Gray: Confidence booster

Former Packers safety Johnnie Gray offers his thoughts on the Packers after their impressive win over the Vikings in the Metrodome on Sunday.

That was the most enjoyable win around here since, OK, in a long time. Just think if they could or should have won against Buffalo - five wins would have them as a front-runner in the wild card chase.

The offense did exactly what it needed to do, and that was to take the crowd out of the game and do it early. During practice the week prior to the game, they piped in crowd noise and music to simulate the Metrodome atmosphere.

The biggest key, however, to Sunday's win was the communication between quarterback Brett Favre and center Scott Wells. Wells would look up to check the defense, back to Favre, up, back and see Favre kick up his leg then look up at the defense for final adjustments and snap the ball. One false start penalty, not one interception, and zero turnovers and the Pack will win games like that every Sunday.

The offense is playing at such a high level and with a great deal of confidence right now, and it should. The offensive line has done a great job up front. The Vikings defense was dominant against the run and the Pack did not back down and concede the running game. They knew they had to keep that defense honest and they kept at it honest while doing a great job of pass protection. I didn't know who to get excited most about after that game. Should it be Favre for being conservative and throwing the ball away in critical situations? Head coach Mike McCarthy for his diligence with Favre and the guts to stick with the running game, so that he could have success in the passing game? General Manager Ted Thompson for having talent like a Tony Moll who has filled in when Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher were injured and the offense never skipping a beat?

Confidence is contagious as the defense is starting to play with a great deal of aggressiveness. The secondary still has its problems, but the line and linebackers are definitely on the same page. Each week I have been keeping an eye on right defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila and he's getting closer. He's done a good job of holding the edge and has been just a step away from making a sack. He's working hard on every play and what better time to have a break out game than this week against the New England Patriots.

Strong-side linebacker Brady Poppinga has been playing well which has allowed him to go out and fly around and make plays, and you saw Nick Barnett getting in on the action. Each phase of the team has played better each week and even though the secondary has cut down on big plays, it still hasn't played up to the standard of the rest of the team.

This should be a fun game on Sunday against the Patriots, so buckle up. A big game by the secondary and KGB, and the Patriots lose their third straight. Then we'll be talking playoffs on Monday.

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

Packer Report Top Stories