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Packers Head Into Monday With Sense Of Urgency


Prior to the start of the season, so-called "NFL experts" were nearly unanimous in the thought that the upcoming Monday night game featuring the Packers and the Tennessee Titans would be a clash of two of the top teams in the league.

Before the two teams met in Nashville for the preseason finale, some were reporting that the mid-October game could even be a preview of February's Super Bowl XXXIX.

No one expected to see a pair of teams struggling at 1-3 under the national spotlight at Lambeau Field, but that's exactly the situation the Packers and Titans are facing.

The Packers plan on turning things around by notching their first victory of the year on their home turf, and around the locker room this week, many players spoke of what it's going to take to break out of their early-season funk.

Linebacker Na'il Diggs, whose 15 tackles against the Giants Sunday were a career-best, knows the importance that must be placed on every game from now through the end of the season.

"A sense of urgency is mandatory this week and the rest of the season," said Diggs. "We've had our bad games and we can't afford any more. Guys are responding to that and understand that. We have the veteran leadership to overcome this."

A hot word in the media surrounding the team this week has been desperation. While 1-3 is certainly not an ideal situation, the Packers don't feel that they are desperate quite yet.

"Desperation is not a word I choose to use," said fullback William Henderson, who has seen his share of ups and downs in his 10 seasons in Green Bay. "It has too many negatives to it. What I feel is that we need to have a lot more urgency, a sense of urgency about our plan of attack and our execution. We're never desperate.

"It is a long season and you can always have things play out in our favor, but as far as a sense of urgency, now is the time as far as getting things accomplished and playing with a lot more attention to detail. That's where we're hoping we're headed."

GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman agrees that it's not time to push the panic button, but acknowledges that the heat is definitely on going into this week's crucial game.

"I think desperation is counterproductive myself," Sherman said. "A sense of urgency is productive. We finished the first quarter of this season not in the fashion that we wanted to start the season, at 1-3. But we still have three quarters of the season left - it's not unlike a football game when you're behind in the first quarter. You don't go in the locker room and say 'We're done, we can't win this thing.' It's the same thing in a season, but we've finished the first quarter, we're into the second quarter of the season and we have to play a hell of a lot better than we've been playing."

Henderson was philosophical in speaking about the long way yet to go in the season.

"This is a marathon, not a sprint," said the fullback. "Sometimes you get started off on a rockier start on a marathon, but it's amazing what happens to people down the road. If you stay determined and on your pace, you can make a positive out of any negative."

The one key in getting things turned around is an inspired performance leading to a victory Monday night against the Titans, and the importance of this one game is not lost on anyone wearing green and gold.

"This has got to be a must win," Diggs said. "We've got to go out there and show the world what we're really capable of doing and get back to player Packer football like we know how to play it."

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