…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.