Gray: The good and the bad

Packers Hall of Fame safety Johnnie Gray offers his analysis of the Green Bay Packers in the wake of their 31-9 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night. Gray also offers his thoughts on the now departed Ahmad Carroll, comparing him to another Packers cornerback who was taken in the first round with high expectations.

Did you really think the Packers were going to win on Monday night? Seriously, was this a win on the schedule? The Eagles would have needed a complete meltdown.

The day started with William Henderson being deactivated and replaced with Brandon Miree for the first time in his career, other than an injury. After going though pre game warm-ups, Ahman Green was unable to go and Vernand Morency gets the starting nod, and the Packers brought Henderson off the inactive squad. It gets worse when injured guard Jason Spitz has to replace Tony Moll early in the first quarter. This is not the scenario you want for trying to upset one of the hottest teams in the league, at home on Monday night in front of a national audience.

The good news is that the team played aggressive football for the first two quarters. Kicker Dave Rayner proved that he indeed has an accurate leg to go along with his distance. Morency's quick-hitting plays and near 100-yard night gives us hope about the running game. Four sacks on defense showed a consistent pass rush for the second week.

The bad news is the dropped balls again by veterans in a game where near perfection is needed. Overzealous linebackers and atrociously bad play by the secondary turned the Philly game into a route.

If you haven't heard, Ahmad Carroll has been released. His chest thumping, trash talking and sideline antics to opposing bench, is now over in Green Bay. Carroll never realized his potential as a football player due to his enormous ego of trying being the most physical player on the field. Watching from the sidelines one would think his only mission was to seek, destroy and humiliate the opposition without any regard to a defensive scheme.

Carroll can run circles around anyone that steps onto the football field, but lacks discipline, technique and confidence to believe in his own ability. In the end when he matures, he like another former number one cornerback, Terrell Buckley, may end up playing for the next 15 years with a few Super Bowl rings before his career is over.

Green Bay's secondary still needs a lot of work even with Carroll gone. Communication issues still abound, not getting in position before the ball is snapped and with the Rams coming to town must be alleviated before Sunday's game, especially with new faces Will Blackmon and/or Jarrett Bush. Both players will have to be able to handle nickel and dime packages as well as be ready to step in for either starting corner.

I had a chance to see Blackmon perform in the minicamps before the injury and he looked solid. Good technique and uses his hands very well in bump, man-to-man coverage. You must be able to use your hands a little bit, but very subtle in that first five yards to be effective. We won't know either of these players' ability to tackle until Sunday, which, by the way, has been another sour topic lately.

The Packers will need a couple of breaks to get a win on Sunday, which they could use over a quality, opponent going into the bye week.


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 Gray24@tds.net.


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