Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Now Joe Philbin, the assistant under fired offensive line coach Larry Beightol, is hired as the new offensive line coach. Plus James Campen will stay as the assistant line coach. Although new offensive coordinator Joe Jagodzinski will introduce a new zone blocking scheme next season, Mike McCarthy has kept two of the previous coaches that coached an assignment blocking scheme. Coaches should be able to teach a variety of schemes, but don't they usually have a preference? If Beightol wasn't good enough to be retained, then why did his assistants get promoted? It is not a problem that Philbin and Campen were kept on with the Packers. The problem is that there doesn't seem to be any plan or philosophy in action. The Packers philosophy, from Ted Thompson on down, is to change everything and see if that improves the team. It doesn't matter if the philosophy fits the current players' abilities. It doesn't matter that every possible candidate for the job is interviewed or if that person is right for the current players.

Although Mike Sherman was fired because Thompson thought it was time for a change, that change does not include the defense. McCarthy wanted Jim Bates to stay as defensive coordinator. McCarthy might even hire defensive line coach Bob Sanders as defensive coordinator. Established mediocre coaches like Dick Jauron and Dave McInnis are expected to interview. Ex-Jets defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson led an average defense in New York last season and runs a "hybrid 3-4/4-3 defense". Nothing against Henderson, but the Packers don't have enough quality linebackers to run a 3-4 defense. Ex-Buffalo defensive coordinator Jerry Gray wouldn't be a bad choice either, although the defense in Buffalo collapsed against the run in 2005. The same could be said of Henderson too. The reasons both Buffalo and the Jets struggled was because they both lost their starting nose tackles (Pat Williams and Jason Ferguson) after the 2004 seasons. If the Packers lose NT Grady Jackson this offseason, then Henderson and Gray would have experience playing without a nose tackle because there is no replacement for Jackson currently on the roster. Keeping Sanders and cornerbacks coach Lionel Washington might be good no matter who is hired, because both the defensive linemen and cornerbacks improved in 2005.

In the end, it looks like Jim Bates left the Packers for the same reasons he left Miami a season ago; he didn't want to stick around a team that passed him up for the head coaching job. Bates will either be hired as a head coach or defensive coordinator within the next two months.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Philbin is well versed in zone blocking having been Iowa's Ol coach for Ferentz. Great teacher who shpould have no problem teaching this scheme.