Position Coaches

We don't have the opportunity to see what a position coach does on a daily basis. As fans we have a limited vision in any attempt to evaluate a position coach. At the same time, there are some criteria that can be used to at least get some sort of idea.

One, the position coach needs to be evaluated by the performance of the entire group at the position. A phenomenal player is a phenomenal player, and certainly not necessarily the product of a good coach. A lousy performance by one player may also be just that, rather than a reflection of poor coaching. Therefore the performance of the entire unit should be considered the standard for a position coach.

Two, I assume that there is communication between position coaches, coordinators, head coach and the GM concerning personnel. For example, if QB coach, Tom Clements, believes that after working with Matt Flynn and Brian Brohm, that they can play well enough so as not to warrant going out and looking for a veteran back-up, then he will communicate that to the coaches above him. Or, if he thinks that there is no way Flynn can really fill-in for Aaron Rodgers, it is his responsibility to communicate this to Joe Philbin and Mike McCarthy. The responsibility for the final decision belongs to McCarthy, who, of course, also evaluates players.

This means that in addition to unit performance, position coaches can be evaluated to some extent by personnel moves, or lack of personnel moves of players in their units.

This brings me to my real point. How are the position coaches doing? We certainly seem to be excelling in some units, and utterly failing in others. And these failures may be leading us to another sub-.500 year.

Jimmy Robinson (receiver coach), Ben McAdoo (tight ends) and Mike Trgovac (defensive line) get A's. These are the three units that excel the most.

Probably, Tom Clements (QB coach) deserves an A-. If Rodgers starts getting rid of the ball more quickly, that could move to an A.

It is hard to evaluate Joe Whitt Jr (cornerbacks), because he has been blessed with having top veteran talent at the position, so that it is difficult to know if the coaching makes much difference. A-

Winston Moss has also done an adequate job with inside linebackers, though better pass-rushing is needed. B

Kevin Greene (outside linebackers) gets barely a passing grade. Aaron Kampman has not adjusted well. Brady Poppinga has been a disappointment and Jeremy Thompson hasn't done much. It is from outside linebacker that most of the pass rush is designed to come in Caper's 3-4.  C+

Edgar Bennett (running backs) is a good man and well-liked. He can be credited with helping Ryan Grant become a decent starting RB, rather than a journeyman. However, the running back position for the Packers is relatively weak. It seems that Jackson, Wynn and Lumpkin are not the answers for the #2 back. My impression has been that Bennett defends his guys, but perhaps he would have done better for the team, if he'd told McCarthy that we need to go out and get a quality back. Instead we bring Ahman Green back, and he could be our best back. C

Darren Perry (safeties) inherited a Pro Bowl free safety in Nick Collins and big hitter in Atari Bigby. The new defense was supposed to create more opportunities for safeties to make plays, instead the opposite seems to be true. Then we had the late cut of Antonio Smith, then the cut of Aaron Rouse after a few games. While these cuts can't be completely laid at Perry's feet, he certainly should have been fighting to keep the only back-ups who knew the defense. Instead we released two average safeties (though some reports had Smith doing very well) and picked a couple others who offered no real improvement. Poor safety play has resulted in some key touchdowns for the other team and possibly for one loss to Minnesota and one to Tampa Bay (Bush's poor coverage).  D

James Campen (offensive line) heads the worst unit on the team. Thirty-seven sacks in 8 games?!?! A poor rushing attack! They tried to sneak Jamon Meredith on the practice squad and lost him, where he went to Buffalo, became a starter, and performed better than Allen Barbre. Then they kept Breno Giacomini as Barbre's back-up, and the coaches seem scared to even put him on the field. Why wasn't Campen in McCarthy's office everyday telling him that these 9 guys just don't have what it takes to be a good NFL line? Go get some linemen!  F

Shawn Slocum's special teams have been a disaster. The offense consistently must play a long field, while the defense is defending a short field. The return units have been unfortunate, losing the top 3 returners to injury, Blackmon, Nelson and Swain. Slocum also inherited some chaos from some very poor personnel decisions last year: cutting Jon Ryan just before the season began (If he were still with the Pack, we might have won a couple more games over the past two years.) and cutting Tracy White, our best special teams player, to keep Danny Lansanah for a couple more months. It seems to indicate that McCarthy doesn't take special teams too seriously. But even with all those problems outside of his control, Slocum's unit still should be performing better. Given the problems not of his own doing, he gets a small benefit of the doubt. F+

With so many underperforming units, and difficult games remaining, I fear we are heading for another top 10 pick this year.

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