As much as we would like to give these close losses to the young and inexperienced ballplayers, and not one play can win or lose a ball game, well, some of the blame can definitely go to the young and inexperienced head coach. The win would have done so much for the team's psyche.
The national networks thought so much of this young team that they were contemplating having the Packers play in in a prime time game on Nov. 19 against the New England Patriots. Another convincing win would have solidified the team's confidence, and that they were capable of playing error-free football and beating teams of lesser talent. With injuries beginning to make its presence in the starting line, opportunities like that cannot be wasted. A 4-4 mark would have had the Packers being mentioned around the league as an up-and-coming team to be on the lookout for at season's end. Instead, we're classified as a team that has the potential, but not the experience needed to close the deal.
The inexperience was evident when we didn't run the ball down the Bills' throat from the one-yard line when there wasn't a need to make a quick score. That play was to tie the game. With the defense playing as well as it had, there was still time to get the ball back for a field goal. That Bills offense hadn't done a thing all day, so why not make quarterback J.P. Losman beat you?
This lack of communication thing is killing me. In my rookie year, corners Willie Buchanon, Kenny Ellis and strong safety Al Matthews made me give them a call or signal before each snap. Every play had either a dummy call or a confirmation on who had what responsibilities in the defense that was called. To play defensive back and, especially at either of the safety positions, you have to be a motor mouth, know exactly what everyone else's responsibilities are and be creative enough to not give the defense away. This game was lost on inexperience and leadership by everyone involved.
With that being said, I'm all for the Pack this week versus the Vikings. If the Saints and Rams loss didn't prove it, the lost to the Bills should have reinforced the fact that against teams of lesser or equal talent, the only way for them to lose is by beating themselves.
Editor's note: Former safety Johnnie Gray played for the Packers from 1975-84. He was inducted into the Packer Hall of Fame in 1994. E-mail him at Gray24@tds.net.