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Swagger Mixed with Humility: Packer Formula for Success

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Bruce, Sep 27, 2007.

  1. Bruce

    Bruce Cheesehead

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    Swagger Mixed with Humility: Packer Formula for Success
    September 27, 2007
    Written by Bruce Smith - PackerChatters Staff

    The Swagger is back in Green Bay…

    The Green Bay Packers walked with a Swagger for many years, led by a QB whose swagger would make even the toughest and meanest Defensive linemen and Linebackers nod (and shake) their heads with respect (and disbelief) when he would smack them back on the helmet and ask them if that was all they had.

    Starting sometime early in the Holmgren era the Packers showed up week to week expecting to win, and with an air of confidence and self assurance that was unmistakable. Even when faced with adversity they expected to win, and most often they did.

    This swagger/self-confidence made coaches like Lovie Smith admiringly say that reaching and beating the Packers was Goal #1 in leading da Bears to success upon his hire. Detroit hired a couple of ex-Packer assistants trying to emulate the Packers swagger and success to no avail.

    In what seemed like an instant GB's swagger disappeared. Somewhere between the Jan 9, 2005 playoff loss to the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field and the season ending with injuries to the running back and wide receiver corps early in 2005 season that confident gait was replaced by a hang-dog stride of resignation.

    As if the Viking loss was not enough of a lesson in humility, the toll of the 4 - 12 2005 regular season was heavy, and swagger turned to uncertainty and self-doubt for the increasingly young team. Even for its sure-thing Hall of Fame QB and offensive leader Brett Favre it waned. As he began to question himself and his team, Brett struggled to decide whether or not to continue to play the game he had loved his whole life.

    Last season (2006) the young Packers tried to be confident, but in the first game against da bears to start the season, they got punched in the mouth and failed to respond. It was disheartening to see this young team intimidated, but the coaching staff and fans who watch development closely knew this would be a first step and important lesson in the rebuilding of confidence - as painful as it was to watch.

    In fact they seemed to be responding pretty well, and despite some setbacks they did not show quit or a willingness to back off again until New England traveled to Green Bay on Nov 19th and humiliated the Packers 35 - 0. Not only did the team not respond it seemed to quit - and this included the Head Coach Mike McCarthy.

    The Pack bounced back early in Seattle only to lose their confidence and the game as a veteran team expecting to beat the Packers did indeed.

    It got worse the next week against the New York Jets, another humiliating loss (38 - 10) again at home, and even worse a psychological loss that put this youngest team in the league on the edge of collapse and implosion.

    The Packers caught a break by going on the road to San Francisco the following Sunday to play the suddenly resurgent 49ers. It gave them an opportunity to lick their wounds and search their souls to find their identity. Come game time, the Pack came out punching rather than waiting to be punched and pretty handily kicked some 49er tail.

    The next two weeks against two physical division rivals, MN and Detroit, the young Packers again got punched in the mouth. But they responded altogether differently. This time they licked the blood off their lips and punched back. They refused to be physically intimidated and eventually beat up and defeated both foes.

    You could see it in the eyes of the Players going into the season ending tilt against da bears. Here they were full circle, right back to where they started the season with a chance for redemption against da bears.

    Unlike the opener, rather than dread there was excited anticipation in the Packer squad. The young Packers didn't wait to get punched; instead they started and proceeded to kick the living Hell out of da bears from start to finish. In the process the team rediscovered itself and launched it full bore into an off-season of hard work and perspiration.

    The team shed their baby fat and replaced it with muscle. The team started to believe in themselves and each other as they pushed each other in the film, weight, and training rooms and every day on the field - whether it was a mini-camp, OTA or training camp.

    It started with the Defense, where players like Barnett demanded more of himself and his fellow defenders. It continued by the team embracing the spirit and fight of Atari Bigby who came in and worked his butt off and left it all on the field everyday. Quickly the vets like Harris and Woodson (perhaps the only two players who never lost their own swagger) rallied around their young lion-hearted safety and said they would rather go to battle with a fighter who never quit than a veteran they did not trust (M. Manuel). It continued with guys like KGB accepting his role and excitedly declaring that he would do whatever his team needed.

    It quickly spread to the special teams, where even the veterans wanted in on the action as kamikaze players like White, Bush, Bigby and others seemed to be having so much fun.

    The first test for this still youngest-team in the league came against their other chief conference nemesis, the Philadelphia Eagles - a team that seemed to have GB's number over and over again.

