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Offline Zero2Cool  
#1 Posted : Thursday, August 21, 2008 1:48:37 AM(UTC)
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Green Bay - Thousands of Green Bay Packers fans are and probably will remain incensed about management's decision to trade Brett Favre. Some are looking for reasons to dump on the Packers any way they can.[img_r]http://graphics.jsonline.com/graphics/packer/img/news/aug08/taaron20b.jpg[/img_r]

Green Bay's 0-2 start under Aaron Rodgers has provided some ammunition. Another defeat, against the Denver Broncos on Friday night, might very well lead to a fourth setback next week against the Tennessee Titans, who unlike most teams don't treat the finale as a throwaway.

If the Packers were to finish 0-4, it would mark just the third time in club history in which they lost every exhibition game. The pro-Favre faction would be crowing, the pro-Rodgers crowd might be back-tracking and the confidence of a young team could be threatened.

A month from now, few will remember what happens in Denver. Meaningless game or not, let's just say the Packers understand that in order to get people off their backs they will have to look sharp in the Mile High city.

"We need to lead the whole game, and we've got to win," wide receiver Donald Driver said. "We were a roller-coaster on Family Night, we played well against Cincinnati and we're back down in the dungeon now. We've got two preseason games to take hold of business."

Under coach Mike McCarthy, the Packers are 3-7 in exhibitions. Perhaps his poorest performance of the 10 was the 34-6 defeat on Saturday night in San Francisco.

McCarthy allowed that he didn't have the team prepared for the 49ers and that "we will get that done this week."

Starting Monday, the Packers worked almost exclusively against schemes employed by the Broncos. Like most coaches, McCarthy counts the third exhibition as a dress rehearsal for the regular season. He displayed little levity this week.

"We want to win every game, preseason or not," said Mike Stock, the special teams coach. "But there's a pride factor compared to how we played last week."

There's an old maxim in the National Football League that any team can win any exhibition game if it's sufficiently motivated to do so. Certainly the Packers have motivation, but the Broncos should be at least equally prepared and maybe as inspired.

Coming off an excellent performance Saturday in a 23-13 victory over Dallas, Denver is 1-1. Coach Mike Shanahan plans to play most of his starters into the third quarter, as does McCarthy. But unlike McCarthy, who in the past has played his No. 1's for about a quarter in the finale, Shanahan won't even use starters next week.

The Broncos will be without three injured starters on offense, but their No. 1 defense will line up intact.

Bob Slowik, the Broncos' first-year defensive coordinator, went blitz-crazy in the summer of 2004 when he was coordinating for the Packers. Maybe Slowik will attack Rodgers after viewing what damage the 49ers caused, but in the first two games he hasn't brought much pressure.

"We're not putting pressure on ourselves, but we definitely want to get some momentum going into the season," said Rodgers. "There's only one way to go after last week. We've got to get into a rhythm and get some points on the board."

The Packers rank 31st in scoring with 23 points, three more than St. Louis. Their point differential of minus-31 ranks last in the NFL.

New England, Cleveland, Chicago, Atlanta and Dallas fill out the ranks of the winless.

"Dallas is 0-2," cornerback Will Blackmon said. "Do you think they're concerned? But, in our case, it's new. The Brett era is gone. We've got the Aaron era. Everyone is still feeling each other out. People here need something to go off of."

Although the Packers have been playing in the NFL since 1921, they've played three or more exhibition games in 69 years. Their 0-3 starts were 1946, '52, '83, '87 and '93. The only years when they lost every exhibition game were '46 (0-3) and '87 (0-4).

The '87 season was Forrest Gregg's fourth as coach in Green Bay. The lowlight that summer was a 33-0 loss to Washington in which the crowd at Camp Randall Stadium offered mock cheers when the Packers finally made a first down on their 10th possession.

Afterward, Gregg apologized to the fans.

"I can't ever remember being this disgusted," said Gregg. "I thought we were way past that childish mediocrity. I was embarrassed that a team I'm supposed to be coaching would show up like that."

Nowadays, most coaches seek to hide their emotions in press conferences. Beyond closed doors, however, little has changed.

McCarthy has barked to his players that the 49ers' showing was unacceptable and it's time to get with the program.

"You can't just go into the regular season and think you're going to flip a switch," tackle Mark Tauscher said. "This team needs to start kind of getting moving offensively."

For his part, general manager Ted Thompson viewed the Denver game basically as just another opportunity to evaluate players on what he regards as a confident team.

