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Campen's Guys Have 3 Games To Save His Job

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Campen's Guys Have 3 Games To Save His Job

I mean, how much clearer can it get?

The Packers' offensive line has been a vortex of disappointment ever since Ted Thompson took over as General Manager, but particularly since Joe Philbin was elevated to the post of offensive coordinator and the job of coaching the offensive line fell to James Campen. Under Campen's watch we have seen an up and down affair nearly every week, specifically in the running game.

Now, some of this is due to a deficiency in talent along the way. Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher were never the greatest run blockers even on the best of days. The Packers have needed to protect a franchise quarterback for going on 18 years and they've done a good job of that, save for the first eight games of the 2009 campaign.

But be it scheme or how the scheme is taught, Campen's crew has been a perennial disappointment when it comes time to run the football. More troubling still is that even when trying to lean toward the run blocking talent on the right side of the line, where Josh Sitton and Bryan Bulaga currently reside, the run game has been either stuck in neutral or worse - going in reverse.

Many fans and media members alike have questioned McCarthy's reliance on the zone blocking scheme. With three games left, now is not the time to throw out an entire scheme. But now is the time to see if Campen can do anything to right the ship. Because right now, however the scheme is being taught, it is failing the Packers when it matters most. A team with playoff aspirations simply can not head into December not knowing which offensive line will show up.

Campen has three games to show that he knows how to get his guys to show up every week.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (31) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

NoWayJose's picture

Amen. We've got to see something here.

And I don't think we are asking for the moon, either. I don't expect us to transmogrify into an explosive rushing team that routinely puts up 100yd games from the backs or gets long scores.

No, we need a BASIC, functional running game. 4 yards and cloud of dust. We need to be able to turn 1 and 10 into 2 and 6. We need to turn 3 and 1 into 1 and 10. That's it. Nothing flashy. Anything extra is gravy. BUT we need to be able to trust the guys to get us a few yards, consistently and not give up negative plays in the running game for god's sake.

Wgbeethree's picture

He's been number one on my personal "Off with his head!" list for awhile now. He has no experience with the ZBS (other than a year under Jags, who has been available at least twice to rehire and why the didn't I have no clue) and most importantly IMO has shown ZERO ability to get any improvement out of any of his linemen. There is not one lineman who has markedly improved since he took over. Clifton and Tauscher were what they were before him. Colledge, Spitz, Barbre, and Giacomini etc. were all considered talented but raw. None really developed to a satisfactory level. Lang and Sitton have showed promise from day one but really haven't shown much growth. The guy needs to go. Years ago.

lebowski's picture

Couldn't have said it better myself.

aussiepacker's picture

It has to be time surely. Something has to be done about the oline.

Chad Toporski's picture

He doesn't even have three games. His performance up to this date should speak enough, and I don't think the rest of this season - good or bad - should change that.

Either he needs to go, or the scheme needs to go. But something has to change this offseason.

lmills's picture

Agreed Chad. These 3 games should mean nothing in that decision. He's had plenty of time to make his mark on the o-line and to me, it's a pretty obivous mark. Get rid of him along with the zone blocking scheme. Fire off the line and hit someone and let the running back read the line just like he should.

WoodyG's picture

Campen along with Cliffy, Tausch & Colledge all need to be shown the exit ..... Wells can stay but as a back-up ...... Bulaga, Lang, McDonald, Sitton & Newhouse can't do any worse than the present OL ..... MM needs to go external to replace Campen ......

Look for an 'unknown' to split carries with Grant in 2011 ...... With a little boldness on the part of TT/MM, the running game can go from bad to very good in only one off-season ....

Tarynfor 12's picture

To speak in any defensive manner of Campen may put a noose around one's head also but,everyone is entitled to some similance of it.

As fast as the proverbial shit rolls downhill,at times it can and should defy gravity and roll up with a "right back at you" blame.

TT and MM draft,trade and sign the players.The OC creates an offensive scheme based on the previous and approval of them.The OL coach is then placed in the situation to get these players,which I'm not sure of the amount of input he has with the previously mentioned TT and MM and even the OC,to perform in the pre designed thought of what the Offense will be in the coming season.

Putting all the blame,to the extent of termination of Campen,is wrong and will not change under another unless better ingredients are set in place to carry out the design of what was determined,probably without much import by Campen or whoever.

The Packers are a PASSING team and the vast majority of Campens job was and should have been in that direction in his coaching of the OL.We boast of the passing game in GB and we hear many talk of the run game being unnecessary and yet when we cannot run,they want the head of the coach,who coached his part in accordance with what was "instructed and supplied" and not what was clearly seen as must be able to do later.

