It's just practice
Allen Iverson was prophetic.
It is possible that in the history of the printed word, that sentence has never been written before. But when he famously uttered the words that would ultimately define him, he was right.
"It's just practice."
Practice doesn't count. Practice is important so teams and players are not unprepared when they do go out and perform on the lighted stage, but when things go horribly awry, as they do for every team on every level at some juncture of every season, the response cannot be panic.
Packers fans are panicking right now.
Let me amend: Some Packers fans are panicking right now after watching their beloved Green and Gold go 0-2 in their first two preseason games.
But despite what the NFL would have you believe, correcting anyone characterizing these exercises in futility with the despised moniker "exhibition game," these organized and telecasted scrimmages are nothing more than a way for the league to make serious cash and coaches to decide on their final roster cuts.
In other words, for you and me, the preseason is meaningless.
But it doesn't stop there. The NFL's preseason is meaningless for the overwhelming majority of the people that will decide the fate of the Packers' 2012 season: the starting players themselves.
"Some new plays, new thoughts that you want to get in, hit the situational stuff that you can't hit in practice – backed-up situations, crowd noise," quarterback Aaron Rodgers says. "Now, if you're playing well, you are going to win some preseason games, especially if you are scoring on offense. But I don't think our fans should be too worried about the win-loss record in the preseason."
And lest anyone get jittery in preparation for Thursday night's preseason matchup in Cincinnati, typically considered the best barometer of how ready the first-team is for the regular season, Rodgers did not share the urgency that has been populating fan sites and sports talk radio this week.
"As much as you want to do well, you realize it's not going to be 'vanilla' once the season starts," Rodgers added. "There's not a lot of game-planning that goes into these games on both sides. We're not doing a ton of game-planning for Cincinnati."
Granted, the parody era of the NFL makes predicting the eventual recipient of the Vince Lombardi Trophy in August a crapshoot for even the most learned of prognosticator. Yet, the Packers still are one of the most mentioned teams when the so-called experts are queried as to who their best guess is as to who the eventual champion will be.
Rodgers, the reigning NFL MVP is the biggest reason why. But with Matt Flynn gone to Seattle, fans queasy about Graham Harrell need not be.
How can that be? Haven't you seen his woeful performances in the last two weeks?
Sure I have. But no matter who the Packers backup quarterback is, be it Matt Flynn or anyone else, there is no quarterback that can match the offensive output of Rodgers. The only real, tangible goal over the next two weeks is to keep No. 12 as clean as possible, because as he goes, so go the Green Bay Packers. And as long as Rodgers is yukking it up on the sidelines in a baseball cap and not exposing himself to a rookie defensive lineman on the bubble between fulfilling his NFL dream or bagging groceries after Labor Day, all is well in Packerland.
If it makes you feel better to believe that Flynn would have led the Packers to a Super Bowl win in 2012 or to a 15-1 record last season, knock yourself out. But as long as you are contemplating your delusional fantasy, I'd really like you to think about my offer of some prime Florida swampland I have for sale. It will look incredible in your investment portfolio next to the Brooklyn Bridge some guy sold to you out of the back of his van last week.
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