Tag:Green Bay Packers
Posted on: October 9, 2008 1:20 pm
I have been reading through the Packers board and it appears that a loud majority have come to this consensus: it's over. The Packers season is done, there is no chance we make it to the playoffs. I am in no way implying that this is the consensus of all Packers fans; that is why I wrote the "loud" majority. It seems like the negative posters come off stronger ins many cases. Now, I will admit I had my doubts, but I won't just give up on this team five games in. They may have looked bad, but I believe they can turn it around. It might be the residue of the disappointment of the loss in the Championship game, it might just be that the team is sluggish. However, there is still talent on this team and I am not of the perception that all of that talent just faded away. Yes, injuries hurt our team and a lack of execution on the fundamentals (catching, tackling, blocking, etc, some of that resulting in penalties). But that can change. This team is young and can mature. I don't think we need to give up yet, not this early. But still, as I have been thinking about this negativity, I have come to this theory:
The people who are giving up want the team to fail and jump at the opportunity to prove themselves right.
I have seen it before. The same comments are repeated by the same people: Fire Ted Thompson; Mike McCarthy is a bad coach; Bring Brett Back; we would do better with Brett out there; this is what happens when you don't spend millions of dollars on overpriced free agents that could have more value in their jersey sales then the actual performance on the field (you know, because big names never struggle when they join new teams and are paid the big bucks). Okay, so that last one was tainted by my personal opinion, but you get the point. These people wanted this team to fail. They wanted Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy to be punished for the injustice of trading Brett Favre. When you have this mindset, there is no room for hope, especially when you don't want to see it. These people call themselves fans. Of course, they probably spend more energy cheering for the New York Jets then they do the Green Bay Packers. Of course, last week, both teams had the same record. Now the Jets didn't lose this week, but Favre didn't throw any touchdown passes or interceptions. Well, he had a bye.
But what I see is a different reaction for those who gave up on this team. They seem excited. They relish the failure. It's not a matter of the team succeeding. It's a matter of who was wrong or right. If Favre was on the team and we were still 2-3 (which is more than possible because Rodgers has played adequately in 2 of the 3 losses, while the defense gave away these games), Packers fans would probably still be optimistic about the season. But, now it seems they think the team deserves this. And, of course, because of the obsession with Favre, Aaron Rodgers gets all the blame, not because he is responsible, but because it was predetermined by the Ted Thompson haters who would be at Fault. It can't be the defense, cause Favre didn't play there. It can't be the penalties. Of course, the line performing badly is Rodgers fault because he doesn't have the ability to make them play well. Apparently, Favre was not only the greatest quarterback of all time, but he also has magic powers. Okay, I'm exaggerating, but can't we give Rodgers credit for what he has done? He started only five games and has played well in the majority of them. He still has a future ahead of him. Why not be excited?
Of course, for some people (I am beginning to think it is a stubborn minority), you can't be excited because you won't let go of the past. Well, Favre is gone and Rodgers looks good for a young quarterback, and he is tougher then many of you thought. From some reports I've read, Brett Favre (maybe not recently) still holds recentment toward the Packers organization. I think some of that bitterness rubs off on the fans (of him, not the team). But you still have a reason to be excited. You are excited when the team fails.
Admittedly, I am not accusing all of you. I know there are many who still have hope for this team and its future. This is written for the select few (you know who you are): Go ahead. Give up. Turn your back on this team and enjoy their struggles. As a fan of the team, I am going to stand by my team. I am going to hope for the best, even when the worse seems more prevalent. Let those true Packers fans keep this in mind: there are 11 games left. This team can still turn around and return to form. If we (as fans, we become a part of our team) work on the fundamentals and avoid penalties, working on blocking, run harder and through the right holes, and swarm around the ball on defense, this team can still be good, even great. Let's not be worried yet.
Unless you want to but, then, please stay away. I am sure you can all start your own Brett Favre addict support group and leave those who still cheer for the team to the game.
