Skip to main content

Sherman: Slowik Part Of The Answer For Packers


The good thing about new and improved is that it doesn't require starting from scratch.

The Green Bay Packers learned that from the Lambeau Field redevelopment project, which turned one of the NFL's most historic venues into a modern marvel without throwing out the baby along with the bathwater.

GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman hopes that what worked for the Packers' storied stadium also will work in his efforts to upgrade the defense that plays there.

Wednesday, Sherman promoted assistant head coach/defensive backs coach Bob Slowik to the role of assistant head coach/defensive coordinator, and by doing so suggested that the Packers aren't a team in need of a new defensive foundation, so much as some specific remodeling.

"My goal is for us to continue to do some of the things we do well and to fix some of the things that need to be fixed, as simple as that," Sherman said Wednesday. "I don't think we're that far away and I think Bob Slowik is the guy that can help get us there."

The place the Packers are looking to go is the Super Bowl.

They weren't far off in 2003, rallying down the stretch to make it all the way to the NFC divisional playoffs where they finished a fourth-and-26 away from advancing to the NFC championship game.

If that fourth-and-26 situation that the Packers couldn't win late in the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles was a sign that they needed new defensive leadership, the fact that the defense allowed the Packers to get that far in the first place was an argument for its preservation.

In Slowik, Sherman has a coach who can continue to promote the values that have allowed the Packers to be successful in recent seasons -- creating takeaways and shutting teams down in the red zone, most notably -- while hammering away on the areas that may have fallen apart.

Meeting with members of the Wisconsin media Wednesday, Slowik said that he hoped to upgrade the Packers' fourth-down defense, pressure on the quarterback and ability to shut down opposing offenses when the game is on the line.

He didn't unveil any schematic specifics, but did indicate potential philosophical changes.

"I'll say this," Slowik said, "if there's ever a doubt as to take a conservative approach or an aggressive approach, we will always choose the aggressive approach."

Speaking as someone who has served as a defensive coordinator twice before, first with the Chicago Bears and then with the Cleveland Browns, Slowik admitted that any of his 31 other NFL counterparts would repeat the same sort of mantra.

Talking about being aggressive is one thing. Producing results with that defensive style is something else. But for this Packers defense, a change in attitude may be the most significant step they can take.

"The players have to buy into the system," Slowik said. "Any player, on defense in particular, wants to be an aggressive, attacking style. They want to think they're making the offense play us; we're not playing them.

"We want to get to the point where we can go on the field on Sunday and not have to count on how the Green Bay Packers offense or special teams play. We want to be able to go out and dominate a game on our own if necessary."

Unlike previous coordinator Ed Donatell, Slowik plans on calling defensive plays from the press box rather than the field.

That's the vantage point from which Slowik has observed games for the majority of his career and where he feels he's best able to remove the emotions of the situation to make the best defensive calls.

Success in the NFL, Slowik said, isn't so much about coming up with something revolutionary as it is about finding ways to better use the players and techniques that are already in place.

"The longer you're in the NFL, you understand that the game is constantly evolving," Slowik said. "And like Coach Sherman said, we're not that far away. There are a lot of good things we did on defense (in 2003). There really are.

"So those things we have to continue to do well, but we have to find whatever it is, that new little wrinkle, that new scheme, that way to teach better tackling or whatever it's going to be that's going to get us over the hump. Because it's not just good enough here at the Packers to win games.

"We're here to win championships and that's what the bottom line is here at the Packers."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content