Monday, November 09, 2009

Packer fans united...and disgusted

The post-game call-in shows are brutal, the sports columns are dripping venom, and the blogs are ripping new you-know-whats all over the place.

In brief, Packer fans are united in disgust at where the Packers are halfway through this NFL season. And the tipping point for fan outrage was yesterday's loss to Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay! Great Ceasar's Ghost!

In what has to rank as one of the worst coaching performances in Packers' history, Head Coach Mike McCarthy and staff snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Showing a total inability to inspire a team to victory and correct mistakes that now go back a year-and-a-half, McCarthy at least had the honesty to tell reporters that the loss was on him. Well, at least you got that call correct, coach.

Some fans are beginning to make comparisons between the increasingly apparent coaching ineptitude of Coach McCarthy with that of the Bart Starr era (who, let's also say, was one of the great quarterbacks to ever play the game...just wasn't able to carry that over to coaching). That era began a long slide into the football netherworld for the franchise. The fear of many fans at this point is this: are we once again on the edge of a football abyss? The Ted Thompson haters in the crowd have been saying "yes" for some time because of personnel moves. Now, many fans are pointing the finger (which one, we won't say) at the coaching staff and saying "yes" as well.

The coaching staff's failures to address ongoing problems and witness them repeated week after mind-numbing week, is one element of this dissatisfaction. Failure to apparently make players accountable for their mistakes is another. Failure to put players in a position to succeed -- ala Aaron Kampman being taken totally out of his capabilities -- is yet one more. And special teams? Coach Shawn Slocum should be shown the door.

At least one of the Wisconsin sports pundits said that after yesterday's loss McCarthy is "on the clock." Fans shouldn't expect McCarthy to be booted during the season. But if the Packers don't make the playoffs -- which was a clear expectation going into the season -- and finish .500 or below (which looks like a distinct possibility at this point), McCarthy could be -- should be -- out.

Would Packers CEO Mark Murphy pull the trigger and also boot GM Ted Thompson at season's end? That's a bigger question. But it will also have to be addressed. Thompson's theory of building a team through the draft is one thing. Having the youngest team in the NFL four years in a row is another. Being fiscally responsible and having money available to sign free agents is one thing. Not using any of the nearly $20 million in cap room to sign free agents that could help improve a team is another.

There are no more loyal fans in football than Packer fans. That's because we know the game. And that's why the outcry about the current state of affairs is getting louder and louder. We expect more from players, coaches and the GM than we are getting.

Ahman Green gets the rushing record
Lost in yesterday's debacle was the fact that RB Ahman Green surpassed the great Jim Taylor's franchise rushing record of 8,207 yards which had lasted since 1966. Congrats to Ahman.