With Sunday's 14-7 loss to the New York Giants, the Green Bay Packers find themselves in unfamiliar territory with a 1-3 record. Whether it's time to panic or just time to regroup, one thing is certain: The Packers have to right the ship and do so very quickly.
Although the team isn't in an ideal position by any means, there still are 12 games left in the season and the opportunity to get on track still exists. While the naysayers will be quick to criticize the team, the Packers know that only one thing matters and that's finding a way to overcome this slow start.
The last time the Packers started 1-3 was 1993, and it should be noted that they went on to a wild-card birth that season and even won a playoff game versus Detroit. Certainly, this loss doesn't have to be the end of the world for the Packers, and from listening to several players in the locker room, it won't be either.
Linebacker Na'il Diggs, who had 15 tackles on the day said, "We have enough talent and there is nothing stopping us from turning this around.
"I don't like the position we're in, nobody likes the position we are in. We're just going to keep fighting and keep playing. We'll be alright."
Perhaps the biggest challenge a team faces in difficult times is keeping their faith in one another. Often times, players will point fingers at each other and spread the blame, but according to Diggs, this won't be a problem with the Packers.
"We play with a great group of guys," Diggs said. "Everybody knows in their own mind what's going on and what we need to do to get things right. No one is going to branch off and start saying it's such and such's fault.
"We're not going to point fingers, that's the best thing we can do right now and accept the fault ourselves. We're out there playing the game. We're either going to make the play or not. That's what it comes down to."
The defense certainly made its share of plays on the day, holding the Giants to only 14 points while racking up four sacks. Despite being on the field for 11 minutes in the first quarter alone, the defense also played a huge role in what turned out to be a scoreless first half -- marking the first time that has happened since 1980 when the Packers and Vikings went to intermission with no points on the scoreboard.
However, none of that mattered Sunday when the run defense struggled throughout the second half and allowed 245 total rushing yards to the Giants. Tiki Barber led all ball carriers with 182 yards, including a key 52-yard scamper to tie the game at 7.
When told that the defense did a good job on the day, safety Darren Sharper quickly scrapped that notion.
"No we didn't, we didn't do a decent job," Sharper said. "They scored more points than what we did. We have to hold them to less points than what we did so we didn't do a good job."
Defensive end Aaron Kampman echoed those sentiments. Although the four sacks of quarterback Kurt Warner were more than what the team had all season coming into the contest, Kampman said the defense could have been better.
"We needed more (sacks)," Kampman said. "I don't know how many we had, but we didn't have enough. (Warner) just held the ball too long. Granted, they did some things. They had a good seven-man protection, but even when they weren't, we still didn't generate enough pressure."
The offensive unit didn't exactly turn heads, either. After putting up 31 points on the road last week at the Colts, the Packers just couldn't muster enough offense this week. Certainly, some of that can be attributed to the fact that Brett Favre had to leave the game in the third quarter after hitting his head on the ground, but guard Mike Wahle said there's more to it than that.
"There's too many mistakes, from a mental standpoint, from a technical standpoint, turning the ball over, having penalties," Wahle said. "We are not playing smart. The mental stuff, the technical stuff, that is something that we need to fix.
"We can bounce back but we have to address some stuff internally. We have to take care of some stuff before the next game. This is a terrible feeling and it's going to continue if we don't pick up the slack."
Sharper, who had an interception in the first half, admitted that while the losses are frustrating, the team can't panic right now. Instead, the team should focus on getting better.
"We just have to keep plugging away," Sharper said. "Being that a fourth of the season is down, we still have a long season to go and we just want to keep finding a way to fix things. Both sides, special teams, everybody is playing hard; we just are not executing things properly. We just need to find a way to get things fixed. We can't go in a hole because three losses don't determine that the season is over with."
The Packers certainly have to find a solution to their problems, but there is no magical formula that will get it done. Doing it on the field is obviously what counts and William Henderson said it will stay that way.
"Words don't do it," Henderson said. "You've got to want to do it; you have to be professional about it. If I could say something magical that would make everyone want to play, I would probably be a very wealthy man because I would be doing motivational speeches across the world.
"You've got to know, you've got to love the game, and you have to appreciate the game for all it is. You have to know that every Sunday, every opportunity you have to step on the field you have to play your best. We didn't play our best today."
If the theme around the locker room means anything, fixing these problems and playing "their best" will be the team's top priority. If the Packers want to get on the right course they have no other choice but to do exactly that.