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Just how good was Don Majkowski?

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Forget Favre, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. weeds
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    weeds Cheesehead

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    During the 70's, 80's and early 90's, I was a fixture at Lambeau. Tickets were fairly easy to come by...matter of fact, season ticket holders would both literally and figuratively speaking, "give 'em away". Scalping as we know it now was unheard of and actually frowned upon by Packers fans. So I saw Majik and the boys play at nearly every home Lambeau home game.

    All of the superfluous comments regarding Majik's 1989 are accurate ... meaning that Majik's play did indeed inject some infectious hope in the fan base. I just seem to remember Majik being a turnover machine and I always gravitated toward the defensive side of the game. Personally, I was still shell shocked that the Pack beat whomever they beat at the end of the 1988 season to win (?) the right to draft Tony Mandarich instead of Troy Aikman - but that's another matter altogether. It was a cool season in that in 1989 -- the Green Bay Packers beat the Dallas Cowboys TWICE in one regular season...no sh*t...and further, beat the Bears twice...and the defending champion 49'ers - yeah, there was a TON of excitement up here. I could be wrong, but I think the Pack missed the playoffs on tie-breakers that year.

    To the best of my recollection, 1989 was just a re-run of what I had become accustomed to in the 80's. All offense and no defense...and it was a different game than what we now watch. Do I think that Majik could have led Green Bay to a Super Bowl? No ... and this is my opinion only ... certainly Majik had a charmed season in 1989 but that defense would have submarine'd any move into the playoffs. Similarly, Lindy Infante was considered one of the offensive 'geniuses' of the game at that time; at Cincinnati and Cleveland his offenses (Ken Anderson and Kosar, respectively) put up some pretty impressive numbers ... aside from the fact that Lindy owned a collection of pretty impressive cowboy boots, I just don't recall being that impressed with that team or Lindy's ability to put a hard nosed defense on the field. I remember watching Holmgren's first news conference after being hired and thinking that we might be on to something with him - he had this smirky arrogance about him that I came to realize comes with high levels of success...I don't recall ever thinking that about Lindy - I just remember his cowboy boots. Again, just my recollection 23 years after-the-fact.
  2. HardRightEdge
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    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    That was an odd thing to do.
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  3. net
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    net Cheesehead

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    If I could relay any information to the masses about the game of football, it is this: it all begins with the offensive line. You need an effective line to be able to move the ball not only to score points but to burn time off the clock the other team can't use. Having a rock-solid defense is great, but eventually they will wear down and the other team will score. Everyone thinks the receivers, QB and backs operate in a vacuum. Without 5 really good linemen, you have mediocrity or worse.(Evidence--look at Wisconsin from this year to last year).
    To all of you too young to remember Don, he was Matt Flynn who became the starter. He was a low-round draft choice but showed enough arm, guts and brains to win the starting job when the Packers had a whole bunch of mediocre talent on the offensive line. They had several linemen who held out every year for more money and only one of them--Ken Ruettgers--ever made the Pro Bowl and he was added after another player got hurt. Majkowski was constantly running for his life. Before they put all the rules into place protecting the QB's he was beaten up game after game, but came back to play. He beat the Bears in the "instant replay game" for the first time in nearly a decade, a game I thought Mike Ditka was going to have a stoke. He wasn't as good as the young Favre, but he was good enough to give the Packers a respectable offense, though, as usual, with the exception of Tim Harris and couple of others, the defense was awful.
    Most of you don't realize how good today's Packers are compared to the post-Lombardi and pre-Ron Wolf Packers. Don was a true Packer, a small town guy taking on the big city folks and winning.
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  4. LAG
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    LAG Cheesehead

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    Majik was much better than Randy Wrong, whom fainted playing the Bears. He was the best QB for the Pack since Lynn Dickey.
  5. gwh11
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    gwh11 Cheesehead

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    Minor correction: Ruettgers never went to a Pro Bowl.
  6. weeds
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    weeds Cheesehead

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    That's true, but we myopic Packer fans of that era believed that he should have. We were desperate for ANYONE to go to the Pro-Bowl from the Packers.:);)

    'net' hit it pretty much on the head although, his last sentence indicates that he was a little more enamored with Majik than I was, but he does bring up a truly accurate and spot-on point regarding the O-line. I, like 'net', watch the game a little differently - I don't watch the movement of the ball from center-to-QB-to-RB-or-dropback-to-pass. I've always found myself transfixed on the big fat guys up-front, and our big fat guys were average at best..functional but average.

    This thread prompted me to take a closer look at the '89 season's final stats and one that jumped out and grabbed me by the throat was that the Pack put a good number of points up offensively -- the defense gave up 6 fewer points than the offense scored, on a 10-6 season. The Vikies won the division that year with an identical record, giving up close to 100 points fewer than the Pack did. Not that that stat made any difference...the Vikies are and always will be, THE VIKIES. Still, as I recall, the Central Division was always considered a weak division in the 80's. Even when the Bears won it all in '85 and were competitive in '86 and '87 ... the Central was considered 'weak'.

