Holm-coming?

Earlier this week, I detailed that Sunday’s contest against the Cowboys is of the utmost importance and is the litmus test for whether they can contend for a Wild Card slot or fade away towards mediocrity (or worse).  If this happens, it would be two straight unacceptable finishes in the Post-He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named Era.  In terms of the deficiencies on this team over the past year and a half, however, the difference between the production of Rodgers and theoretical performance by Favre does not even represent a plurality–let alone a majority–of the Packers problems.

Yes, Rodgers can be accused of holding onto the ball for too long.  What people usually fail to mention when they bring this up is that oftentimes Rodgers creates a play with his feet or breaks a tackle and hits an open receiver when eschewing throwing the ball away.  The play from Rodgers is far from the worst ailment facing this team.  The offensive line cannot block adequately, Ryan Grant has looked better this year than last but is far from the powerful force that Favre has in Purple Jesus, and Donald Lee has a tendency to drop passes at awful times.

The defensive schematic switch from 4-3 to 3-4 seems to go against the strengths of the personnel–the players that the Packers have who can play defensive line are better than their corps of linebackers.  Wouldn’t the defense be better with a rotation of four of Johnny Jolly (who KILLED the Packers with an indefensibly stupid, drive-extending in the Red Zone personal foul against the Vikings), Cullen Jenkins, BJ Raji, Ryan Pickett, and Aaron Kampman (who was a premier pass rusher who now looks lost in the new defense) on the line and rotation of three of AJ Hawk, Nick Barnett, Clay Matthews, Brady Poppinga, Desmond Bishop, and, when he returns, Brandon Chillar at linebacker?  Why did the Packers lose out on defensive coordinators Mike Nolan and Gregg Williams who revitalized the awful-last-year defenses of the Broncos and Saints this weekend?  Given that they have Capers, why has he been unable to adapt his style to the reality of the Packers’ personnel?

For whatever reason, it appears that Ted Thompson, who refused to adjust the holes on the offensive line through free agency, is secure in his job and that Mike McCarthy (and hopefully Capers) are going to be under review.  This story today about McCarthy’s causing the heckling maintenance man to be fired today doesn’t matter in the slightest if the Packers win.  However if they fail to make the playoffs this season, McCarthy certainly deserves to be fired.  If I had my choice in the matter (which I most definitely do not), I would want the Packers to hire Mike Holmgren to be the head coach.

Obviously, Holmgren’s homecoming would bring back memories of the Packers’ two Super Bowl appearances and one title under his stewardship and would also serve to alleviate some of the pains from his abrupt departure.  Moreover, Holmgren worked with Thompson in Green Bay from 1992-1998 and in Seattle from 2000-2004.  In 2005, Holmgren led the Seahawks to the Super Bowl with a roster that was predominantly constructed by himself and Thompson.  There is the caveat that the Browns are openly suiting him for a semi-Bill-Parcells-esque Football Czar job.  Given the respective talent levels on the two teams (the Packers seem to be one or two big pieces away from being a very good football team and the Browns roster is comprised primarily of dog crap, Holmgren’s personal history with both Thompson and the Packers, and the general historical relevance of the two franchises, why would Holmgren EVER prefer to go to Cleveland than Green Bay?

This is obviously all moot if the Packers rebound from their AWFUL loss to the Buccaneers and go on to make the playoffs; if this team makes progress this season with reason for optimism going forward, I am perfectly happy to go to battle with the current regime.  However, the scenario in which the Packers fail to demonstrate growth from last season McCarthy has to go and Holmgren makes a lot of sense as a replacement.

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