Time to go on a run

PackerReport.com's Bob Fox explains what the Packers need to do to finish the season strong

As the Green Bay Packers get ready to play the New York Jets this Sunday at Lambeau Field, their record sits at 4-7. A very frustrating 4-7. The Packers have had several winnable games that they lost this year. That would include games vs. the Saints, Rams, Bills, and Seahawks. If the Packers do win those games, they would be sitting at 8-3 and in excellent playoff shape. Even if the Packers split those opportunities, the team would still be 6-5 and very much in the playoff picture. But the reality is that the Packers have not been able to close the deal late in games for the most part. The team desperately needs to develop some consistency. That consistency needs to start today.

That starts with the coaching staff. Head coach Mike McCarthy has said many times that he is committed to running the football. That has not been the case, at least not consistently. There have been factors to be sure. The injury to T Mark Tauscher was a huge blow to the running game. The team is now starting THREE rookie offensive lineman. But there also doesn't seem to be much rhyme and reason with the play calls as of late. The Packers seem to be running when they should pass and vice versa. The running game really hit stride several weeks back when RB Ahman Green had three straight 100-plus yard games. But that has dissipated. Green has only had 27 carries that last two games combined.

The Packers also need to bring back the TE into the passing offense. David Martin is injured. AGAIN! But you still have Bubba Franks and Donald Lee. The Packers have been struggling to score touchdowns in the red zone this year, and that use to be a team strength. Franks use to be one of the biggest red zone threats in the entire NFL. Yes, the Packers use Franks a lot to help in pass protection, because of the young line. But the Packers need to get him back in their offense from a receiving stand point. This is all very puzzling, as offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski was Franks position coach when he was going to Pro Bowls.

Also puzzling is the Packers 2006 record at Lambeau Field. It currently sits at 1-4. That's embarrassing, considering the aura that the Frozen Tundra had up until the 2004 season. From 1992-2003, the Packers were 80-16 at home. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that that winning percentage was over 80%. Since the 2004 season, the Packers have had a 8-13 record at home. That needs to change. And the change needs to start this week. The Packers have the Jets, Lions and Vikings coming to Lambeau over the next four weeks, with a road game at San Francisco looming next week.

The Packers must win those home games. The Lambeau mystique needs to return if Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy expect their tenures to be successful. The Packers can win the next four games. The team has the talent to do it. Brett Favre is 46-17 in December games throughout his career. The team needs to get on a run right now. The team can't look back in the rearview mirror and think about the disappointing losses. The team needs to look forward. All phases of the team need to get consistent though. Offense, defense and special teams have been up and down all year. Ending the 2006 season on a positive note would mean everything to the youngest team in the NFL. It would also most likely hasten Favre to come back next year. As the famous ad slogan said...JUST DO IT!

Note: Bob Fox is a frequent contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at greenbaybob@hotmail.com.

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