I know Mike Holmgren didn't play Matt Hasselbeck (off-season shoulder surgery) because he said he didn't want to risk any injury to him, and both the starting tackles were out with nagging injuries. So some of the things that took place on defense might not have happened, but then again they might have as well. I know there are concerns about the offense scoring points and there still are concerns. This win wasn't the cure-all, but everyone must like the improvements, so let's take a look at what we saw!!!!!!
I liked the fact that the offensive linemen played on the other side of the line of scrimmage. That came from the aggressiveness of Mike McCarthy as the play caller for example when on the goal line he ran the ball right between the tackles, letting the offensive linemen get after people instead of retreating like they do in pass protection.
I also like the way Mike McCarthy is figuring out who his players are. For example, James Jones is an excellent crossing-route receiver. He has a feel for when to sit down in the zone, or to keep running verses man-to-man, like he did on one of his touchdowns. I also think he is getting a real feel for not only his players, but when to feature them by putting them in a position to be successful.
On the defensive side I don't know who is running the show, whether it's Winston Moss or Bob Sanders, but whoever is seems to know how to get the best out of the players. I love the fact that they are calling for aggressive play, and I mean aggressive in your face defense. They are moving the defensive line around allowing for everyone to get a piece of the action. In other words, they know how to let the DOGS LOOSE!
I know coaching is coaching, but part of coaching is looking at the strength of this team and it will be the defense. How it plays will determine just how far this team goes. In two games I like where this defense is at and where it could go because as I see it, this defense should finish in the top five of the NFL. That's right, I haven't seen this much athletic ability on this side of the ball in I don't know how long. They can be that good. So let's look at the players now!!!!
As usual this year, everything will start with the offensive line. It did an average job opening up running lanes, but a pretty good job with pass protection. I have no doubt the offensive line will get better between Colledge, Spitz, Wells, Tauscher and Clifton. The sky's the limit and they have to improve every week, and they have improved between the two preseason games.
I don't get caught up with how the backups play because it's hard to measure the level of talent they are playing against. But because of the depth and talent on the defensive line the Packers backup offensive linemen will be better than a lot of teams because of the competition they see every day.
Brett seemed calm and relaxed. Most of the time he was in there I only remember him having a couple of off-the-mark throws. He is what he is, and I don't think we need to worry about anything with him in the preseason because that's exactly what it is - preseason.
I think Aaron Rodgers is starting to win me over, not that I wasn't in his corner, but I just needed to see him do the things he's doing, like sliding in the pocket without a sense of panic. He did on the touchdown throw after he realized that he couldn't get the ball on the left side, so he followed his progression and finally got it to Jones for the touchdown. Talk about maturing right in front of our eyes.
Also, welcome back Bubba! It was nice to see him make some catches instead of knocking them down. Brandon Jackson also ran better than last week. He ran more with a purpose, but as much as the offense looked good it was all about the defense, wasn't it?
Where do you start? Everyone on that side of the ball turned it up from last week and we got just a peek of what it can be like, and it starts up front. If Cullen Jenkins can play at this level like this the tandem of him and Aaron Kampman at ends could be just awesome especially if Ryan Pickett, Corey Williams and rookie Justin Harrell refuse to be the weak link on the defensive front.
The linebacking group is led by A.J. Hawk. Did I say led by A.J. Hawk? He is that group's leader, make no mistake about that. He might not do it with his mouth but did you see what he did to that poor running back Leonard Weaver when he blitzed? He went through him like a hot knife through butter! Not only that, but that play will have offensive coordinators changing their blocking schemes to put a lineman on him, which will play right into the Packers hands.
Besides Hawk, we have to tip our hat to Atari Bigby because he caused havoc all night. He definitely knows how to be a play-maker. The greatest thing about his performance was that he knew he had to make up for the week before at Pittsburgh, and he did rise to the occasion.
Don't forget Will Blackmon and his kickoff return. He did an excellent job. If he can continue, the Packers might just have found their return man.
There are always keys to victory and in this case the formula worked, which is an aggressive defense that takes no prisoners, an offense that takes advantage of opponents' mistakes, and special teams which help instead of hurt the team. I guess it's a matter of these coaches and players SEIZING THE MOMENT!!!!!!!!
Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. E-mail him at email@example.com.