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Bates' magic only goes so far

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Steel Wheels, Aug 1, 2005.

  1. Steel Wheels
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    Steel Wheels Cheesehead

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    COMMENTARY: Bates' magic can only go so far
    8/01/05

    Tom Oates Wisconsin State Journal

    GREEN BAY - The ever-active Green Bay rumor mill - you know, the one that has John Madden buying a home in Ashwaubenon every time the Packers lose two games in a row - has spit out another dandy.

    Jim Bates takes his daily walk on the Fox River.

    Not along the Fox River, not in the Fox River, on the Fox River.

    No question about it, Bates is the savior in Green Bay this season. He's the miracle worker who is supposed to give the Packers a defense that won't make their high-powered offense work overtime every week. And, based on the dearth of personnel moves the Packers made during the offseason, he's supposed to do it all by himself.

    "A new coordinator can make a world of difference," Packers linebacker Nick Barnett said as training camp opened Friday.

    Not necessarily.

    University of Wisconsin fans might disagree with that last statement after watching the profound effect first-year defensive coordinator Bret Bielema had on the Badgers last season. A considerable amount of that was Bielema's doing, but the truth is he inherited a unit with experience and talent.

    As Bates, the highly regarded defensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins for the past five years, tackles the task of turning around one the NFL's most porous defenses with largely the same cast in Green Bay, a more accurate comparison might be Gunther Cunningham in Kansas City last season.

    Cunningham, a successful defensive coordinator with the Chiefs from 1995 through '98, was brought back last year to elevate the NFL's 29th-ranked defense into a group that wouldn't get in the way of the second-ranked offense and hopefully turn a 13-3 team into a Super Bowl contender.

    Sound familiar, Packers fans? It should. The Packers offense ranked third in the NFL last season and the defense ranked 25th.

    Unfortunately, Cunningham couldn't work miracles. With every starter back from 2003 and only a couple of rookies (none of them first-round picks) added to the mix, the Chiefs defense fell two spots to 31st in the NFL and the team's record dipped to 7-9 last fall.

    So confident are the Packers in Bates' abilities they've left their defense largely intact, too.

    Other than safety Darren Sharper, the unit's biggest name but also a declining player, everyone returned. The only veteran additions were linebacker Ray Thompson and safeties Arturo Freeman and Earl Little, all marginal starters let go by other teams. And even though they had three picks in the first two rounds of the NFL draft, the Packers took only one defensive player, second-round safety Nick Collins.

    Coach Mike Sherman, whose job may depend on Bates' ability to make something out of nothing, believes Bates' high-energy teaching style and simple, synchronized scheme is exactly what the Packers need.

    "I'm certainly confident that if our players know what they're doing that we'll get the job done, and I believe they're getting to that point," Sherman said. "Certainly it's not going to be a magic-wand, overnight deal. But each day, each practice ... I anticipate to see progress. I saw some (Friday). I saw guys making plays that they hadn't made before. Hopefully that will continue."

    Sherman isn't among those who thinks Bates is on his own this season. He thinks the many players who were in their first or second seasons in 2004 will show improvement after struggling in the complex defense of deposed coordinator Bob Slowik. Sherman thinks the combination of Bates' scheme and added experience means the Packers will stop beating themselves.

    "We've played 80 (regular-season) ballgames since I've been here and have lost 27," Sherman said. "Of those 27, somebody just whipping you only happened probably less than a handful of times. So if you just don't beat yourselves ... I thought last year, because of our youth and inexperience and the changeover in defense that maybe we did that a few too many times. It was nobody's fault; we were developing young players. But they're better developed. I think we're a little more simple in our approach this year with them and I think their talent will play out."

    Maybe so, but don't expect Bates to work miracles. No matter what you've heard, he won't snap his fingers and turn Hannibal Navies into Lawrence Taylor and he won't by himself turn the Packers into a dominant defense. As with most rumors in Green Bay, this one will have to be seen to be believed.
  2. CalifPacker
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    CalifPacker Cheesehead

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    "Maybe so, but don't expect Bates to work miracles. No matter what you've heard, he won't snap his fingers and turn Hannibal Navies into Lawrence Taylor and he won't by himself turn the Packers into a dominant defense. As with most rumors in Green Bay, this one will have to be seen to be believed."


    No, he probably will not work miracles, but, the man does have a track record of success so lets sit back and let him do his thing. Many of us do expect some degree of improvement. The question is HOW much improvement and when will they gell as a unit? All us Packer fans will follow the pre-season and gauge it week by week as will the coaching staff looking for standout players and standout plays.

    IMO, the D will improve, we will see just how much with the first pre-season game soon...Can't wait :D
  3. Raider Pride
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    Raider Pride Cheesehead

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    Negativity sells. Oh Baby it sells and it sells well, and the reason it sells is because of the 20/80 rule.

