This may anger some of you, but I've basically conceded this Packers' season. And by that, I mean that my expectations for their success (wins and losses wise) are non-existent. I'm going to watch them, for sure, I'll even go to sports bars to do so, and I'm hoping to attend some games if I can get my second cousin (who has assumed the mantle of my family's ticket czarina) to mail me some tickets without them getting lost in the mail, and I'm planning on buying this nifty beanie, but really I don't expect them to win many games.
I think it will continue to work the way it has this season: losing solidly to good teams (Eagles, Bears), and being competitive with bad teams (Lions), maybe sneaking a win here and there.
So in wins and losses, we're in deep trouble. And I think that's good, honestly. We need more talented players, and really exceptional talent most often come high in the draft, unless the player is a total headcase, see T. Owens and J. Walker. You get a high draft pick by winning fewer games.
So if you agree with my premise-- that the Packers are not good this year, and that one should not get too emotionally devastated when they don't win games because that will lead to us being able to draft more talented players next spring-- this leaves the question of what should a Packer fan do during the remaining NFL season?
I think there are a few good plans of action that any Packer fan could and should implement.
First, root openly and loudly against all traditional rivals. Death to the Bears, Viqueens ('Queens) and Lions, but root for the Lions to get a worse draft pick than us, just like last year (I am confident that Hawk is better than Ernie Sims). I will allow Packer fans to get fired up for these games, and you have my permission to temporarily forget about our draft status during and after (if we win). Since the Bears are peaking (don't worry about the long term, their O-line and Muhammad are aging rapidly and they have no passable back-ups, and Rance Briggs is gone in the off-season), we will have to stomach them being decent. Every Bear fan should still be mocked, however, for their own boorish behavior, their Florida-derived quarterback, Urlacher's love child with a totally insane person, and the likely reality of another home playoff exit-- no wins since '90, Bears fans. (As a current Chicago resident, the Bears loss to Carolina last year was absolutely fabulous, I must say).
In re the 'Queens, cite the Sex Boat and Fred Smoot's double headed implement whenever possible.
For Lions fans, not that you really need to mock these poor souls, you can remind them that despite Roy Williams' brilliance, Matt Millen is still their GM, and that the team continues to be located in the Detroit metropolitan area.
Second, follow the Packers and root for their young players. I thought our ability to run the ball (with Noah freakin' Herron) against the Rams was a very positive sign. Crazy offensive coordinator Jagodzinski indicated that people were actually starting to get the zone blocking scheme. Hip hop hooray. Go Wells, Spitz, Colledge, Moll. Cheer on Jennings, and hope he gets better. Despite his fine record so far, Jennings is only catching about 47% of the passes thrown his way, a pretty mediocre percentage, and because of this, is rated only a hair above average by Football Outsiders. Regardless, you must love him because Michigan spurned him in recruiting, and thus he loathes the champions of the northeastern Midwest. Watch Hawk as if you were a bird of prey, and hope that he and Poppinga start making big plays (guys, it's more valuable if you catch the pass instead of just hitting it with your arms). See if Nick Collins can develop ball skills to go with his excellent run-support.
Certain people on this team are getting old, folks, and it's not just Brett. Ahman, Harris, Clifton and many others are coasting down the far side of yonder hill. If you are hoping the future will be better, keep an eye on the young players and hope they improve.
Third, casually root for former Badgers. This means Chambers (who FO actually rates below Jennings so far this year), Evans, O. Daniels, Ronnie, Starks, Griesen, Al Johnson, etc. This is more of a "feel good for them if you see their stats in the paper or cheer for them if you are randomly watching their games" thing, rather than a command to closely follow the performance of the Redskins interior offensive line.
Fourth, hope that Favre doesn't become too despondent, and specifically, doesn't break the record for interceptions. It sounds like he's getting depressed, which I find terribly sad. He is still capable of playing excellent football, and even though I expect us to lose most of our remaining games, and I'd like him to feel good about himself. Maybe a touchdown and a half a game, and lets say, five more interceptions this season, and finishing off the year with a win at the spaceship Soldier Field (the Bears will probably be resting their starters anyway at that point). That'd be great.
If you have different goals, let me hear 'em.
Oh, and here's some more local commentary on the UW Band probation. The editor of the Cap Times says that Bill O'Reilly commented on this. If anyone knows where I can find a tape of that, let me know forthwith.