23

August

Packers vs. Seahawks: A Preseason Game In Name Only

A picture that needs no caption.

The calendar still reads August.  If I’m the Green Bay Packers, I don’t care.

Tonight is just not another preseason game.  For Green Bay, it shouldn’t be a preseason game at all.  Coach Mike McCarthy of course will eventually get his backup players into the game, but since the third preseason game is the closest to a dress rehearsal as you can get in the NFL, McCarthy very well could roll with his starters into the third quarter.

As well he should.

The game tonight at Lambeau Field against the Seattle Seahawks doesn’t count at all in the standings.  The results will have absolutely no bearing on either team making the playoffs.  As long as they both emerge without any major injuries, the game could be considered a win for both sides.

Not for the Packers.  Preseason game be damned, this is war.

There’s no need to sit here and recap the “Fail Mary” game in Seattle last year that ended up costing the Packers a first round bye in the playoffs.  Had the correct call been made, Green Bay (more than likely) would have still faced the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round but at Lambeau Field rather than San Francisco.

No matter how much McCarthy or the players said otherwise, that “loss” to Seattle had to sting all season long.  The coach and his players did an admirable job in public, but that kind of situation just has to sting a locker room.  Imagine being passed over on a promotion at work because someone read your resume wrong. You’d be upset for a long time, wouldn’t you?

The Packers went on to win six of their next seven games and still won the division and made the playoffs.  Still, you can’t help but wonder what might have been.

Never before did I think it possible that a preseason game could set the tone for the regular season, but the game tonight against the Seahawks very well could.  This summer everyone has been going gaga over Seattle and second year quarterback Russell Wilson and the Packers have largely been ignored except when former players open their mouths about the leadership of the best quarterback in the league.

Everyone knows how well Aaron Rodgers plays with a chip on his shoulder.  Rodgers and his teammates need to use this game to remind people of that fact.  If they can’t get up for this game, preseason label aside, then I have some concerns about the team’s mindset heading into 2013.

All of training camp we have heard how much hungrier and physical the team is compared to past years. That’s all well and good.  This game is the perfect time to go out and prove it.  Seattle plays a very physical style of defense and a signal clearly would be sent to the NFL if the Packers manhandle the Seahawks and even push them around a bit.

Thanks to the events of the “Fail Mary” game and the incredibly smug response by the Seahawks after it, they’ve basically become the schoolyard bully. The best way to handle a bully (in football anyway)? Punch them square in the mouth.

The Packers have been fighting a stigma all year about being a “soft” team and beating Seattle can go a long way towards to erasing that.  Seeing Golden Tate laid out over the middle of the field is a sight many Packers fans have been waiting to see, so hopefully the defense doesn’t disappoint. The game is being broadcast nationally on CBS, so this is a prime opportunity for the Packers to prove they’re tougher than many are giving them credit for.

This isn’t to say McCarthy should be foolish with his players.  He still needs to keep those nursing injuries out.  It’s not worth the risk at this point, but McCarthy knows how much this game means to his players.  He should have the team ready for battle.

The Lambeau faithful should be ready as well. They know this is preseason, but they don’t care. This is revenge and for an exhibition contest, Lambeau will be at its rowdiest.  Wilson should be expecting plenty of boos on his return to Wisconsin.

The bottom line here is that this game counts. It may mean squat in the standings, but it counts for the Packers’ psyche.  People normally should shrug off preseason games (the 2008 Lions went 4-0 in preseason, remember) but this one probably shouldn’t be.  A win and it’s a glorious moment for the Packers and their fans and would help erase the bitterness of last year’s “defeat.” A loss and the questioning of the Packers’ toughness and ability to compete in the NFC will be renewed.

This might sound utterly ridiculous for a preseason game, but when you combine the fact that it is the most action starters will see until Week 1 and the opponent happens to be the team that literally got handed a win against you last year, but a win is still a win in the NFL.  Victory tonight would send a charge through Packer Nation and the locker room that could very well carry over into the regular season.

Don’t kid yourselves, folks. This one counts.

——————

Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke

——————

23 Responses to “Packers vs. Seahawks: A Preseason Game In Name Only”

  1. Rymetyme81 says:

    Thanks Kris, this got me a bit more excited for this game.

    I think the outcome of this game is definitely more important to the fans than the players, but you better believe that Rodgers wants to score multiple TDs on Seattle’s first-team defense.

