Linebackers raise the bar

If the Packers' shaky defense in week 1 was cause for concern, then the linebackers' stellar play in Green Bay's win over the Lions Sunday at Lambeau Field put the 'D' back on solid ground.<P>

The linebackers were just one element of the Packers' performance that definitely took it up a notch in week 2. The combination of the established Na'il Diggs, rookie Nick Barnett and new acquisition Hannibal Navies clicked in a big way.

"It was only one game so I am not going to say we're anointed ones right now," Diggs said. "We still have a ways to go and we have a lot of work to do with that group, but they did step forward today collectively and I've said right from the beginning it is going to be a work in progress. You don't revamp a position or a defense and expect it to all be clicking.

" Today it clicked and hopefully we will click a little bit better next week and continue down the road," Diggs said. " I did think that all three of the linebackers showed their ability to run and make physical-type tackles. There were some bone jarring hits out there. I was pleased with their performance and we still have a ways to go."

Barnett had 14 tackles and recorded his first career interception with an athletic leap past Detroit receiver Charles Rogers. Diggs had seven tackles and four broken pass plays as he settles in to his move from strong side to weak side. Navies added five tackles.

Diggs was eager to spread the credit around.

"I just had a lot of last week still in my chest," Diggs said. "I think our defensive line did an outstanding job. Nick played well and so did everyone else. I was just running around, and I guess I was just at the right place at the right time."

Diggs' big day was cut a little short when he left the game with a twisted knee in the fourth quarter. He is expected to be ready to start Sunday in Arizona.

For Barnett, Sunday marked a day when he turned his vision into reality.

"I just decided that if I see it, I'm going to just go and don't be hesitant," Barnett said. "I've still got a long way to go. I was a little hesitant on some plays, but it takes time. I'll get there... (the Detroit game) was just a stepping stone to get where I want to be."


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