Have you ever heard the saying, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket?" Well if you haven't, take a look at the Green Bay Packers, as they will give you a definition of what it means to get your hopes up, only to be knocked back a peg by some disappointing news.
Coming off a 2009 season that saw the Green Bay Packers reach dizzying new heights under defensive genius Dom Capers, the green and gold now find themselves in quite a jam as the team found out today that both Atari Bigby and Al Harris have been put on an indefinite PUP list, that could extend for the opening six weeks of the regular season.
When the news first broke that both defensive stars would miss a considerable amount of action this season, Lambeau Field was the first to feel the hit. Not only were the Packers highly successful in converting to the 3-4 scheme last season, they were also privileged to have an outstanding Atari Bigby on their side, as he finished the season with a complimentary four interceptions and 49 tackles.
On the other hand, the Packers did see some action for cornerback Al Harris, although his 2009 campaign was cut short when went down early in the season with a knee injury, that would keep him unfit and unhealthy for the remainder of the schedule.
Prior to this whole unfortunate mess, the Packers were hopeful. Many had gone ahead and assumed that Al Harris would never return to Green Bay, and in fact labeled him under the category of "One and done" as footage of his knee rehabilitation didn't look all that promising.
But of course, this was the fan perspective, and when it came to the Packers themselves, the entire team felt that Al Harris was on the right track. If he was lucky enough to be thrown a miracle or two, he would be able to play in the Packers season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles in two weeks time.
Unfortunately for all of us though, this very exciting thought never developed into reality, and, to add salt to an already open wound, Green Bay now find themselves down a safety, as Atari Bigby's preseason left ankle surgery has him sidelined for the first six weeks of the regular season.
Now, as tough and as upsetting as this may all seem, how does it really affect the Packers in the long run?
Well, if we dig deep and really scratch the surface, the answer that can be discovered is that it doesn't really hurt the Packers all that much.
If we look at it simply, the Packers survived quite well without Al Harris last season. Sure the team took a while to move away from the key loss, but when tough opponents popped up on the schedule, the team defense didn't exactly crumble after the loss of just one key player.
Of course, this time the circumstances are a little different with Atari Bigby being away, but realistically he is only out for six weeks, and barring any further devastating news, will be back for a considerable amount of the season.
The other source of good news here is that Al Harris actually will return. His knee was questionable for a period of time, and as long as six weeks truly is, it is great news to hear that he will be returning fit and healthy.
Finally, the replacements for these two veteran players are quite suitable. Green Bay practically stole Morgan Burnett from Georgia Tech earlier this April in the 2010 NFL Draft, and even though Ted Thompson hasn't always looked all that intelligent, this draft pick now makes him look extremely wise.
As for Al Harris' replacement, Packer fans will be hoping that it isn't Jarret Bush, as memories of Ben Roethlisberger's brilliance last year are still a sore point for any Packer fan.
No, the replacement for Al Harris should hopefully be Tramon Williams, who finished the 2009 season with four interceptions to his name.
So with all of this said, I think you can agree that it isn't panic stations in Green Bay just yet.
Still, one remaining issue that does come from these circumstances is the fact that the team is now down yet another team leader. Last season saw Charles Woodson and Atari Bigby play off of each other, and although the Packer defense is still rather strong, the absence of a key presence like Atari Bigby in the opening stages of the season could affect Green Bay a little.
Yet, as concerning as this may be, I go back to my earlier point that this loss is only for six weeks, and in that time the Packers do have easier opponents in the likes of Washington, Detroit, and Buffalo.
Packer fans and NFL fans in general, take it easy.
I know a loss this big is tough to swallow, but if any team can come back defensively, it's the Green Bay Packers. Let's not forget that this was the No. 2 defense last season, and with Charles Woodson, Nick Collins, and Clay Matthews still proving to be the ultimate bruisers, this may not be an over dramatized issue.
The Packers have always been known for their tough defense, and while they are no 1980's Chicago Bears, they still do a pretty good job when the going gets tough. Hopefully we see both Al Harris and Atari Bigby back strong in Week Six or Seven, and, while we're waiting, lets see if the Packers can cope without two of their key players.
After all, it takes a true contender to come back against the odds, and while the Packers are constantly in the thick of Super Bowl talk, what better way to prove to everyone that they are the real deal then by coping under pressure? If this isn't a minor setback, then I don't know what is.
This isn't anything the Packers can't handle.
Ryan Cook is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also an NFL columnist for Real Sports Net and a Green Bay Packers writer for Fan Huddle and PackerChatters. Ryan is also a contributing writer for Detroit Lions Talk, Gack Sports and Generation Y Sports. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.