Random thoughts during bye week

PackerReport.com's Bob Fox offers his thoughts on the NFC North vs. NFC East; DeShawn Wynn; upcoming road games; and Koren Robinson

I was watching NFL Live the other night on ESPN, and it sure seemed like the panel thought the NFC East division was the best in the NFC. In case you didn't realize, the Green Bay Packers are 3-0 vs. the NFC East in 2007. That is a noteworthy accomplishment.

Some people feel that the Giants have found themselves with four straight wins, while everyone knows that the Redskins and Eagles are very talented. Yes, the Packers haven't played the likewise 5-1 Dallas Cowboys yet, but that game could be for the NFC home field advantage during the playoffs. The game will be in Dallas on Nov. 29, the week after Thanksgiving on national TV. National TV, if you have the NFL Network. The Packers have never won in Dallas in the Brett Favre era. But maybe something will be different in 2007. Not too many people expected the Pack to be 3-0 at this point against the NFC East.

DeShawn Wynn
Something in training camp told me that Mike McCarthy really liked DeShawn Wynn. Even when Wynn was not able to practice, McCarthy had mostly good things to say about the rookie RB from Florida. Some were surprised that Wynn made the club after an injury plagued pre-season. Wynn not only made the club, but is now the starting HB. Wynn has shown glimpses of brilliance and has played well as a rookie. Wynn has rushed for 202 yards thus far in 2007 and that includes a 4.1 average. The seventh round draft pick has also scored four touchdowns and has had a couple of 35-plus yard scampers. Wynn has also not fumbled the ball once and picks up blitzers pretty well.

The Packers are trying to get their ground game going during the bye week as they are last in the NFL right now with a 68 yard per game average. Wynn needs to stay on the field more often. Besides a quad injury that almost cost him a spot on the team in the pre-season, Wynn had to leave the Chicago Bear game with cramps when he had an electrifying start. The coaches will also look at Vernand Morency, Brandon Jackson and Ryan Grant at the tailback position during the week before the Monday night game at Denver. All have different abilities and all will be given a chance. But Wynn, if he can stay on the field, is the best option the Packers have at RB right now.

Packers defense
The Green Bay Packer defense finally showed me how good it was against the Washington Redskins last week, especially in the second half. The defense has shown signs in all of the games that it can be dominant, but the last half of the Redskins game showed me how good it can be.

There are still blemishes on the D to be sure. Although Brady Poppinga has a great motor, he is still having issues covering tight ends. Nick Collins has not been consistent enough at the FS position. But overall, the defense can still get better. The defensive line is very solid as Aaron Kampman is playing extremely well as of late. Cullen Jenkins is still not playing as well as he did in the pre-season, but I think that is mostly due to injuries. The defensive tackle play has been very solid. MLB Nick Barnett is having a Pro Bowl season. A.J. Hawk has been somewhat quiet, but people said the same thing about him last year when he ended up leading the team in tackles. The cornerbacks have been great and both Al Harris and Charles Woodson are nicked up. Hopefully the bye week will help them with their healing. Atari Bigby has also played well at SS. The defense must continue its stellar play, especially with the offense now struggling with consistency in both the passing and running game.

Upcoming road games
It used to be that traveling to Denver and Kansas City would mean road losses on any team's schedule in the NFL. But things are a little different in 2007. The Chiefs are 3-3 and the Broncos are 2-3 heading into this weekend. Both teams have been very inconsistent and both teams also have very inexperienced quarterbacks in terms of playing time. Jay Cutler has thrown more interceptions for the Broncos than TD passes. Journeyman Damon Huard was almost benched for second year QB Brodie Croyle. Compare that to Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers. Favre will start his 244th consecutive game against the Broncos next Monday night. And all though he has struggled the last six quarters or so, Favre has had a very good 2007 season in all with 9 TD passes compared to 6 interceptions. Plus, Favre is second in the NFL in passing yardage. Those stats would even be better had the officials in the Redskins game been on THEIR game, instead of making a couple of horrendous calls. Favre had TD passes to both Bubba Franks and James Jones in the Redskin game that were basically taken off the board due to decisions by the officials.

Still, it won't be easy for Favre and the Packers in Denver or Kansas City. The Packers have lost five straight Monday night games and have never won in Denver. It's been 20 years since the Packers won in KC. In fact, that is the only time the Packers ever beat the Chiefs, except of course the time the Packers beat the Chiefs in Super Bowl I.

Koren Robinson
Will Koren Robinson help make the Packers better in 2007? To me, the answer is yes. First of all, Robinson went to the Pro Bowl a couple of years back as a kick returner. If the Packers can pair him with Tramon Williams, who had a nice start in 2007 and tailed off a bit, then the team should have a very nice kick return game.

Robinson is also a big, physical receiver that should be able to help the Packer passing game in short yardage, third down conversions and red zone situations.

Robinson will join Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones and Ruvell Martin as the wide receiver threats for Favre. The New England Patriots have proven in 2007 that no team has enough talented wide receivers. With Robinson, the Packers can knock on that door. Driver is still the main threat for Favre, but Jennings is playing as well as he did before he hurt his ankle last year. Jones has had a very good rookie season, even with the two fumbles against Chicago. Martin is very reliable and always seems to make a clutch catch. Robinson will add to all of that. Favre and Robinson seem to have a great chemistry. Favre even let Robinson use his personal trainer in Arizona while he was working out waiting for reinstatement. Yes, I think the Packers will get a big lift from Mr. Robinson, now that he is back in their neighborhood.

Bob Fox is a frequent contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at greenbaybob@hotmail.com.


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