0-2 teams have to remember to have fun

Mark Schlereth discusses starting the season 0-2 and gives his take on which 0-2 team can make the playoffs.

Updated: September 22, 2005, 5:52 PM ET
By Mark Schlereth | ESPN Insider
The NFL is in the third week of its season and that means it's time for the pundits to start yelling about how the 0-2 teams should start panicking. It's very hard to sit here and say that the players don't panic when they are 0-2, but they do. I've been in that situation before and it's not easy to start off the season badly when every game means something. That's the beauty of the NFL though; there is no other league where every game means so much to the end result. But in the NFL, going 0-2 can end a season almost before it begins.

Players in that situation must remember to have fun. It's extremely easy to let the game get to you and to start to tighten up. My 1999 Broncos team started the season 0-4 and we were an extremely tight team. Our backs were against the wall from the outset of the season because it was our first year without John Elway and we'd just lost RB Terrell Davis for the season -- so we weren't in the best position to say the least.

After starting the season 0-2, we started to tighten up and continued to lose instead of trying to loosen up and rectify what was going wrong. That's something that happens all the time when a team starts to lose. It's really easy to forget that this is just a game and it's supposed to be fun. Oftentimes, when you start to lose games, it's easy to lose sight of how much fun it is to play football. The game is too arduous a task to not have fun out there on the field.

Former All-Pro guard Mark Schlereth joined ESPN in 2002 as an analyst for NFL 2Night, now NFL Live. He brings 12 years of NFL playing experience to the role. Schlereth has also filled in on numerous ESPN radio shows.