Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

Packer season at a crossroads

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Greg Peck
Wednesday, November 6, 2013

There's no truth to the suggestion—made by many fans on social media and even reported by the Chicago Sun-Times—that the story  written by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Bob McGinn jinxed the Packers and led to the injury to quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

I realize some local Packer fans blame The Gazette for reprinting the story Monday. But, hey, the article was already out there.

Sure, as a former sportswriter myself, I would have been reluctant to propose such a story and hesitant to take such an assignment. Yet it was defensive end Shea McClellin who pounced on Rodgers—a reasonable tackle, mind you—and left the Packer QB with a broken left collarbone. McGinn's story was insightful and an unfortunate, ill-timed coincidence.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported Tuesday that the “Journal Sentinel Jinx may not be the equal of the Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx, but that isn't making some Packers fans feel any better.”

As McGinn wrote: “Losing Rodgers to major injury would be the nightmare of all nightmares. He makes everyone's job easier. Yet, no organization would be better equipped to handle it than Green Bay. Fools will cry that I'm jinxing Rodgers and the Packers by writing about this.”

McGinn also wrote: “The guess here is that even if the Packers were to lose Rodgers early Monday night against the Chicago Bears they'd find ways to finish 11-5.”

Based on what fans saw Monday night out of backup QB Seneca Wallace, they'd gladly trade their mothers-in-law for an 11-5 Packer finish right now.

In today's Gazette, Packer coach Mike McCarthy pledged confidence in Wallace and expects that, given a full week's worth of practice, Wallace will lead the Packers to victory Sunday against visiting Philadelphia.

Do you agree? Should we hope former Badger QB Scott Tolzien (who got a sizable raise recently to decline an offer to join the Cleveland Browns) is elevated off the Packer practice squad, as reported, and might be better than Wallace? Why is the team not picking up the unclaimed Matt Flynn, who threw six touchdown passes in a Packer victory over Detroit a few years ago (I've heard word about an issue with Flynn's arm)?

More than a jinx, I blame Packer General Manager Ted Thompson for this one. He's supposedly shrewd at choosing talent to develop, but then placed the team's entire hopes on one quarterback. Two QB stiffs the team spent a couple of years trying to groom as backups were so bad (obvious to many fans) that both were cut loose in the preseason. Newcoming reject Vince Young also didn't stick. Now we must do with another reclamation project, Wallace, who had no previous experience in any Packer game—regular season or preseason.

With so many injuries to so many players, can the Packers somehow survive until Rodgers and others return and still limp into the playoffs? If you think they can, do they have any realistic chance of making a deep playoff run?

I'm not holding my breath. Here's one reason why. Just when the Packers needed their defense to step up the most, that unit laid a large egg at Lambeau on Monday night. The defense is not as good as we'd like to think. That will make the job of Wallace—or whichever the next QB replacement flavor of the week is—that much tougher.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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