Perusing the Washington Redskins media outlets in the lead-up to their week two match up with the Green Bay Packers I stumbled upon a piece that caught me off guard. It hit me like a Jim Harbaugh sucker punch.
Now, unlike Coach Harbaugh, I’m not a baby who over dramatizes his injuries. I’m alright, I walked it off.
Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post penned a piece entitled, “Green Bay Packers’ high expectations rest on a defense that’s still a work in progress.” An interesting read that begins by highlighting observations of a Lambeau Field tour. Svrluga mused,
“It was why these people came to an empty football stadium midweek, and they stood, rapt,” he noted in regard to the Packers faithful touring Lambeau Field. A line that was ripe with folksy implications and big city mockery.
The sentence, however, that caught me square in the jaw went like this,
“It is a constant struggle here, where the fan base can’t separate itself from the Packers’ past, because the Packers’ past informs their expectations about the present.”
My first reaction was much like a former quarterback who had his toughness questioned by a peer. Angry is one way to put it, as a Packers fan, it seemed belittling. Was Svrluga thumbing his nose at the notion that the Packers 2013 squad has any real chance at contending?
Regaining my balance I had a moment of inner reflection. A reflection that took me on a journey, a journey that went beyond the cheese, beer and the brats. I pondered how I might perceive this year’s Packers team from the outside looking in.
On special teams I think Jeremy Ross needs to play with confidence. But I question how much confidence he is given from the coaching staff. He seems hesitant, tight, and definitely not playing fast. Is John Kuhn put back there with him to make decisions for him prior to the catch?
The Packers defense looks to be stout up front. Across the way from Clay Matthews Nick Perry hints that he may just be the complement to CMIII that the Packers have been looking for. The secondary is where the Packers can be exploited. Despite the 13 receptions in week one by Anquan Bolden I still believe that the corners are a position of strength. But as I have said before the safeties do not make me feel real safe.
Aaron Rodgers covers a lot of back sides, even if Greg Jennings doesn’t want to own that. His skills as the field general cover up coaching blunders, wrong routs and a poor running game. Going into this game the Packers have not had a running back gain over a 100 yards in 43 games. That was not a typo, 43 games. Is this personnel, scheme, or Coach McCarthy having more confidence in his MVP quarterback than any running back that Ted Thompson has procured for him?
The Packers are not, at least at this point, on paper, a dominant team. They have some elite players, but not exceptional units on special teams, defense and offense. The NFL season is long. Injuries take place and players under and over perform. It’s always about the will of the team.
Maybe Svrluga is right, maybe there is a constant comparison between the success the Packers franchise has had in the past and where the team is in the present. Is it a bad thing that the Packers have a winning tradition? I don’t think so, and either should Packers Nation.
In regards to the 2013 Green Bay squad, I think Vince Lombardi said it best,
“The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.”
Can the 2013 Green Bay Packers play as a cohesive unit that overcomes their weaknesses with teamwork and effort? I don’t have that answer. That’s why they play the games.
In addition to blogging about the Green Bay Packers for Lombardiave.com, Patrick Hughes blogs about gardening at wheelandbarrowlandscape.com, running and the Portland Trailblazers at Oregon Sports News, and artisans and the connection economy at phughespdx.com.