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Shedding The Finesse Label

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Shedding The Finesse Label

Well, it's about time.

Almost two years after I called out McCarthy and the Packers for a glaring lack of toughness, Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy seem to have gotten the message. It started with the hiring of the new defensive staff, particularly Kevin Greene and Mike Trgovac, to bring some of that old school, Ray Nitschke-type energy back to the defensive side of the ball in Green Bay. It continued with what seemed like a concerted effort to draft a group of tough, physical players back in April. And now, McCarthy and his staff are making this, bar none, the hardest hitting camp of McCarthy's tenure.

I mean, you've got to love this quote from Jeremy Thompson:

We're just hitting each other and hitting each other...By the time we get to the team period, we've already been hitting so much that we're wound up and ready to go.

Now, of course, none of this means anything. The only thing that matters are the results on the field. But too often in the past we've seen the Packers go toe to toe with the hardest hitting teams in the league, only to watch the Green and Gold be the ones to blink. The two game stretch last season against the Titans and the Vikings were the ultimate one-two punch in this regard. Here's hoping that what McCarthy and company are instilling now will bear fruit later this season in the form of a smash mouth team that can close out those hard fought contests rather than wilt when presented with the opportunity.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (12) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Robert Greenfield's picture


cow42's picture

I've always thought it'd be great to have the Packers be a physically dominant, bone - shattering football team. I love those types of teams... Ravens, Steelers.
More often than not, Packers teams seem to try and run around/past their opponents. Here's hoping they decide to start running straight at/through their opponents.
I'll believe it when I see it, though.

jerseypackfan's picture

When they announced Kevin Greene was signed to coach. I said to myself, NOW we gonna start smacking people around!

It great to see my thoughts are coming true.

Ron La Canne's picture

If this is indeed the training regemin, let me be the first to say Tank you, MM. Now I have to go add two more wins to my 2009 prediction.

FITZCORE1252's picture

I hope it does "bear fruit" as well. Wait a sec, BEAR FRUIT, is that a PC way of saying we're gonna go cannibal on their ass week 1?


Cuphound's picture

A tougher defense would be nice. But Aaron, isn't "smashmouth football" typically an <I>offensive</I> philosophy? I seem to recall we used to do something like that and it sort of looked <a href=" rel="nofollow">like this</A>.
They've already shed the "finesse." In your August 2 transmission, I think Corey asked the million dollar question about the O-Line. "If Jeff Jagodzinski is gone, why do we still have these guys?" There's no one, apparently, who can teach them this "finesse."

C.D. Angeli's picture

Kind of funny how when you go 13-3 you have the softest training camp on record, but when you go 6-10 following, suddenly you're "hitting real hard".

Not that I'm upset to see it, but it sure reflects poorly on MM that a lot of what he's doing (including firing half his coaching staff) is purely reactionary to a poor season following a soft training camp.

Jayme's picture

CD - I think it was the realization of a mistake that triggered the change. Sanders' defense was great so long as you could get pressure from the front 4. If you couldn't generate that pressure, the defense wasn't flexible enough to be effective. That was the problem, even more than the defense's "vanilla" nature.
Also, the extremely physical camp may be a byproduct of the coaches the Pack brought in. I don't think you could possibly bring in guys like Trgovac and Greene without bringing a ton of intensity to camp. That intensity translates straight into physicality on the field, which then causes the offense to return the favor.
Besides, if something's not working, should we really keep doing it? Isn't expecting different results from the same actions what Einstein called insanity? Even if it was reactionary to a bad season, the sense of urgency that was hopefully instilled in the organization from top to bottom should help the team.

bomdad's picture

Interesting CD, but you're discarding the breakdown of communication on the coaching staff as a reason for purging. So how does it reflect poorly that he's changed his approach? Doesnt a good coach adapt? And how does MM keep a straight face about having a "tough" camp when his prima donna QB doesnt want to show up? I'd say a young coach just learned a lesson that soft camps really dont abate injuries, and he's moving on with a tougher regimen.
BTW, I totally expect them to pussy foot the last two weeks of camp.

WoodyG's picture

The pleasant surprise thus far has been the increased intensity.... I don't see how a 3-4 can really be effective without the intensity. I've never heard the statement that an NFL team somewhere plays a "finesse style 3-4."
Expect more penalties but also more big plays, IMO.

bomdad's picture

Woody, MORE penalties? I really hope that goes down, already led the league the past two seasons, esp the finesse offense's. More zone coverage might help. Full time man coverage is pretty aggressive if you ask me, thats taking a step back. Front 7 will be more aggressive, definitely.

Ron La Canne's picture

And now Harrell is down again. Just in time for Raji's agent to add $4 million more to the guarenteed side of the contract (at least).
From Lori Nichel JSOline
Speaking of hard hitting, 16 players didnot participate in yesterday's pads session. After almost two full weeks, has yet to post an inury report. They finally did the first depth chart yesterday. Some interesting stuff there. Worth a post or two Aaron.

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