    Packers fans though, after '89 were convinced that the corner had been turned -- except those Packers fans who recognized that the Pack had GLARING problems. In that time period, defenses did indeed win championships.
  7. gwh11
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    gwh11 Cheesehead

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    I know I'm pursuing a tangent here, but regarding Ruettgers, I just don't think he was Pro Bowl material during the era you mention.
    I was a fan then as well, and it was sad that the team had no Pro Bowlers from '86-'88.
    Who were the LT's elected from the NFC during that time frame?
    1986: Jimbo Covert, Brad Benson, Joe Jacoby (this was Ruettgers' 2nd year, and while he perfomed fairly well, I don't think he merited election over those guys.
    1987: Gary Zimmerman, Luis Sharpe
    1988: Gary Zimmerman, Luis Sharpe
    Zimmerman & Sharpe also went in '89. They were two of the premier left tackles of that era (Zimmerman is in the HOF now.) I don't see Ruettgers beating those guys out.
    I think Ruettgers was a very good player for several seasons, and should be elected to the Packers Hall of Fame someday.
    Perhaps you can point to a season towards the end of his career ('94? '95?) where maybe should've had a Pro Bowl nod over another NFC left tackle, I don't know.
    But during the era we're talking about, I don't see it.
    I too thought the corner had been turned after '89. I thought having a superstar like Tim Harris on defense would've been enough on that side of the ball. Oops.
  8. weeds
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    weeds Cheesehead

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    My comment was facetious., thus the smilie and winkie.
  9. net
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    net Cheesehead

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    He was named an alternate after one guy didn't show up. Technically, in the Pro Bowl.
  10. ThxJackVainisi
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    ThxJackVainisi Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    IMO this used to be true regarding the OL but isn’t any longer. In the previous era of establishing the run to open up the passing game it was true. For Lombardi’s Packers and their ability to run his sweep successfully even when everyone in the stadium knew what was coming, it was true. Even for the “passing teams” of the bygone era the OL was very important because it had to protect the QB as passing routes took time to develop it was true.

    But this isn’t your dad’s/grand dad’s/great grand dad’s, etc. NFL anymore. If I had to pick a point in time that it changed I’d choose the advent of the WCO popularized by Walsh in San Francisco. The roots of the system go back in time but it was the success of Walsh’s 49ers in the copy-cat league that is the NFL that accelerated a change away from the importance of the OL. Walsh used the short passing game to replace some running plays and he stretched defenses sideline to sideline to open up deep routes and to spring RBs for longer gains when they did run. Walsh established the passing game and the NFL hasn’t been the same since IMO. Walsh’s OLs didn’t have to manhandle defenders in the running game and didn’t have to hold their pass protection blocks “forever” as was previously necessary. The league office helped this process along by continuing to implement rule changes favoring passing offenses. This evolution has de-emphasized the importance of having 5 really good O linemen. Instead, IMO the OL has to be just good enough.

    If what net posted was true, IMO there would be a more direct correlation between the quality of OLs and winning. But look at Pro Football Focus’ listing of the top 10 lines going into this week’s games: https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2012/10/24/offensive-line-rankings/ The teams who they rank as having the top ten OLs contain only three teams with winning records. The 1-5 Chiefs are number two. The record of their top 10 overall is 29-38. I’m not saying PPF’s rating system is the last word in evaluating OLs but they do grade O linemen on each play. Packers fans can look at last years’ team for more evidence: Marshall Newhouse not only wasn’t “really good”, he played most of the snaps at LT and was demonstrably bad at the most important spot on the OL for a passing team, yet the team went 15-1 in the regular season.

    Don’t get me wrong, a team starting a player like Allan Barbre at OT is going to struggle so having adequate starters at OL is important. And I don’t know a serious fan who thinks the skill positions operate in a vacuum. But IMO other aspects of the game now supersede the importance of the OL, like protecting the ball and taking it away (TO ratio), which correlates to winning more than having a “really good” OL.
  11. buggybill2003
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    buggybill2003 Cheesehead

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    He wore the green and gold. Man is star in my eyes. He gave us his best, and wasn`t a diva.
  12. gwh11
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    gwh11 Cheesehead

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    What year did that happen?

    Being named an alternate doesn't imply that you actually travel to and are at the game. The players who do that are officially Pro Bowlers.

    After the 2003 season KGB of the Packers was named as a Pro Bowl alternate. After Simeon Rice was nixed for the game, Kabeer was plucked from his alternate status and was invited to attend, hence the official records name him as a Pro Bowler for that season.

    In the 1996 Packers media guide O-line coach Tom Lovat said this about Ruettgers: "He may not be a Pro Bowl tackle, but he's effective and he's played against the best over a long period of time."

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