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When Does the Bell Toll for James Campen?

James Campen

The Green Bay Packers fired two assistant coaches last week — running backs coach Sam Gash and tight ends coach Jerry Fontenot — for what now appear to be pretty obvious reasons.

Neither of those units met the Packers’ expectations in 2015 and, probably more importantly, there were better coaches available for the Packers to hire.

On the first point, you know about the struggles. Eddie Lacy never got it going and was disinterested and unmotivated most of the season, finishing with a career-low 717 yards. At tight end, the Packers didn’t exactly have a wealth of talent, but their top guy, Richard Rodgers, averaged a pathetic 8.8 yards per reception.

On the second point, the Packers went out and brought in guys who’ve seemingly worked miracles. New tight ends coach Brian Angelichio turned 30-year-old castoff Gary Barnidge into one of the best tight ends in the game in Cleveland. New running backs coach Ben Sirmans mentored Todd Gurley in St. Louis last season, but somehow created a formidable running attack with Tre Mason and Zac Stacy the two previous years.

That brings us to Packers offensive line coach James Campen, who has held that position with the team since 2007, and this question.

When will the Packers hold Campen accountable?

In 2014, the Packers had one of their best offensive lines under Mike McCarthy. Many said it was their best.

In 2015?

They regressed and were one of the weaknesses of the team, perhaps second only to the wide receiver position.

So Campen certainly met the first criteria for getting fired. What about the second?

Who’s out there?

Well, that guy was already on the Packers staff. He was assistant offensive line coach Mike Solari, who was the offensive line coach of the San Francisco 49ers from 2010-14.

Solari joined the Packers after Jim Harbaugh was dismissed in San Francisco, but he coached some of the best lines in the business when he was with the 49ers.

If you’re wondering why we’re using the past tense when speaking of Solari, it’s because he will reportedly be named the offensive line coach of the New York Giants. Or he already has been — that’s not quite clear.

If Solari still happens to be in town, then the Packers would be wise to keep him there.

I mean, if we’re holding assistant coaches responsible for underperforming units, then Campen has to go just like Gash and Fontenot did.

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Monty McMahon

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

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38 Comments

  1. Tuson Packer January 25, 2016

    Well I’m gonna say it, It felt SO good to watch the Cardinals loose SO bad.

  2. billabong January 25, 2016

    well if he was a “good” coach in other year when the line wasn’t injured what happened last year…injuries….i never have been in his corner though…and hey, did everyone see how great Palmer and the great great Bruce Arians did?? A lot of people were crowing over how great he was…both of them were…hahahaha…crow pie…

  3. the real russ letlow January 25, 2016

    I went to TC this past season. Mike Solari is a natural. Dude was COACHING all of the time. You could hear him. He chewed ass too, and wasn’t afraid to call out the starters by name. Seeing this, I thought we would have an amazing OL. Alas, injuries and ?? I don’t know what?? happened and our OL play was not very good. If you can’t run the ball, and you don’t have time to throw a decent pass because of pass rush, what kind of offense do you have? One like we did for most of the second half of the season.

    1. PF4L January 25, 2016

      “If you can’t run the ball, and you don’t have time to throw a decent pass because of pass rush, what kind of offense do you have? ”

      It takes some time….but every once in awhile i run into a fan on here that truly, truly gets it.

      1. Phatgzus January 25, 2016

        Yup, Russ gets it.

      2. Empacador January 25, 2016

        Well said.

    2. Phatgzus January 25, 2016

      Loaded boxes because you don’t have a legitimate deep threat that opposing defenses fear don’t help with the run game, nor pass blocking for that matter. Injuries and Don Barclay are a issues as well.

      1. PF4L January 26, 2016

        Not having depth is also a major issue isn’t it?

        The last 1/2 of the season is no time to participate in left tackle “tryouts”.

        1. Phatgzus January 26, 2016

          It doesn’t help, but they did apparently have some depth in Tretter, they just trusted Barclay more until he got Rodgers tenderized like a fine steak-that was a mistake on their part no doubt.

  4. PF4L January 25, 2016

    The bell tolls for James Campen the next time the Packers need a fall guy or two, to point a finger at for the failures of upper management.

  5. Jc January 25, 2016

    Why is Bennet never mentioned as a coach to be fired? As OC he, and his offense, sucked. Shouldn’t he be held accountable?

    1. Skinny January 25, 2016

      I don’t know if you all know this but Ted Thompson keeps a shit list. Every off season coaches and players move up and down. The list favors players and coaches like Bennett along with Campen that are true Packers so to speak, Packer draft picks, both been here since early 90s. What that means is they have a lifetime pass from ever moving up the Ted Thompson shit list so don’t have to worry about being fired.

      1. Empacador January 25, 2016

        Campen wasn’t a Packer draft pick. He came from New Orleans. I don’t know why he is coaching the line, he was just a guy when he played for the Packers. He didn’t play in the zone blocking scheme, so there have probably been better candidates available to coach through the years.

        1. MMTTDCSUCK January 25, 2016

          Since when do position coach qualifications play a significant role in Buffoons reasoning?

