Adding insult to insult

Packers coach Mike McCarthy has said his team's biggest challenge will be "handling success." They didn't handle it very well in Sunday's pass-happy, error-plagued loss to New Orleans, PackerReport.com's Steve Lawrence says.

In case you missed it, as you cried in your beer or kicked your dog in the wake of the Green Bay Packers' fall-from-ahead loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday:

Javon Walker's 24-yard reception set up the winning field goal as Denver edged Kansas City in overtime.

Ryan Longwell not only kicked the winning field goal in overtime for Minnesota, but he threw a touchdown pass.

Talk about adding insult to insult.

And in case you're in the mood for more insult, and I'm sure you are after watching the Packers fritter away a 13-0 lead by forgetting how to play pass defense, here's a good quote from coach Mike McCarthy.

In a preseason interview with the Green Bay Press-Gazette, McCarthy said — and I swear I'm not making this up — "In my opening speech to the team, I told them our biggest challenge here will be handling success."

How does Mr. Pittsburgh Macho himself, McCarthy, handle success? By calling 20 running plays and 55 passing plays after spending all of training camp and the preseason harping on how he will stick with the running game even when it's not working.

How do McCarthy's players handle success? If you're Ahman Green, you prove you haven't forgotten how to fumble and drop a bunch of passes. If you're Bubba Franks, you don't fumble but drop a bunch of passes. If you're a member of the Packers' receiving corps not named Donald Driver, you treat the football as if it had a communicable disease. If you're Ahmad Carroll ... oh, wait, he's never experienced success. If you're Brady Poppinga, you drop a gift-wrapped interception that your staggering team desperately needed. If you're Nick Collins, you appear totally incapable of covering even a backup tight end.

(I swear I'm not making this up, either: For its online poll, Packers.com listed Collins as one of four selections for player of the game. Collins' spinning, stumbling and bumbling coverage yielded one touchdown and set up another.)

Ready for more insult?

I knew you were.

Last week against the Bears, the Packers lost in part because they fell behind early, because neither Al Harris nor Charles Woodson could cover anyone, because the special teams gave away 10 points, and because Brett Favre played like he's 36 going on 50.

None of those problems were evident on Sunday against the Saints, yet the Packers still lost.

The Packers forced three early turnovers to lead 13-0. Favre wasn't great, but he was certainly good enough to win nine times out of 10 with a decent supporting cast. The only time I noticed Harris was when he made a tremendous interception. Woodson wasn't flawless, but he broke up a couple passes and showed toughness against the run. The special teams kept the Sainted Reggie Bush under wraps.

Yet the Packers still managed to lose, and with a home loss to New Orleans in the books, you look at the schedule and wonder how the Packers will win even one game this season. Of course, the Packers won't go winless, but if they can't beat a lousy team after forcing three first-quarter turnovers and getting three touchdowns (and only one interception) from Favre — at Lambeau Field, no less — who will they beat?

McCarthy says his team's biggest challenge will be handling success. McCarthy's biggest challenge will be handling failure and making sure his career ship doesn't sink before it's even out of port.

Lawrence is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com. Send comments to steve_lawrence_packers@yahoo.com.


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