Cheeseheads witnessed the merciful end to the 2006 preseason last Friday afternoon when the Tennessee Titans outplayed the Pack to the point of embarrassment. The best that can be said of the 2006 preseason is that it is over. Other than Greg Jennings' 89-yard reception on the Pack's first offensive play of the game, the rest of the afternoon was a nightmare. The Packer offense could not get anything going, the defense could not stop much of anything, especially on third downs, and the punt return guy (a horrible fourth-round draft pick, who has since been appropriately cut) was just plain incompetent.
Three of the Packers' four preseason performances were much the same as the Tennessee game, thus it comes as no great surprise that just about all of the professional football experts are predicting a last place finish for Green Bay in the North Division"¦ maybe winning 4 or 5 games this season. Dire predictions like these have not been heard in the land of frozen tundra in many years.
The final roster is still being settled but the Pack will undoubtedly begin the season with one of the youngest and most inexperienced teams in the NFL. With the curious exception of the quarterback, virtually every other position is in some type of rebuilding mode. Brett Favre playing with this group seems kind of odd. So was his protracted decision in April to play this year"¦ and his subsequent proclamation that this year's squad was the most talented he has ever played on. It is an enigma in search of resolution. Favre reminds me of a guy who has hung out at the saloon too long"¦. no good reason to do that, and often proving to be an invitation for trouble or injury.
I would not be surprised, if the season gets off to a bad start, to see Aaron Rodgers given his chance to lead the team. If that happens, maybe Favre would end up being traded to a team with a shot at the Super Bowl. Favre might actually prefer that rather than conclude his career on a sour note in Green Bay.
All of this talk assumes that the Pack will be awful this year and, until that actually proves to be correct, Cheeseheads can hope that Ted Thompson's draftees will develop quickly into sound players. Maybe there are some playmakers in that group. Maybe Coach Mike McCarthy has been holding back his best plays and secret schemes for the regular season. Maybe the experts are completely wrong. I wouldn't bet on it though!
We will find out if the Pack really is as bad as some say when the arch-rival Chicago Bears visit Lambeau next Sunday for the season opener. The same experts are predicting that the Bears will repeat as North Division champions this year, so this ought to be a good test. The Bears have a very good defense but they have some issues on offense including a mini-controversy at the quarterback position. I expect the odds makers will spot the underdog Packers a 10-point spread. Let the fun begin (I think!)