          1. Empacador January 25, 2016

            Touche!!

    2. Empacador January 25, 2016

      Maybe he would be held accountable if he were actually responsible. From what I have seen of the Packers hierarchy, titles don’t mean what the name implies.

      You used to have a head coach overseeing things, DC controlled the defense, OC controlled the offense. You have McCarthy delegating play calling to Clements to begin the season, and McCarthy himself finishing up, plus deciding he will be the play caller for his duration in Green Bay.

      I stated in a different thread, McCarthy thinks most of his assistants are head coaching material. He “promotes” them by giving them a fancy new title with minor job duty changes to justify the new title. This to keep them from being poached by other teams.

      Is it Bennett’s fault the WRs sucked pretty much all year, when as part of his token promotion, he was removed from coaching the wide receivers exclusively? Part of the WRs sucking is the line not giving Rodgers enough time to throw, so the WRs appear to suck more maybe than they actually did, except Adams. Seems they have been promoting Bennett too quickly before he is ready in order to keep him on staff.

      I think he does a good job when he has time to contribute in an area for awhile. And that is probably because he was brought in during Wolf/Holmgren era. He has a better understanding of the West Coast offense as a whole, and not this version that McCarthy runs.

  6. Kato January 25, 2016

    For those of you bitching about the packers now winning the super bowl every year, I would recommend reading this.http://overthecap.com/super-bowl-titles-high-salary-quarterbacks/

    No team since 1995 has won a super bowl with a qb eating up more than 11.7% of the salary cap.

    So those of you saying that TT needs to surround Rodgers with more talent because he is a HOF qb and deserves it, well maybe Rodgers needs to play better himself to get them where they want to be. Or take a pay cut to get them in position to sign an important difference maker.

    1. Empacador January 25, 2016

      With all due respect, this quote is from another national media source yesterday.

      “Packers fans should want something more than merely contending for the balance of Rodgers’ career. Arguably the best quarterback of the last decade, the Packers should have more than one Super Bowl appearance during his career.

      Whatever happens in 2016, the Packers are running out of chances with Rodgers.”

      The quote came from an article commenting on the McGinn article claiming McCarthy is fed up with Thompson. That echos what many here have been saying.

      Rodgers’ salary isn’t hindering the Packers, especially when the Packers have money available on the salary cap. There is a difference between being unable to sign free agents and being unwilling to. The salary cap today with its unprecedented growth isn’t even remotely close to how it operated back in the ’90s.

    2. PF4L January 26, 2016

      First of all Kato, i don’t remember anyone saying on here that the Packers should win the Super Bowl EVERY year, ever. So unless you can give us examples, don’t make shit up.

      The rest of your post makes me think you didn’t even watch any games, not with any understanding of what you saw anyway.

      Other than that i won’t waste my time with you, and as a respected knowledgeable Packer fan, Empacador probably shouldn’t either imo.

      1. Kato January 26, 2016

        While no one has specifically said that they should win the super bowl every year, the general opinion here is unless Rodgers equals Brady’s super bowl total then coaches are terrible and should be fired. Which I think is completely asinine. The situations are not even comparable.

        Rather than enjoy a team that is competitive every year, we would rather complain about everything. As packer Bob said, packers fans are about the only fan base that could be handed a bag of gold, and complain about how much it weighs.

        Do I want the packers to win the super bowl every year? Hell yeah, especially given that I live by Chicago and see bears fans every day. But I am realistic, and realize how hard it is for a team to be in the packers position of success year after year. The patriots are the only team comparable. The Steelers have won two with big Ben on his rookie contract, but since he signed a big deal, the Steelers have struggled making the playoffs, and missed a few times. Is McCarthy without any criticism? No, he obviously botched the play calling decision, the Eddie lacy situation, ect. But every coach makes terrible decisions.

  7. David January 25, 2016

    The Packers have had replacements set up. Other guys they wanted already in the fold.

    They aren’t going to toss a guy in an important position until they have his replacement already ready to come in. Obviously Campen is safe until that happens. Seems like he’s safe right now.

    If anyone needs to be fired it’s Dom Capers for going into zone coverage vs. Arizona in the 2nd half. And McCarthy for not making him change back.

    1. MMTTDCSUCK January 25, 2016

      F’n A!

    2. Eduardo January 25, 2016

      It’s amazing that you can tell the difference the minute they go to playing zone. They look like shit every time they do.

      1. MMTTDCSUCK January 25, 2016

        That is another reason why I believe Buffoon is no good. A great coach would NOT allow that! Especially not two years in a row!

  8. Kato January 25, 2016

    So we are going to fire a coach every time something is a mistake in hindsight? So the pats should probably handing belichek his walking papers by that logic

  9. MMTTDCSUCK January 25, 2016

    I have never been a fan of Campen. Since MM has been here the O line has been suspect most of the time. Campen does get to play with the fodder that TT so masterfully gives him. I will (In Campens defense ) say that you just can’t “polish a turd” but this lack of run blocking and pass pro year in and year out must also speak volumes for his coaching ability. Plus, I wonder if Sitton played LT because of Campens suggestion . . . something has been wrong for YEARS! It is time to fix it . . .

