Desperate times

The 2006 Green Bay Packers are already at a key point in the season as they prepare for their second game against the New Orleans Saints at Lambeau Field on Sunday. The embarrassing 26-0 loss to the Chicago Bears in Week 1 was a hard dose of reality.

The Packers were outplayed in all three areas of football - offense, defense and special teams. The team also played without emotion. How? It was opening day. At Lambeau. Against the defending NFC North champ Bears, their hated rival. The late Reggie White's name was unvailed on the east facade of the stadium. It was supposed to be a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the 1996 Super Bowl championship team. Many members of that team and other eras were on the sideline. Yet the Packers laid an egg.

Ted Thompson made what some called a move of desperation by signing troubled wide receiver Koren Robinson this week. He also traded running back Samkon Gado to the Houston Texans in exchange for running back Vernand Morency. There is no doubt that Robinson can help the Packers on the football field. But is it worth the possibility of more issues off the field? Time will tell. The Gado/Morency trade was one that made sense. Ahman Green looks like he has completely recovered from his quad injury from last year and looked very good against the Bears. Gado really struggled all pre-season and against the Bears in running in the new zone blocking scheme. Morency is better suited for the scheme, plus he is a better third-down back option.

The 2005 Packers got out of the gate slow and never recovered. The team started out 0-4 and couldn't dig out of the hole. Thompson knows this. That's why this upcoming game is huge already. If the Packers start out 0-2 with two road games looming, than get ready for another top pick in next years's NFL draft. However, a win could give the team the momentum that it needs as it heads into NFC North rival Detroit next week.

The Packers have the youngest team in the NFL. No team has more rookies or first-year players. Young teams need to experience success and then grow from it. Winning is contagious. So is losing. That's why the Packers desperately need to right the ship this week against the Saints. The Saints have a lot of weapons in Drew Brees, Deuce McAllister, Joe Horn and Reggie Bush. They also have the top rated defense in the NFC. A win against the Saints won't be easy. But it has to happen for the 2006 season to have any hope.

The Packers are being pummeled by the national media. They are being called the worst team in the NFL by some. The pride factor has to come into play this week. Brett Favre is a proud man. So is Ahman Green. And Donald Driver. And Mark Tauscher. And Aaron Kampman. And Nick Barnett. And Al Harris. And so on and so on. The veterans on this team need to lead by example and help this young squad get through it's growing pains.

The coaching staff needs to have the Packers better prepared this week as well. I'm sure head coach Mike McCarthy was a little hoarse this week as he looked at film with the team. As stated earlier, all aspects of the team need to improve. Bob Sanders needs to get a better effort from his secondary. Mike Stock needs to get a better effort from his special teams. McCarthy and Jeff Jagodzinski need the offensive line to upgrade their play, especially in pass blocking and short yardage running situations.

Things must improve quickly as the Saints are a quality opponent. A win over New Orleans could jolt the Packers into a newfound confidence. A confidence that could help the Packers turn their season around. A season that is only going into it's second week. This is a MUST win, even at this very early stage of the season. That's how desperate things have become at 1265 Lombardi Avenue in Green Bay.

Editor's note: Bob Fox is a frequent contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at greenbaybob@hotmail.com.


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