The use and lack of ability of the "ZBS" doesn't belong to Campen and should not be abused for it, as the blame lies with his superiors for deciding to use it,embracing it,and not suppling the tools to make it work. The Defense Rests.

dgtalmn's picture

Nice, I agree, teams seem to search for a scapegoat and most of the time the team needs to look higher in the food chain.

But the sign of a good coach/teacher is what can be made out of what they are given.

WoodyG's picture

Can see your point ..... Shit doesn't roll up-hill because GMs & HCs rarely fire themselves .....

If the 'epic fail' occurs & GB should finish 8-8 (even 9-7), the defense cannot be blamed ...... A rudderless offense caused GB's 5 losses.....

If the 'epic fail' does occur, it'll be interesting to see how close TT & MM really are ..... Or for that matter, how close Murphy is with TT & MM .....

I don't like regime change but I also lived through Bart Starr's 9 years as HC .... That debacle went on & on & on ......

cole's picture

I think TT has done an excellent job supplying the team with the right players. No way we should get rid of him at this point.

WoodyG's picture

I don't see any 'right players' that have replaced Grant & Finley ....

Both the running game & TE production have become liabilities for the GB offense .....

TT just may have maxed out his abilities as a GM .....

Tarynfor 12's picture

Depends on the use of the word"replaced".Grant and Finley are still on the team,so it would be more of a "filling" in then replacing.

packeraaron's picture

Well, you can't have depth everywhere. He's done pretty well stocking talent at other positions.

jdondlinger's picture

I don't think any amount of depth can replace a player like Finley and even Grant for that matter. TT has supplied depth at other areas that have done well after injuries. TT is not the problem, MM might be. I am still on board with giving MM at least next season. We shall see beyound that.

Ruppert's picture

I hope you're right with the implication that Campen is on the hot seat. I'm not so sure he WILL get canned if the line doesn't improve.

This is the one area where I actually fault Thompson and his draft philosophy more than coaching. At least I think it's Thompson's idea to draft small offensive linemen in the later rounds, seemingly focusing on Wonderlich score more that FBI (football intelligence).

For me, the biggest problem with the current O line is that the draft picks used on Brian Brohm and Jordy Nelson (no offense, 87) should have been used on offensive linemen.

lebowski's picture

Brian Brohm and Pat Lee in the second round that year. Yuck.

jdondlinger's picture

Yeah that Brohm pick is pretty brutal. maybe worse than the Harrell pick. With Harrell the guy was always injured, Brohm just stunk and they let him go. If Harrell had stayed healthy he may have been a player. I still like the Nelson pick, jury still out on Pat Lee.

DAWG's picture

I agree, shit doesn't roll up hill, part of this falls in TT's lap.
But-look at the change Capers brought to the D, with basically the same group of guys.
Campen's gotta go ! Hopefully TT can pull another rabbit out of his hat----IE: Capers.

Cuphound's picture

Oh, I've been in favor of sacking the high school coach who runs the O-Line for about three years now.

jeremy's picture

Maybe MM should bring a OL coach with previous experience in his zone blocking system. I know it's a wild idea but come on?

lmills's picture

Tarynfor 12 -- Who's to say that it's the players that are the problem? I understand you argument that there's 2 sides to this. The coach, and the players. But, you've got lineman from how many different drafts now and all seem to be falling short of what the NFL production level should be. Are you saying that TT whiffed on them all? I would say TT has a fairly high success rate in his drafts. Seams hard to believe that he missed on all lineman. I'll still say coaching them up is the problem.

Tarynfor 12's picture

I never said it was the players or anyone in particular,but it may be a compilation of things.But the point about the players being drafted and signed in different years,and the individual aspect of each talent wise,many agree on one basic thought which is none of them are built for the run game much less a ZBS.
So by that measure,how much and why is Campen to be held solely accountable by "head hunters"the one to be fired.
I'm not saying it would be wrong to do so,or to not do so.Perhaps the players HAVE reached their limit and he has done all he can do with them.Just to easy to blame one for the entire fiasco,but ...

lmills's picture

Sorry, "seems".

PkrNboro's picture

I don't think the last three games should save Campen; his body of work outweighs three games, and should be enough to send him packing. If you watch other ZBS teams, Green Bay does not resemble them -- I think that's "on" Campen. The Texans, with virtual unknowns on the line and in the backfield, are 7th in the league in rushing. Year after year, Denver had success with small linemen and no-name running backs -- surely they encountered a season where their personnel was less than ideal, yet they still produced. With undersized linemen, like Wells, you've got to embrace ZBS -- because no other system will give him a fighting chance -- and I don't see Green Bay doing that from a fundamental standpoint. We've seen nothing in the run game for years. With the statistical anomaly of one 71 yard run, we've been NOWHERE close to a 100 yard rusher ONCE this season. Surely some kind of progress in the run game would provide for a 100 yard rusher more often.

