rookie QB Aaron Rodgers. If Favre isn't able to get the team to win, Wolfe said it wouldn't do much good to put Rodgers in in what would also obviously be a losing effort.

Wolfe also said that the turnaround from this losing season to a playoff team doesn't have to be a long-term effort. He cited the Cowboys as an example of a team that turned things around quickly. (Point taken. However, the Cowboys have Bill Parcells as coach and we have Mike Sherman.) He said that with a good draft and some key free agent signings the Pack could be back in the playoff hunt next season.


Sitting in the stands along the Packers sideline, I spent some moments observing Coach Mike Sherman. Having not had the in-person opportunity to do that before, I would offer the following comments. I have never witnessed a coach having less interaction with fellow coaches or players. At critical moments in the game -- a defensive stop in the first half being a prime example -- while one would expect a coach to be exhorting his players on, Sherman had his head in his playsheet pacing the sideline. After making the stop, with jubilant players coming off the field, Sherman was walking in the opposite direction, again, head buried in his playsheet. I can only contrast that cerebral and detached (if that is what it is) behavior with the emotional involvement of coaches like Bill Cowher and Dick Vermeil, to name but a few. There are many coaching styles that work in the NFL. But I have to say that I just don't understand Sherman's style at all. In the end, that's not the point. But if at some point the players don't get it...well, the party's over. Just like this year.