Posted on: July 3, 2008 2:32 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2008 4:50 am
Edit: As this situation grows worse, the effects of his selfishness seem to have become more prevalent. This seems obvious by the divide created within the team and the fans. It pains me to see the disdain toward the two sides, especially when this is turned on management. In my mind, the selfishness has made matters worse. Therefore, I feel the message of this blog is only increasing in relevance.
First, let me provide this disclaimer: the following post is not an attempt to bash Favre. I respect Favre and his accomplishments on the field. He deserves the recognition and claim to one of the top NFL quarterbacks in NFL history; he is a legend in Green Bay and throughout the league. However, he is not perfect and I think it is necessary sometimes to identify the flaws, especially when they are a detriment to the team and the fans. I don't feel he should be idolized. The recent wave of comeback talks (fueled by the media) illustrate the reason for this post, even more so if there is truth to the rumors, particularly if Favre started them: Favre is selfish.
Why would I claim this? I think I am stating the obvious. I think we can all admit that we have grown tired of his inability to make a decision. It has grown irritating over the past several seasons with all the "will he or won't he" retirement talk. It was like he held the town and his team hostage every season. When he does this, he elevates himself above the team. He forces the organization to bend to his timing. Even though he is/was a great player, this is still a selfish act. In a way, it is as detrimental as a player holding out for more money, which, to me, is the ultimate act of selfishness on a team. Holding out suggests that one player's needs is more important then the teams. On a different scale, Favre "holding out" with his decisions forced the organization to wait to make plans for the future, which is a detriment in itself.
But Favre was not only selfish off the field. He often put himself above the team in his play. Now, I realize most consider him a team player, and most of the time he is. But how many times have people referred to the Packers as Favre's team? Tell me if this sounds familiar: "the Packers are nothing without Favre; Favre made that team; he is the team." How can one player be elevated above a roster of 53? Since Favre retired, we've heard much talk of how the Packers are now a bad team. Really? If Favre was the whole team, he was not a team player.
But how can I write that? Certainly that was all fan talk and Favre does not actually believe he alone composes the team? Perhaps, but actions speak louder than words, and, for me, his actions are loud and clear. How many times have we seen Favre try to force a huge play when his team is down? Often, it succeeded, but he holds the interception record for a reason. When he tried to carry the team on his shoulder, very often, he forced passes that landed in the hands of the defense. Last season, when he played within the system (throwing short passes that allowed his talented receivers to make plays, and deep ones when the opportunities arrived), the offense thrived. However, when he tried to carry the team alone and forced throws, that is when the problems occurred. Look at what happened at the Cowboys game, for example. He just tossed it up and was intercepted 3 times that game. When Aaron Rodgers stepped in and played within the system, the offense performed better. People like the term "gunslinger," but it has some negative connotations. For one, it implies a more individualized image (one man taking chances); for the other, it is hit and miss.
Of course, the implication that he thinks he is above the team again refers back to his inability to make a decision. Now, there are rumors that he wants to come back. I am not sure if they are true, but if his words are fueling them, I once again have reason to believe he is selfish.
Look at this through unbiased eyes; take off your Favre-colored glasses. This statement is directed towards those who think the Packers should drop everything and invite him back. More specifically, it targets those who think Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson are to blame. They have a team to run and they can't be constantly concerned with Favre's frequent and expected doubts. They need to move on, as does Brett and the fans. There are reports that McCarthy and Thompson didn't show enough interest, that they didn't want him back, but, really, who can blame them? They have a team to focus on, not one player who thinks he is the team. Why should they spend so much time trying to beg Brett to return, as if he is a child who needs attention? It should go unsaid that he is/was a major part of the team.
Now people are questioning the statement that the organization is "reluctant" to bringing Favre back? Seriously, does anyone hear know anything about running an organization? I admit that I don't, but from what I understand, when a team spends several months preparing with a new quarterback, should they be eager to just dismiss that quarterback for the old? It seems like common sense. Pre-season starts in a month and training camp begins in three weeks. Favre doesn't like to practice and the itch to play becomes stronger when the season approaches. However, Rodgers dedicates himself to his workouts and preparation for the season and now the Packers are suppose to drop everything because an indecisive quarterback changed his mind? Again, that is a selfish position to put a team.
