Everyone seems to be getting their panties in a bunch and that's all I'm going to say about that. There are more important things for the Packer fans to pay attention to, and that's the game this week, so let's take a look at this Sunday's matchup.
For many people going into this season this game was kind of up in the air. Understand that going into New York is always tough to do because of the flight the fans and, of course, the opponents. Eli Manning may not play because of his shoulder. If he does their coach, Tom Coughlin, should be fired for risking the team's franchise player. Make no mistake about it, this team still has weapons. So I see this being a battle between the Giants offense against the Packers defense. Get used to it because this will be the song and dance every week until the offense develops some form of an identity.
Let's look at the weapons that the Packers will have to contain. The Giants still can score even though they lost their big back Brandon Jacobs who is 6-foot-4, 264 pounds. His replacement, Derrick Ward, might be a bigger threat because of his ability to make people miss and he is dangerous in the open field. He is an unknown factor, but they have other guys that will demand respect like wide receivers Amani Toomer, Plaxico Burress and their rookie from USC Steve Smith. These guys are no joke. Now throw Jeremy Shockey into the mix and, even though some people don't like him, he is still one of the best tight ends in the game, so the Packers' the defense will have to be at the top of its game. This defense will have to put pressure on Jared Lorenzen or Manning, whoever is the quarterback. Aaron Kampman, Cullen Jenkins and Kabeer have to bring it if they want to win this game. This isn't rest time. Just like A. J. Hawk, Nick Barnett and Brady Poppinga are going to have their hands full trying to coral Jeremy Shockey, because he's an excellent route runner. Just like in the secondary, Al Harris and Charles Woodson, will have a battle going up against Burress and Toomer, they are very talented and could cause problems. This defense will have a challenge, but this is a challenge it can win if it brings - in the words of Tiger Woods - its "A" game.
Can we expect the special teams to control or win the game again? No I don't think so, but we can expect the special teams to show that same aggressive nature because it can't change if it expects to help this team win the game. The core players guys like Tracy White, Jarrett Bush, Will Blackmon and Korey Hall have to continue to make the difference and help the offense or defense out by helping with field position. That hidden yardage can help so the offense doesn't have to drive so far to score. With the leg of Mason Crosby, 20 or 30 yards could be the difference between winning and losing. Just like if the special teams could back the Giants offense up maybe Bob Sanders might call more of an aggressive defense and blitz more to put pressure on whoever is the quarterback.
OK, now to the offense. I wish I knew how the running game could improve. Trust me, I wish I could be more optimistic with the running game. I wish I could say if they just do this or that things would be better, but that's not the case because it's all about the execution.
I do think that the coaching staff can help Clifton, Tauscher, Wells, Spitz and Colledge out if they don't hold them on the line so long. I know Brett does a lot of changing of plays at the line and he tries to double count to get the defenders to declare what they are doing. That's great, but the problem is that the offensive linemen are in their stance for sometimes 10-15 seconds and that was something that Mike Holmgren couldn't stand. Just like him, I believe that sometimes you have to just let the linemen come up to the line and just tee off and go get their man. Sometimes football is not about out-thinking or out-tricking them. It's about getting after them. Sometimes I think Mike McCarthy needs to decide to commit to the run because that's the only way the running game is going to get better.
I believe if the defense does what it is supposed to and the special teams holds their own, and the offense doesn't do anything to hurt the team, the Packers will have A CHANCE TO STEAL ANOTHER ONE!!!!!!
Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.