Forgetting Atlanta: Fast start could help Packers get over NFC title game

Forgetting Atlanta: Fast start could help Packers get over NFC title game

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — The last time the lost in the NFC Championship Game, they came back swinging the next year and won their first six of the season.

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That was in 2015, and it helped erase some of the heartbreak of that stunning collapse in Seattle that will loom even larger over this franchise if they never get back to another Super Bowl under jersey, Mike McCarthy and Co.

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Here the Packers are again, opening another training camp after another NFC title game loss. Although last year’s blowout in Atlanta — a 44-21 loss that wasn’t even as close as the score indicated — hasn’t invoked the same kind of questions that the overtime loss to the Seahawks did, there are pieces to pick up once again.

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Wholesale Jake Rodgers jersey McCarthy hasn’t introduced whatever his theme for the season will be, but if it’s anything like the year after Seattle, when he made nary a mention of it, don’t expect the Atlanta loss to be part of it.

“I think things from the year before, it’s the worst thing you can do in this business, to think that anything is just, because you did it last year, you’re going to do it this year,” McCarthy said.

If the Packers make the playoffs this year, it will tie an NFL record for consecutive postseason appearances with nine. If they don’t make it to the Super Bowl, those who think the Packers have “accepted mediocrity” — as team president Mark Murphy said some fans have suggested to him — may only become more vocal.

Another fast start could quiet that talk for now. In fact, it was Rodgers who said after the Falcons game that the best way to avoid playoff heartbreaks one game away from the Super Bowl would be to get those NFC title games at Lambeau Field, something a 4-6 start last season put the kibosh on. Rodgers has played in three conference championship games (2010, 2014 and 2016) and all were played on the road.

“I think last year [we] had some struggles early in the season,” Rodgers said. “Offensively, we were a little slow getting going, kind of hit our groove midseason and finished strong; just got to find that a little quicker. A lot of that has to do with just finding the right personnel group you want to run with. To find that consistency, obviously I have to play a little better earlier in the season. We finished the way we finished, we’ve just got to keep that going, get that going a little sooner.”

The Packers think they have the team — specifically the offense — to do that.

“I think you look on paper, and obviously we’re in that part of the season right now where you’re looking on paper, if you look at the guys we have in the locker room, I’m definitely excited about it,” Packers right tackle jersey said. “The type of playmakers we have already and they bring in Lance [Kendricks] and Martellus [Bennett] and those guys look like they’ll make a big difference. So you’re definitely encouraged and excited about the potential. But there’s a lot of work that has to be done to get to that point.”

And there’s no way to force that.

“I just think it happens if you get off to a good start,” Rodgers said. “If you get things going early, you find that rhythm, you don’t have to adjust too much based on personnel issues, injuries or just lack of production with things you can do cheap jersey going into the season.”

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