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Only time will tell for Bates' defense

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Steel Wheels, Jul 26, 2005.

  1. Steel Wheels

    Steel Wheels Cheesehead

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    PACKERS PREVIEW: Bates eyes line's rise

    Jason Wilde Wisconsin State Journal
    July 26, 2005

    GREEN BAY - Maybe Jim Bates sees something everyone else doesn't.

    Maybe he has so much confidence in his coaching ability that he believes he can make even a rag-tag outfit effective.

    Or maybe the old man is just plain nuts. (After all, he still thinks Cletidus Hunt can amount to something.)

    After two minicamps, you can rule out Bates being crazy. The Green Bay Packers' high- energy defensive coordinator may run around the field like a madman, but players and fellow coaches are thoroughly sold on his football acumen and coaching skill.

    Which means that Bates, who stands behind his draft- day defensive-line pronouncement that he's "never been in a situation where we had as much depth in the 15 years that I've been in the league," must really believe in himself and the players he has at his disposal.

    "We see talent that has potential. Of course, we have to put that to work now and produce with it," said Bates, who brought in defensive tackles coach Robert Nunn and defensive ends coach Bob Sanders with him from Miami, where he spent five years as defensive coordinator and seven games as the Dolphins' interim head coach.

    "The one thing about defensive line, it takes some time for players to develop. Some come in and they're ready to go. But that's not usually the case. We have some guys that have the size, have the power and have the athleticism. That's why we're excited."

    And Bates apparently isn't alone in that opinion. Of his 11 picks in the April draft, new general manager Ted Thompson chose only one defensive lineman - end Michael Montgomery in the sixth round. And even though ex-Baltimore pass-rusher Peter Boulware has been on the street for months, the Packers have not shown a serious interest in him.

    "We're not going to sign some guy just to sign someone," pro personnel director Reggie McKenzie said.

    That means the Packers likely will go into the season with what they have as training camp begins today with two practices for rookies and selected other players.

    But just what do the Packers have? Ends Aaron Kampman and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila will almost certainly reprise their starting roles, in part because of the financial investment in each of them.

    Starting nose tackle Grady Jackson has said he plans to skip the first day of full-squad, two-a-day practices on Friday because he wants a contract extension. The other starter inside last year, Hunt, skipped the June minicamp and is unhappy as well, though no one seems to know exactly why.

    Those players' offseason absences - Hunt also sat out the post-draft camp with a mysterious hamstring injury, while Jackson did not practice in either camp because of offseason knee surgery - gave youngsters Donnell Washington, Corey Williams, Cullen Jenkins and Colin Cole plenty of work, and those players excite Bates most.

    "I just feel like, with the experience we have a defensive staff, we will bring out the best in them through our coaches," Bates said.

    "Of course, a coach is only as good as his players. He could be the best coach in the world but not be successful. But the attitude the young guys have shown, in doing what they've been asked to do and responding positively - that's a start."

    Jenkins and Williams are versatile - they can play all four spots on the line - and along with third-year players Kenny Peterson and James Lee, who are overdue to produce, there is plenty of potential. But other than Jenkins, who started six games last year and recorded 4 sacks, there has been little production from that group.

    And for reality to match Bates' vision for the line, that will have to change.

    "I was just basing (those comments) at that time on what I had seen on tape, the youth of the group and knowing over the years how (other young) players have improved," Bates said.

    "We feel confident as a defensive staff that we're going to make steady improvements. We hope we start out a house of fire, but until we get out there and go against teams and see where we're at and see what we've got, it's hard to make a (prediction of) where we're going to be. Only time will tell."
     
  2. Gravedigger

    Gravedigger Cheesehead

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    Bates is going to see that the assignments are met. He's already demonstrated his teaching ability and a feisty and disciplined style. What this group needs more than anything is knowing where they're supposed to be and the discipline to be there and hit. He's going to demand high performance which is a huge difference from the sloppiness of the incompetent Slowit and the aloof Donatell.

    The defense is going to be far better. An easy thing actually since last year's pass defense was the worst in our history.
     
  3. IPBprez

    IPBprez Cheesehead

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    It feels so good to have a Fritz Shurmur type protege' back on the ol' Frozen Tundra...

    Like Tom Hanks in "League of their Own" - .....

    "We're gonna win,.... We're gonna win!
     
  4. Steel Wheels

    Steel Wheels Cheesehead

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    Who'se going to win and what???
     
  5. agopackgo4

    agopackgo4 Cheesehead

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    That is my ??? too!
     
  6. PackerTraxx

    PackerTraxx Cheesehead

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    We're gonna win the division.
     
  7. IPBprez

    IPBprez Cheesehead

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    Steel/Chase spends a lot of time noting how the Packers are definitely headed for a slump like that of the 70's & 80's... I disagree! That's what my post means... When Steel quoted me, you notice he dissected it first.. leaving out the reference to the Fritz protege' comment - which has direct bearing to the larger comment!

    Traxx figured it out easily enough.... :wink:
     

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