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Packers lack in playoff experience

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Heatherthepackgirl, Jan 1, 2008.

  1. Heatherthepackgirl

    Heatherthepackgirl Cheesehead

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    By TOM SILVERSTEIN
    tsilverstein@journalsentinel.com
    Posted: Dec. 31, 2007

    Green Bay - There is a message the Green Bay Packers' coaches have been subtly sending to their young players in recent weeks and will begin hammering home when the team returns from a four-day bye week vacation.

    Tramon Williams is one of 36 players without playoff experience on the roster.

    Namely, that the playoffs are a different animal.

    If the 36 players on the 53-man roster who have never played in a post-season game thought the Dallas game Nov. 29 was high energy, then they're about to find out what electric really means.

    "They're going to walk out on the field that day and they're going to feel it," said receivers coach Jimmy Robinson, who has four players on his unit who haven't experienced playoff football. "It almost becomes surreal."

    Following the team's 34-13 victory over Detroit Sunday, Coach Mike McCarthy dismissed his players for the bye week and won't require them to return until Thursday night. On Friday and Saturday, they'll practice in pads, with the aim of working on fundamentals, as they wait to see who their opponent will be in the divisional round.

    As the Packers' playoff destiny became clearer late in the year, coaches and veteran players began their initiation program for the youngsters. It has not been uncommon for a younger player to hear quarterback Brett Favre or wide receiver Donald Driver or cornerback Al Harris talk about the switch that gets turned on in the playoffs.

    "Some of the vets have been there, so they tell us the little things that change," cornerback Jarrett Bush said. "The speed of the game changes. You have to know when to take risks and when not to take risks, stuff like that."

    The Packers entered the season with the youngest roster in the NFL, and as they head into the playoffs, they have vastly less playoff experience than their competition. In their opening playoff game, the Packers will face the Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers or New York Giants, depending on the results of the wild-card round.

    The Packers, who haven't been to the playoffs since 2004, have 17 players with a combined total of 94 games of playoff experience. Favre (20), Harris (10), long-snapper Rob Davis (10) and cornerback Charles Woodson (seven) account for half of those games.

    By comparison, the Seahawks have 39 players who have been to the post-season with a combined 195 total games. The Buccaneers have 31 players with a combined total of 129 games of playoff experience and the Giants have 35 with a combined total of 95 games.

    No team in the NFC playoff pool has gone longer than the Packers since their last playoff game.

    For all their post-season inexperience, the Packers have players and coaches who have been to playoff games and Super Bowls. There are at least a few sources the younger players can tap into, if they want to understand what they're in for come Jan. 12.

    And if they don't seek the wisdom, it will probably be delivered.

    "It comes down to the same things, your attitude, your mind-set," said running backs coach Edgar Bennett, who played in 10 post-season games with the Packers, including Super Bowl XXXI.

    "You have to take nothing for granted. You have to play your best football at that time, because if you don't, then you allow the possibility of not being able to continue playing. And you have to fully understand that these opportunities don't come that often."

    Bennett's backfield has zero years of combined playoff experience, so his players will be leaning heavily upon him for guidance. He said he intends to continue addressing the importance of paying attention to detail so that opponents will have less to exploit on game day, and may show them some playoff film to get them ready.

    The closest thing the Packers have had to a playoff atmosphere was the showdown with the Cowboys. Both teams were 10-1 and homefield advantage during the playoffs was on the line. The game was billed as the NFC Super Bowl.

    "I think we got a little sample of it," first-year cornerback Tramon Williams said. "Some of the guys said that's kind of what the environment is going to feel like. We got a little bit of experience with it."

    McCarthy plans to maintain the same approach he has all season, and, in fact, said he thought it would be a big mistake to try to give the players more than they can handle just because it's the playoffs. He expects them to come back from their four-day respite with a lot of energy and the same loose demeanor they've had all season.

    When it's playoff time, they'll find the environment different, and how they react could make a big difference in the outcome of their first game.

    "I know that from this point on, you win you continue on, you lose and you're out," Favre said after the victory Sunday.
     
  2. Obi1

    Obi1 Cheesehead

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    You mean the 13-3 season was for nothing?

    Actually, the playoffs are harder but they also said that the regular season isn't like the preseason and that the NFL is totally diffferent than the College level, and that the AFC is so much better than the NFC...

    Heard 'em all...

    Bottom line is, Packers are IN the playoffs and have a bye into the semi-final round AND this team is used to doubters telling them how its SOooo much harder... etc. etc.
     
  3. tromadz

    tromadz Cheesehead

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    they are experienced in kicking *** though (13-3, baby)
     
  4. Buckeyepackfan

    Buckeyepackfan Cheesehead

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    Great article HPG,

    The regular season is just that you play to make it to the next level and position yourself the best you can.

    I talked about this in another thread. It was good to see Bubba back and K-Rob get some good playing time last week, because every little bit of play-off experience you can put on the field is a plus!!!

