About a week ago, I wrote an article following the Packers' then-latest and "greatest" embarrassing loss to the Minnesota Vikings. In it, I detailed the "lessons learned" from that lousy loss—at least in my opinion—and then said what I'd hoped they'd learned from the incident.
As well, I agreed with most other in the sports world that the Packers would have an opportunity to exhale and regroup against the then-winless—or, as I like to call those sorts of teams, "alldefeated"—Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Unfortunately, it seems that we've all come to expect too much from our Pack.
Even being the pessimist that I usually am (I predicted the Pack to go 8-8 in 2007), not even I thought that the Pack could lose to a group of lackluster players dressed like Creamsicles and—at least up until now—playing about as well as they did at the beginning of their original "Creamsicle" era.
I mean, the Buccaneers are a truly crappy team as of right now, and some were wondering if they'd even manage to win a game this year. If the Pack managed to lose, we thought: "Well, heh. Let's not even entertain that hilarious possibility!"
Well, it did happen, and us Packers fans are left to continue our "lessons learned" hangover from two weeks ago.
In what feels uncomfortably similar to last year's team that started 5-5 before going 1-5 to end up 6-10 on the year, the Packers appear to be on the verge of blowing a second straight season, dropping two in a row after starting 4-2 to end up at 4-4 and clinging to their fleeting hopes of a wild card berth.
Could they make the playoffs? Sure. Pigs could also fly, and I could dance outside of Lambeau Field in a Jay Cutler jersey and Vikings helmet. Health care reform could also manage to get out of the Senate.
Realistically speaking? With the kind of operation that Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson are running in Green Bay, I'd consider ourselves lucky if we can go 8-8. If angels appear in the Brewers' outfield down in Milwaukee, maybe we'll go 9-7.
I'm not even going to go on another "lessons learned" rant, because it's a broken record, and as the rest of this train-wreck-in-progress of a season lumbers on, said record will probably keep skipping worse than my old vinyl copy of Don't Stand Me Down by Dexy's Midnight Runners. We've lost our ways—if we had any in the first place—and are quickly sliding toward another regrettable year that leaves us hoping for "next year."
"Next year," we'll say. There's always next year.
Maybe next year, Thompson will finally be out of a job.
Maybe next year, we can put together an offensive line remotely capable of competing at a professional level.
Maybe next year, I'll be able to write some columns about how impressive the Packers are—similar to my earlier article about the Saints, perhaps—instead of putting out the latest in a series of grievances against the team's management and overall play.
But who am I kidding? You know as well as I do that, unless there's a massive sea change in the Packers' front office that forces almost every member of their staff out on their sorry behinds, the coming years will be just as futile as these. For all we know, we could be entering another period of mediocrity similar to 1970 to 1990, when 10 wins in a season was "good" for us fans.
Given Thompson's history of taking hints, he'll probably blame our performance on our few good players, Aaron Rodgers in particular. Maybe, if we're especially lucky, he'll bolt from the team, and we'll be left wondering why Rodgers is mysteriously throwing for 4,900 yards a year behind a much better offensive line.
I've never been a fan of Jim Mora Sr., but his infamous quote works best here:
"Playoffs? Don't talk about playoffs. You kidding me? Playoffs? I just hope we can win a game!"
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