Packers gameplan: Once more unto the breach
Kelly Hodgson, Packers contributor
After the September loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, much of Packers Planet began preparing, as Richard III might say in Shakespearean theater, for a winter of discontent. The team was falling further into the basement at 1-2.
The entire running back corps found its way to the injury list. Clay Matthews injured his hamstring. Again.
Concussions were becoming a commonplace problem. Oh, and Aaron Rodgers was apparently human and had a bad day, too.
There were some that were ready to pack it up and call it a season with only three games played. It was a perfect storm for pessimists to come out in droves.
Talk about tossing the baby out with the bathwater.
The season is still very young. There are still 13 games yet to play.
It’s only been three years since the Packers’ Super Bowl season. Funny how people forget the team was 3-3 in October of that year, and that was even before people really started to freak out after Aaron Rodgers sustained his second concussion of the season.
So where do we go from here?
Letting calmer heads prevail is probably a good first course of action.
Aaron Rodgers summed it up nicely on Friday when he said, per the Journal Sentinel, “So I encouraged our leaders this week to stay positive, to bring that positive energy, I think that’s going to be important to kind of permate throughout the team. A lack of panic and an overall general positive outlook on things regardless of the circumstance or the adversity we may face.”
Sounds like Rodgers has signed on to Mike McCarthy’s “pawsitive” mantra.
Things have definitely looked up this week. Morgan Burnett was cleared and returned, minus his famous dreadlocks, ready to rumble.
At middle of the week, it looked like we would be going through Clay Matthews’ routine midseason absence while he continued to nurse his ailing hamstring.
By Saturday, Jermichael Finley had joined in the chorus of positivity. Given the green light and ready to go, Finley took to twitter and echoed Rodgers’ eagerness to return to the field by quoting none other than Vince Lombardi:
Because that is what great teams do after they falter. They get back up and prepare for the next game. There is no time wallow in self-pity. They had ample time during the bye week to lick their wounds.
Sunday is game day. There is no room for doubt or worry. Wishing another player would miraculously find his way off the injury roster won’t help either.
Perhaps William Shakespeare summed it up best. Sure, it is from a play that is over 400 years old, Henry V’s famous soliloquizing this sense of positive urgency.
“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close up the wall with our English dead.”
No, few are fluent in Iambic Pentameter these days, and the battle about to be waged will not be in France.
Yet it rings true as team reflects and, like Henry’s England, is about to face one of its storied rivals.
Allow me to translate into modern terms. “Suit up, men. It’s game day. It’s all more nothing because the other alternative is shuttering up Lambeau and let the Lions win.”
There are 13 games left in the season. That’s 780 minutes yet for the Packers to play and determine their destiny.
It is too early to give up.
If memory serves me right, the Packers were only 3-3 after six games in 2010 (and that was before Aaron Rodgers sustained his second concussion of the season).
Remember how that season played out.
The Packers will come out of the tunnel shortly before noon on Sunday. I have no doubt a modern day King Henry V — whether it is Rodgers, Finley, Matthews or their coach does not matter — calling them to join them in battle.
I highly doubt they will be quoting Shakespeare. But they will be rallying the rest of the team. A band of brothers with one purpose. To win and silence the critics.
Sure, there are some that have already written the 2013 Green Bay Packers off. They’ll get killed tomorrow. They won’t win the NFC North. They don’t have a chance to advance in the playoffs.
That locker room call to battle isn’t for those critics.
With their words and actions this week, the Green Bay Packers have let people know they are looking forward and not lingering in the past.
They can’t change the outcome of past games, but they control their own destiny from here on out.
A leader will issue the call to battle tomorrow. His 52 brothers will answer loudly in unison. They will charge the field with every intention to win.
If they can believe that, so should we.
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.
Kelly Hodgson, who grew up across the river from Lambeau Field, is the co-host of the podcast "Out of the Pocket" at Packerstalk.com. Her other Packers musings can be found at PocketDoppler.com.