    20% of people are positive thinkers and 80% of people will look at things from a negative view-point.

    The sadest thing of all is that misery loves company. This is why this fella is writing about what can go wrong... This is why this poster could not wait to toss this on the board. Question? What does Bret Bielema have in common with Bates? Question number two. What gene pool are Cunningham, Bielema and Bates connected to?

    Four CEO's failed to bring AFLAC (As a company into the black) AFLAC as a company believed in the concept.... They hired Dan Amos as CEO... Dan said... Hey team, let's put a duck to work for us. I do not know if you all have AFLAC stock but I do.

    Get with the program....

    Negativity sells.... But a negative mind, in a negative body, that spews negative thoughts on a daily basis lives in a negative world with negative results.

    My friends on this forum... Remember... There will alway's be someone trying to pull you down... They are unhappy about being a loser so they need the company down below.

    In this case... The writer and the Poster are pulling down Bates. They are hoping he fails.... so they, both of them in their negative little sad world can say.... "See I Told You So."

    Go Bates.... Make em wrong and make a legacy.


    RP
  4. Philtration
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    Philtration Cheesehead

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    This is not negativity. This is reality. Hope can spring eternal but it can't put pressure on the QB or cover a post pattern.
  5. HatestheEagles084
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    HatestheEagles084 Cheesehead

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    and like i've emphasized before, you're either negative, positive, or, like I am...REALISTIC

    pro's and con's:

    CON: No major help was added for our defensive line, no front seven talent was drafted
    PRO: Hunger on the defensive line, the two fat bums--Hunt and Jackson, it seems like they are making it their duty to screw themselves out of starting jobs...enter Cullen Jenkins, James Lee, Donnell Washington, etc etc...guys who have a lot to prove and have to PLAY to PROVE their worth in this league

    PRO: Jim Bates "Likes" our d-line depth
    CON: i'd be much more confident if there were only one spot to fill--either a healthy/present Grady or a Cleditus Hunt who tries...i'd be much more confident if we select Justin Tuck or Dan Cody in the second round, guys who will get to the QB moreso than Kampman who is a warrior, plays the run well, but not the greatest as a rusher...

    PRO: don't forget we have a pretty good sack artist on the one end of the line
    CON: lets not have it like last year where he has to be the only player that opposition offenses have to focus on

    CON: Our secondary blew horiffically last year
    PRO: Safeties to replace Darren Sharper and Mark Roman, IMO the WORST facet of a horrible '04 defense, no run support, no pass know-how, I'm glad to see Sharper gone and Mark Roman most likely bumped

    PRO: Competition from Joey Thomas will either make Ahmad Caroll into a better player, or he'll just be bumped to nickleback duty
    CON: Cornerback depth...one injury and we could be in serious trouble

    PRO: IT'S NOT BOB SLOWIK...our defense will be more organized than last year, I'm confident that Jim Bates will better organize the defense because I'm confident that I COULD RUN A DEFENSE BETTER THAN BOB SLOWIK...we're not gonna leave our corners isolated and get burned, we're going to have organized blitz packages, not going to let backs run wild catching passes, etc..

    PRO: Jim Bates made the defense in Miami among the league's best
    CON: do you really think the will turn dirt into gold THIS YEAR...i'm not saying he can't do it, but all at once, could be too much to ask...
    PRO: I DO like our linebacking core, never liked naivies as a starter, but it's solid with him as a reserve

    CON: This defense was bad all around last year,
    PRO: Come on, can we do any worse

    i can point/counterpoint myself all night, the point is, we're going to improve, but not by leaps and bounds...i'm excited to see that Jim Bates is our coordinator, we have nowhere to go but up...however I'm a little annoyed at the "oh well we have jim bates WHAT NOW b****" as the cure-all packer rallying cry...three schools of thought..."yes he will" "no he wont" and "we'll see"...i'm taking the we'll see, but i'll be in support either way
  6. Steel Wheels
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    Steel Wheels Cheesehead

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    Wrong again RP, just like "Raider Pride" on a Packer forum.

    It's the 80/20 rule.

    80% of the posters on PackerForum live in a dream world.

    20% of the posters on PackerForum are positive thinkers who are intelligent enough to be able to face reality.
  7. Steel Wheels
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    Talk about negativity...where does all the sarcasm and hate come from? RP is the negative mind in the negative body.

    RP wrote this hateful post when he was all alone in his lonely hotel all by his lonely self. He knows first hand about negativity but he can't get any company.

    Hey maybe RP was with the AFLAC duck.....or maybe RP is the AFLAC duck.
  8. vixtalkn
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    vixtalkn Cheesehead

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  9. Bobby Roberts
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    In the end, it's very unlikely that Bates will turn this defense from bottom to top 5 in one year, but that's not what he has to do for the Packers to be successful!!!

