The Green Bay Packers have attacked the preseason like a team hell-bent on atoning for the missed opportunities and overall disappointment of 2008.
Their first-team offense has carved up opposing defenses to the tune of nine touchdowns in 12 possessions, and Dom Capers' 3-4 has looked sharp and disruptive well ahead of schedule.
And the national media is taking notice.
A glance at today's SI.com main page has the likes of Peter King and Don Banks singing the praises of Mike McCarthy and his Packers, calling them the best-looking team so far this preseason and the team to beat in the NFC North.
I hope they aren't reading their own press clippings.
It's not that the Packers aren't deserving of praise for the brutal efficiency they have displayed in dominating all three preseason games thus far. I just like them better with that chip on their shoulder.
The expectations that came with following up on an NFC Championship game appearance in 2007, along with the Brett Favre saga, appeared to weigh on a young Packer team last season.
But after an offseason during which most pundits called them one of the best 6-10 teams ever, a backhanded compliment if I've ever heard one, the Packers have played with a physical intensity that we haven't seen for some time.
And they seem to have that swagger, especially on offense, that really good teams display. I guess that comes with putting the ball in the end-zone almost every time you touch it.
Mike McCarthy and his players know they are too skilled and too deep to have that kind of record and they have taken it out on their opposition so far.
But there is still work to be done.
The Packers have the personnel to move the ball on anyone, but it would have been encouraging to see them up against a truly stout defense in the preseason.
Furthermore, Green Bay's special teams have looked ugly at times, with injuries forcing Ruvell Martin into the lineup as a holder for Mason Crosby, who missed two more field goals against Arizona.
Winning double-digit games, wresting the division from the hated Vikings, and making a deep run in the playoffs are all seemingly attainable goals for this Packers team.
I just want to see a little more against stauncher competition before I'm sold on all of the love this 6-10 team is getting from the local and national media.
And I hope that chip stays firmly on their shoulders as they earn their retribution in 2009, one victory at a time.
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