1) Bill Bates, Defensive Coordinator. We've got a good one here. The enthusiasm and knowledge he brings are a welcome addition to this team. It's a tall order, but I think he has enough coaching talent, and just enough on-field talent to piece together a decent defense. Ok, they won't be world-beaters, but they'll good enough to give the offence a chance to win its share of games. And if he can pull it off, with our defensive line and backfield in such disarray... Well, that will say a lot! I'll jump on the bandwagon, and repeat a something Chris Havel of the Green Bay Press Gazette said: He contends that quite possibly, Ted Thompson will let Sherman's contract expire, and come next year, go with Bates as head coach. If Bates is coach enough to turn this defense into a bona fide contender, then perhaps it's a no-brainer.
2) Brett Favre is still Brett Favre. He has as much, or more determination as ever, and he's in the best shape of his career. The Packers are loaded with a fine arsenal of offensive weapons: Walker, Green, Driver, Ferggy, Davenport and (hopefully!) Bubba Franks. Not to mention the nifty Antoinio Chapman and Tony Fisher.
3) Mike Sherman will be calling the plays. As it did last year this will help the offence.
4) Lambeau Field. I hope! Perhaps this will be the year the Lambeau Mystique comes back home. Feng Shui aside (see UC archives, Oct 2004). Why the hell can't it?
5) Larry Becthol, Offensive Line coach. Another great coach. It all starts on the line, and despite losing two pro bowl guards in Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera, we will be OK. Mr. Becthol will plug in capable guards, and coach 'em up to become great players. -As he has done all along. In fact that's what he did with Wahle and Rivera, they didn't come to the Packers with pro bowl credentials. Before Larry Becthol came along Mike Wahle was a penalty prone underachiever and Marco Riviera was a fledgling 6 round draft pick. His great coaching has everything to do with the success of our O-line.
THE NFC NORTH. My predictions:
Green Bay Packers. 10 wins and 6 losses. Enough to squeeze in as division champs of the suddenly competitive Northern division.
Minnesota Vikings Never underestimate the ability for the talented Minnesota Vikings to shoot themselves in the foot. I'll predict that once again, the purple stain of the NFC North will self-destruct! I say this with some trepidation, because just how many times can that happen? I mean, if you flip 10 coins and they came up tails every time... one would think the 11th flip would have a great chance of coming up a head! But regardless of the odds, I'll stand by my statement. Yes, Darren Sharper will be a factor in their improved defense. He will have a good season, but not a great one, failing to make the pro bowl. Also despite all the negatives that come with a Randy Moss, his absence will be greatly missed. No one could stretch the field like him. Opposing defenses always had to account for him.
Detroit Lions: They will improve, but still... "Not quite ready for prime time". However, mark my words, they soon will be. It's hard to get a read on Joey Harrington, he could still become a good quarterback, if the pieces all fall into place. It seems to me that, if it were to happen, Detroit's head coach Steve Mariucci would be the man to do it.
Chicago Bears: Rex Grossman will have a pretty good season, showing potential to become the crafty quarterback that Ron Wolf predicted he'd become. But, the Bears will still have their problems, finishing below the '500 watermark. However, the Packers will have given them one of the W's in their sparse victory column. Damnit all to hell!
Authors note: Despite the many minutes of research I spend in my never-ending quest to bring you, my beloved Unsportsmanlike Comment reader, the most accurate, cutting edge news in sports, there is a correction that needs to be made: It seems that at the very instant I was writing about how Rex Grossman's career was about to take off… Well, he had other things on his mind, lying on the turf in St Louis squirming in agony after 252 lb linebacker Trev Faulk broke his ankle. Oh well, that’s what we in the biz call breaking news.
Then again, I guess I could be crazy.
10 reasons why, ...right off the top of my big nusty head:
1) I am convinced the Red Cross is just a cover for a vast network of thirsty vampires
2) I believe that fire doesn't actually exist! "Fire", as we know it, is a simple trick perpetrated by the government in order to make us cook our food.
3) I spend hours upon hours, each and every day pondering the big question of life: "Do cats hate birds or do they love birds?"
4) Low flying dirigibles... They frighten me!!!
5) I believe that in a back room of the White House stands a control console interfaced to powerful antennas. It is sending an electronic beam, directly and exclusively at me. 24/7! The purpose of said beam is to make me appear unattractive to members of the opposite sex, so as to insure that I will NOT reproduce again. The government considers the objective of keeping my genes quarantined to be of such grave national importance, they continued to broadcast this beam even after my vasectomy operation. -Just as a fail-safe measure. I have reason to believe that Vice President Dick Cheney personally monitors the controls of this anti-attraction beam.
6) I am still convinced the personal computer is merely a plaything for the rich. Very soon the Internet will go the way of CB radios. It will be disliked and unused, except maybe by a few truck drivers...
7) Hemorrhoids. On the right girl, ...I think they're kinda sexy!!!
8) I think all Microsoft products are inferior, unfriendly, memory hogging, processor sucking software abominations. I guess this really proves I'm a nutcase. I mean, how could a product line become the Worlds' de facto standard in software, if it was as defective and bogus as I contend??? Man I am a big-time looney tune!
9) I see spiders. All the time. In webs outside my window. In my garden, on warm dewy mornings. Sometimes in the TV set, while I'm watching a nature show.
10) Hey bucko, I am S. Lyle OConnor, and that's crazy enough.
Deep inside the World Wide Web at firstname.lastname@example.org, there sits S. Lyle OConnor just waiting to hear your thoughts, issues and concerns. Now, isn't that comforting?