I must say this season is not getting to me in quite the same way that it seems to be getting to other Packer fans. What I don't understand is why. Did anyone think we were going to win the NFC north this year? Sure that's the goal, but did you really think that was realistic?
I don't know what I think of Mike III and his staff. I don't know why I haven't seen him comment on the secondary's weekly penchant for blowing coverages. I don't know why the play of the safeties hasn't been discussed more thoroughly. But I do know this. Mike II wasn't going to win any championships so he had to go.
Staying with a guy because you haven't discovered anyone better is a great way to stay mediocre. There are many examples of this every year in pro and college sports. If you can't think of any you're not trying. So is Mike III the best coach for the job? I don't know. But I do know I'd rather go with an unknown than stick with a proven mediocrity.
I think the coaching staff has cost us a game or two this year, specifically at Buffalo and last Monday against Seattle. That's nothing new. Most coaches blow a few games every year. That's just part of the job and only a small handful of guys really know the art of play calling and how to use momentum. I've seen glimpses that show Mike III does get it (see: throwing the ball late against Minnesota to preserve the victory) and the examples above showing that he still doesn't trust himself fully.
The schedule gets easier now. Gone are the preseason superbowl picks like New England and Seattle. What we have left should give us a good idea of where we're at. The team is clearly not in the upper echelon. A good team will beat this Packers squad every day of the week and twice on Sunday (at least that's what that 35-donut job against the Pats felt like). They are no longer among the worst in the league however. The Packers have handled the bad teams on their schedule as they should.
With 5 weeks remaining we face the Jets, 49ers, Lions, Vikings and the Bears. Only the Bears can claim to have an obvious advantage in talent or coaching ability. I don't think Lovie Smith is a great coach mind you, he's just not a rookie or 2nd year guy like the rest of our opponents. Also, that Bears game will be the last of the year and they will have had the division and homefield advantage wrapped up well before that time.
All of these games are winnable for this Packers team. Due to youth and what I've seen out of the coaching staff I would not be surprised if we dropped 1 or 2 games though. That being said we're looking at 7-9 or 8-8. I can live with that this year. I realize that 8-8 is the definition of mediocrity, but I also know the expectations this year were 4-5 wins.
Can this team close strong? Can the o-line get everyone healthy and show some improvement (they were improving before Tauscher and Clifton got dinged up)? Can the defensive staff finally man up and fire Kurt Schottenheimer? We shall see. I don't know what's going to happen. That's why I'm excited. I always knew what we'd get out of Mike II, and it wasn't enough.