It is times like these, when your team has gone 2-9, that the media and fans grow rabid and demand change. With the Green Bay Packers on their way to a losing season, everyone and their brother has a theory as where to place blame, and their own personally designed “want list” that will fix the franchise and return the team to glory.
Alas, what we want and hope don’t always match up with reality. We want Brett Favre to be an efficient game manager…it’s just not going to happen. We want Mike Sherman to put down the charts and beat the opposing coach to the checkmate. It’s a rarity, especially this year. We want Ahmad Carroll to not hold, we want KGB to dominate like he should, we want Nick Barnett to take that next step, we want Robert Ferguson to play like a solid starter…and alas, it’s just not reality.
So, I shall go into my special room patterned after the French Quarter, where I keep my crystal ball, and look into the future. This isn’t some honey-coated, best-case scenario with a happy ending. This is balancing what we’d like to see happen with reality.
Let’s see…the crystal is a little foggy. Kind of like the Packer second-half gameplans…wait a minute! There we go…
The Packers finish 3-13, and clinch the third pick in the NFL draft. This is a mixed blessing, as it seems likely that both Reggie Bush and Matt Lienart will be gone to Houston and the Saints, who will pick ahead of the Packers.
The media is also relentlessly pushing Steve Mariucci as the next head coach. Mariucci does little to discourage the media from his interest in the job, which keeps not only the team and the coach in the spotlight, but encourages even more speculation that Favre will stay if Mariucci is hired.
Thompson is still very quiet on the hiring process.
Thompson announces several candidates for the coaching job, including Jim Bates, Steve Mariucci, Brad Childress, Pete Carroll, and others. However, it is clear that Bates is not being seriously considered, Mariucci isn’t being considered, and Carroll won’t be available. Thompson is coming under more and more criticism for not having a plan in place.
March, 2006 – In another somewhat expected move, Ted Thompson cuts ties to Ahman Green, clearing his way to free agency, avoiding a roster bonus. Because of his injury, there are no takers until
Brad Childress is hired as
April, 2006 – Jim Bates resigns as defensive coordinator to take a position as defensive coordinator/assistant head coach for another team.
To the dismay of already jilted fans, instead of taking DeAngelo Williams, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, or A.J. Hawk, Thompson trades the pick for a mid-first round pick, a second round pick, and a fifth round pick. Packerchatters.com has its highest traffic in internet history, and the recently-installed language filter crashes from overuse.
Thompson takes players not on a lot of radar screens, such as Max Jean-Giles (OG, Gerogia), Frostee Rucker (DE, USC) and Wali Lundy (RB, Virginia) with those top three picks.
With a couple more trade-downs, the Packers draft nine players in this class.
May, 2006 – Mini-camps prove to be stressful. Josh Betts, Craig Nall, and Aaron Rodgers share reps at QB in an effort to replace Brett Favre, and none impress. Brett Favre laughs while riding his tractor, and those that attacked Favre relentlessly now prepare endless excuses as to why the team is better off. Unconvincingly.
July, 2006 – Training camp starts. Aaron Kampman has been signed to a large contract. However, Grady Jackson, Ryan Longwell, William Henderson, and Bubba Franks are gone from the team, and Al Harris has joined Javon Walker in holding out. New coach Brad Childress appears in over his head, as once again, the Packers were not major players in
It is pretty obvious that Thompson is looking to clear a large chunk of money for the 2007 season, and is choosing to play with a minimal amount of long-term contracts for 2006.
At this point, the crystal goes foggy again…but it is clear that the future isn’t going to be as perfect as what we hope and wish.
Ted Thompson is going to do what he believes he feels is going to make his team. This can easily be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you see things unfold.
But, let it be known…the end of a Packer era has finally come. Will the Pack be back in 2006 or 2007, or will we be looking at another 29-year drought?
The crystal doesn’t see that far. Sorry.