Monday, September 12, 2005

We've got to get that corrected

That's the mantra of Green Bay head coach Mike Sherman. Sherman used it during a radio interview that followed Sunday's game. In the game, the Pack committed 18 penalties (four of them were declined) in a positively disgraceful 17-3 loss in Detroit. The only thing worse than watching the game was listening to Kenny Albert and Brian Baldinger try to make excuses for the lifeless performance of Brett Favre (more on that in a moment).

Sherman likes to throw out that "We've got to get that corrected" line to the media when his team can't do something right. Frankly, one gets sick of hearing it with regard to the penalties, because this team has had a problem with penalties for quite some time now. Perhaps people just started to notice this preseason, but penalties (especially on defense) were a big part of the problems that crept their way onto this team a year ago. In particular, second-year cornerback Ahmad Carroll has repeatedly shown that he just can't stop touching the receiver he's assigned to cover.

That's nice and all, except that the NFL has put a real emphasis on downfield contact by defensive backs. Carroll got eleven flags a year ago, and he started his season off by getting flagged four times (one declined) in yesterday's game.

What's Sherman's response?

A. "We gotta get that corrected. I promise you we will."
B. Bench Carroll until he learns proper coverage technique...maybe going so far as to make him practice with his arms tied behind his back.
C. Cut Carroll because he's useless outside of a boxing ring.
D. Keep allowing Carroll to start.

If you answered "A" and "D", you're right. "C" is a crazy response left for some power-happy moron who thinks he has to react harshly to everything bad that happens on a football field. "B" would be nice. Unfortunately, we don't have a head coach in Green Bay who is capable of figuring out what Carroll needs to improve.

Playing him in a starting role every week hasn't worked. But, by all means, keep doing it. Maybe the light will come on at some point.

I suggested the "arms tied behind his back during practice" idea around mid-season 2004. The reason I brought it up was that I felt Carroll had poor technique when I watched him in games. He guarded receivers with his hands, as if he were trying to hide a lack of speed. The reality is that speed is one of the key reasons he got drafted as high as he did. He has nothing to be afraid of in that regard. If Sherman and Jim Bates, a good defensive coordinator who is regarded as a great teacher, made him practice without the use of his hands, maybe he'd learn that his speed is an asset, and maybe he'd learn how to use his body and his speed to properly cover receivers.

Designated Favre Apologists
Why can't FOX employ sane human beings to do their football broadcasts? Brett Favre lost a fumble on a play where he wound up to pass and had the ball slip out of his hand before he threw it. I've seen Favre do this often enough in his career that I've taken to naming the play after him (when Daunte Culpepper did it earlier in the afternoon, I told my wife that he "Favred" the ball). Yet when Favre "Favred" the ball in the third quarter, FOX's DFA (Designated Favre Apologist), Brian Baldinger, said "Brett Favre never does that".

BS! He's done that at least a half-dozen times in his career. Is there any particular reason for it happening? I don't know. Maybe he's trying to get rid of the ball too quickly. But it's not the ball's fault.

Well, maybe it's the ball's fault when it happens to Brett Favre.

Another example of having too many DFAs on TV these days comes every time we hear a broadcaster gushing about Favre's arm when he completes a short pass. I'm looking at you, Kenny Albert.

More DFAs. ESPN's Steve Young: "Favre came back to try to win a championship."

Seriously? I thought he came back to have a couple 35-interception seasons before he retired.

In the NFL, outside of the Oakland Raiders, who isn't trying to win a championship? They might do it poorly, but they're all trying. Every player. Every team. Even the Bears. They all want to win.

And to say that drafting Aaron Rodgers was some sort of disservice to Favre (as ESPN DFA Tom Jackson did yesterday) is doing exactly what Brett Favre would never do: a disservice to the organization. This team has an obligation, not only this year but for years to come, to do what it can to win. Drafting Mike Patterson or any other defensive player in the first round wouldn't have done one damn thing to help in that regard. It seems that Rodgers and Favre are the only two people on the planet outside of Green Bay that understand what their relationship is supposed to be this season. And it seems as if Favre may be the only person outside of the Packer front office that understands why Rodgers was drafted.

Even though I'm a Packer fan, I'm sick and tired of the DFAs on TV nowadays. Everyone seems to be a Favre gusher, which is fine, as long as you can accept that even a Hall of Famer has flaws. Even a guy who is about to go over 50,000 career passing yards has flaws. We saw many of those flaws yesterday, and it's okay to mention that.

Saying that I think Favre played like crap yesterday doesn't change my overall opinion of him. It just means that Favre played like crap in one game, and we've got to get that corrected.

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