0-2 Start Tests Resolve Of Frustrated Team


An exasperated Green Bay Packers team has an 0-2 record -- tied for last place in the NFC North -- and faces a schedule that becomes more difficult as the season wears on.

While reflecting on the dire situation, head coach Mike Sherman used the words of the luminary, whose position he now occupies.

"It was Coach Lombardi that said that 'adversity doesn't build character. It reveals character,'" Sherman said. "That's so true."

The next few weeks may indicate a lot about the fortitude of the team, but they refuse to use last year as a rallying cry. The Packers started 1-4 in 2004 before winning nine of their last 11 games en route to their third consecutive NFC North title.

"We can't look back to anything," cornerback Al Harris said. "We have to look at what's going on right now. Last year was last year. We had different players."

That perspective of dealing with the here and now comes from straight from Sherman, who shoots from the hip.

"The best way to fix it is to be totally honest with them. You can't tell them the glass is half full when it's not," Sherman said. "I can't paint a pretty picture of 0-2."

Even uglier is an offense that produced ten points through the first seven quarters of the season before Sunday's 17-point outburst in the fourth quarter.

"We know we're capable of being explosive on offense," guard Adrian Klemm said. "It's more frustration because we know we're a better team than we're showing out there."

The players expressed that frustration and anger at their performance. Harris has played solidly through the two regular season games, but he blamed himself for an illegal hands to the face penalty. That penalty gave the Browns a first down on a scoring drive, which culminated in a Phil Dawson's 21-yard-field goal.

"I'm very frustrated," Harris said. "I made some mistakes in the game."

Along with their frustration, a team with playoff expectations has had their confidence shaken a bit.

"When your winning, your confidence is building," offensive tackle Mark Tauscher said. "It's the times like right now when you really find out what kind of team you have."

Klemm went through a trying period two years ago with the New England Patriots. The Buffalo Bills pummeled the Patriots 31-0 in their first game, but the Patriots regrouped and went on to win the Super Bowl.

But because the Packers focus on the present, Klemm knows his team does not need to hear his personal lessons from the past.

"They're used to winning," Klemm. "There's nothing I can really tell them."

The Packers organization has won 12 championships in the franchise's history. As a starting NFL quarterback, Brett Favre has never finished with a record worse than 8-8, and Sherman has never finished with a record under 9-7 as an NFL head coach. They and the rest of the Packers, however, have dug themselves a hole.

"It's as deep as we want it to be," Sherman said. "We can't panic. We have to keep the course and move forward."


Quick Hits: Because running back Ahman Green struggled with his asthma and had trouble breathing on Sunday, running back Tony Fisher carried the ball behind left guard with 3:30 left in the third quarter. Otherwise Green would have rushed. ... Tight end Bubba Franks suffered a knee bruise on Sunday but no cartilage or ligament damage. He will not run today, and his status for Sunday's game will be determined later in the week.

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