Gray: Packers on the verge of big things

PackerReport.com's Johnnie Gray offers his thoughts on Green Bay's ugly victory over the Detroit Lions and on Thursday's game against the Vikings at Lambeau Field.

Sure, the win was ugly, but with the game in doubt, the Pack didn't fold and found a way to win. With the offense struggling all day, the Packers could have easily self-destructed. Instead, when they needed it the most, the offense put on a show that we all thought would have been the main feature all day long.

I guess what I'm seeing here is the heart of the team. They all felt the pressure in trying to get a win in front of the home crowd and sometimes the harder you try the worse it gets.

In all, I was impressed with the near seven-minute possession by the Packers offense near the end of the game. The touchdown that followed gives some hope of what that unit is capable of doing.

The defense came out ready to play and I'm so happy for defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins. Whenever he's been given the opportunity, he has found a way to get the job done. He is a football player and I hope he's not frustrated by the lack of trust that they've shown in him up until now.

The new personnel packages have been working well and it is time that they do. The defense was getting stale; it needed a jump-start, and I'm glad the coaching staff was willing to get more players involved. Did you see defensive end/linebacker Jason Hunter on all fours coming off the corner on Sunday? With that said the Vikings are starting a rookie at quarterback who can run like the wind, so it will be interesting to see how the coaching staff responds and if Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila will move back into his old role.

Packers should beat Vikes
I'll go out on a limb this week and say that the Packers win on Thursday night over the Vikings, and it will be because of the play of the tight ends. This group was awful on Sunday and none (tight ends) were to be found in the locker room after the game, so you know they were embarrassed. Even though the Vikings are struggling on offense, their defense is still very tough against the run and the tight ends' presence in the passing game will be imperative.

Offensive tackle Mark Tauscher is expected to play, but with rain expected, that field will be a quagmire and that would not be beneficial for Tauscher's sore groin.

As I mentioned before, it's all about heart. Well, these next two games are about nothing but heart. For the second straight game, the Packers secondary didn't give up a big play. With Al Harris and Charles Woodson being snubbed in the Pro Bowl balloting, look for them to put the clamps on the Viking receivers. With a sweep of Detroit and a chance to do the same to Minnesota, this could be the start of something big. Go Pack.


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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