The Packers have the future to think about, and I doubt many of those who are calling for Favre's return realize the long term impact this could have. This isn't just a matter of returning Rodgers to the bench for one more season. Rodgers contract is nearing an end and I expect being treated this way will not sit well with him. Favre would probably only have one more year, but we still don't know what we have in Rodgers. He could be a future star, and we would just throw him aside? Brian Brohm is not anymore of a guarantee. Good quarterbacks are hard to find (ask the Bears and Vikings), so why risk losing someone who could be a longterm solution?
His selfishness has an effect on many. It hurts Aaron Rodgers, who was given the reigns to the offense only to have it threatened by an indecisive quarterback. His growth would probably be smoother if his future was more certain. No wonder he seems to be losing some of his composure (referring to the SI article). It hurts the Packers organization, since they don't need the distractions. It affects the team, because how can the players be loyal to one offensive leader if an older, retired player implies a possible return? Add the media and the questions the Favre talk would incite, and the players may struggle to stay focused on their new quarterback (an important position). If they can't let go of the old, how will they give in to the new? Finally, it affects the fans, who are tired of being pulled around by a selfish player.
I am bothered by this selfishness and indecisiveness. I feel we need to move on. Favre needs to stick with a decision or he will hold everyone back. Will we all just admit that, at the least, this is getting on our collective nerve? It sure has for me.
Posted on: June 24, 2008 12:39 am
Edited on: June 24, 2008 5:56 pm
It is very easy to have doubts. Everyone experiences them. This is especially true when venturing into the unknown. Instead of just trusting, the habit is to try to find a tangible reason, an evidence even when there doesn't seem to be one. When a rational explanation is not found, doubt overcomes. I know how this feels as well as anyone, but with the future of the Green Bay Packers, for some reason, I don't have any doubts. I just have this overwhelming excitement and an unexplainable belief that this year will be a good year.
But how can I explain the unexplainable? Perhaps I am simply exaggerating, since my excitement is not without reason. While it is true that I am not concerned about Aaron Rodgers performance (I expect him to play well in his new starting role), I do rely on reports I've read from offseason practices. However, when these reports only strengthen the faith I have in the new offensive leader, it only further adds to this excitement. I can't wait for the season to start because I expect a good year and, unless I am proven wrong, I will continue to be excited. There has been no decline in this anticipation for me, only an increase in enthusiasm. Why? Because I have no doubts, literally.
Why am I not worried? Three words can be used to explain: faith, trust, and hope. They might be words connected with a religion or belief, but they apply to any time when stepping into the unknown. By definition, faith is required when there is no rational explanation. We can try to rationalize everything, but there are always those things that can not be explained or predicted. Consider the case in question: Aaron Rodgers. There are two ways to categorize Rodgers and his future: he is either going to be bad or he is going to be good. Reading posts on these boards, it is easy to see the divide. However, there is no real proof for either one. The only evidence is one performance against the Cowboys. Everything else is speculation. Therefore, making an assessment either way lacks a concrete reason. When there is no reason or evidence, and yet a person believes one way or the other, they are stepping in faith.
Doubt is the crossroad that leads to faith. A person can just not have a definite feeling either way, but this is when doubt occurs. Stepping into faith occurs when someone becomes convinced of a position, even if there is no proof. That is why my excitement is unwavering. I am convinced that Rodgers will be a good quarterback. I might be wrong, but I have no doubts in this conviction.
Making a decision among doubt leads to faith, having faith requires trusting what you have faith in, and hope comes from optimism. When all of this is combined, it becomes easy to be excited. The following are these three categories with reasons (based on reports I read of Aaron Rodgers) related to each.
The first step in overcoming doubt is faith, but there can still be reasons for certain beliefs. I believe that Aaron Rodgers will be a good to great quarterback, both as a leader and an athlete. To explain why I believe this, here are some examples from articles I found online. They may not be enough to convince, but they do present some positive reasons.
