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This is the twentieth edition of the popular Meet the Users series, where The Beast will be interviewing a particular ArmchairGM user. The goal for the series is to allow all users to know each other better. The twentieth edition goes to Cheezer.
1.How did you learn about AGM?
In June of 2007, some guy got in touch with Aaron Schatz, the founder of Football Outsiders, and recommended this site as someplace that the readers at FO might like. I have been a commenter (pseudonym MCS) at that website since October 2003. Aaron posted a link on his site and in July of 2007 I decided to check out the ‘chair.
I lurked around here for about a month, putting up the occasional comment, but not really contributing anything. Then, in August when the Packers signed the hard-working Donald Driver (a favorite of my wife) to a contract extension, I wrote my first article. Since then, I’ve written over 35. Not nearly as many as some people, but then again, I never claimed to be a writer. I’m more of an editor and I have a little bit of the teaching gene in me. So, if anyone wants some proofreading done or an opinion from someone who’s always free with his views, ring me up.
2. Fact or Fiction: in 25 years, Wisconsin fans will all regard Bret Bielema as the best coach in school history.
Fiction. I tend to reserve the “best ever” designation for people that enable dramatic change. For the Badgers, that title belongs to Barry Alvarez. In 1990, Alvarez’ first season as the Badgers coach, he finished 1-10 (0-8 in the Big 10). He turned that program around and made them a consistent contender in the Big 10. Along the way, he became the winningest coach in the history of the Badgers and brought 3 Big Ten titles and 3 Rose Bowl victories to America’s Dairyland.
Before Alvarez, the Big 10 was the Big 2 & Little 8. Now Wisconsin is always in the hunt along with UM and OSU.
Bret Bielema is a great coach who looks to have the ability to continue that winning tradition, just not the best ever.
3. The Packers surprised a lot of people this season by going 13-3 and reaching the NFC Championship Game. What do they need to do to improve for next season?
It’s hard to improve on a 13-3 season. I had them at 10-6 maybe 11-5 and winning the division, but they definitely accomplished more than I had anticipated. I was going to write an article of Packers offseason Do's and Don'ts, but it doesn't look like I'm going to get to it for another couple of weeks (if at all, riding season is starting up). So, I’ll throw out a couple of thoughts here.
Green Bay would be well served to get a cornerback. Al Harris is 33 and on his last legs. Charles Woodson is 31 and always battling injury. They have a lot of young talent though (4 CBs 24 or younger with another at 26) and I’d like to see what they can do with them before spending too high to pick up another rookie. I’d probably go after a cornerback in the later rounds. However, if they can get a game changer early, they have to pull the trigger because a shut-down cornerback can completely change how opposing offenses game plan for you.
I believe that the interior offensive line is their most important need. The Merry-go-round of offensive guards cannot continue. I thought they had things resolved late last season, but the Giants exposed them. As you look back over the entire season, you see that Favre's wisdom (reading defenses) and arm strength masked a lot of blocking inadequacies. They need to get that line fixed before Favre retires or Rodgers is going to spend a lot of time running for his life.
Poppinga has improved dramatically during his Packer career, but I think it would behoove them to see what they can do to bring in some competition and improve the situation at the SAM. According to the statistics over at Football Outsiders, Green Bay was middle of the pack in coverage of the tight end.
By the way, one of the “Don’ts” I was going to recommend was for the Packers not to franchise Corey Williams. In fact, I’m on record stating my disagreement with the decision. However, if you check the comments here you’ll see that, overall, I trust in what Ted Thompson is doing. Therefore, I’m willing to admit that I’m probably wrong with my thoughts on Williams.
I think that both Thompson and McCarthy were great acquisitions. I look forward to continued Packer success.
4. When should Brett Favre retire? What should Green Bay do with Aaron Rodgers?
Remember what I said about great men enabling change? Favre, along with Reggie White, Mike Holmgren and Ron Wolf, is one of those men for the Packers. Before the 1992 season, Green Bay was 132-188-8 in my lifetime (that’s 1970 for those of you keeping score) with one playoff appearance that I can remember. Since those guys changed the attitude in Green Bay (161-95 since ‘92), being a Packer fan has been a much more enjoyable experience.
That said, Favre should retire whenever he’s good and ready. He’s earned it. For those Packer fans that were (before 2007) calling for his head (you know who you are): Do you remember this guy? How about him? Be careful what you wish for. In Favre, the Packers have a proven winner with at least one or two more seasons in him. He’s greatly rejuvenated in McCarthy’s system as McCarthy lets him make a lot more calls at the line than he ever has before. With him playing within the system and not trying to do too much, Green Bay will continue to be competitive. They just need to hope for no more nighttime playoff games in Green Bay as the old man doesn’t handle the cold all that well.
I like what I see in Aaron Rodgers. During the Dallas game, Rodgers demonstrated that he is starting to understand the NFL game and he has great potential to be successful. This comment comes with a disclaimor though as Dallas didn't have any film on him. I would like the Packers to continue to bring him along as Favre’s successor as I think they got the better of the two QB’s vying to be the first selected.
5. This past weekend was the scouting combine. Do you believe that it is a worthwhile event or a big waste of time?
I like that it offers some borderline players and players from smaller schools an opportunity to showcase their skills. But I think the athletic portion is over-rated by the media. They still use hand clocks on the speed events for Pete’s sake. How accurate can that be?
I also like the interview and intelligence testing aspect of the combine as it gives teams a chance to get to know the prospects a little bit and judge their capabilities off the field.
Any team that drafts a player high because of his combine performance deserves to get burnt. It is not a substitute for real game situations.
My thanks to the Beast for offering this opportunity to talk a little about myself and my thanks to all of you for reading.