Report card vs. Lions

Coaching gets a C as Packers drew 18 flags, 14 of which were accepted

PASSING OFFENSE: C -- Constant pressure applied by the Lions in the pocket contributed to a lackluster effort by Brett Favre, who was sacked four times, had two passes intercepted and lost a fumble when he started to follow through on a throw. In Favre's defense, he didn't have top receiver Javon Walker for the last quarter and a half because of a season-ending knee injury. Still, Favre hurt himself at times with ill-advised throws, including one into double coverage in the end zone when it seemed like he should have pulled the ball down and run for a first down near the goal line, if not scored on the play.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C-plus -- Ahman Green churned out 45 yards in just eight carries, for a gaudy 5.6 average in the first half.

Inexplicably, he carried the football only four times in the second half and finished with 58 yards. What's more, bruising backup Najeh Davenport didn't have his number called out of the backfield once in the final 30 minutes after he had zero yards in three first-half carries.

The debut of new guards Adrian Klemm and Will Whitticker undoubtedly hindered the frequency by which the Packers prefer to run the football.

PASS DEFENSE: B -- Until a 31-yard connection between Joey Harrington and Charles Rogers that led to a clinching touchdown in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, the secondary all but silenced the Lions' ballyhooed first-round trio of Rogers, Roy Williams and Mike Williams. They combined for only four catches, with Roy Williams snagging two for a harmless 13 yards. Tight end Marcus Pollard was the bigger thorn in the Packers' side with five receptions for 58 yards. Al Harris and nickel back Joey Thomas each broke up two passes. Ahmad Carroll, though, was beat on the big catch by Rogers and committed four holding-related penalties.

RUSH DEFENSE: A-minus -- Where it was believed the Packers' suspect defense would be most vulnerable proved to be a bright spot in an otherwise dreary opener. Lions standout Kevin Jones managed 87 yards on the ground, but required 25 carries to bolster his stats. That was a far cry from the 156 yards Jones racked up in 33 carries in the teams' previous meeting late last season. Jones' longest gain Sunday was 7 yards. Though incredibly hefty, nose tackle Grady Jackson was instrumental in a goal-line stand during the third quarter. The three-headed rotation of Cullen Jenkins, Corey Williams and Colin Cole at the other tackle spot also was effective, while middle linebacker Nick Barnett was active with nine tackles.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- Thanks to solid hang time on punts by B.J. Sander and kickoffs by Ryan Longwell, Lions return ace Eddie Drummond never was a factor. Drummond averaged a puny 2 yards on six punt returns, while he brought back two kickoffs for a lowly average of 14.5 yards. Sander produced respectable averages of 41.3 yards for gross and 39.3 yards for net with his punts in his long-awaited, regular-season debut. However, Sander failed to get a clean snap down, aborting a 22-yard field-goal attempt by Longwell in the second quarter. Sander redeemed himself on a successful 50-yarder by Longwell later in the quarter.

COACHING: C -- Head coach Mike Sherman pointed the blame at himself regarding the proliferation of penalties in the preseason. A continued lack of discipline was on ample display Sunday, as the Packers were cited 18 times for infractions, of which 14 were assessed for 100 yards. As the play caller for the offense, Sherman also has to take accountability for essentially abandoning the run game in the second half, even though the Packers were behind only by a touchdown for most of it.

First-year coordinator Jim Bates had the defense ready to play, and allowing just 254 total yards and 17 points should be enough to win a game, not get embarrassed by two touchdowns.


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