Sunday Quick Shots: Packers' coaches make changes; Bears' coaches don’t
Even nine losses in 10 games doesn’t put as much heat on Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro as Lovie Smith feels. And that’s how it should be. Football coaches catch more grief because coaching matters so much more in the NFL than NBA.
For the latest proof, check out Green Bay. After seeing the Steelers, Ravens, Patriots and Chargers dominate the AFC for years with a 3-4 defense, Green Bay hired Dom Capers and switched to the four-linebacker look this year. The Packers are now ranked No. 1 in defense for the first time since the second week of the 2001 season and are also No. 2 in takeaways with 31.
“We learned a tough lesson,” coach Mike McCarthy said on a teleconference. “In the past, we felt we had a good scheme, but we didn’t have the flexibility we needed.
“When we had the opportunity to hire Dom Capers, I told him we have more talent on defense than we did on offense, but our offense has always been productive. We had a bunch of guys who bought into the system and played with a lot of continuity. We didn’t have that continuity all the time on defense.”
With the 3-4, Green Bay’s defense has risen from No. 20 in the NFL to No. 1. The offense has excelled too, inching up from No. 8 to No. 6.
Lovie Smith’s idea of change is putting a backup who made 20 tackles last week back on the bench.
Old system better than BCS
The BCS began to form after the only two unbeatens in 1996, Florida State and Arizona State, couldn’t meet in a bowl game. That logic always baffled Quick Shots, because Florida bombed Florida State 52-20 and Ohio State upset Arizona State 20-17, so the powers that be tried to “fix” a system that already sort of worked into one that they knew would have given them the wrong answer if it had been in place.
Nothing has changed. If the old bowl system were in place, No. 3 TCU would be playing No. 1 Alabama for a shot at the national title in the Sugar Bowl. No. 2 Texas would also have had a shot against No. 4 Cincinnati or No. 5 Florida in the Orange Bowl.
Time for Big Ten to put up
This is the Big Ten’s best chance to shed its sorry bowl image. It starts with Ohio State playing Oregon in the Rose Bowl. The Big Ten is 0-4 against USC in the Rose Bowl since 1993 and 7-1 vs. all other Pac-10 teams. The Big Ten also matches up well in three other high-profile bowls, with Iowa taking on ACC champ Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl and Penn State and Northwestern playing LSU and Auburn of the vaunted SEC. Despite its sorry reputation, the Big Ten is 7-6 vs. the SEC in bowls the last five years, including two wins over Florida.
Rose, Beasley underwhelm
Remember the great Derrick Rose-Michael Beasley draft debate? What if the real answer was neither? New Jersey Nets 7-foot center Brook Lopez is the only 2008 draft choice who ranks in the top 50 in the NBA in efficiency ratings (he’s 25th). He’s averaging 19.3 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.2 blocked shots and shooting 49.5 percent. Rose averages modest totals of 16.1 points, 5.7 assists and 46-percent shooting. Beasley is about the same for Miami with 15.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 45.5-percent shooting.
The Bulls, by the way, are worse with Rose (.350 winning percentage) than they were the year before they drafted him (.402).
Rockford Register Star assistant sports editor Matt Trowbridge’s Quick Shots on Sports appear Sundays. He can be reached at (815) 987-1383 firstname.lastname@example.org.