Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Repeat after me: "It's only a game. It's only a game."

What can a Packer fan say after a game like last night? I actually don't feel as bad as I did after last week's loss. Perhaps that's just the numbness starting to set in. The realization that this is going to be a long year. The acceptance of the fact that this team just does not have much talent. The toll and roll injuries continue to play in depleting that already lean talent pool.

Or...despite all this, the fact remains that the combined point loss of the last 3 games is just 6 points. So close. But still no wins. We now share the title of worst team in the league with Houston, which is 0-3.

Listening to callers on the day-after call-in shows, you hear the whole range of emotions and predictions. Everything from the team going 0-16 to going on a run and finishing out at 8-8 and possibly winning the division title. At this point -- OK, mainly since they haven't lost 7 games yet -- my initial prediction of a 9-7 finish is still viable. Likely? Probably not. But possible. On the other hand, Packers' radio guy Wayne Larrivee was quick to point out that when the Pack has been able to dig themselves out of their slow starts the past few years they had a veteran team, not one with 11 rookies some of whom are in starting roles, and that they remained relatively injury free. There was also greater depth than there appears to be now. Larrivee noted that everything in the NFL is cyclical and it is very difficult for a team to maintain a winning record like the Packers have had for the past 13 years. As I noted in an earlier post, Sherman's personnel mistakes as GM are coming home to roost this season. As one caller noted, the Pack still has one of the best QBs in the game but he has no supporting cast. As much as he did to win the game last evening, he can't play the defensive backfield, he can't catch -- and hang on to -- his own passes, he can't block for the running backs.

The comeback in the fourth quarter offered a glimmer of hope. Depleted offensively and defensively, the team arguably gave the best effort of the year. That was good to see. Rather than the dazed "deer in the headlights" look that the players had for much of the game, we finally saw some emotion. Perhaps that will carry into the game this Sunday at Lambeau vs. the 2-2 Saints.

Today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Online poll, however, seems to reveal that Packer fans are taking off the green-n- gold colored glasses: 60 percent of more than 2,000 persons responding to the online poll agree with the statement that "this Packers season is a total loss."

Sadly, we seem to have to tell ourselves this year that "It's only a game."