Johnnie Gray: Post-game review

Patience is a virtue for young Packers in victory over New York Giants

The one thing that helped the Packers win against the Giants was patience. For four quarters, the offense was committed to running the football no matter how embarrassing it may have looked. There were times throughout the game when I thought for sure there was going to be a lineup change, especially after seeing running back Brandon Jackson get smeared in the backfield not once but several times.

As ugly as it looked the Packers offense did somewhat improve from last week. There were a few occasions when quarterback Brett Favre had plenty of time to throw the ball and they ran the ball successfully enough to control the clock for three quarters of the game. The key element is that they went on the road, battled through adversity, competed and won. Blocks were sustained enough to allow Jackson and DeShawn Wynn to gain some confidence and have a some success. Both of these guys are tough. Last week Wynn gave us a taste of possibly what he can do, but against the Giants he showed the rest of the league what's he capable of doing.

Wynn will only get better as the season progresses. Remember, he missed all but one game in the preseason and is aggressively getting into playing shape. Other than wide receiver James Jones, Wynn could be the steal of the draft. I honestly felt that if he had come into camp in better shape he would be the starter. He's bigger than all the other backs that were in camp and he runs with the same speed and quickness. Keeping these guys mentally focused will be coach McCarthy's biggest challenge until the offensive line gets in gear.

DEFENSE
Patience was the word again on defense as defensive coordinator Bob Sanders chose not to change his philosophy with injured quarterback Eli Manning as the starter. He stayed with rushing the front four for a majority of the game and didn't expose his secondary needlessly.

The Packers showed a lot of respect for Manning, which wasn't the case with backup quarterback Jared Lorenzen, as he saw every blitz the Packers defense had in the arsenal. This week the secondary will be doing some extra hitting on the tackling dummy due to some missed tackles, but they will also get some high praise on the many times they came up and put a nice lick on the Giants receivers and running backs.

Safety Atari Bigby did a much better job in his run support, but lacked getting depth in the middle of the field. When your corner (Al Harris) is holding outside leverage and knowing he has inside help he will play the outside patterns aggressively knowing that the design of the defense puts the safety in the deep middle to make the play. Perfect defense, but poor execution.

SPECIAL TEAMS
Can't say enough about the aggressive play of both the kickoff and punt coverage units. We talk about special teams being a major part of the team concept, but unless you create turnovers or cause bad field positions with penalties, it's sort of an afterthought.


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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