  10. Kato January 25, 2016

    Empacador- apparently it is. While that is “only” 20 years of data, it paints a pretty clear picture that teams with qbs taking up more than 10% of the salary cap have a harder time winning the super bowl than those that dont. The numbers don’t lie. Teams that don’t have a qb eating up a large portion of the cap tend to have more blue chip players at other impact positions, and more depth in general to be able to withstand a long nfl seasons worth of injuries. I would rather have some space available for contract extensions or specific FA signings like peppers or woodson than to blow it on players like jermon bushrod, jarius Byrd, ect.

    1. Empacador January 25, 2016

      Curious why Rodgers in 2010 was missing from that list? I’m sure his salary was still beneath the 11.7% figure being referenced. I don’t disagree that it makes it harder for teams having QBs with large salaries.

      20 years is a generation. The data is what the data is. IMO that data is somewhat misleading. Elway may have only been a small percentage of the Bronco cap when he won the back to back superbowls. But the Broncos circumvented the total cap in other areas to keep their team together. An argument could be made some QBs took hometown discounts by providing salary cap relief to teams who were up against the wall in order to win. If one took less than prevailing market value, for the good of the team, then those numbers are suspect.

      If Peyton Manning wins the superbowl in a couple of weeks, and he gains the additional $2 million he agreed to give up, does that put him above the 11.7% his brother had? Peyton would be at $18 million (he already got back $2 million of the $4 million he agreed to reduce since they won the AFC). Do they only count the $14 million in salary he agreed to for this season, or do the incentives increase the salary once they are added in? If that money counts, then Peyton is at least 12% of the Bronco cap based on the salary cap being $140 million for 2015.

      1. Kato January 25, 2016

        That I am not 100% sure on. I think they excluded Rodgers salary in 2010 because it was an uncapped year? Because I remember that the strike went on into the summer that year, and a big deal was made of the packers off-season festivities being delayed because no collective bargaining agreement had been reached.

        1. Empacador January 25, 2016

          Good point, I forgot about that uncapped year.

    2. Empacador January 25, 2016

      I agree about Bushrod, Byrd, etc. QBs have always taken a chunk of the cap. What has changed is how other positions have increased their chunk of that same cap.

      Remember when Wolf balked at making Craig Hentrich the first $1 million punter? Andy Lee, the punter for the 49ers, made over $4 million in 2014. That’s 400% increase in less than the 20 year period being referenced. I don’t think QBs went up 400%. Seems the data is somewhat skewed when focusing solely on Qbs.

  11. Jc January 25, 2016

    You hit the nail on the head David

    How did Capers get away with making that bonehead decision
    Unfortunately, that wasn’t the first time.

  12. Phatgzus January 25, 2016

    “Ask not when the bell tolls”, Monty, “it tolls at three.”

  13. Shawn January 25, 2016

    IMO, James Campen has always been shit. This asshole thought Don Barclay was a tackle. Enough said.
    Of course, useless hanger-on Darren Perry also still has a job, so… Remember when that joker used to talk up Jerron McMillian and the a-hole who tried to catch the Fail Mary? Geezus. Talk about zero accountability.

    1. Empacador January 25, 2016

      True dat!

      1. PF4L January 26, 2016

        In reference to accountability, since i read the article of Mark Murphy here, it all makes sense now.

        Whether in sports or in business, flaws sooner or later become exposed. Murphy makes no secret that he is completely hands off, and it’s all Teds show. Therein lies the accountability issue, Murphy doesn’t hold Ted accountable, and that streams downhill. Murphy stated himself, Ted will run this team, until Ted decides he doesn’t want too. That is so fucked up on so many levels. That is not how you lead, and could it be anymore obvious you don’t hold him accountable?

        The Packer organization seems to be run by dictatorship, where nobody can talk freely, the GM is largely absent of any public view, we barely ever here from him. Capers barely speaks, Mccarthy has to take all the brunt of the media, and i think he’s starting to get sick of it. I hate to say this, but as a organization, and as a huge fan of the Packers, i feel like this team act’s like anyone outside of their building, aren’t fit to shine their shoes. with their absence, their arrogance, and their pompous attitudes. This is a pretty sad state of affairs. especially for a teams fanbase that have given them a couple hundred million, in what is basically a worthless stock. The fans gave them all that money to better the team. The fans deserve better.

        1. MMTTDCSUCK January 26, 2016

          All good points! I also believe the fans (including myself) gave away that money (non par stock) with the intention of “helping”. When in fact, I believe that the monies went to turning Lambeau Field into a mega attraction to bilk even more monies from the “unwashed masses”. Our intent was good, their intent was avarice . . . I remember coming to the games as a teenager. it was a football stadium. Now it is Jerry Jones stadium North.

  14. joe jones January 13, 2017

    Campen is the best of the best——Packers are damn lucky to have him, he is that good!!!!!!!