Monday, December 8, 2008
Black and Blue all over: Sanders' job security
By Kevin Seifert
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette addressed the first question of many Packers fans after Sunday's 24-21 loss to Houston: Will the game cost defensive coordinator Bob Sanders his job?
Sanders' group gave up 549 yards, including 414 in the air to just-returned Texans quarterback Matt Schaub. There have been no obvious clues that coach Mike McCarthy would consider a change, but such performances -- especially two weeks after getting steamrolled in New Orleans -- tend to change things.
Because of injuries, Sanders had cornerback Charles Woodson starting at safety. His backup middle linebacker (Desmond Bishop) was starting on the outside. His starting outside linebacker (A.J. Hawk) was starting in the middle. And three opening day starters -- safety Atari Bigby, defensive end Cullen Jenkins and middle linebacker Nick Barnett -- were out altogether.
But Sanders told Green Bay reporters he won't use the injuries as an excuse:
"When you're responsible for something, I take that responsibility very, very seriously. So I'll continue to work. I won't back down until we find a way and get it back going because we've played some pretty good defense around here, and I know we can. It's my responsibility to get us back to doing that."
While it's not yet clear if Sanders will lose his job, it seems pretty obvious the Packers will have to make wholesale changes to their defense in the offseason.
Continuing around the NFC North:
- When it rains, it pours. Packers right tackle Mark Tauscher suffered a significant knee injury Sunday, writes Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Tauscher almost certainly is out for the season.
- David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune on Bears quarterback Kyle Orton: "When the Bears' ace is oblivious to adversity of any kind, good things happen. Against the Jaguars, Orton was a different quarterback from the guy who had been favoring his sprained right ankle since he injured it Nov. 2 against Detroit. ... The quarterback who completed 20 of 34 passes for 219 yards, two TDs and one interception on a frigid day against the Jaguars looked familiar."
- Finally, notes Vaughn McClure of the Tribune, Bears tight ends Desmond Clark and Greg Olsen caught a touchdown in the same game.
- Bears receiver Devin Hester has eight receptions for 147 yards in the past two games, notes John Dietz of the Daily Herald.
- Defensive tackle Anthony Adams tied for a team-high eight tackles in place of injured starter Dusty Dvoracek, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Detroit coach Rod Marinelli made the mistake of trusting his defense in the fourth quarter of Sunday's loss to Minnesota, writes Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com.
- Kowalski also notes that quarterback Daunte Culpepper will undergo tests on his injured shoulder Monday.
- Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press: "The bleak goes on."
- FOX television apologized for airing a locker room video clip in which Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe was naked, writes Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune.
- Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes the Vikings "limboed" to another victory Sunday: "The Vikings bent backward, tucked their chins in and barely limboed under the bar they should be vaulting."