Let me start with the defense as I review my notes and replay the game in my head. The thing that stands out about Thursday night's game more than any other game I can remember lately was the amount of real hitting that took place, and it was by the Green Bay Packers. The Packers sent a message to the Vikings, Lions and Bears to not come over the middle anymore on a crossing route, or if you are going to throw a post or seam route, quarterbacks have to make sure that it is a perfect throw, otherwise your receiver or tight end might just get knocked into next week.
That message was sent by Aaron Rouse, Desmond Bishop, A.J. Hawk and the rest of the defensive backfield which includes the linebackers and the secondary. If you are truly an old school football guy, the way the Packers' defense is flying around has to be making you think that anything is possible, and it is if you stay on this side of the ball.
Many eyes were on Atari Bigby, wondering how he would handle calling the signals or rebound from having an outstanding game last week. People, and let's say coaches as well, wanted to know if could follow it up with another solid week or was last week just an accident by being in the right place at the right time. I thought that even though he didn't do anything to make anyone go crazy, he did enough to show that he was more than capable to start alongside of Nick Collins on opening day.
Also, another thing I liked from the defense as it related to the secondary was the ability to cover man-to-man all over the field because Bob Sanders seemed to only want to rush four. I saw a lot of man-to-man coverage giving Byron Leftwich more time to throw, but he could find anyone. Talk about great coverage by the corners Charles Woodson and even Al Harris, even though he missed a tackle. Of course everyone wanted Cullen Jenkins and Aaron Kampman to put more pressure on Leftwich but it's hard to do that when you are always out-numbered five to four. The offense is supposed to win those battles.
I think the defense is the real deal and I love the way it keeps playing downhill, trying to meet the running back on the other side of the line of scrimmage. The aggressiveness seems contagious. I especially like how when they had that little scuffle, the linebackers stepped forward as to say not in my house. Hat's off to the defense!
I see Brett Favre working his butt off to be the quarterback this team needs. I see him adjusting and being more patient while at the same time somewhat confused at the inconsistence of the young receivers. I also see Greg Jennings looking over his shoulder because this year's version of himself, James Jones, is gaining fast and just might move up the depth chart to the number two receiver if Jennings is not careful. Jones is delivering just about every time his number is called.
Even though Jones fumbled the ball away in the first quarter, besides Donald Driver, what other playmaker is there on the offense? For those that think it's Brandon Jackson I hope this game helped you open your eyes some more. Jackson gave up a sack, fumbled but because of a great play by the receiver, the fumble wasn't a turnover. His grand total was 11 carries for 20 yards. That won't get it done. He's a good-to-average back that this offensive line might help, but when they can't he has to something on his own and, unfortunately, I don't see it in him.
Even though there is one more preseason game, everything pretty much as been decided except for some tight races in a few positions, but basically this is the team. The reality is this team will only go as far as the defense takes it because it can't run the ball. The Packers don't have a back good enough to carry the load.
At this time, we don't know all the details about Donald's injury, but we do know the Packers can't afford to lose him. I don't know where the points are going to come from with Driver, so without him, whoever wins the field goal kicking job, might be the best offensive weapon and that's THE BIG PICTURE!!!!!!!!
Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.