Monday, December 12, 2011

Parker Retires, Packers & Tebow Keep Winning, Stanzi Not The Manzi

(By Zach Borg)

It wasn't a surprise that Norm Parker announced his retirement Sunday.  With his health problems it has seemed inevitable.  The assistant coach of the year award he received a few weeks ago is really more of a lifetime achievement award (despite it's title) and I think people had an inkling of what's coming.

Parker has taken a lot of heat for the defense's performance.  In all honesty, I think most of the fault this season lies on offense.  We all knew coming into the season it was going to be a rebuilding year with the talent lost.  The only game where you really can say the defense blew it was the Iowa State game in which Steele Jantz looked superhuman and was riding the pine about a month later.  The bigger problem has been Ken O'Keefe's offense.  They have NFL caliber talent, yet they've been inconsistent (especially on the road).  Iowa's defense didn't have the shutdown capability that they'd had in previous years, but they gave the Hawks chances to win at Penn State, Minnesota, Nebraska, and even the home game against Michigan State (turnovers and poor special teams play doomed them in the first half).  When Iowa's offense went in the tank, they left their defense on the field for a LONG time.

I spoke with former Hawkeye Derek Pagel this evening.  Certainly not a surprise to him (and I assume other past and present Hawks).  Talking to Pagel you see how loyal guys are to Parker, almost as though he is a father figure.  While he can't comprehend how Parker can still coach through his disability and illness, I think the fact that Parker has spent most of his life overcoming adversity is why people who go through that program respect and revere him.

As I just started in March I haven't had much experience with Mr. Parker, but one moment I had with him made an impression.  During the season I attended one of the weekly press conferences.  I was bogged down with equipment, carrying my camera, tripod and audio bag.  It gets kinda heavy and I'm sure I looked like a mess.  As I struggled to get in through the door and waited for an elevator Parker, who'd seen me coming in, came up in his walker and said he felt sorry I had to carry all that stuff and wished he could have gotten the door.  That struck me-here's a guy suffering from diabetes, who had part of his leg amputated, and he sincerely cares about my load (which in comparison to him is nothing).  It probably was time for him to step aside, and yes results on the field weren't great this past year, but Norm Parker is a good and selfless man, and that's something we need more of in coaching today.  May his retirement years bring him nothing but happiness.

At some point I think the Tim Tebow madness has to end.  It just looks like that point isn't coming anytime soon.  First, it's not all Tebow.  The defense has gotten better (in my opinion Von Miller may be that team's MVP), and today Matt Prater hit ridiculous field goals.  Yet there's no denying teammates feed off him.  I just don't understand how a guy can play like garbage for three quarters and then turn it on in the fourth.  I'm not a Broncos fan (as a Chiefs fan I used to passionately hate them) and it colors me a bit, but even I have to be awed by this.  The last eight weeks have been incredible.

What's equally as fascinating, though, is the way opposing teams collapse.  It seems like Tebow not only inspires his teammates, but deflates the other team.  How does Marion Barber run out of bounds late in the fourth with a three point lead and no Denver timeouts left?  Then in overtime Barber looks to be ready to break one, possibly for the winning score, only to fumble.  It's all just bizarre.

The one common thing over the last two months is that for the most part Denver has played bad, or at best, struggling offensive teams that Denver's defense has been able to hold in check.  That changes next week with New England coming to town.  If Tebow plays that badly for three quarters the Patriots will bury the Broncos much the way the Lions did in Tebow's only loss.  But if Tebow "Tebows" the Pats and Bill Belichick, clearly this is for real.

Ho hum the Green Bay Packers blew somebody out again.  Does it seem like this is getting enough press?  Certainly Tebowmania has eaten into the coverage that this would be getting.  But the Patriots were rock stars in 2007.  These Packers are the defending Super Bowl champs!  I think because Green Bay doesn't have quite as many personalities (IE Randy Moss, Tom Brady, even Belichick), they don't get as much hype.  All the Packers do is just go about their business in workman like fashion and roll teams.  Guessing that's the way Green Bay fans like it.

The Packers will play their final road game (well at least until a possible Super Bowl trip) in Kansas City next week.  I'd at least like to see KC make them sweat for, oh, maybe a quarter?  Unfortunately if Tyler Palko is out there again it will be 30-0 after by the second quarter.   Kyle Orton with five broken fingers would be better than this schmuck.  And what exactly did Ricky Stanzi do to piss off Chiefs brass?  What exactly is the harm in not playing him right now?  Palko played the ENTIRE game in KC's 37-10 drubbing at the Jets.  You'd think they'd at least get Stanzi some reps in garbage time.  Rumor has it Stanzi was not a Todd Haley choice and that GM Scott Pioli overruled him.  For reasons that go far beyond Stanzi I'm guessing there's a good chance Pioli pink slips Haley when things are said and done.


Bobbi D said...

Now Andy is talking about inventing, Baby Bubbles, Kid Cuffs, and Kid Quill. Really guys, hand cuffs and alcohol based sleeping aids? Grow up already.
Read my new blog post for my thoughts on babies being victimized on the internet. What if it was YOUR child?

Seriously? said...

Lady, YOU need to grow up. Children being victimized? Children were victimized at Penn State. Hassel may be a knucklehead for making fun of a baby picture but he's done no actual harm. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Most of it is joking anyway. As one who listens to their show Fales jokes about his kid all the time but clearly loves her.

You on the other hand can't take a hint. Somehow you think its okay to wish mental retardation on one mans kids, and you tell anyone who disagrees with you to go to hell. And you wonder why more people aren't taking you seriously?

Bobbi D said...

What Chris Hassel did was a form of bullying. I expect that from kind of behavior from pre-teens and adolescents, not from an adult. Especially an adult who is a well known member of the media.
It is shameful behavior, and I will not cower to those who are willing to accept it because they believe it is funny.

Please show your support on Twitter at @BobbisAngels

Anonymous said...

Congrats Bobbi.....on wasting your search Ugly Babies. You'll find multiple sites with pics, including the ones Hassel used. Even if you could get him fired (which you won't) you'd have done no good since the sources of the "bullying" (which it wasn't btw) will still be out there spreading ugly baby pics

Hawkeyes Fanatic said...

I sent a letter to Kirk Ferentz on behalf of my 2 year old. Telling him how big of a Hawkeye fan he is and that he will eventually play for Ferentz at Iowa in '26-'27. He actually got a response today and souviners. I thought it was awesome they actually responded. What a great program!

Anonymous said...

Zach - I met Von Miller when the Broncos played Minnesota a couple of weeks ago. What an awesome guy, very down to earth and pleasant to be around. I wish him nothing but the best. I agree Tebow is no Rodgers, but he keeps leading this team to W's...something Denver's been definitely lacking these past few years. It's not too late to convert to the Broncos. Tebow will pray for you. haha.