"Oh and 3 in the pre-season could mean something, could not mean something," cornerback Charles Woodson said. "The focus is to play well, of course. Not to look like we did last week.

"But the focus is going to be on Sept. 8. Our first few games are tough games. I think that will be the biggest test for the team, rather than if we were to go 0-3 in preseason."
Offline zoogies  
#2 Posted : Thursday, August 21, 2008 2:26:25 AM(UTC)
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Joined: 8/11/2008(UTC)
Quote:

If the Packers were to finish 0-4, it would mark just the third time in club history in which they lost every exhibition game. The pro-Favre faction would be crowing, the pro-Rodgers crowd might be back-tracking and the confidence of a young team could be threatened.


That's ridiculous in every way except for the confidence of the team part.

It's the preseason. EVERY year, people talk and talk about how meaningless the preseason is as an indicator of the regular season. EVERY year, articles ignore it because they have nothing else to say this time of year.
Offline Greg C.  
#3 Posted : Thursday, August 21, 2008 8:02:41 AM(UTC)
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A "must-win" game in the preseason? All I can say is, the regular season can't get here fast enough.
Offline longtimefan  
#4 Posted : Thursday, August 21, 2008 8:58:46 AM(UTC)
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I understand the basis behind THIS game seems like a must win

It will give the team the confidence it needs to know Rodgers can get them wins.
Offline 4PackGirl  
#5 Posted : Thursday, August 21, 2008 9:15:44 AM(UTC)
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i agree, lt. at first, i felt like "are you serious - a must win in preseason?" but with more thought, just playing better than we did last week is what's most important. ending preseason games on the upswing can't hurt.
Offline warhawk  
#6 Posted : Thursday, August 21, 2008 3:45:20 PM(UTC)
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I thnik this is a must win only from a fan's perception basis. I mean if we don't win does that mean we can't beat the Vikes in the opener or have a good season? Of course we can.

We don't have Grant. Jennings may get in a little work. McCarthy will jeopordize no player with a bump bigger than a dime for more than a couple plays if any.

It would be nice to get a "W" but really this team will not be the team that takes the field when the season starts. Like the first game where we were up 10-0 when most the starters came out if our first team is winning when they leave the field I call it a win.

If our starters leave the game with us ahead and Shanaprick leaves his starters in there a couple mores series and that turns out to be the difference will one person on this board really be upset?

I know I won't.
Offline walleye  
#7 Posted : Thursday, August 21, 2008 3:51:40 PM(UTC)
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Joined: 8/7/2008(UTC)
" said: Go to Quoted Post
I thnik this is a must win only from a fan's perception basis. I mean if we don't win does that mean we can't beat the Vikes in the opener or have a good season? Of course we can.

We don't have Grant. Jennings may get in a little work. McCarthy will jeopordize no player with a bump bigger than a dime for more than a couple plays if any.

It would be nice to get a "W" but really this team will not be the team that takes the field when the season starts. Like the first game where we were up 10-0 when most the starters came out if our first team is winning when they leave the field I call it a win.

If our starters leave the game with us ahead and Shanaprick leaves his starters in there a couple mores series and that turns out to be the difference will one person on this board really be upset?

I know I won't.

I agree with that, that's why i'm not all that worried :profileright:
Offline NodakPaul  
#8 Posted : Thursday, August 21, 2008 5:22:35 PM(UTC)
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Joined: 8/18/2008(UTC)
There is no such thing as a must-win in preseason. This game is a "must-play-well", but not a must-win.
Offline Packnic  
#9 Posted : Thursday, August 21, 2008 5:24:16 PM(UTC)
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" said: Go to Quoted Post
There is no such thing as a must-win in preseason. This game is a "must-play-well", but not a must-win.



bingo.
Offline Zero2Cool  
#10 Posted : Thursday, August 21, 2008 6:50:07 PM(UTC)
Rank: Premier Member

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" said: Go to Quoted Post
" said: Go to Quoted Post
There is no such thing as a must-win in preseason. This game is a "must-play-well", but not a must-win.



bingo.


Agreed.


I try not to put any stock in any pre season game, however, I try to gather as much as I can from each in hopes of figuring out what is going to come during the regular season.

It's never worked. Yet, I keep trying. lol


I expect the passing game to be similar to what it was against the Bengals, but with the Bronco's for all intent purposes being the daddy of zone blocking... I think we might struggle a bit against the run.

The theory on that is their defense knows what to look for, as does ours, but maybe they know more of the tricks to stopping it?
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