- Rodgers has a strong arm, capable of completing quick passes (like with slants). An article from ESPN by John Clayton describes it well: "His right arm sets up naturally, and the ball comes out unnaturally fast. He doesn't possess an old Randy Johnson fastball, but, in baseball terms, his 6-2 body throws the fastball of a 6-5 pitcher. Sticking to baseball comparisons, Rodgers might not generate 99 or 100 mph on the radar gun, but he'd consistently hit 94 and 95, and sometimes 96." This is essential for a quarterback who plays on an offense that relies on quick throws and shows that, even though Favre could throw a bullet better than most quarterbacks, Rodgers can still make some of those throws if needed. It may not be Favre, but why does it need to be? Greg Jennings had this to say: "He can make every throw on the football field, and his deep ball is one of the prettiest. Brett had a great deep ball, but Aaron has a beautiful one." Those who had concerns about Rodgers deep ball, take notice of the italicized line.
- Rodgers has an enthusiasm for the game, just having fun (sound familiar?) Aaron Rodgers knows how to have fun. That is very important, especially when he experiences the pressure of unnecessary comparisons. But, of course, I am perpetuating one of them. This quote from Rodgers expresses this enthusiasm well: "I know I'm blessed to be able to play this game. It's a kid's game. I just try to keep that attitude and perspective." Having that mindset has prepared him for the tough questions, and he has handled his situation well, which brings me to . . .
- Rodgers had been leaving a good impression with his interaction with the media; he has a good head on his shoulders. An important factor when replacing a legend is that the new quarterback does not become overwhelmed by pressure. The reports I've read, and the interviews I've seen, proves he is not concerned about taking over for such a legend. The best way to show this is by using his own words: "If I'm mentioned in the same sentence as [Favre], that's an honor. His legacy is the legacy of the Packers. I hope to continue that legacy." Not too worried; in fact, he has a lot of confidence. Consider what a Fox sports analyst has to say in this video: Schein: Pack shouldn't worry.
- His team is behind him; he is a good leader. Look at any article that interviews fellow teammates regarding Rodgers and it seems clear they have his support. I won't post these quotes, but the quote from Greg Jennings is encouraging.
An athlete can have all the potential and talent in the world, enough to believe in, but if the athlete doesn't do what is necessary to succeed, what good is it? That is where trust comes in. I trust that Aaron Rodgers is doing what is necessary to be the best he can be and that the coaching staff is capable of assisting in that growth. Here are the signs that both Rodgers and the coaching staff can be trusted.
- Aaron Rodgers is making efforts to unite the team. This is how someone solidifies a position as a leader: he reaches out to his teammates. That is what Aaron Rodgers has been doing this offseason. He even invited the team to his house on several occasions: "Rodgers also had to show inside the locker room that he was worthy of being Favre's successor. To help the process, Rodgers has invited teammates and their significant others to three catered dinners at his house this off-season. Among the featured entrees were seafood and "fried chicken and everything we have down South" for what tight end Donald Lee called "soul-food night." "It's important to be a connected team," said the 24-year-old Rodgers, who was more in tune with younger Packers than Favre in later seasons." This shows his maturity and efforts to take hold of the leadership role he inherited. Don't underestimate the importance of these actions.
- Aaron Rodgers is taking the offseason seriously, including the conditioning program. I am really tired of all the posts that claim Rodgers is injury prone. My argument has been--and I wrote this so many times I am growing sick of it--that he was injured against the Patriots because his body was not adjusted to the aggressive play of defenders in the NFL, which is true of the Patriots. His other injury was relatively minor. Now, considering that Rodgers did not taking his conditioning exercises seriously in the season in which he broke his foot, this is more understandable: "Rodgers might not have fared so well were he forced to play earlier. Rodgers initially wasn't a stickler in the team's off-season conditioning program, which may have led to some previous injuries, and had a passing release point that needed adjusting." Last year, he stepped up in this program (at least, I think he did), and his second injury was minor in comparison. While the Patriots injury took him out for a season, the second injury might not have taken him out as long (though, I will admit a mistake from earlier posts; in one interview, Rodgers said he had a torn hamstring and was 85 percent in the final game, but it is still not as bad as his first injury). Considering he is more dedicated to those conditioning programs now, I could easily see him finish a season without a major injury. However, Rodgers referred to the injuries as more "fluke injuries", which is something that suggests the lack of an explanation, so, once again, if Rodgers is right, I just have to have faith that he will stay healthy and trust Rodgers to do everything he can to prevent them. (He actually shows some irritation with the injury prone label in one interview; see sources).
