Packers have little chance of turning it around

The Green Bay Packers dropped to 0-3 Sunday with a 17-16 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After the setback Packers quarterback Brett Favre said if the franchise is headed into a rebuilding phase, then he's gone. Guess what, Brett, you're too late.

Although there are 13 games left this season, the Packers' performance against the Bucs was yet another reason to believe Favre will endure his first losing season with the Packers, and some of the blame has to be thrown his way.

The Packers missed one extra point, one field goal, had four turnovers (three Favre interceptions) and eight penalties. It could've been worse, but Tampa Bay dropped two other would-be interceptions.

Look it up in the football dictionary, this is the definition of a losing team.

Don't believe me, then all you had to do was listen to coach Mike Sherman after game.

"I saw some things out of the team," Sherman said. "They battled and fought. I saw some tenaciousness, saw more tenacity."

When that's the best thing a coach can say about his team, you know things are going poorly. The Packers could have won this game, however.

A blown call on a Buccaneers fumble which would have resulted in a Packers touchdown was erased. The missed field goal and extra point loom large in a one-point loss, and what if Ahmad Carroll wouldn't have stumbled after making his interception.? He's in the end zone.

But good things happen to good teams and bad things happen to bad teams. In the last four years do you ever remember New England ever not making its own good luck? Remember the tuck play against Oakland in the playoffs?

Although there are 13 games left in the season, and the Packers did start 1-4 last season only to finish 10-6, the Packers have about as much chance of making the playoffs this year as I do of dating Anna Kournikova. I might be able to beat her in tennis, though.

Of the last 75 teams to start a season 0-3, only three made the playoffs. That's four percent.

But let's not talk playoffs; the Packers need a win first. Sherman was asked what team does now as it heads to Carolina for a Monday night date in Week 4.

"What do we do?" Sherman asked. "We win a game. We have a chance to pull out of this. We still have a chance."

Last year's team had a chance. But this year's team? No. The interior part of the offensive line is not doing its job; wide receiver Javon Walker is out with a knee injury, and the draft didn't provide the Packers with any immediate help. Plus, the Packers didn't add any quality free agents in the off-season to make up for certain losses. This team was doomed to fail from the start, unless Favre turned the clock back 10 years and played like the MVP he once was.

"Last year, we had a more complete team," Favre admitted. "The year before we were one play away from the (NFC) championship game."

Now, some might wonder if the Packers could defeat top-ranked USC.

One way the Packers can get back on track is if Favre cleans up his play. He has tossed seven interceptions in three games, which is unforgivable for a player of Favre's stature. Throughout his career it has been how Favre goes, goes the Packers.

Right now, Favre is going bad, but I wonder if he knows. During Sunday's game, he said among his three interceptions only one was a bad pass. I beg to differ.

His first interception he threw the pass behind Donald Driver. Bad throw.

His second interception was intended for Driver, who was triple-teamed (Favre took blame for that).

His third interception, Favre tried to hit Robert Ferguson on a "streak" pattern down the left sideline, which resulted in a 37-yard TD connection earlier in the game to Ferguson. Favre missed his mark, the ball was tipped and intercepted.

That's a pass where Favre is taking a chance, but he never said he thought he threw passes up for grabs.

It appears Favre is trying to make plays where there isn't a chance for them to happen.

"From my standpoint, decision-making has to be at an all-time high," Favre said.

It has to be, but so far his decision-making has been at an all-time low.

If Favre's play, and the rest of the team's play continues on this course, the Packers will be headed to a place they haven't been in a long time – using this season to rebuild – something Favre is not keen on.

"I don't know if I believe in rebuilding," Favre said. "The game's too precious to waste a season or a game. We're doing our best. When we talk about rebuilding, that's time for Brett Favre to go home.

"I hope the guys in this locker room never get used to losing. It's new to me."

That's now, just give it another month, it'll start sinking in.

Doug Ritchay

Editor's note: Doug Ritchay is a longtime sportswriter and former Packers beat writer for the Green Bay News-Chronicle. E-mail at

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