Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Needed: A Defensive Revival!

Greetings, G-Force.

3-4 or 4-3? With our current personnel, it does not matter. At this stage, we aren't built for a 3-4. As we saw in '08, we aren't built for a 4-3 either. Either way, we need a massive upgrade of infrastructure.

Regardless of the business, a company is only as good as its people. You can have a masterful strategy, but without the people to implement that strategy, more often than not the organization will fail. Management requires subordinates to perform in order to be successful. At this stage, not only do we need a coordinator, but we need players.

I look at the NFL Playoffs and I see 8 teams that play defense with an aggressive mentality. They are looking to get to the QB. 6 of the teams are absolutely looking to punish people. The Chargers and Cardinals pressure the QB. They've also invested in defense through the draft and they drafted well. It should be noted that there is a healthy mix of 3-4 & 4-3 defenses. You can win with both. But, you need an aggressive, physical mentality. A passive nature does not win.

I feel that it would be easier to improve via the 3-4. The college game has moved to a format that allows smaller, quicker defensive ends to perform. Occasionally, these ends get eaten up in the NFL. See: Jamal Reynolds. Reynolds was a speed end who excelled in the college game. He was 6-3, 260. Brian Orakpo dominates the college game. He stands 6-4, 260. With Orakpo, there was almost no middle ground. He either pressured the QB or he was eaten up. 4 times, he impacted the game. Nearly every other play, he was going backwards. He was swallowed. Don't get me wrong, he could develop into the next Dwight Freeney. I did not see enough of him to judge. But, to me, in one game watching him, he looked fragile. He looked like a guy that might sustain injury at the next level. But, boy, he is quick around the corner. A couple of times, he looked unstoppable.

I want to be mean. I want to have speed. I want to pursue.

What's more important to me is to watch how Thompson and McCarthy work together this offseason. It's a vital offseason for the future of this franchise. When Holmgren & Wolf joined forces, Holmgren brought the West Coast offense. In return, Wolf got him Favre to lead the charge. Favre became Holmgren's Montana. Wolf drafted RB's that could effectively run the screen in Bennett & Levens. They became Holmgren's Roger Craig. Wolf drafted him a blocking FB that could also catch the ball out of the backfield in William Henderson. Henderson became Tom Rathman. Wolf drafted Chmura who became Russ Francis/Brent Jones. Physical over the middle of the field. Tough blocker. Soft hands. Reliable. Good runner after the catch. Holmgren needed WR's that could run the slant, the down and out, and the deep post. Brooks, Freeman, and Rison soon followed.

But, a telling point of the Holmgren & Wolf relationship came when Holmgren lost Ray Rhodes to the Philadelphia Eagles. Holmgren chose Fritz Shurmur. Shurmur demanded a big front 4. A physical front 4. In came Sean Jones and Santana Dotson. Shurmur needed a playmaking Safety to play next to LeRoy Butler. In came George Teague and then Eugene Robinson. Shurmur needed aggressive LB's. He drafted Brian Williams and paired him with Wayne Simmons on the outside. Shurmur needed physical, in-your-face CB's. Wolf drafted Craig Newsome in the 1st round to play across Doug Evans.

Holmgren had requirements. Wolf delivered results. Together, they won a Championship.

McCarthy and Thompson are at this crossroad. McCarthy is faced with a big decision. It'll arguably be a choice that defines his legacy. Soon after, Thompson will be faced with his biggest offseason as a GM in Titletown, USA. Thompson needs to bring defenders to our defense. We need maniacs. We need attitude. Thompson has given McCarthy the tools to produce results on offense.

Last offseason, Thompson his time in defense. Defending his decision not to bring back Brett Favre. This offseason, Thompson must spend his time on defense. We need major alterations.

All Good to You,

Talkin' S-Mac.

****Quick side note from the OSU-Texas game. Anyone catch Steve Rehring? Guy is huge! 6-7, 335. And he plays RG. Seemed to be able to move. He was the guy pulling in front of Beanie Wells in the first half. Opening huge holes. He was also the pulling guard on the TD that gave OSU the lead. Draftcoundown has him listed as the 26th best Guard in the draft. I'd take a shot on him. Plus, you had to love his desire. In the 1st half, when OSU was driving and the RT was called for a false start, Rehring grabbed his face mask. Looked him in the eye. Gave him a word. And then gave him a 335 lb. love tap of encouragement on the back of the head. I liked what I saw.

Marcus Freeman will not be a better player than Nail Diggs was as a Packer. Limited ability. Average in coverage. Average against the run. Average on the blitz. Above average effort.

While watching James Laurinaitis, I kept seeing AJ Hawk wearing #47. Making those same plays. Pursuing the QB. Stopping the run. Getting beat in coverage, but still making the tackle. Playing with a fierce nature. And then, I wondered what happened to AJ Hawk? You know, the guy that, in his rookies season, led the Packers' defense with 119 total tackles, 82 of them solo. Additionally, he had 2 interceptions, 3.5 sacks, 6 passes defended and 1 forced fumble. AJ, where did you go?

Finally, that was not the way Malcolm Jenkins expected his college career to end. He deserved better than that. In my mind, he's a better player than what we saw last night.


Talkin' S-Mac said...

For the record, I would prefer Gregg Williams to Mike Nolan as Defensive Coordinator.

Michael J. said...

Kudos for MM making the changes. As a Bear fan, it's painfully frustrating to have to watch as position coach after position coach are fired while Bob first time DC Bob Babich retains his job because he Smith are best friends. #2 salaried defensive unit in the league ranked 21st in total defense...something ain't right about that. I don't know where MM's Packer future lies...but at least he's being a proactive and decisive leader about where the team is, and where it needs to be.

Stack said...

Man, what a week. Confusing. Tiring.

The door is wide open for the new guy. Bring your scheme and your system and make it work. This has to be an ideal situation for anyone looking for a DC job. Maybe I should send a resume.

3-4 or 4-3. It is a question, but it's not the question.

I just wonder about Ted Thompson in this scenario. Two things come to mind with mention of TT's personnel decisions: frugality and "best available."

We'll see how that plays out in the coordinator search.

I look at it this way. Nolan might be a good fit, I don't know enough about his defense to say either way, but clearly, he and MM have a relationship. I doubt Greg Williams is a real possibility; his trajectory doesn't suggest Green Bay as a destination.

If it's not Nolan, I'm going to two places. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Dick LeBeau and Jim Johnson. These guys have nearly 60 years of defensive coaching experience in the NFL combined. LeBeau has been in the pros coaching for over thirty years.

Each of them has a been a master of defense. Johnson's disciple Spagnolo won the Super Bowl last season. I'm going right to their staff for interviews. Sean McDermott, secondary coach of Philadelphia and Keith Butler, linebacker coach at Pittsburgh are the names that are being tossed around.

I hope we interview these guys. And hopefully the silence means that we're waiting for each of these teams' season to end...

Mike Nolan just seems like the guy who will end up with the job. Might be good for MM having a trusted confidant around. And I'd be alright with that.

Talkin' S-Mac said...

If we can get Gregg Williams to commit to being our DC for the next 3 years and TT promises to bring in defensive prospects via the draft/free agency, we will be dangerous! OH BABY! OH BABY! OH BABY!!!

We'll put pressure on the QB. We'll attack. We'll be "thinkers" on defense. We'll punish the opposition. We'll play with force!

I want Gregg Williams!