    All GB has to do is keep the offense in the top 5-10 range while improving the defense to be average -- around top 15. GB won 10 games and the division last year with the #25 defense. Give that same team an average to solid defense and I believe GB will be ready to take it to the next level.

    There is no question that GB is loaded with a ton of talented potential, but it is unproven. Bates is bringing a solid defense that emphasizes the basics. Everyday this defense is working on their tackling technique, a major weakness for GB. They are also working on being in the right position to make a play -- basics!!

    Get this defense back to the basics, and there will be improvements. Everyone was saying that last year, but the DC responded with excuses or quick fixes instead of solutions. It appears that this year GB is working toward solutions!

    GO PACK GO!!!
  10. CaliforniaCheez
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    CaliforniaCheez Cheesehead

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    What an old line "All the Old name recognition players are declining and no new "old" declining players were acquired in Free Agency".

    Appears that it is forgotten how players earn name recognition. Playing and making plays. Some younger players coached by someone other than "Jethro" will play and gain valuable experieence.

    Does anyone not expect Jenkins and Cole to be better? Washington and Lee are expected to participate this year.

    Sportswriters overhype first round picks and anyone who is not a first rounder is substandard until they overcome odds.

    Tauscher and Clifton started as rookies. Flanagan was successful moved to LT and was out most of last year. Our O-line always overcomes adversity.

    How can these writers be so thick???? Do they score 8 on the Wonderlic test????? Do they just read others "work" and rephrase it?

    They ought to be speculating on which undrafted free agent will suprisse and make final roster or Practice Squad.

    If the defence improves to just 22nd in the league and gains a few turnovers what is the result? Let's say they just win the same amount of games because they should have lost a couple last year that they won. They are in the playoffs with a younger team.

    The defense can't get worse, only better. Bates is not one to accept good enough.

    Because journalism is so bad I visit Packer Forums like this and those of other teams. So many details are glossed over by writers!!

    For example- A less stressed Sherman has lost weight and instead of evaluating talent in practice is working on improving it. Sherman will be better this year.

    Journalists have a mindset that they report what has happened. They record history and thus are always behind what is happening!! They look at "big picture" but do not realize the big picture is constructed by many "nuts and bolts" issues.
  11. Bobby Roberts
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    I totally agree with you cheez, but only to a point. It's very true that we've added a ton of young talent and there are plenty of players who improved from last year.

    The problem though is that all of these players only point to potential right now. We don't know if Lee will continue to improve or end up on IR for another year. We don't know if Washington will be the player he was tauted to be. We don't know if Collins will become a solid safety or turn out to be inconsistent. We don't know if Caroll can fix his penalties or if Thomas will blossom into a solid starter.

    All of the players that we've got with solid talent and potential also come with quesiton marks. Some of these players will turn out to be good and some won't, so it's difficult to rely on any of them just yet. We can take solace in the fact that other teams face the same questions.
  12. P@ck66
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    P@ck66 Banned Banned

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    I just LOVE this quote...typical Sherman..pointing out the exact problem, but without taking RESPONSIBILITY for it...

    "it was nobody's fault".....

    Oh no...Mikey....it was nobody's fault that defensive talent and depth wasn't drafted for over the past 5 years for the GBP's...or that you hired your cronies who did not have the ability or experience to put together a solid defense?

    No, it was nobody's fault...it just kind of "happened"......

    ok..well...we'll buy that....and maybe you should think of becoming a politician in Washington, DC while you're at it...because this is the kind of inaccurate, double-talk that seems to be in vogue over there...these days....

    Well..the table is set for you to run your offense..and just win, baby...win....Bates will take care of your defense.....

    the big question is...will you finally be able to deliver for the fans and the Green Bay faithful..?

    we shall see....we shall see....
  13. carol k
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    Come on you guys. Let's look at the glass as half full rather than half empty. I usually try to look on the positive side. You guys should try that. It does work--most of the time. Have a good week all. Leaving for the "Holy City" tomorrow and won't be back until Sunday.
  14. PackerTraxx
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    If it only goes as far as a Super Bowl win, I will be more than happy. :lol:

    Everything only goes so far.
  15. Chamuko
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    RP I also like to be optimistic, and I love to win, so must of the time in my life I have won, and YES I DO BELIEVE IN THE IMPORTENCE OF A LEADER just check my signature,,, and CHASE aka Steel Wheels may found himself wrong again.. And in case he is right and I foun myself to be wrong Id rater be wrong giving Bates my good faith that he will be a change factor for good, there is no reason to be a fan if you are only being pesimistic, and I am not saying that you must close your eyes in order to skip seeing what is wrong.
  16. Anubis
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    This coming from the guy who claims Holmgren will be Head Coach in Green Bay next season. :roll:

    Keep trying, Wheels.

    Go Pack!

    Robert C. Hedley

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