Johnnie Gray: Post-game review

Former Packers safety Johnnie Gray offers his thoughts on Green Bay's 33-14 victory over the St. Louis Rams and the playoff picture

Just like last week, the Packers' biggest fear against lesser opponents is injuries and mental mistakes and, to me, missed tackles are mental mistakes. The Packers did a great job of getting to the ball and getting in position to make plays, but didn't against the Rams.

As much as you have an opponent sized up for the big hit you must be fundamental and break down, gather your feet and drive through the tackle. Cornerback Charles Woodson showed us just that by starting the second half with a picture perfect form tackle. On paper, the Packers defense had the edge over the Rams but we all know the game is played on Sunday with emotion. Therefore, whenever you give an underdog some hope with big plays caused by missed tackles, more often than not this will give your opponent hope that you do not have your "A" game and this would be the day you are beatable.

Fortunately, the Pack adjusted at half and came out better disciplined than the Rams. The defense was able to put on a pass rush, stay in their gaps and make the plays once in position. If the Packers want to win the next two games versus beatable opponents, they will have to look to each other to stay focused, especially in the first half to pump each other up to play within themselves and to play one play at a time.

The Packers showed respect for Rams quarterback Marc Bulger as they blitzed him often. They were somewhat respectable, but I still like the front seven to put the pressure on, but maybe I'm underestimating the Pack. If the Pack chooses not to blitz against Kyle Orton of the Bears this Sunday, then the rule must be to blitz against experienced quarterbacks, otherwise, the front four is good enough.

Last week I wrote that the kicker Mason Crosby had short high kicks to allow the kicking team to get down field to cover better. Only to find out he had a bad day, so it was nice to see him get a couple of touchbacks and the kicking team having great coverage. My bad.

With the win over St. Louis, the Packers lock up at worst the second seed with a first round bye. The Cowboys' loss to the Eagles makes it possible that the Packers could get the number-one seed should the Cowboys lose at least one of their next two games at either Carolina or Washington.

Quarterback Brett Favre once mentioned that he did not like having to depend on help from other teams to get to the playoffs, but I'm thinking now he's hoping for help to be home for the playoffs.

Go Pack!

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

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