    The vets on this team will do everything they can to get the young guys ready, but as the article states, until you've been there you really don't know what it is going to be like.
     
  5. packerfan4ever

    packerfan4ever Cheesehead

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    i think the guys who have been there will make sure the young guys get the jitters shaken off and when they win against whom ever we play i thnk they will be beast the rest of the way :D
     
  6. longtimefan

    longtimefan Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

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    experience doesnt always help...

    Look at Philly all those years when they would loose..Or Indy b4 last year...Or even the Packer sunder sherman
     
  7. pack_in_black

    pack_in_black Cheesehead

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    Great article Heather, thanks for putting it up.

    I do think that playoff experience gets over-valued by media types, though it is undoubtedly a different atmosphere that is easier to adjust to if you've been in it before.

    In 96, we were led to a SB victory by a kid who had never been in a Super Bowl, and look how that one turned out!

    People say the same types of things about baseball, and we just saw the Boston Red Sox have two rookies outperform almost their entire "veteran" team!

    Honestly, I think we'll struggle to win our first matchup. If we're able to get through that test, I for some reason have this feeling we'll lose in the NFC Championship. But it will be a great setup for 08, which I feel like is our year for dominance.
     
  8. Rascus

    Rascus Cheesehead

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    Good article Heather...Though Ive got a feeling that it dont matter all the time, as theres been teams who never been in the playoffs then go on to win a Super Bowl...but then on the other hand that same scenario has been reversed at times...though Id agree that the Playoffs are a different animal for sure.
    Ive been to regular season games and a few Playoff games and one Super Bowl and as a fan going to a regular season game was a great feeling...but then the day I went to that Super Bowl it was like walking into a different world so I can't imagine how players who have never been there must feel knowing that they are going to play in that game....it sure makes you wonder what they must go thru...though they are proffesionals.
     
  9. Tiger

    Tiger Cheesehead

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    well they have all played a playoff game now so this wont matter too much, alrite the SuperBowl is a step up but i dont see the conference championships as a major step up from the previous playoff game.
     
  10. cheesey

    cheesey Cheesehead

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    Man....for a team that didn't know what it was doing, we did pretty darn good last Saturday!!! :D
     
  11. Rascus

    Rascus Cheesehead

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    Yep they sure did cheesey....and being a Patriot fan let me tell you....I really believe that your team is the only team able beat the Patriots right now (not saying they will now) :lol: ...I really cant see losing to the Chargers...though I know anything can happen. The Packers are sure enough the surprise team in the league this year!
     
  12. Obi1

    Obi1 Cheesehead

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    That playoff experience sure helped the Seahawks though. Limiting the Packers to only 42 points... I was impressed.
     
  13. cheesey

    cheesey Cheesehead

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    I KNOW! And Ryan Grant was told to "spot" Seattle 14 points, just to try to keep it close! And they STILL couldn't do it! :lol:
     
  14. cheesey

    cheesey Cheesehead

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    I bet the Colts and Dallas thought they had a cake walk too. Both of them are sitting home now. Thats why i don't want us to take the Giants lightly. If we play like we did last week, we should whomp them. But on any given day, one team can jump up and surprise you.
    I know the Pats won't take the Chargers lightly.
     
  15. Pack93z

    Pack93z You retired too? .... Not me. I'm in my prime

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    Don't forget that the Dallas game had every bit the feeling of a playoff game with Home Field laying in balance.. I think we really "grew" up from the experience as well.
     
  16. TheKanataThrilla

    TheKanataThrilla Cheesehead

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    I'd rather we are inexperienced but healthy any day. Not to say we are in the best of shape, but we are far better off than the Giants and Chargers going into this weekend's title games.
     
  17. Greg C.

    Greg C. Cheesehead

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    There were three championship teams in a row--the '99 Rams, the '00 Ravens, and the '01 Patriots--that came out of nowhere and won it all, with little or no previous playoff experience. Since then it's been teams that had more experience, but the fact remains that in the NFL, talent trumps experience. It's not like the NBA where teams have to pay their dues in the playoffs for at least a couple years before they can win a championship.

    Maybe this is because playoff football is really not any different than playoff basketball. In basketball, the refs tend to swallow their whistles more in the playoffs, and a seven game series has a different dynamic from the regular season schedule. In the NFL, the playoffs do have more hoopla surrounding them, but basically it's just about going out there for 60 minutes and giving it your best shot, just like in a regular season game.

    The one position where NFL playoff experience seems to matter is QB, and I think the Packers are fine there.
     
  18. PackerLegend

    PackerLegend Cheesehead

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    we have the most experienced player in the playoffs leading us....... Brett Favre I said last week that everybody was making way to big of a deal about our playoff inexperience and I was right. Going done 14-0 our "inexperience" team didnt panic, instead they stuck with it got down to business and kicked the Seahawks butt.
     

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