Gray: Consistency a key in preseason finale

Former Packers safety Johnnie Gray breaks down what he is seeking from the Green Bay Packers on offense and defense this afternoon in the final preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at Lambeau Field.

As the Green Bay Packers enter their last preseason game, and with just one practice this week, not much is expected. The opener against the Chicago Bears is just over a week away.

Today, with the first series on offense, the Packers have to establish some idea of a running game. Ahman Green did a commendable job of attacking the cracks and creases the line managed to produce Monday night, and that's about all they have been able to accomplish all preseason. This is the area that is the most concerning, especially with a frustrated quarterback and returning injured running backs. Arliss Beach, Samkon Gado and Najeh Davenport have been nursing injuries all camp and have nothing to show, but a lot of running into the backs of their own lineman. Green found that out last week. Some consistency in this last preseason game would bolster everyone's confidence heading into the opener.

All the defense has to do is come out and fly around and make plays while hustling to the ball on every play. If that happens that ugly taste from Monday will quickly disappear. Missed tackles and blown assignments can easily be corrected, but there is no excuse for the lack of hustle and a carefree attitude on the playing field, no matter what the score is.

After watching the game film some one should have put it upon themselves and convinced the fans that a performance like that will never happen while he's in a Green and Gold uniform again. Since Leroy Butler and others have left, there hasn't been that someone or group that has taken the leadership role, either by voice or play. One player that sticks out like a sore thumb with his play is linebacker Brady Poppinga, so hopefully that will become contagious.

The Packers are young but will have to grow up in a hurry come next Sunday against the Bears.

Johnnie Gray

Editor's note: Former safety Johnnie Gray played for the Packers from 1975-84. He was inducted into the Packer Hall of Fame in 1994. E-mail him at

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