Johnnie Gray: Post-game review

Reserves get quality time against Lions that helps the whole team, says's Johnnie Gray

Still feeling the vibes from the big win on Sunday against Detroit Lions. My prediction before the game was that the Packers would treat it like a third preseason game. In that they would play their starters for a half and then let the backups get some repetitions. Not only was the Pack able to come out and dominate the first half, but also they were able to get enough playing time out of the secondary players in a game environment.

Sunday's game was a perfect teaching scenario with the Lions trying to steal a win from the Pack with key starters on the sideline. The Lions weren't trying to showcase any new talent for next year, but they were trying to close out with a win over the division champions. Therefore, it was great to see the Lions, who had started out to be a great year at 6-2, battle our backups and put them in situations that will be useful when the playoffs start next week. Other playoffs teams tried to do what the Packers did and were embarrassed.

If you weren't at the game, Jon Ryan received a standing ovation for handling and getting his punts away. Will Blackmon, starting for Charles Woodson, played quality minutes until he left the game with a foot injury that proved minor. Quarterback Craig Nall, after a couple of rocky snaps, looked comfortable in the later stages of the game and really had some zip on his completion to Ruvell Martin.

As much as I am confident about everything that went right, I'm still a little nervous about the health at the guards. Mark Tauscher should get a raise, or the iron man award, for having to come back in for an injured Junius Coston. I'm hoping with this bye week that Coston can get healthy enough to go on a three-game stretch without any bumps and bruises. Coston can be a solid player, but needs playing time to be consistent with his technique and fundamentals. It has to be tough practicing on one side and playing the opposite on game day. The adjustment of right hand down, step with left foot and then change that thinking to the other side seems to bother him the most. Let's hope that rest and many repetitions will clear this up before Jan. 12.

Happy New Year!

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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