You could argue with his coaching philosophy or his defensive play calling, but it would be difficult to fault Ed Donatell for the way he left the Green Bay Packers organization Friday after being relieved of his duties as defensive coordinator.
Meeting with the Wisconsin media the morning after being informed by GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman that the Packers were going to move on without him, Donatell spoke fondly of his four-year tenure in Green Bay, thanking the organization he worked for and the community that supported him.
"This has been a tremendous ride," Donatell said. "I think this is a unique venue here in Green Bay. The relationship with the community and the team is just (unmatched) anywhere. And that's what I'll hold to me. That's the most cherishing thing from this experience."
Donatell's removal as defensive coordinator comes on the heels of a 20-17 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC divisional playoffs in which the Packers blew a 14-point lead.
Critical in that loss was a 28-yard pass play that the Packers defense allowed on fourth-and-26 while trying to protect a 3-point lead with just over a minute remaining in regulation.
Had the Packers won that down they likely would have won the game, but Donatell wasn't sure that his termination was a direct result of that play or the Packers' loss.
"You can toss and turn on all kinds of things, but I think what winners do is they look at what the situation was and ... say, what can I do next time to make that perfect?" Donatell said. "You learn from your experiences.
"As a football coach I should win that situation every single time. And I don't ever plan on losing it again. But I have to learn something from it or else it might possibly happen again."
Donatell said he's at peace with his coverage call on fourth-and-26 -- Sherman has supported it as well in the last week -- but if he had to do it over again he would "coach the situation better" to see that players were in their proper position to stop the play.
The Packers weren't in proper position in Philadelphia, and that's part of the reason they're not playing in this weekend's NFC Championship game.
Asked if he felt like the scapegoat for the Packers' playoff loss, Donatell responded without hesitation.
"Absolutely not," he said. "I had four great years. I trained here and had a blast and it's time for me to go do (something else)."