- Mike McCarthy and Tom Clements know what they are doing. One of the reasons why I am excited is because I know we have a coaching staff that can really help Rodgers grow. Quarterbacks are McCarthy's specialty (I wonder if that was a factor in Thompson hiring him, with Favre close to retirement). In my eyes, just getting Favre to settle down and not force as many passes is a sign of his skill, considering Favre had more baggage (as good as he was, he was struggling the last two seasons by forcing too many passes and throwing interceptions). If McCarthy can settle down a quarterback set in his ways, imagine what he could do with a quarterback that he can mold from the beginning?
Hope is what ties everything together, but it also only makes for a more irrational perspective. This is because it is based simply on optimism. I can give all the reasons in the world for why I believe, but what drives me, and fuels that excitement, is the hope that I am right in my beliefs. In other words, while I might be convinced of my reasons, I still want those reasons to have the desired result. I become optimistic in this hope. Enthusiasm comes not from merely believing, but anticipation.
So why am I excited? I am excited because I believe all of the above but, more importantly, I expect (through hope) that it will turn out the way I believe. Therefore, I am more excited when I hear the doubts of fans of other teams or haters in general because I simply believe they are wrong and I can't wait to see them proven wrong when the Packers succeed. Do I care if I am wrong? Not really, because it hasn't happened yet, and it might not even happen. But while hope implies optimism, it also has a slight negative turn. It does mean that, despite all of my belief and aforementioned reasons, I still am depending on my unproven expectations and hope can be shattered. But, until this happens, I have no reason to be worried. I have no reason to doubt. Instead, I can just be anxious for good reasons: for the season to start. I'm sorry if I didn't convince you, but you can have your own beliefs in matters such as these. I just hope the energy of my enthusiasm can be passed to the reader (especially Packers fans). There are reasons to feel excited.
Don't doubt; just believe. The doubters' words are meaningless if your belief is right. Besides, what does it hurt to be wrong? If your anticipation is right, why be worried now?
Here are some of the articles I referenced:
John Clayton, Packers Gaining Confidence in Rodgers Arm. (ESPN) http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/colum
Alex Marvez, Green Bay is Mr. Rodgers' neighborhood now
Greg A. Bedard, Rodgers on being 'injury prone'
Posted on: May 27, 2008 12:58 am
I have heard all of the doubting, as all Packers fans have. Expectations for the Packers upcoming season has become low since Brett Favre's retirement, leading football fans removed from the Packers to crown the Minnesota Vikings the NFC North Championship. A premature gesture, to say the least. The reason for the overthrow of the current NFC North champions? Aaron Rodgers won't be able to lead the Packers offense. Without Favre, this team is a .500 franchise.
To me, this analysis is as uninspired as it is unoriginal. It permeates these NFL boards, but I don't buy it. Why? First, as many have mentioned, one player does not make a team. Brett Favre was a legend, but when the talent wasn't there, and Farve forced throws to backup receivers, the team struggled. The result? A 4-12 season and more interceptions than touchdowns. Two seasons later, and suddenly Favre is the savior of the Packers once again. But how many people the season before considered Brett Favre washed up and on his last leg?
It was the team that made him better. I know many people will scoff at this claim but look at the evidence: Favre played best when he threw short, slant routes to his talented receivers, and many of the yards were picked up after the catch. When Brett strayed from this scheme and tried to force the ball (often deep, which seems to be the cause of many of his interceptions), this is when he made mistakes. In other words, Favre succeeded when he followed the guidance of Mike McCarthy, a talented quarterback coach. That same coach worked with Aaron Rodgers from year two on and the results have already been seen.
