Struggles for Packers
Rebuilding.It’s a term fans of Wisconsin sports have become used to hearing. The Bucks have spent the better part of the last three years rebuilding their program — and it seems to be paying off early this year — the team looks damn good. Milwaukee Brewers fans have been dealing with rebuilding for over a decade, holding out hope that the Nick Neugebauers and Ryan Andersons of the world would bring them out of the cellar. Well, it took a little longer than advertised, and it wasn’t Neugebauer or Anderson that brought the Brew Crew to glory — but the days of rebuilding appear to be over in Milwaukee.Although the Bucks and Crew have been rebuilding the past few years, there’s always been one constant for the Wisconsin football fans — the Green Bay Packers. Well, at least until this season.A 1-7 start wasn’t exactly what anyone — fan or pundit — expected from the Packers this season. They were an aging team, and their defense was suspect, but with Brett Favre at the helm and an offense solid at the skill positions, much more was expected of the Packers this season.After all, this was a team that went 10-6 last year, with the only major offseason losses coming at the two guard positions on the offensive line. This team was supposed to find a way to get into the playoffs with Favre’s Hall-of-Fame career winding down. But it has just not materialized.Obviously injuries have taken their toll. It’s hard to put points on the board when you lose three of your top five wide receivers and your top three running backs for portions of the season. Let’s face it, names like Chad Lucas and Samkon Gado don’t exactly strike fear into opposing defenses.Which brings about the question — is it time for rebuilding in Green Bay? Well, I’m not jumping off of any bandwagons yet, so I’m going to have to answer “no” to that question.For starters, it’s hard to believe the Packers would be where they are right now if it weren’t for the injury bug. I realize it’s pretty much a copout to blame injuries — after all, shouldn’t teams be deep enough to overcome the inevitable?That’s true, but replacing a Javon Walker is just not the same as replacing, say, an injured Bill Schroeder when he was a starter for Green Bay. The same can be said for replacing a tailback like Ahman Green (though I realize he wasn’t exactly tearing it up before his injury, he’s still a better option the Packers’ current starters).These players are Pro Bowl-caliber individuals in the NFL and for any team to replace them with players of comparable talent is nearly impossible. Not to mention the backups that stepped up in each case, Robert Ferguson for Walker and Najeh Davenport for Green, who both suffered injuries as well. If Walker and Green were healthy all year, it’s plausible the Packers could be at least a .500 club and challenging for the NFC North crown.Plus there’s still Favre. Is it fair to him to start rebuilding while he’s still rebuilding? Absolutely not. Favre has been the face of the Packers for years and is arguably the greatest player in franchise history, not to mention the guy is never willing to lose.Favre brought Green Bay its first Super Bowl win since the late 1960s and has led the resurgence of a franchise that was a perennial NFL doormat prior to his reign. If for no other reason than out of respect for the Kiln, Miss., native, Green Bay should do everything within its power to field a respectable team while he’s on the field.Not to mention, when was the last time the Brewers, Bucks and Packers were respectable at the same time? Wouldn’t that be something?