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  Tuesday January 27th, 2015    

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Packers Glad for Bye Week (10/22/2003)
by Don Salyards

A football team usually performs better if it has first-string players on the field. Likewise for a football column. With Dave De Lano out of town hunting exotic animals this week, John Edstrom called me to serve as second-string Packer columnist. Presumably a Packer football writer must have two qualifications (1) be a Packer fan and (2) know a lot about football. I'll be the first to admit that I'm no football expert. I will, however, venture a few general comments about Packer football in this 2003 season.

After a 34-24 loss to the Rams and with a disappointing 3-4 record, the Pack heads into bye week before playing its final nine games. They begin their second half with the unbeaten Vikes at the dome, a venue where the Pack has had limited success.

Even for the Pack to go 8-8 this year, something has to change. A weak secondary has opposing pass receivers licking their chops. Ahman Green made key fumbles in week one against the Vikings, week three against the Cardinals, last week against the Chiefs, and again in this week against the Rams. One wonders when he will lose his dubious reputation for putting the ball on the ground. The Packers also lack a noticeable pass rush, which would cure a lot of ills.

Brett Favre continues to play well and Packer fans are always hoping that he can crank out a couple touchdowns in the last three minutes of the game to snatch the Packers out of the jaws of defeat. But even Favre has his limits. In my opinion, if this season continues its downward slide, Favre might decide to retire at the end of the year, with mental frustration pushing him over the edge in spite of his obvious physical durability. We can also expect Mike Sherman to be stripped of his general manager duties.

Packer fans can hope for a rebound in the second half this year. Stranger things have happened. But even if the Pack must suffer through several mediocre seasons as they search for another Favre, the fan base of this incredible franchise will remain strong. Lambeau will continue to sell out, as it has each and every game since 1960. Good season or bad, there is only one NFL franchise with the unique history, mystique, and tradition of the Green Bay Packers. If you don't believe it, try to get a seat at Lambeau field. You'll pay a higher market "scalper" price than anywhere in the NFL. 


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