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Packer Partisan: Thoughts from the Bye Week (10/18/2006)
By Dave DeLano

Cheeseheads have had a miserable season thus far so it may come as a surprise to some non-believers that I actually missed turning on the tube and getting the radio hooked up to track the Pack last Sunday. I spent my day cutting and splitting firewood, but my mind wandered back to the Packers and what they need to do to turn things around.

Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy have real problems on their hands. Short of the concession stands in Lambeau Field, there are virtually no areas of the Packers' football operations which are not in need of scrutiny. No doubt the pressure rises with each loss as the highest expectations in professional football lie in Green Bay. Where do they start finding solutions for the multitude of problems?

The NFL trading deadline is this week. I thought at one time that Brett Favre might be traded for a draft pick, but that now seems highly unlikely. Thompson seems intent on building his team around youth. Even with seasoned players like Brett Favre, William Henderson, and Rob Davis, on average the 2006 Packers have the youngest team in the NFL. Like any other profession, youth tend to make more mistakes than seasoned players. Cheeseheads have witnessed those mistakes and will likely witness more as the growing pains continue.

The Packer coaching staff is almost all new to their positions and it shows. There have been too many bone-headed coaching mistakes this year like having one too many or one too few players on the field. The defensive backfield is giving up far too many big plays this year. Could there be some coaching issues there? The Packers shelled out some big dollars in the off-season for Marquand Manuel and Charles Woodson and thus far have reaped little benefit. The other two defenders, Nick Collins and Al Harris, turned in very solid performances last season but both seem to have slipped a bit this campaign. The talent seems to be there; either the chemistry or the coaching leaves the Packers an underachieving defensive backfield group.

The offense's main problem seems to focus on the line where no one is adapting well to the new zone-blocking scheme. Without a cohesive offensive line, the running game suffers, which causes Brett Favre to have to throw the ball more than he should, which usually means trouble. Favre, Ahman Green and probably Bubba Franks are likely playing their final season for the green and gold as the search for fresh offensive talent seems imminent.

But, I am getting way ahead of myself with all these thoughts during the bye week. There will be a game against Miami next week and Favre, Green, and Franks will be starting, as usual. The coaching staff won't change either in mid-season. Things could be worse. The Dolphins have decided to replace gimpy quarterback Duante Culpepper with ex-Detroit Lion Joey Harrington. Harrington is a terrible quarterback. Maybe our defensive backs will rebound and feast upon Harrington's scattergun arm and the Pack can pull off a win on the road. 


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