Skip to main content

Butler: Wins Will Brighten Things


Everything looks kind of dark inside the hole the Packers just dug for themselves by losing to the Giants 14-7, but I think this is just a temporary cloudy time with brighter days to come.

I've been getting a lot of questions from fans asking if it's the scheme or if it's the players that has caused the slow start.

First of all, you have to look at the injuries. The Packers have not had a healthy secondary since training camp. Ahmad Carroll has missed the past few games. Michael Hawthorne and Al Harris have had some nicks that they have played through. Darren Sharper has been bothered by some injuries, and guys have had to fill in at different positions.

The offense lost Mike Flanagan for the year with a knee injury, which means the offensive line had its first new starter in over a year on Sunday when Flanagan was out. The Packers had the same five guys up front for every game last year, which no doubt played a big part in Ahman Green running for 1,800 yards.

If you look at Sunday, Brett Favre missed most of the second half with a concussion, and then Doug Pederson went in and now he's hurt with a rib injury.

I'm not giving you any excuses, but if you look around the league at the teams that are the healthiest, those are the teams that have the best records. Injuries are a part of the game, and sometimes it takes a little luck on the injury front to stay at the top of the standings.

I guess one of the most disappointing things about Sunday's game was that the offense never seemed to find a rhythm. They really had trouble getting things going to help the defense out.

The running game never really got things together, and for that I have to give the Giants defense a lot of credit.

Javon Walker continued to prove that he's going to be a great player in this league as he came in and caught the touchdown pass from Brett Favre to give the Packers a 7-0 lead.

Right after that, though, Tiki Barber ran 52 yards right up the middle for a touchdown to erase the lead and kill the momentum. On that particular play, Nick Barnett should have been more aggressive and could have tackled Barber around the line of scrimmage.

Their second touchdown, the game-winner, came in a goal-line formation where they spread the field and split their best player, tight end Jeremy Shockey wide to the right. The Packers were in a quarters defense, meaning four players split the field into four quarters and had responsibility for that portion.

Michael Hawthorne, a tall cornerback was lined up on Shockey, which looked like it would be a good match-up for the Packers. But, he lost him outside, Warner put up a good throw and Shockey made a good catch for the score.

The defense did make some plays. Darren Sharper made a great interception in the end zone to stop another New York drive, but the offense could not capitalize on the turnover. The pressure was more evident this week as they got to Warner for four sacks, but it wasn't enough to win the game.

The two mistakes on the scoring plays for the Giants were technique errors that can be fixed. That's the one thing that's hurting the Packers most on defense - technique errors, along with some mental mistakes.

You have to deal with problems as they come up, and obviously one of the problems with this team so far this year was having to deal with Mike McKenzie as he wanted to be traded. Now that he's been traded to New Orleans, that's a relief for the team, who will now be able to fully focus on on-the-field issues.

They've got a big game coming up Monday night against the Titans, who also find themselves in a hole at 1-3 this week. You hate to say that it's a must-win so early in the season, but the Packers absolutely must win this game.

The Packers know the magnitude of this game.

They have to be able to come out and win three games in a row to offset some of the effects of the last three losses. If you win three games in a row, you're right back in the playoff hunt.

The statistics say that it's going to be tough to rebound from a 1-3 start to make the playoffs.

But this team does not have any quit in them, and they will continue to fight.

*LeRoy Butler played 12 seasons for the Green Bay Packers, helping them to two Super Bowls and earning NFL All-Decade Honors for the 1990s, before retiring in July 2002. This season Butler is again providing exclusive analysis to beginning with training camp and later with a breakdown of the upcoming game on Saturdays, followed by a column and Q&A session on Tuesdays during the preseason and regular season.

Butler's autobiography, 'The LeRoy Butler Story ... From Wheelchair to the Lambeau Leap,' is available on his website,*

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content