Defense respectable in scrimmage

Packers stuff McGahee on a handful of plays

More than 62,000 fans at the annual Family Night scrimmage Friday got a chance to see Jim Bates' defense for the first time this season. For the most part, the Packers held their own against the Buffalo Bills in Lambeau Field.

The Packers' run defense was impressive, especially against running back Willis McGahee. Green Bay held McGahee, who had seven 100-yard games last season, to an average of 2.7 yards per carry on 12 attempts. McGahee broke free for a 12-yard touchdown run, but didn't much running room against Green Bay's defense.

"McGahee is a great back. I think we did real well against him," middle linebacker Nick Barnett said. "We still got a lot of work to do. We're nowhere near where we need to be when that first game comes around."

The Packers started Colin Cole and Corey Williams at defensive tackle between ends Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila and Aaron Kampman. Hunt did not suit up because of left knee tendinitis and a shoulder injury.

The Packers were especially impressive with their goal line defense. They installed it two days ago, and didn't have everyone in position at times against the Bills, but kept Buffalo out of the end zone on five straight plays from the 8 yard line and closer during the Bills' third offensive series. On three consecutive plays from inside the 3, the Packers' goal line defense stopped McGahee.

"I think we did real well with the run defense," Barnett said. "I didn't even get to make that many plays out there. Usually in this scheme, the ‘Mike' gets to sweep over the top and make the plays. Diggs was shooting down there. I was shooting my gap, which opens it up for the D-tackles. They were out there making plays, and that's always good."

Last year, the Packers ranked 14th in the league against the run. Despite playing without Grady Jackson (knee) and Hunt, the Packers played well at this early stage of training camp.

The Packers also gave up a few big plays, beginning with the Bills' first play from scrimmage. Wide receiver Lee Evans ran about 40 yards on a reverse. The play was nullified, however, by a holding penalty.


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