    The Eagles came out fired up and shut down the offense, completely shutting down every attempt to run the football. The offense struggled, but instead of folding up the tent, the defense and special teams responded. You could see it building and despite some hairy moments this young team got a heavy monkey off of its back.

    The next week on the road in New York, the offense jumped into the fray, and a Brett Favre (who seemed to have his water bottle hosed to a fountain of youth) got the young guys on offense to do some punching of their own in routing the Giants in their own backyard.

    Next came the San Diego Chargers, a team coming off a 14 - 2 season and with the league MVP on offense and a defensive player whose 17 ½ sacks in 12 games was perhaps the defensive MVP in the league.

    The final step in the swagger returning was missed by many in the media. While showing respect for the Chargers, Mike McCarthy threw down the gauntlet when he responded to questions about how his team would fair facing a powerful team like San Diego. A defiant McCarthy volleyed back the challenge by declaring that the Chargers better be concerned with how they will fair playing a powerful team like Green Bay.

    It was a that moment that I knew the swagger was back.

    Indeed, the question MM posed turned out to be prophetic. In a hard hitting, well-played tilt by both proud squads, it was the Chargers who could not answer the final bell. Even when the young Packers were knocked down in this game, they got up. Most impressive was seeing them never hang heads for a second. You could see it in the enthusiastic gait in which they ran onto and off of the field at crunch time.

    Once again the Green Bay Packers go into games expecting to play well and believing in themselves. Not with a false confidence, rather with an attitude that hints, "if you're even thinking about beating us, you had better pack a lunch and make sure your insurance policies are up to date, because we are not backing down.

    Mike McCarthy, Brett Favre, Mark Tauscher, Aaron Kampman, Nick Barnett and other Packer veterans will make sure that the young guys balance their new found swagger with a dose of humility - but don't think for a second that they are not loving it.
     
  2. favrefourevre

    favrefourevre Cheesehead

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    That was amazing.
     
  3. all about da packers

    all about da packers Cheesehead

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    It really was an outstanding read.

    The Chargers game, after we turned the ball over on the 4th and 1, unlike years past I actually had faith in our D to come through. The most important drive of the game, our D generated as good a pass rush as it probably had the entire game.

    Then when the Packers got the ball back on the Chargers 2 yard line, as the Offensive players walked out you just got a sense that a TD was just around the corner.

    Gosh, how I missed the winning environment. :D
     
  4. Zero2Cool

    Zero2Cool I own a website

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    I liked it when McCarthy questioned how they would handle the Packers. That was sweet! I didn't catch that when watching interviews.
     
  5. longtimefan

    longtimefan Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Once again an amazing job Bruce..WELL DONE!
     
  6. Packnic

    Packnic Cheesehead

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    good article bud.

    aadp... i agree... for the first time in a long long long long time. I felt that when we turned the ball over on the 1 yard line i wasnt scared. i was like this might actually turn out better for us. our defense came to play. the swagger is definetly makin a comeback.
     
  7. Bobby Roberts

    Bobby Roberts Cheesehead

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    Well I for one was upset and thought we were going to lose. I was happy that GB showed well against a tough opponent, but disappointed. Then the defense came up strong giving us the ball back with plenty of time. We got lucky that their safety bit on the outside route, leaving plenty of room for Jennings to streak into the endzone!

    After that, it's being worried that we left too much time on the clock for them to tie with a FG. Which of course was followed by the defense coming up big time and Barnett's great INT.

    Easily the best 4th quarter I've watched in a long time. The range of emotions was awesome and GB came out on top. Gotta love it! Now my concern is that the players will let it get to their heads and look past Minny -- a big mistake if they do.

    GO PACK GO!!!
     
  8. pack_in_black

    pack_in_black Cheesehead

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    Bruce, that article was the best of yours that I've read so far. Awesome awesome read, and I think it really portrayed that "something" that's been missing in GB, and now feels like it's come back with a vengeance. The swagger. Just an awesome, well written, fire-me-up-so-I-have-to-punch-someone-in-the-mouth kind of article.

    Thanks! :thumbsup:
     
  9. digsthepack

    digsthepack Cheesehead

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    Much to like about MM's attitude, and how he has instilled it in this team.

    I remember when TT signed MM because, apart from his football skills, he liked his "Pittsburgh Tough" attitude. While some skoffed at the notion as cheap talk, and others welcomed the attitude injection, but were yet incapable of really getting our heads around the term....I think we all know now, what "Pittsburgh Tough" is all about.

    Hard ***, take no **** football!!

    Gotta love it!
     
