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And So It Begins...

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And So It Begins...

...the Great Bailout of 2008.

Do I speak of the lunacy on Wall Street and in Washington? No. I speak of something far more devastating. The abandonment of the Green Bay Packers chances in 2008 by Packer fans, and more specifically, Packer bloggers who should know better. Steve over at PackerGeeks has a lengthy post detailing why, in the aftermath of the Cullen Jenkins injury (among many, many other things) it is time for Packer fans to "adjust our expectations". He then goes on to tell us he himself, who saw the Packers as a 9-7 team, has officially downgraded the Packers to the "Will Be Lucky To Be .500" category.

I understand this impulse, but I'm here to tell you it is WAY too early for this kind of talk.

First of all - yes, the Packers are finally getting bit by the injury bug. It was only a matter of time, especially after their relatively healthy seasons in 2006 and 2007. That's just the law of averages. And yes, Aaron Rodgers' injury is a cause for concern. As I've written many times, if the Packers are forced to go with Flynn for any length of time, the season is over. But from all indications (and we'll know a lot more tomorrow) Rodgers will not miss Sunday's game. It's an injury that can be managed, much like Ben Roethlisberger is doing in Pittsburgh.

Secondly, a lot of fans, Steve included, are reacting to the teams poor showing in Tampa. This is understandable, especially given how poorly the team played on a very basic fundamental level. Blocking and tackling, the bedrock of football, were both atrocious this past Sunday. It's easy to lose hope.

But what both points above have in common is that they can be overcome - with good coaching. And I am still of the belief that Mike McCarthy is a very, very good football coach. Yes, the Packers lost in Tampa. May I remind everyone that heading into Sunday's game, the Packers were 1-5 in Raymond James Stadium with Brett Favre as their quarterback. And that lone win came in 2003 when Mike Sherman's team had an unbelievable rushing attack, with three backs averaging over 5 yards a carry on the year. That's how you beat the Bucs in Tampa. You pound it down their throat, negating all the speed of their defense and Monte Kiffin's ability to tee off on the quarterback. Needless to say, this Packers team is not built that way, and they almost won anyway.

No, this is still a good team that ran into a buzzsaw Sunday. They will make the necessary adjustments and McCarthy will get them playing good football. They have three very winnable games lined up before the bye week. Yes, I said three winnable games. Atlanta and Seattle should actually be handled easily and the only thing making the Indy game difficult is the brilliance of Peyton Manning. But the Packers get them at Lambeau, and this Colts team can not pound the football the way Dallas and Tampa Bay did. The Packers will win the next three games and everyone will forget this horrible week where everyone thought the sky was falling.

Everyone but me, that is. ;)

Comments (11)

Mr.Man's picture

Sorry, but injuries to key players cannot be overcome by good coaching. And even if they could, McCarthy essentially leaves the defense to Bob Sanders. Jenkins was the one guy putting heat on opposing QBs, the one dynamic looking guy on our D-line. The Packers are in serious trouble this season. Get ready for some serious bumps.

Cheezer's picture

I don't believe in the law of averages when it comes to injuries. How come Dallas seems to avoid the injury bug year after year? Conditioning and the medical staff.

packeraaron's picture

Cheezer - Check out Pro Football Prospectus 2008, specifically the chapter on the Cowboys. They do a great job detailing how Dallas does it. It has a lot more to do with player acquisition than anything else.

packeraaron's picture

Mr Man - As much as I hate Bob Sanders and think he's in over his head - this team is still talented enough to do what needs to be done on defense. Serious bumps? Sure, in Jacksonville and Tennessee. Not against Atlanta or Seattle...

Mr.Man's picture

Aaron, you mentioned the games at Tennessee and Jacksonville being problematic. I agree. I know the Seahawks are injury-ravaged, but I also think you're underestimating the huge home field advantage the Ospreys have in Seattle. Here are other games where I think the injury situation on defense may very well tip matters--- Indy, at Minnesota, at New Orleans. Not to mention the two Bears games or the Carolina game.

packeraaron's picture

Agree on the Bears, but Seattle? I don't care where we play them. And what more does McCarthy need to do for you to realize he is 10 times the coach Childress is. No way they loose to Minnesota. As for Indy and New Orleans - I think our offense keeps us in both games, and I think we win both. I know no one believes this, but the Packers are still a good football team. They've had a bad two week stretch. McCarthy will turn it around.

Archangel's picture

I have yet to bail on the University of Michigan football team, so no fear of me bailing on the Pack.

Great blog, btw.

shayes's picture

I think "abandonment of the Packers chances" is a bit strong to describe my post, no? The Rodgers injury is troubling -- and his history of injuries. But when you are 26th in the NFL on run defense and you lose a mammoth defensive lineman who can play inside and out, there is trouble that good coaching cannot overcome. I'm far more concerned about our defense than I am about the offense...unless Rodgers is hurt again.

packeraaron's picture

Just having a bit of fun with you Steve. Just thought your post perfectly echoed a lot of what I'm reading and hearing around the ol' Packer water cooler. I think people are in for a pleasant surprise.

lostinutah's picture

I don't think adjusting expectations automatically equals bailing on the team.

I still love them, I'll still watch them, and I think they're in a whole lotta trouble.

packeraaron's picture

Maybe not, but this is not a "lucky to be .500" team - injuries or no.

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