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Team Plans To Battle Storm Together


When a team finds itself 1-4 after five games, certainly there must be a long list of what has gone wrong. That list for the Packers consists of too many turnovers, lack of a running game, and poor defensive play. It's no secret that you can't win games with those ailments and the team's poor start is proving that.

In the team's 48-27 defeat to the Tennessee Titans, the Packers could only muster 35 total rushing yards. Most people know that while Brett Favre has won them many games in the past, but the Packers are now a run-first team. That is what makes the lack of rushing production an area of concern.

In the previous week against the Giants, the Packers only totaled 81 yards on the ground. The Packers have what has widely been considered one of the best offensive lines in football, and last season their rushing attack led by Ahman Green was one of the best in the business.

The injury that landed Mike Flanagan on injured reserve no doubt plays a role in the stalled ground game, but they still have a very good offensive unit and plenty of weapons to make things work.

So why aren't things clicking for the Packers?

Well, before that sentence could even be completed, tackle Mark Tauscher came up with an answer.

"We're not running the football," Tauscher said. "That's it. We prided ourselves last year on being a good running football team and right now, we're not."

One of Tauscher's linemates echoed those sentiments, and took the explanation a step further.

"I think we had four carries for five yards in the first half," Mike Wahle said. "It's tough to do anything when you are averaging less than two yards a carry. It obviously wasn't the way we wanted to start. We really wanted to establish the run early and get our play-action going. It ended up where we had to pass for basically three quarters."

Obviously a healthy balance is a big factor in putting points on the board and keeping the other team's offense off the field. Because the Packers had to abandon the ground attack early on, they had to take chances passing the ball. Even with Brett Favre at quarterback, that can be a challenge.

It's common for turnovers to mount when a team plays from behind, and that's exactly what happened Monday night. Why those mistakes are occurring is anybody's guess at this point and Tauscher said it could be due to a number of factors.

"You can pinpoint every individual turnover, but when you have six there's obviously a general thing that's not going right," Tauscher said. "I think there are many different reasons why we are (turning it over) and I can't think of one particularly thing right now."

While the offense struggled, the defense has also taken its lumps lately. To their credit, many players accepted the blame for the disappointing performance.

"There's a lot of reasons why we're struggling," middle linebacker Nick Barnett said. "We're just not executing every play. We aren't making plays. We're not playing to our potential as a defense. We have to come together as a family now and execute plays."

Barnett and Marco Rivera also acknowledged the team has a great deal of pride and losing at home is especially painful.

"Anytime you lose it's embarrassing, especially when you lose at Lambeau," Barnett explained. "We hate to lose for our fans here, but it happened. We have to go watch film and be very critical on ourselves. We all have to take responsibility for this loss."

"We've got to find a way to start winning again," Rivera added. "There's no excuses for us to lose three games in Lambeau. I don't know the answers. If I did, we wouldn't have lost today. It's tough to be in this position."

In times like this, it can be difficult to stay positive, but taking a walk around the locker room, it's clear that the team intends to remain upbeat and get better.

"We are in one heck of a storm right now," Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila said. "All I can say is we have to stick together because it's not going to last. It's not. When that storm is over, depending on how we handle it, we're going to be together or we're going to be separated. I believe that we will be together when the storm is over."

According to Gbaja-Biamila, the team can get better if individual players take it upon themselves to do so.

"You have to look at yourself to see what you can do to make the team a better one," Gbaja-Biamila explained. "I look at myself as a guy who should light the fire to make some plays and get my team excited. I need to get some sacks, cause some fumbles, and I haven't done that. That's what I am looking at. I'm looking at myself to see how I can make this team better."

Wahle thinks the team has plenty of ability to get back on the winning track that the Green Bay Packers are accustomed to.

"We really just have to pick ourselves up," Wahle said. "We have to come out Wednesday and figure out what it takes to win. I think we have lost a little bit of that. Everyone's just got to make sure they are doing whatever they can to fix it."

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