  10. PackinSteel

    PackinSteel Cheesehead

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    Very nice article. Thanks. Much punching though <g>
     
  11. PackinSteel

    PackinSteel Cheesehead

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    Dang right - that's Steelers football!
     
  12. LambeauEast

    LambeauEast Cheesehead

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    WOW, awesome read. That puts it all into perspective.

    On a different note here, but after the B-Jack TD, and Brett was coming to the sideline, MM met him and Brett being all pumped and **** pushed him out of the way and said something while shaking his head. Then they hugged. I would LOVE to know what the hell he said to MM. That was tits!
     
  13. Greg C.

    Greg C. Cheesehead

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    I can feel the difference as a fan. I can't say I knew they were going to beat San Diego, but I felt confident that they would give their best effort and if they went down, they would go down swinging.

    The special teams have a lot to do with it. Up until this year I was just hoping for neutral plays on special teams. It was like the field was tilted against us on special teams. But now I'm hoping for big plays and sometimes getting them. It's the other teams that should be afraid of the Packers now.
     
  14. cheesey

    cheesey Cheesehead

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    I saw that too.......but MM was looking at B-Jack at the time Brett pushed him! I think it caught MM totally off guard!
    I would have loved to know what was said too! :D
     
  15. longtimefan

    longtimefan Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

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    pull my finger
     
  16. evad04

    evad04 Cheesehead

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    Fantastic article. I'm loving being a Packer fan now.
     
  17. MassPackersFan

    MassPackersFan Cheesehead

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    I love what I'm hearing in the locker room interviews. They sound focused, goal oriented, and TOUGH. There is just this tough attitude permeating every single player on the team.

    I mean... I get the feeling that when we do lose a game, they're all just going to be pissed off and come out fighting even harder the next game - the same way they fight even harder if they lose a 1st half.
     
  18. KGB94SACKEM

    KGB94SACKEM Cheesehead

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    My fear is the opposite. I feel like with such a young team a loss may cause a lack of confidence. Hopefully, we don't have to deal with it. How they bounce back will say alot about this team
     
  19. pack_in_black

    pack_in_black Cheesehead

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    I don't think I'll ever get why or how anyone can be so pessimistic about their favorite team, esp when that team is 3-0. This team, for the most part, has seen adversity and learned from it. Did you even read the article? That was one of the main points.... :doh:
     
  20. Timmons

    Timmons Cheesehead

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    Bruce,

    Your articles here have a lot to do with why I am a member.
     
  21. Pack93z

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

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    I had the same thought comming out of the gate this season, that a couple of losses might have this young team shaken. However with a couple of wins under the belt and against some pretty stout competition, at least reputation wise, this team is past that stage. Unless we go into a complete couple week slump.. I think this team has the built in confidence from the fast start to overcome a defeat.

    BTW... only one team in history hasn't had to deal with defeat, so sooner or later they will have to deal with it.
     
  22. IronMan

    IronMan Cheesehead

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    Excellent. :)
     
  23. yooperfan

    yooperfan Cheesehead

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    Excellent article!
    Reading it even got an old Packer fan like me stoked up.
    This is a team on the rise.
     
  24. warhawk

    warhawk Cheesehead

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    Bruce, this was an excellent piece.

    I know everyone here has watched how this team has been built and the different players and coaches that have come together to be what it is now.

    Through all this after watching us pull up to even last year and with anticipation for this year before it began you stand back and try to get a sense of where the team is and what kind of a team it will be.

    We're fans, we're stoked, we're biased, we're optimistic, we're blinded, we're all these things. We also have questions about how good the team is going to be and how tough the team is going to be and whether or not the Packers will be winners.

    For me there was a defining moment, or, moments I should say that convinced me these were not pretenders as many were saying before the season started and that we had a real team of football players here.

    Those moments came in the game Bigby was flying around going OVER the top of people. Watching this showed me the character of this team. It defined the energy, ability, and, most importantly the WILL these players have to win.

    That group of people working together with a common goal that has the greatest WILL is going to be the group that accomplishes the most. Let's face it, there's a LOT of talented football players in this league. They're all good players and athletes.

    To me, the definition of willpower is the flat refusal to lose and that winning is an only option. Watching Bigby going over the top like that tells me MM has a handle on the importance of a team defining itself by the amount of sacrifice it makes to have more willpower than your opponents.

    Nothing they have done since that night has really surprised me all that much.
     
  25. millertime

    millertime Cheesehead

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    it's is nice to finally expect to win every game instead of just hoping to win them (or just not be embarrassed)
     

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