Of course, Campen's not in it alone. The pass-first philosophy comes from above -- and seemingly the excuse to discount the run game, and associated poor oLine performance. But for my money, to stick with that belief, the pass protection should be damn near perfect -- and it's not.

In addition to philosophy, there's the issue of personnel. On the surface, 3 fullbacks, 4 tight-ends, 5-6 receivers seem like excellent depth. But I think it disguises the cost, as it can't get on the field at once and robs the team in terms of draft-picks/trades that are much needed on the oLine. As a result, the draft-pick-dregs are all that remain -- requiring alchemy to change a defensive lineman, or tight-end, to the required oLine player. Since this experiment fails year after year, the team clings to the past and a much older player -- a running game liability, and a health risk. Throwing money at Clifton and Tauscher was a desperate and expensive move -- has it paid off, with one playing inconsistently, and the other man down?

I think we'll see the oLine continue to deteriorate:
--- Tauscher will surely leave
--- Clifton will be an even greater risk
--- Colledge, the starting guard, warranted no more than a minimal one-year contract (and no interest from other teams)
--- Wells is aging and has already had surgery
--- Spitz, now with fused vertebrae, isn't even a backup
--- Lang did not look promising against Detroit
Are Newhouse and McDonald the answer? two players that haven't even been "active"? because there's nobody left! The cupboard seems especially bare given Thompson's inability to make trades or utilize the free agent market. I think next season's success will hinge on the acquisition and development of two impact offensive linemen -- a huge order to fill.

I understand how a great QB can be the difference between an 8-8 team vs a SuperBowl winner. But there has to be balance, from a productive ground game -- a ground game that takes pressure of the pass game, the defense, and special teams. I believe a ground game starts with the offensive line.

I won't be surprised to see Campen sacrificed at the end of the season. While I think it's warranted, it also thinly veils the next personnel move -- and that will be the firing of McCarthy. After sacking the defensive coaches, and then the special teams coach, I don't see McCarthy getting the do-over on offense, in lieu of his "expertise" in that area. Dumping Campen will be the last coaching change in the McCarthy era.

Satori's picture

"Recycled post"

So many issues on the OL....

The "problem" TT inherited was two bookend tackles who were superb in pass pro, but a lousy fit for the ZBS

Then MM comes in with Jagodzinski in tow and says we are going ZBS with lighter more athletic guys( except for the OTs) enter Colledge,Spitz, Barbre, Coston

Of course Jags didn't stay and that clearly hurt from the teaching side

Then you end up with a mix of player types and a blocking scheme that doesn't have a proven coach/specialist to fine tune it

And now, you see GB moving to a bigger, more stout OL in Sitton, Lang, Newhouse, Bulaga and the transition will continue in 2011.

Wells is pretty good in pass pro, but he cannot handle Suh and the other behemoths, so they will look to find a bigger dude for that role.

( McDonald/draft)

Campen absolutely has to go, but in some respects, he had a slightly more difficult task due to the presence of Clifton & Tauscher who were never a good fit in ZBS, and the absence of Jags or another coach with ZBS experience to make it work like a well-orchestrated symphony.

andrew's picture

i think MM needs to go... its not like he came in here to rebuild the team.. if we were rebuilding i would say oh its only been a few years he deserves more time.. this is ridiculous.. every year there is an excuse as to why we didnt make it.. but in reality ther are no excuses.. we have talent everywhere.. we should not be having injury problems to this extent no team should i understand this may be unlucky but even with the injuries we have talent everywhere.. starks and jackson and even kuhn have shown they can get a few yards when used effectively.. but they arent used effectively.. our Oline and offense is so on and off its not even funny and that is something i dont want i woudl rather have a slightly worse offense and have them be consistent than have an offense that scores 40 points then doesnt score at all.

special teams has killed us whenever it matters yet we have made no moves to change the coaching.. o line is not consistent ever and we have seem little improvement out of our young guys..
its terrible.. offensively we need to replace every coach almost.. we have a superbowl team every year and are barely making playoffs every year if at all.

no excuses MM is not getting it done

Jack's picture

I realize the NFL is a brutal business and that every now and then a head must roll. Still, having met Campen, I'd hate to be the one to have to fire him. He is a great guy.

Bill's picture

Former baseball manager Leo Durocher said it best: "Nice guys finish last".

DAWG's picture

Maybe thats part of the problem, he just can't lite a fire under these guys ass's !
To nice !
Remember Larry Becktiall(spell ck.) now that guy could motivate !

bomdad's picture

30 comments and no mention of firing Slocum.

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