But Favre is the only cause of our success, right? Favre caught those short passes and ran for another 10 to 15 yards. Favre ran the ball well after the media was convinced our offense would be one dimensional the entire season. Favre made the defensive plays to hold the opponent after throwing an interception (while the Packers defense gave up a lot of yards, they were top in the league when it came to preventing opponents from scoring). It must have been Favre who made some important plays on special teams in key situations.
All that is clearly sarcasm. It is to make a point. The Packers offense will still have an improving line, a group of talented wide receivers, and a backfield that has the potential to grow, especially with players returning from injuries and Ryan Grant getting a starting opportunity at the beginning of the season. Also, we have a quarterback who has the guidance of a gifted coach. A quarterback who was considered a 1st overal pick prospect in 2005. In other words, he is no slacker. Then lets not forget about the defense. It seems people remember the bad times (Al Harris against Plexico Burress) and forget the good.
All of this brings me to the hypocrisy of Vikings fans and anyone else who praises the Vikings while disregarding the NFC North Champion Packers. The reason that the Packers won't win is because our quarterback will be a failure. First of all, there is nothing to indicate any truth to this statement. People are just so hung up on the past that they don't see a future in Rodgers. However, the Vikings somehow are in better shape. I don't get it. So, a team that has had two years without success in the quarterback position is better off than a team with a QB who has not even had the opportunity to show his potential. I would rather have a quarterback who has potential than one who played long enough to be a disappointment. I would also take Mike McCarthy over Brad Childress any day.
So what do the Vikings have that the Packers don't? They don't have the receiving core to help the quarterback like we do. They have a good running game, but Ryan Grant has potential to improve this year and Adrian Peterson might struggle if their is no passing threat. The defenses are both even, though the corners seem to be slightly to greatly better on the Packers. As far as I am concerned, the teams are very similar, assuming Rodgers is a disappointment or gets injured (through Brian Brohm could still be better than Tarvaris Jackson; even Matt Flynn could be less of a failure). So why do the Packers have less of a chance.
Favre is the reason? Seriously, he was great, but, as I already mentioned, he played best last year when he acted as a team player. When he didn't try to carry the team and let the playmakers perform their roles, the Packers excelled. A 14-3 record proved that. The Vikings were sub-.500, 6 games behind. Do people really think losing one player will be that big of a problem. I know that people will disagree with me, but Brett Favre was a name. Having his name on our roster somehow made us better. Without it, we're subpar. I don't buy it. If any other quarterback was replaced, people wouldn't be saying this. Rodgers doesn't need to replace Brett. He simply needs to execute and run a talented offense. He needs to listen to his coach and not make mistakes. The rest of the team can pick up any slack.
Yet he is not good enough. Apparently Jackson is. To me, this is the hypocrisy. The Vikings claim they can win the division with a strong defense, excellent running game, yet no quarterback. They added nothing to improve on their record (sorry, but Bernard Berrian was only a backup and Jared Allen, while good, still only builds in a position of strength, but adds nothing to the passing defense concerns). However, a team with an unproven quarterback, talented running game, and a strong defense (notice the parallels) will drop below their previous record by 8 or more games and lose the division. That is contradicting logic.
No, wait, that is hypocrisy.
Posted on: April 2, 2008 3:24 am
Edited on: April 2, 2008 1:39 pm
There has been a growing debate on whether or not the Packers can win under the leadership of Aaron Rodgers. The claim has mainly been that Brett Favre won games for the Packers with his play and that, without him, the team will not have their safety blanket. Essentially, Favre carried the team on his shoulders and the fate of the team lived and died on how he performed. Aaron Rodgers can't do that--or, at least, that is the assumption by many, though they base it all on three quarters of play on the prime-time stage--so therefore the team will suffer.
