An embarrassing and good loss

The 48-17 drubbing that the Cincinnati Bengals put on the Green Bay Packers last night was embarrassing. And good. Let me explain. Embarrassing because very few Packers came to play. The offense, defense and special teams were all outclassed. By a wide margin. On national television. Again.

Remember the last time the Packers were on national TV? I try to forget, but it was the 48-3 spanking the Baltimore Ravens put on Green Bay on another Monday night late in the 2005 forgettable season.

It was also a GOOD loss. It's a good loss because it's a major wakeup call to the coaching staff and the players on the club. They might have gotten too comfortable with their progress after the 38-10 win over Atlanta last week. The 2006 Green Bay Packers are a very young squad. They looked it last night. But the veterans didn't exactly shine either. Veterans like Charles Woodson. And Brett Favre. And Chad Clifton. And Nick Barnett. And Robert Ferguson. and Marquand Manuel.

Yes, it is only a preseason game. Just like the 17-3 domination that the Chargers put on the Pack in the first exhibition game. Right now the young Packers are on a roller coaster. Down, then up, then down again. The Packers need to get off the ride and establish some consistency. Head coach Mike McCarthy will probably be hoarse after all the yelling he will do in the film session with the team. Not much to like. Unless you like horror films.

The Chicago Bears will be coming to Lambeau Field on September 10. They have to be licking their chops after last night's Packer performance. The Packers can go one of two ways. They can continue to be an inconsistent team, or they can learn from their mistakes and play like PROFESSIONAL football players. I'm sure McCarthy, Jeff Jagodzinski, Bob Sanders and Mike Stock are all breaking down film and will coach up the players as to what they did wrong. And why it was wrong.

Vince Lombardi was a great coach. Maybe the best ever. The Super Bowl trophy is named after him. Lombardi could be a tyrant. But he was successful because he was a great teacher. Brett Favre had his greatest success under Mike Holmgren for the same reasons. This coaching staff needs to follow the same philosophy. There will some screaming. There will be positive reinforcement. But most of all, there has to be teaching. Quality teaching. Not just to the rookies and young players. But to the veterans as well.

McCarthy and his staff are optimists. It will be tough to keep that demeanor after last night. But they must stay positive. They need the club to turn it around like they did after the Charger loss. And once the ship is righted, the team needs to stay on course. Not be bad one week and good the next. Time will tell if the Packers can use the embarrassment of last night to finally play up to their true capabilities. The NFC North champion Bears are coming to Green Bay. Time is running out.

Bob Fox is a frequent contributor to E-mail him at

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