I'm a couple of days behind on the hiring of Bob Sanders as defensive coordinator. Sanders had worked with previous coordinator Jim Bates since 2001 as his linebackers coach and interim defensive coordinator when Bates was Miami's interim head coach in 2004. Mike McCarthy wanted to keep Bates, but Bates felt it was better for him to move on. Now McCarthy, apparently, has the next best man to Bates himself. It seemed like a no-brainer that the Packers would hire Vic Fangio, defensive coordinator of the league's worst defense in 2005. Also, Fangio would have brought the problem of converting the defense to a 3-4 when the Packers don't have enough quality/healthy linebackers to play in a 4-3 defense. Instead, McCarthy went with consistancy and made the best hire so far this offseason. Any excitement about hiring Sanders is offset by the fact he coached the defensive line in 2005, and the same group of lineman (plus a more healthy NT Grady Jackson) actually played better in 2004 than in 2005 despite the defense as a whole played better last season.
Plus the Packers are &*$%ing around with QB Brett Favre. This is starting to remind me of the first retirement for DE Reggie White in 1998, when the Packers had a coaching change and didn't keep in touch with White during the offseason. White hadn't made up his mind whether to return and actually had planned to retire the season before he won the 1998 NFC Defensive Player of the Year, but the Packers couldn't wait because White's retirement provided so much salary cap relief. If White wasn't coming back, then the Packers wanted to know so they could plan for it and have more money for free agency. White would have probably stayed on for two more seasons, and this miscommunication was probably Ron Wolf's biggest mistake. White wouldn't have pushed the Packers into the playoffs during either 1999 and 2000 (the two seasons when QB Brett Favre was dealing with all his thumb/elbow/addiction problems), but two more seasons from a Hall of Fame player is always worth watching.
I don't know what impact Favre has on the Packers 2006 salary cap, but it must be huge. If Favre retires, then the Packers must be looking at either a huge cap hit (like Dallas after QB Troy Aikman's retirement) or a huge cap savings. John Clayton said on ESPN that Favre wants to see what McCarthy has planned for 2006 before making up his mind, but McCarthy hasn't talked to Favre yet. It seems likely that Favre will not be back in 2006; Ted Thompson probably thinks its time for a change (apparently for the sake of change) plus Favre should not want to come back to the mess that will be the 2006 Packers.