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Fumbleitis and Leadership Problems Plague the Pack (10/11/2006)
By Dave DeLano

The Green Bay Packers had a good chance of giving Cheeseheads their first victory at legendary Lambeau field in 2006, but too many miscues frittered away the opportunities and the result was a disappointing loss to the St Louis Rams by a score of 23 - 20. The loss leaves the floundering Packers with a 1 - 4 record as they stumble into the bye week.

Running back Ahman Green once again was deactivated for this game due to injuries, and it is becoming increasing clear that his career is waning rapidly. To replace Green, Coach McCarthy inserted recently acquired Vernand Morency as feature back. Morency has shown some promise in his brief Packer tenure but has also demonstrated a propensity to put the pigskin on the ground. He fumbled again (twice) in the first quarter against the Rams and was promptly benched in favor of third-stringer Noah Herron.

Herron accounted well for himself with a 100 + yard performance, which was easily the Pack's best ground-game performance this year. Making the most out of an opportunity, Herron showed a nice burst of speed and good power. He also seems to be able to assimilate the zone-blocking scheme that somehow eluded recently-departed running backs Najeh Davenport and Samkon Gado. Look for Herron to be given an increasing role in the offensive plans as the Packers continue to remake their offense.

Statistically, Brett Favre had a pretty decent game against the Rams, but he completely missed one sure touchdown pass to a wide-open Bubba Franks in the first half and his fumble in the final minute of the game with the Packers driving deep into scoring position cost the Packers an opportunity to pull off a comeback victory. The magic just isn't there anymore.

The Packer defense played pretty well Sunday against one of the better offensive units in the NFL. The Packer secondary, minus the recently terminated Ahmad Carroll (thank you Ted Thompson), played its best game of the season. Carroll's absence no doubt contributed to that improvement. Nonetheless, cornerbacks Al Harris and Charles Woodson both had game-altering interception opportunities and both missed "easy" picks. Harris's muff could have resulted in a 90-yard touchdown return which could have turned the game around.

The 2006 Packer squad just doesn't seem to have the chemistry to nurture playmakers to step forward and pull off victories anymore. Favre, Green and Harris used to be those difference makers; that is no longer the case.

Cheeseheads have every right to wonder whether management decisions, coaching, or player effort isn't getting the job done. Right now this is a bad team playing on their heels waiting for something bad to happen to them rather than aggressively going out and making plays. Coach McCarthy and Ted Thompson now have the bye week to figure out how to "right the ship"... if that is possible. Cheeseheads are looking for signs of improvement as the pressure mounts for some wins. 


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