I thought we had finally got rid of Ahmad Carroll, but he has snuck back onto the team under the name of Atari Bigby. I never even cared for the guy in preseason. What is he still doing on the team?
On a more positive note, this goes out to all you naysayers that were crying over our first round draft pick and asking for Thompson's head. I knew we had a great team even without a first round pick. Greg Jennings is going to be the next Antonio Freeman, only better. Brett is still the best in the league. McCarthy is doing great as our coach. We have the best defense in the league. Those of you that were crying in preseason and before don't deserve to be Packer fans. Hey ...we're 7-1!!!
By the way, is there anybody out there that may have copies of the Chiefs, Giants and San Diego games this year? I would be willing to pay for them.
Steve, firstname.lastname@example.org, Detroit, Mich.
NFC narrowing the gap on AFC
Do you remember before the season began I said that I thought that the gap was narrowing between the AFC and the NFC. Right now the AFC looks to me like the NFC in the early and mid 1990s when the Packers, Cowboys and the 49ers were tops of the NFL and everyone else was fighting it out for the table crumbs. The NFC has now locked down the inter-league contests.
The AFC does not have much beyond the Colts and the Patriots. The Steelers and the Chargers are good but not dominating. I think the NFC is about a year or two away from taking over as the top conference again.
John F. King, email@example.com, Roanoke, VA
Packers must cover opposing tight ends better
Would you asks the coach why Tony Gonzalez wasn't checked at the line of scrimmage? Everyone knew who the ball was going to but the defense forgot to check Tony when he left the line of scrimmage. He ran free and as a result a touchdown and many other catches. This has been an Achilles heal for the team all season so far, THE TIGHT END!
Joe Klimoski, BOOPA9@MSN.COM, Chandler, Ariz.
According to the coaches, the Packers were having different players check Gonzalez, and they used a bracket coverage on him, but it was too loose. He's a heck of a TE, but I agree with you, the Packers have to do better at covering opposing TE's.
Assessment of Packers at midway point of season
I thought I would chime in at the official halfway point on the team's progress. I have to start by asking my fellow fans who thought we would be talking about 7-1 at the 8-game mark? What's even more amazing is that it could very easily be 8-0. This team is finding ways to win games that in all honesty, this team has been losing in recent years.
Coaching: The obvious and biggest difference is the coaching. Mike McCarthy and his staff know how to prepare this team each week. Under a variety of situations (bye week, short week, home/road), they come out ready to go each week. Even in their only loss, they were in it until the end, had a few INT's not helped Chicago overcome their deficit. From his comments each week, it is clear that coach Mac has a solid handle on what the team needs to improve on. What's also good to see is that despite their success in the Win/Loss column, he realizes that continued improvement is the only way that this team will continue to see the same result. This will be vital come January (when we WILL be playing and likely hosting a game or two). Each week, he sits down and grades his players on their performance and mechanics. When the ball carriers were suffering from fumbles early in the year, he realized that the method of carrying the ball low was a culprit. In the past few games, there have been no such fumbles. Coach's influence even seems to be carrying over to some of the most die-hard habits of all. I have seen Brett reel in some throws he would have forced in the past or even throw the ball out of bounds (yes, it's OK once in a while, Brett). All of this is paying off and giving the team two or three more chances to score and protect their leads. And they seem to be responding and getting points on the board. Right now the biggest issue is cutting down on the penalties that are giving other teams a chance to keep drives alive and making our own that much longer. Sunday's game versus Kansas City saw 13 penalties, most of which ended up with KC scoring. Eventually, these will catch up to the team and cost them a win. This is an area that coach has made it clear that he has no tolerance for. Now is the time the team needs to respond before a game or two slip away.
Offense: This was one of the biggest question marks coming into this season. How will they fare despite not acquiring Randy Moss? Who will be their RB or will they go by committee? Is the zone blocking scheme working and is the O-Line improved after a year together and in the scheme? Does Brett still have his old magic? Clearly, the answers are: just fine, every RB on the roster, yes, yes, and YES! This goes back to the coaching as well, but the guys on the field are executing which means points. In years past, a drive that started behind our own 20 was likely to result in a punt. Now, those drives are producing points and taking good chunks of time off of the clock. This helps the defense by forcing the opposing offense to throw and play from behind. The efficiency has not even reached its peak. Just in these last two weeks have we seen a hint of what our running game can do. Now teams have no choice but to respect this balanced attack and Favre and Co. keep finding the chinks in the armor. The offensive line is starting to gel and the versatility that we have with most of those guys able to play all positions has helped with some injuries that have come up. As the season moves along and the weather becomes more of a factor, that consistency will become very critical. Keeping Favre on his feet and opening lanes for our RB's takes a ton of pressure off of the passing game. Donald Lee has also stepped in brilliantly as our No. 1 tight end and reminds me of Keith Jackson in 1995-96 running up the seam and gaining big chunks of yardage. At Wide Receiver, pick your poison. Both Jennings and Driver are sure handed and can get you 10 tough yards or 80 quick ones. James Jones is not far behind and seems to have put his shaky start behind him. If this is only the tip of the ice berg, we should look forward to seeing more comfortable leads in the near future as the offense becomes more efficient.
Defense: This unit was labeled the strength of our team. So far, it's hard to argue with the result. GB ranks third in the NFC in points allowed and trails the second best team by only 1 point allowed. The unit has improved dramatically over the past year and teams are having to take note. Every level plays well. The defensive line is clogging up the middle and the ends are getting some pressure on the quarterback. The backers are making plays and flying all over the field. Nick Barnett is the second coming of Ray Lewis (one of the few gems to come out of a Mike Sherman draft). The defensive backs are aggressive and opportunistic. Charles Woodson is making a case for defensive player of the year while Al Harris keeps each opposing team's star wide receivers quiet week in and week out. Talk about Champ Bailey and Dre Bly all you want. I think this team may have the best cornerbacks in the league. Atari Bigby and Nick Collins will continue to mature and improve at safety and Bush at nickelback could be a starter on most other teams. It's fun to watch our defense play once again and that's a great feeling as a fan. Defense wins championships and this unit is certainly not hurting this team when it matters most.
Special Teams: This is an area where the team has improved over years past. Getting Koren Robinson back will help in the return game. The tackling is getting better on coverage. Mason Crosby has proven that he was every bit worth the draft pick the team spent on him (if nothing else, we saw former Packer kicker Dave Rayner kick one out of bounds on a kickoff today. .another reason the team made the right choice with Crosby). His strong leg has also helped keep opposing teams deep in their own territory to start drives. Jon Ryan has showed a great leg and consistency is improving each week. He has done a great job holding and taking some tough snaps and getting them down for Crosby's FG attempts. He even converted a fake into a first down.
Many things looking up for this team and here's to an even better second half (if that's possible)!
Jason, firstname.lastname@example.org, Chandler, AZ
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