    Even if the D gets pushed around a bit in the run game by Lynch and Wilson I wouldn’t worry too much. Capers is definitely going to play it vanilla and save the surprised for SF.

    I read in a Seattle newspaper that Tate has “something special” planned if he scores a TD. Let’s just hope we don’t see it, I’m angry enough that I’ll have to see shots of classless Pete Carroll all game. If the ‘Hawks win I expect him to run on the field with his arms up, celebrating.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

    • Savage57 says:

      I agree that this is going to be more than the usual pap that passes as a pre-season game. But I’d be very happy if Rodgers and the 1′s scored their FIRST TD of the pre-season. Gotta get one before you can get two.

      I would guess that Golden Tate is probably thinking Lambeau Leap, and if that’s the case, I really want Packer fans to embrace him when he jumps in the stands. And then embrace him some more, real tight, in fact a whole crew of 250lb+ dudes should just crush him with welcoming hugs.

      Either that or after he catches a pass he’s going to hand the ball to MD Jennings and signal touchdown.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    • Its like you learn my mind! You appear to understand so much about this, such as you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you just could do with a few p.c. to force the message home a bit, however instead of that, that is fantastic blog. A fantastic read. I’ll definitely be back.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Bearmeat Bearmeat says:

    Kris I think you’ve got a rude awakening coming. MM has said repeatedly that he doesn’t view this 3rd preseason game as a “tuneup” for the regular season because of the new CBA and losing so much time to injury on the back end of the roster.

    I’d bet Seattle keep their starters in for much longer than the Packers and pummels us as a result.

    On a side note: APC had a “know your enemy” post with the Field Gulls guys. Predictably, the comment section devolved into arguments about last years game fairly quickly. Those turds STILL insist that not only did the game have “equally bad reffing” for each side (not even close to true) but that the last play was correctly called.

    Seems that other than Seahags fans everyone on the planet, including the only coach that has ever taken the Seahags to the super bowl, is sure that was in INT.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcnorth/post/_/id/60127/homlgren-praises-mccarthy

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  3. Alex Parkhurst says:

    Pete Carroll is a total jackass. He leaves USC after soiling that program with all kinds of cheating and recruiting violations, but acts as if he had nothing to do with it.

    “I am absolutely shocked and disappointed at the findings of the NCAA”.

    Something like this:

    Al Capone at sentencing, “I am absolutely shocked at the bootlegging and crime that went on in Chicago when I lived there”.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  4. Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

    I expect this to be a hard hitting game will all kinds of skirmishes and probably a few personal fouls called. I read that MM said they had an awful padded practice earlier in the week. Hopefully that is not an indicator of what is to come. The packers need to come out and show that they can be a hard hitting aggressive team against one of the best teams in the NFL. And to quote Rex Ryan, put a little hot sauce on it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  5. Tarynfor12 Tarynfor12 says:

    The Packers winning this game for ‘revenge’ is like the person in Las Vegas who put $500 into a slot machine and wins $50 on his last play and screams “I won”.

    When we play them for real and win,then jump and scream,that’s a winner.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

    • Mojo says:

      I have to agree with Taryn here. Kris states that a loss would bring skepticism about the Packers toughness and ability to compete in the NFC. That’s probably true, but who cares?

      A team evolves throughout the year. There have been countless times a team has won or lost in the preseason but the reverse was true when it counted. In fact there have been countless times teams have beaten someone in the regular season and lost in the post(remember 2011 Packer fans).

      So to me this is just another exhibition game to evaluate players. If the Pack wins by 30, it would do nothing to erase last years bitterness towards the Seattle game. My concern tonight is hopefully the Packers avoid injuries and they get good info on their players so the final 53 is the best group possible to keep.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  6. packett says:

    Kris, as much as this would be nice emotionally, it isn’t logical. Play this as a practice. Period. Don’t get involved in proving anything. Why waste any effort to prove to the rest of the NFL that GB is tough? Prove it only on games that count.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  7. Dobber says:

    OK…I might be the only person who feels this way, but when you go back to that 2012 game, it really was a story of two halves. Once the Packers decided to run the ball with a little bit more regularity, they were pretty effective against a fast, physical Seahawks defense.

