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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Running the table

by Mark Quarderer

There's been a certain amount of (nonsensical) talk about the Packers running the table, winning all their remaining games, and finishing the season 9-7, winning the division, and making the playoffs.

On the face of it, it certainly seems plausible. With the exception of Seattle (which we play at home), none of the remaining teams is that formidable. Chicago, at 6-3, is the only other team with a winning record. Philadelphia is limping, Baltimore is having a lost season of their own, Detroit just doesn't seem to be able to get it going.

So it could happen.....but it won't. The first obstacle is that we just don't do very well against good defensive teams and Chicago fits that description, as does Seattle. The two best defensive teams we faced this year were Pittsburgh (10 points, 2 turnovers) and Cincinnati (14 points, 5 turnovers), and I just don't see any evidence that we're going to do a lot better against chicago or Seattle.

The return of Ferguson will help, no doubt, but the Packers aren't exactly struggling through the air this year. Footballoutsiders.com rates them as the 9th best passing attack in the league after being 8th last year (so much for the "Javon Walker makes a hugh difference" school of thought). But we run the ball poorly (trust me....Samkon Gado is not as good as Atlanta's 29th ranked run defense made him look), our pass defense is among the league's worst, and we simply turn the ball over too often on offense.

We're not going to run the table. We probably won't win more than 4 of our remaining 7. But we will win enough of our remaining games to prevent us from having a shot at one of the top 5 players in the draft this year.

This is what Christl wrote about last year when he indicated that you have to get bad before you can get good. The impact players that can turn a team around are found early in the first round for the most part and when you are continuously successful.......like the Packers have been.....you don't get opportunities to get these guys.

Of course, I'd play Rodgers some against these remaining teams because I think he could use the experience. I think it's nuts to not develop the guy who is one broken leg from being our starter, and yes, that could happen despite Favre's unparalleled durability. Not only would it be good for Rodgers and good for the future of the franchise, but it would actually probably increase our odds of getting one of the premiere players in the draft.

I can't really fault the team for trying as hard as they can to win every game as long as they're mathematically alive.....which the Packers certainly are. But I just don't see this team as a legit contender this year, or next year......and that's why I think our focus should be a little more in the future as regards developing players and getting them on the field.

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