Starting to turn...

We were watching the game and the Packers defense actually managed to stop the Falcons on third down. I took a sip of my Pabst and let loose with the sarcasm. Where’s the penalty? I’m sure there was a pass interference or a defensive holding penalty out there some-where. Gee whiz, ref.
You sound pessimistic, said my observant buddy, Ron.
Yeah, I said. I’m two-losses-in-a-row pessimistic. I leaned back in my rocking chair and kept taking notes that weren’t pretty or pleasant. Things weren’t looking good and they never got better.
Now we’ve lost three games in a row, including the latest debacle that should have been a no-brainer win. I didn’t even write a Falcons Preview column this week, so sure was I that the Green and Gold would get the season back on the right track against the lowly dirty birds and their rookie QB. I had yard-work to do and nothing particularly interesting had happened that week. I’ll just write a nice, sunny column after they win, I thought… Or so I thought.
My neighbor was putting up storm windows and we got to talking, Saturday. I tend to focus on the here and now, but my neighbor pointed out that our remaining schedule was a real doozey. Sure, we get a healthy serving of the NFC North, but we also get the Colts and a road game at the very tough Titans. If we don’t get this game, the season could turn ugly, he said. I leaned on my rake and looked at the big Black Walnut down the way and chewed on the inside of my lip for a bit. You’ve got a good point there, neighbor.
Week five is in the books and now we’ve got as many losses as we did entering the NFC Championship game last year. That stings, dear readers.
I’m sure lots of you are looking to blame Ted Thompson for this trouble. Like meat left out of the ice-box too long, this season is certainly starting to turn for the worse. I can admit that.
But Ronnie Rodgers isn’t the problem. At least I don’t think he is.
Sure we’ve got a bunch more injuries than last year already, but heck, every team has rough stretches. I saw a Mike Tomlin press conference the other week. The Steelers are another team that’s banged up and he wouldn’t hear it. We’ve got to put the next guy in there and expect greatness, he said. We can’t make excuses. We need to move on and win. I was mighty impressed by that mind-set, and they went out and beat the Jaguars this week. They found a way.
Since whomping the Lions in week two we have not found a way. We have not done enough to win, even against the Falcons at home.
For me, it all goes back to the running game. General Grant had a pretty decent game, yardage-wise, but that facet of the game just doesn’t look sharp. We couldn’t run in the NFC Championship and we can’t run when we need to now. And without the run, we have too many three and outs. And so, the defense plays too many snaps. They haven’t been able to stop the run, either. Sure, we lost Jenkins and Harris and Bigby and Rouse, but the next guys need to stand up. And they better do it quickly.
Maybe the defense is playing too many snaps, but it just burns me up that we didn’t get any pressure on the kid Ryan. None. After the game, it was said that the defense actually had brought some aggressive pass rush, but I didn’t see it. Another area that needs work, I guess.
We’ve got two weeks before the Bye and Coach McCarthy needs to win them both in order to keep us in the running for the NFC North. That is clearly our only ticket to the playoffs this season, what with them bang-tails fighting it out in the east.
First up is a trip to Seattle. Based on what they’ve done to start the year, you’d think that would be a no-brainer as well, but we can’t expect anything anymore. This isn’t the magical season of 2007. Then we get the Colts at home. After these last few weeks, a 4-3 record heading into the Bye would taste like a fresh-cut Chuck Eye with a side of fried onions and a cold Pabst.