Mister Pterodactyl
Friday, September 16, 2005
Public service announcement
[Note: Omni may want to skip this one since she's an innie not an outie, though what her navel has to do with it is unknown to me.]
The first week of NFL football being over, I (belatedly) went in search of TMQ's column. I recall him starting after the first week last year. What do I find? He's been at it since August. Or possibly April.

Go catch up. Meanwhile, here's what he had to say about the Packers in his NFC preview.

In 2003, the Green Bay "D" performed pretty well, finishing 11th in scoring defense. Then, in the playoffs, came the "Play That Must Not Be Named" -- Philadelphia's fourth-and-26 conversion that cost the Packers an NFC title game appearance. Defensive coordinator Ed Donatell was fired as punishment, though TMQ does not recall seeing Donatell on the field during this blown play. With Donatell cashiered, the Packers slipped to 23rd in scoring defense in 2004, then gave up 31 points at Lambeau Field in an opening-round playoff collapse. Brett Favre actually had a terrific year in 2004 -- about the same statistically as when he was MVP in 1997, compare here -- but the Packers defense was so waterlogged that the team's offensive output did not matter. Meanwhile, Donatell decamped to Atlanta, where the defense improved from 30th in 2003 to 14th in 2004. The football gods grind slow, but they grind exceeding small.
Now Jim Bates is the Pack's defensive honcho. For years at Miami, Bates ran one of the league's most effective units. Bates coaches the kind of defense Tuesday Morning Quarterback admires and advocates -- conservative, position-oriented schemes with little blitzing. In a Bates defense, the ends are usually quite wide to stop sweeps, the corners usually cover man to man, and having the linebackers in the right place at the right time is the key to everything. Can the Bates system work in Green Bay? The system only works if defenders are disciplined, and Packers defensive backs are not known for discipline. Now that Mike "Coach Cratchit" Sherman has surrendered his general manager duties, Green Bay will offer a test of the TMQ maxim that coaches should not double as front-office managers. If TMQ's theory is right, Packer fortunes will improve with Coach Cratchit confining himself to coaching.

Lambeau note 1: Green Bay has lost two of its last three playoff games at Lambeau Field, which is like saying Anna Kournikova has been turned down by two of the last three men she asked out.

Lambeau note 2: This month, the Packers sold out a scrimmage at Lambeau with 66,000 people filing in to watch a scrimmage. Citizens of Wisconsin, you have your priorities in order!

Lambeau note 3: Sherman has become Coach Cratchit to this column owing to the Dickensian fingerless gloves he wore on the sidelines at Lambeau in January. Put another scuttle of coal on the fire, Coach Cratchit, and you do that before you draw up another X or O!

You mean you don't know the connection between the shapes of navels and how a person feels about sports, lol? ;-)
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