Johnnie Gray: Post-game review

Thoughts on ailing Driver, analysis of offense and defense against Jaguars

When receiver Donald Driver went down with the ankle injury, I felt like I was the only one watching that didn't flinch. Obviously, I'm concerned but not entirely freaked out. Driver has proven many times that he is a fast healer and, most importantly, it will be his egotistical pride from his recent increase in his salary that won't allow him to stay out of the game.

Through the many years that he has been awarded with a new contract, an extension or Pro Bowl accolades, he has used his resources to work harder at becoming the best receiver in Green Bay Packer history. Unlike other players that have received the same rewards and did not live up to expectations, Driver has his bar set on how high he wants to jump.

OFFENSE
The running game has suffered, but don't blame it on the system. The Packers have five running backs and five fullbacks. Fullback Brandon Miree, who has been battling a neck stinger injury, was back on the field Thursday night after practicing a couple times this week. A good thing because there was a play when he pointed to Brandon Jackson to go in motion. When Brett Favre looked back at him he pointed to the man he was going to block and did.

Favre talked recently about having all the talent in the world, but if you don't have chemistry, you can't win.

James Jones has been fantastic during the preseason. He and Favre misfired on a crossing pattern that they have been running all summer. These days communication is the buzz word of the locker room as the coaching staff shuffles the lineup to get the best athletes with the best chemistry on the field at the same time.

DEFENSE
The phrase on defense is "hit somebody" and somebody they did. You can't teach linebacker Desmond Bishop to hit the way he did against the Jaguars. You have to want it. Another player would have come up and just tackled wide receiver Reggie Williams, but not Bishop. He crushed him. If it was me, I would have buried him by putting my head across his chest, wrap my arms around him, lift him up and plant him into the ground. Form tackle.

Safety Atari Bigby tried to do what Bishop did in the Steelers game and the receiver bounced off and scored on the play. Williams is the Jaguars' third string receiver.

There were many hits like Bishop's all night long by the linebackers, and it all started with the defensive line. We didn't hear their names because they were too busy sucking up the blockers, allowing the linebackers to utilize their speed to roam and fill the gaps.

The safeties did a better job of sealing the edge and forcing the running back to cut up inside. This Packers defense can be one of the best in the league because of its aggressive play, and it could be average due to the little things.

Last week, I talked about the safeties not giving up their body on the force and this week, they came up, but had their head down. A much better force, but when ‘LT' from San Diego sees that on tape he will dip to make you commit and then be around the corner before you can say "my bad."

A player to watch in the final preseason game is cornerback Will Blackmon. He has shown that he can handle the return duties, but his corner skills are at a lull. A ten-yard cushion is too excessive on mediocre receivers and with Jarrett Bush, (wearing my number) getting the nod in nickel, I guess that answers my question. Blackmon has a boatload of talent, but he needs to trust it. The little things.


Johnnie Gray

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@gbpackersfan.com.


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