Before school started this year, I ordered three motivational tin posters for my music classroom. One of these posters features Babe Ruth, while the other two feature none other than Vince Lombardi, legendary Green Bay Packers coach. Each one is a black and white photo prominently displaying an inspirational quote, and I often reference them when my students need some guidance.
After the past few weeks, with the struggles of a Packers team sans Aaron Rodgers, I have been unable to get one of those quotations out of my mind:
“The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.” –Vince Lombardi
I selected this particular poster, because it suggests that measuring ourselves against others is a fool’s errand. As I have often said, there will always be people out there better than us at something, and there will always be people who are worse than us. We should be looking at success as a measure of what we’ve been able to accomplish from where we’ve started.
How does this apply to the Packers’ current situation? Like many other fans, in my frustration with this injury-riddled season, my contempt for the defense and its failures has grown. Every year since the abysmal 2011 season – and a defense that, on average, gave up over 400 yards per game – I’ve been praying that Dom Capers would turn it around.
“Just get some good players in the draft, and we’ll be set,” I told myself. “Then we can get back to the 2010 defense that allowed the second fewest points per game in the league.”
Of course, this year, I started the season with a different tune. “Just get some key players healthy, and this defense will be unmovable.” Names like Casey Hayward, Morgan Burnett, and eventually Clay Matthews and Nick Perry kept popping up in this conversation. Green Bay just needed to get over the injury bug. That’s all.
It hasn’t gotten better, though. And average quarterbacks are making the pass defense look downright silly.
Unlike some fans, I’m not going to point my finger at Ted Thompson. I believe that he is good at acquiring talent for this team. Guys like Clay Matthews, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Eddie Lacey were unbelievable draft picks. Then consider players like David Bakhtiari, Morgan Burnett, and Josh Sitton, who have been some solid acquisitions in the middle rounds. And don’t forget the undrafted diamonds like Sam Shields and DuJuan Harris that Thompson has unearthed.