Thursday, November 12, 2009

Do the Packers players get it now?

With the youngest squad in the NFL for the fourth consecutive year, some analysts have wondered whether or not the youngsters understand the need to win now...that you can be playing today and out of the game tomorrow...that there is only today in the NFL. Old timers such as Charles Woodson, Donald Driver, Mark Tauscher, Ahman Green and Chad Clifton get it. The kids? Maybe not so much.

But perhaps that's about to change. Apparently after watching film of the Tampa Bay debacle on Monday, the offensive players had, as guard Daryn Colledge put it, "a come-to-Jesus meeting." According to at least one report, "With the coaches still in the room, the veteran leaders on offense, one by one, took turns addressing the rest of the unit...According to players who were in the room, Rodgers, tackle Mark Tauscher and receiver Donald Driver were the most powerful speakers."

While generally positive in tone, emphasizing what the squad is doing well -- they are ranked as the #7 offense, after all -- some blunt words were also spoken, so much so that word travelled quickly to the defensive unit and was received as a positive sign.

You can read more of the details via the link above.

Now, whether words alone can correct the plethora of mistakes that have plagued the Pack so far this season remains to be seen. But the Packers are apparently focused on this game versus the Cowboys in a way perhaps they haven't been yet this season for any other game...maybe not even the ViQueens games. In his news briefing with the media yesterday, Head Coach Mike McCarthy said, "Our message is very clear. The head coach has to coach better, the coaches have to coach better, the players have to play better, and we have to win games. That's our focus. We're going to apply all of our energy into this Dallas game plan. ... That's about as far down the road as we're looking. We're going to pour everything that we have into winning at home against the Cowboys. That's our focus." If you were to see footage of this statement you'd know this is about as serious as you'd ever see Mike McCarthy. Clearly, he is feeling the heat and knows that if things don't turn around and fast he could be on his way out.

Unfortunately, the injury bug seems to be biting the Packers at an inopportune time. RT Mark Tauscher is still questionable for Sunday and Allen Barbre also now has an injury which required rookie T. J. Lang to shift over from the left side to the right for the first time in practice. On the defensive side of things, not only is Aaron Kampman still questionable with his concussion, but Brady Popinga, who had replaced Kampman, is also injured. That means either rookie Brad Jones or second-year player Jeremy Thompson might get the start at outside linebacker.

So, another offensive line shuffle against a very good defense, and perhaps some new starters in key positions on the defense. Going against a team on a 4-game win streak. Yikes.

The team hasn't done anything to this point in the season to give fans confidence they can beat a good team. And after the game Sunday, we don't even have confidence about beating a horrible team. Depending upon what spread source you are looking at the game is either a toss up (really???) or the Cowboys are favored by 3 as of the time of this posting.

We'll just have to wait to see if the players got religion this week and saved their season or if the descent into the Inferno of football mediocrity continues.

Stay tuned...