    Did the Seahawks really do much against the Packers offensively? Not really, but they weren’t running hardly any read-option at that point in the season and Wilson was still pretty green (10/21 passing?).

    I agree: the Packers will likely run a lot of base defense (vanilla) and only occasionally scheme to stop the read-option to try to hide their tendencies from SF. It’s a preseason game, and it would be nice to win, but I’d rather see the Packers get reps, evaluate personnel, and get out healthy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

    • Packattack88 says:

      The read option is a glorified inside zone. You do not “scheme” to stop it, you stop it by having your players play their assignments. The reason the read option has been so successful is that players overreact to the hyper-athletic, play-making quarterback and don’t do what they’re supposed to do. When they do what their supposed to do, the read option is no better than the aforementioned inside zone that everyone has been running in the NFL since the 1980s.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

      • Packattack88 says:

        they’re*

        Curse you grammar.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

      • Dobber says:

        Then let me step back and say it this way, which I should have said in the first place: personnel groupings rather than “scheme”.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      • Stroh says:

        No actually the read option is quite a bit more than an inside zone run. ALOT more. More like a triple option really… In the read option a defensive player is left unblocked (did you know that?) and a lot of what happens is how that defensive player decides to play it, which the QB reads and responds to. It can go to the RB if he allows an open lane for the RB. The QB can decide to keep it (if said defender attacks the RB, see Walden vs SF) and at other times even drop back to throw (tho that’s usually a little more planned ahead, not spur of the moment).

        Now I’m not saying that to mean its gonna revolutionize the game by any means. I don’t think it will due to the fact that it opens the QB to a lot more unneeded contact. If the defensive player attacks the mesh point and a fake is carried out the defender basically has free reign to hit the QB. Most teams are loath to see their Franchise QB take that contact (which is part of the reason why it’ll not be something teams use regularly season after seasn or game after game). But you are right, a large part of the reason its successful, at least so far, is the threat those athletic QB’s pose to the D (which is something the inside zone run certainly doesn’t pose)!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Icebowler says:

    After being shut out a home in the first preseason game. I think the teams wants to make a better showing this time no matter who their playing. If we win the first half with the starters, I’ll be happy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  9. Oppy says:

    If the Packers win and set the tone for the season, but in doing so do not get the critical evaluations on bubble players that they need to make the best roster decisions come cut down time, it will be a huge waste of time, IMO.

    If they get what they need in terms of reps for the players on the bottom half of the roster and figure out who’s in and who’s out, but lose the contest, I’d consider it to be a productive preseason game.

    15 players currently on the Packers 90 man roster must be shown the door on Tuesday at 4:00pm.. Removing any question marks that still linger about the tail end of roster is the most critical aspect of this preseason game, period. It’s urgent.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  10. aaronqb says:

    This game is primarily another opportunity to pick the 53-man. Lots of roster spots up for grabs. Great story line from last year’s game – but the result really doesn’t matter much.

    New England has gotten drubbed in preseason game 3 in each of the past 4 years and have made the playoffs each year.

    I’m not reading anything into the results of the game. I’ll mainly be looking at the backup QBs and the other guys on the bubble.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  11. Stroh says:

    Didn’t get a chance to comment b4 the game, but its stupid to think the Packers will actually play to win this game! McCarthy cares only a little about winning in the PRE-season. This game means next to nothing!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  12. Chad Lundberg says:

    “Imagine being passed over on a promotion at work because someone read your resume wrong. You’d be upset for a long time, wouldn’t you?”

    Thank you Kris for making possibly the first football metaphor that doesn’t involve a complicated relationship with women.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. FITZCORE1252 says:

    Pulling the best QB on the planet after one series… Total PS game. Mike wanted to evaluate youth, if they won in the process, great, if not… Preseason.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. Lelah Ginzel says:

    In case you are still undecided: grab your selected headphones, mind down to a finest Acquire and have in order to connect these in to a Microsoft zune and then a music player and see what one looks safer to a person, and also which usually software making you grin a lot more. Then you’ll understand which can be best for you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. locksmith says:

    It’s appropriate time to make a few plans for the future and it’s time to be happy. I have learn this put up and if I could I wish to recommend you few fascinating things or suggestions. Perhaps you could write next articles relating to this article. I want to learn even more things about it!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. Hi my family member! I want to say that this article is amazing, nice written and include almost all important infos. I would like to look extra posts like this .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0