Johnnie Gray: Post-game review

Former safety Johnnie Gray offers his thoughts on Green Bay's 35-7 loss to the Chicago Bears

I wish I had an excuse for that lack of performance against those Bad News Bears. Since I don't, here's my interpretation on what I think happened Sunday at Soldier Field:

It was obvious that the Pack did not have the intensity to match the Bears, and several times throughout the game they looked as if they were a warm weather team playing out of their element. Sure, it was cold out there, but the Bears did not seem to mind it a bit so it all boiled down to who wanted it the most.

Emotions could have played a factor in how they played. I'm sure many of the players were glued to the television on Saturday night hoping that the Cowboys would lose and give them the inside track to home field advantage. The Cowboys didn't so you would think that the need to win was enough of a motivational factor to go out there and get some revenge.

I thought in the previous game against the Rams the Packers defense came out over-psyched, which showed up in their play with all the missed tackles in the first half. Remember, the defense overcame its mistakes and pitched a shutout in the second half. We saw effort and execution, but against the Bears there was no execution to hang your hat on. The absence of defensive tackle Ryan Pickett definitely hurt the middle of the line as the Bears exploited the middle all afternoon.

I can go on and on, but the bottom line is that all phases didn't perform well at all and the Pack has one game to get some things cleaned up because right now the practices aren't getting it done. Providing that the weather conditions are favorable against the Lions, the Pack needs to get the screen game going. There needs to be a set lineup at the guard spot to get some continuity for the screens and running game.

Was this a disappointing loss? Yes, but it's not the end of the world. Remember that this is a very young team and that dealing with the many distractions over the last couple of weeks may be the reason for this team coming out flat in a pivotal game for home-field advantage. For example, Brett Favre (accomplishments), more player appearances, all the scenarios affecting the playoff picture, the Pro Bowl selections, and don't forget about their families over the Christmas holiday.

If I'm coach McCarthy, I would give these guys an early Christmas present with their own DVD of the game to take home and then and tell them that you'll see them on Wednesday for practice. There's no need to brow beat this loss because there's way too much blame to go around.

This is still a very talented football team that has been humbled, so now we'll see how it bounces back from frustration.

Happy Holidays!

Johnnie Gray

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

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