I, however, find a problem with this judgement. Everyone remembers the good Brett Favre. He was the one who would run a two-minute offense and lead the team to a game-winning score. He was the one who can make the critical play when the team needs him the most. This is all true about him and it is the reason why Packers fans hold him in such high regard.
When he was good, he gave the team the chance to win. However, when he was horrible . . . do I need to remind the other die-hard fans? The bad Brett Favre forced a pass to a receiver in pressure situations and broke the record for number of interceptions. He was the one who could lose the game for you as much as he could win it. In fact, reflecting on some of the Packers losses in the past, you could say that Brett Favre played a large role. This is what is meant by "living and dying on how Favre performed." With all the respect in the world toward Favre, how many people will deny that they felt just as much fear toward him throwing that fatal pick as they did excitement for his ability to lead comebacks? I admit I always had a sinking feeling in my stomach that anticipated a mistake.
In other words, as much as I loved Brett Favre, his play did not always inspire hope. When you find yourself telling a friend "I hope he doesn't throw an interception" during the end of every close game (and, sadly, this was true for me), well, that is not the hope that inspires. Instead, it shows that Favre demonstrated a trend that frustrated many fans: he evoked negativity within his positives. He was good, but he could be bad.
Why did this happen? Because he tries to carry the team on his back.
For every person who credits Brett for carrying the team and leading them to victory, very few seem to acknowledge that this was not always a good thing. When did he throw game deciding interceptions? When he tried to force the ball. Why would he want to force the ball? Most likely its because he thought he had to win the game on his own. It was better when he played as a part of the team and just stuck with the gameplan. I certainly got discourage when he made plays that suggested he had to win.
Look at how the Packers won last season. The Packers won by establishing a team mentality. When they played well, everyone played a role. The line would make holes for Ryan Grant; the wide receivers--Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, and James Jones--made clutch receptions and large gains out of short routes (emphasis on "short routes," because that is the type of system in which a young quarterback can excel); the defense scored touchdowns when they needed them; even the special teams played a part. Favre played best when he acted as a piece of the whole. True, he was a large piece with talent and leadership ability, but he fit the grand plan.
What happened when he did try to force completions? Look no further than the NY Giants game. He had no reason to throw it to Donald Driver when he was so well covered by Corey Webster. Brett Favre struggled that whole game and while many people point out Al Harris' struggles, they neglect the fact that it went into overtime! Even with the horrendous play of Favre and the struggles on defense, the team still was close to a Super Bowl berth. When Favre threw that interception, can you guess what my reaction was? "I knew it." Not a good sign when defeat this way is expected.
For those who claim the Packers can't win without Favre and that they are not a good "team," look at how they played when Favre struggled. Look at the Redskins game. It was the defense, particularly Charles Woodson, who carried that game. Finally, lets refer to the infamous Dallas Cowboys Thursday Night game. Favre tried to score quick and played uncharacteristically, throwing deep passes that led to a horrible game. They loss that game because of Favre's efforts to win with his arm alone instead of trusting the short routes. However, when did the team succeed? (We all know this answer):
When Aaron Rodgers stepped in.
Everyone points to this game as the indication that Rodgers can be a success in this league. I agree, but I think the reason why they came close to winning that game was because they worked together as a team and followed the gameplan. This is why I think the Packers will still be successful. As legendary as Brett Favre was, he came into this offense with baggage. True, he played well when he followed the gameplan, but he still had that tendency to force passes when he thought he needed to. Aaron Rodgers comes in under the guidance of an excellent QB Coach by the name of Mike McCarthy. Therefore, Rodgers will probably be more receptive to the plan, without trying to do too much. The pieces are all there; he just needs to be a part (albeit major one) of the whole.
The message, then, to all sports fans and to Rodgers himself is this: trying to carry the team will not win games. Allowing yourself to fit into a team and play the required role is how to succeed. We will miss Favre, but we don't need a quarterback who wins games for us by feeling the need to carry the team on his back.
We need one who knows that losing can be contributed to the same mentality and that wins, and losses, are achieved by a team.