New Packer head coach Mike McCarthy has now selected almost all of his coaching staff. The latest to come on board is Bob Sanders, who was tabbed as the Packers' defensive coordinator. Sanders was the defensive end's coach last season. Under his tutelage, Packer defensive ends had a pretty good season and apparently McCarthy took note. Sanders also received a recommendation from highly-regarded, departing defensive coordinator Jim Bates. Sanders has over 30 years of coaching experience but this will be his biggest job thus far. McCarthy's background is on the offensive side of the ball, so look for Sanders to run the show for the 2006 Packer defense.
With the new coaching staff in place, it is apparent that there are no "major"¯ names on board with the new Packer regime, including the head coach. The new staff may indeed prove to be very capable but for the most part, this group is unproven and at least a few eyebrows have been raised in the Land of Cheese. For instance, many Cheeseheads probably would have preferred Jim Bates rather than one of Jim Bates' assistants to be the new defensive coordinator. There no doubt will be a learning curve next year for the new coaching staff, but all that is to be expected when a head coaching change is made"¦ so here we are.
The Packers have a long history of employing great coaches including the greatest of them all"¦Vincent T. Lombardi. Also on the list of great Packer coaches is Mike Holmgren, who happens to be the current coach of the Super Bowl-bound Seattle Seahawks. It is no accident that great coaches like Holmgren and Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher have their respective teams in the greatest spectacle in professional sports this year. Great coaches can lead good teams into world championships, and that will happen again this year in professional football.
Holmgren still has support in Cheesehead land. There are others on the Seahawks' coaching staff who have Packer connections. Dittos for Seahawk quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, whom the Packers drafted some years ago. He is playing great football right now and could be the difference maker in Super Bowl XL. Both teams have great running games and strong defenses, a good formula that coaches Holmgren and Cowher have cultivated. Other teams might be wise to note the pattern.
My head agrees with the gamblers in making the Steelers the favorite to win Super Bowl XL but my heart will be with the Seahawks. Two very fine teams with great head coaches could provide for one of the most entertaining Super Bowls ever. Enjoy