I really don't have much to say, as evidenced by my near-24-hour delay in posting this item. After all, my esteemed colleagues in the game thread covered it, and Brandon certainly covered the most important bits.
How many losses by 4 points or less is it now? Eight? Eight of Green Bay's ten (and pleasepleaseohPLEASELORDPLEASE keep it at ten) losses? How many times has the special teams given up crucial field position, or has the offense failed to convert a drive into a crucial score, or has the run defense yielded after 3 solid quarters of work?
Seriously, just stop. You're embarassing yourself.
You hear it on the radio (::cough::WSSP::cough::), you see it on the news, and sometimes you read it on the internet. Thankfully, this site has avoided becoming overridden with it, but it's starting to creep in, and I am nipping it in the bud. But what is this ominous 'it' to which I keep referring to?
Don't get me wrong, I feel it building up too. It's perfectly normal. I mean, this team did go 13-3 last year with only one major departure in the offseason (and by "offseason", I really mean "right-before-training-camp-because-he-can't-make-a-freaking-decision"). The talent on this Packers' squad is better than the 10-loss team we know and love, isn't it? But if they're losing, then there must be something wrong. Yes, there must be something wrong!
But who's to blame? The coaches? Oh, yeah! It's all the coaches' fault! After all, they make the decisions. The front office? Definitely! They put this team together, including making decisions on the people who make the decisions, so it's their fault! The running back who held out of training camp? Pfft, more like a walking-with-a-limp back. The quarterback who replaced a future Hall-of-Famer? He's not fit to carry his predecessor's athletic supporter, much less take his spot! The run defense that literally defends nothing? They're easier to bypass than the French! The French, for godssakes!
Bench him! Cut him! Fire him! Throw him out of town! Exile his family and burn his children's schools! Tar and feather him! Deport him to Morocco! Replace him! I don't care who with! Just put someone else there! Bring back Brett! Bring back Dorsey! Bring back Freeman! Bring back Santana! Bring back Gilbert! Bring back Ahmad Car...I mean, LeRoy!
For anyone feeling these sorts of things, I refer you to exhibit A:
If it helps, take a couple of deep breaths. Lie down, drink a glass of water, think about kittens. Aww, cute cuddly kittens. Look at that one! It's playing with a ball of yarn! So cute!
There. Feel better? I know I do. Those darn kittens get me every time. Time to discuss the matter at hand.
Chill out, guys. Seriously. Ted Thompson should not be fired. He brought in the talent and has an outstanding track record at improving through the draft. Mike McCarthy should not be fired. He took a 4-12 team to 8-8 the following year, and 13-3 the year after that. Most of the starters who avoided injury performed very well and will easily keep their jobs, and rightfully so. The ones who didn't perform well were usually dealing with injury (A.J. Hawk, who has not been himself all year) or simply didn't have many opportunities (Ryan Grant behind the underwhelming offensive line) to shine.
Should these people be held accountable? Absolutely. Ted Thompson will never underestimate defensive line depth again after this season, and neither will Mike McCarthy call such conservative plays at crucial points in close games. Nobody deserves a free pass when you had a year like we had this year.
But (there's always a but) you can't immediately call for their heads so soon. All this "hot seat" talk is poppycock, and we all know it. C'mon, seriously, how many lucky breaks did Green Bay get this year? And then this year, well, karma has a funny way of coming back to you. Bad spots, bad calls, bad breaks, bad bounces, bad games, and even bad seasons happen. They just happen. No getting around it, past it, or through it. This season was a "perfect storm" of bad breaks. Favre leaves, Williams gets traded, Grant holds out, Jenkins gets injured, Harris almost gets killed, on and on and on. We've covered all that stuff in depth this year.
But why am I so positive on the eve of the end of such a disastrous season? Because if there's one thing I respect in the world of football, it's consistency. I don't mean just on-the-field, either. In order for a franchise to be successful, more often than not you need a high level of consistency across the board within the organization. You can't expect a team to win if you keep replacing the coaching staff or the front office managers. Look at Tennessee. Jeff Fisher has been there forever, as has most of the front office staff. They have a system they use, and they gathered the right personnel for it, and now they're a Super Bowl contender. Yeah, they had some bad years, but they've really gotten it together because they stuck with something longer than others would have.
I don't know, maybe I'm desperate for this season to be over with so we can get positive and look forward to 2009. But I promise you this, do not expect me to change course after next week, even in the unthinkable event of a loss.