More questions than answers, starting at QB

We've played 10 games this season, and we still don't know much about these Packers. Now, says's Steve Lawrence, there's another question: Who should start at quarterback?

We are 10 games through this 2006 season, and we still have many more questions than answers.

Not the least of which is the future of Brett Favre. An entire generation of Packers fans have no memories of anybody other than No. 4 lining up behind center to start the game. Favre's injured elbow puts his 231-game regular-season starting streak in jeopardy, but beyond that, the Packers in their 35-0 loss to New England on Sunday made it abundantly clear that they are not playoff contenders.

As if any sane Packers fan would have thought this team had playoff potential, but God bless them for being an optimist.

Anyway, if Favre is healthy enough to start next week at Seattle, then I'm sure he'll start, but as has been said countless times, these Packers are building toward the future, and the 37-year-old Favre, while still talented, is not the future.

At some point, the Aaron Rodgers Era has to begin, and what better time than these final six games of the season? Favre's future is up in the air, and Rodgers' status as Favre's heir is in question, too, because he's never gotten a chance to show whether he might be the man.

Nevermind that Rodgers looked terrible against the Patriots. Backup quarterbacks get precious few reps in practice during the season — that means almost three months of relative inactivity — so casting judgment on that rust-filled performance would be foolish.

What Rodgers needs is a series of games to show what he can do. He needs to be the No. 1 quarterback in practice so he can be prepared for what he's going to face. Get him coached up, throw him on the field, and let's see what happens.

Sunday's blowout notwithstanding, the Packers are building a promising future, but they aren't going anywhere without a quarterback. It's time to find out if Rodgers is that quarterback, and if he's not, then Ted Thompson will know what direction to turn toward in the draft or free agency.

Quarterback, of course, is just one of the questions at the 10-game mark of the season.

The Packers entered Sunday's game having won three of their last four contests — it should have been four straight — so it seemed like Green Bay was coming of age perhaps. Sure, their first three wins of the season came against the dregs of the league, but that win at Minnesota was certainly impressive. Then came Sunday's 35-point, back-to-earth thrashing.

So, what exactly do we have in Green Bay? Is this just a bump in the road, just that bad game that every team suffers at some point in a four-month season? Or does being outscored 92-9 by Chicago, Philadelphia and New England — the only three quality opponents the Packers have faced this season — outweigh all the good that had been done in the last month?

What happened to the offensive line that was showing so much promise? The Packers haven't been able to run a bit the last two weeks. Maybe the rookies — having played the equivalent of a full college season, and then some — have hit the wall? Or are there deeper concerns about their inability to handle powerful defensive fronts?

It's no secret the Packers lack playmakers on offense, but it's especially concerning that they couldn't do a thing against a New England defense that uses an ancient wide receiver, Troy Brown, as a nickel defender. Shouldn't the Packers be able to get receivers open by scheme if not by talent?

Where was the Packers' pass rush that had mauled quarterbacks all season?

Where was the Packers' secondary ... oh, wait, we didn't see anything different Sunday than we had all season.

With the playoffs now out of the question and with another humiliating whipping under their belts, how will this team finish the season? How will they respond? Will there be a hunger to improve and point their 2006 efforts toward the 2007 season, or will that hunger to battle disappear slowly over the next six weeks?

Sunday's game was bad, but it only will be a disaster if these Packers can't pick themselves up off the canvas and show some fight in the next six games.

Lawrence is a regular contributor to Send comments to

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