The Green Bay Packers played host to the Arizona Cardinals in the 2013 preseason opener with everyone going in with sky-high expectations. Lambeau Field’s south end zone addition was completed, the weather was perfect, the house was full, and everyone thought the team was poised to blow out the lowly Cards.
Except everyone forgot to tell the Cardinals. They came into Lambeau, caught a couple of early breaks in the form of turnovers, built a two-touchdown lead and went home with an eventual 17-0 win.
When was the last time the Packers have been shut out at home?
I don’t want to know.
The Packers quarterbacks were horrid, the running game inconsistent, the defensive backs nonexistent.
The team looked bad – real bad.
But so what? It’s the preseason … and it’s the first preseason game.
But don’t tell some Packers fans that. Many were ready to jump off the Ray Nitschke bridge after that pathetic outing. Many were so mad that the Packers hadn’t gone in and pounded the Cardinals, that they were ready to mail in the season.
Well, hold on.
All you need to do is go back to the past two preseasons to understand that these games mean nothing. Though every team goes into every game with the goal of winning, but at this point in the season, it’s about evaluation and readying the team for the regular season.
That’s goal number one and that’s why Mike McCarthy isn’t anywhere close to panic mode.
Remember the Detroit Lions team that lost all 16 games a few years back? Yup, that team was 4-0 in the preseason. And if you go back to the 2011 preseason, the Packers lost miserably to the lowly Cleveland Browns in the preseason opener, 27-17. In that game, Colt McCoy (remember him?) led the Browns to a win by shredding the Packers defensive backfield – completing 9 of 10 passes for 135 yards and a touchdown.
Last year was even worse. They lost badly to the San Diego Chargers, 21-13, in the opener and then doubled down on that by dropping their second game, 35-10, to the Browns.
Against the Chargers, quarterback Jarrett Lee (who?) toasted the Packers, going 15 of 22 for 235 yards and a touchdown. Not a great start by any stretch of the imagination. In week two, it was Brandon Weeden (12-20-110 yards) who abused the Packers.
I know we were all questioning the Packers at the beginning of those two preseasons, but things turned around. In fact, in 2011, if you remember, the Packers went on to win their final three preseason games and then the next 13 regular season games. Last year, the Packers did pretty well, too.
So, it’s certainly not time to consider any drastic action and it’s not time to give up on this team.
My educated guess is that the Packers turn things around in the coming weeks and head into the regular season with the right players on the 53-man roster – with a winning attitude.
Stay tuned …