Unit by unit analysis: Offense

Position by position breakdown, summary of Green Bay Packers offense in 2007 season

QUARTERBACK: Starter -- Brett Favre. Backups -- Aaron Rodgers, Craig Nall

The ball is Favre's hands for coming back in 2008. He was leaning late in the season toward giving it another season with a young offense on the rise, but after breaking all of the league's premier passing records and a Super Bowl victory already in his possession, the 38-year-old has little else to accomplish. Still, the ultra competitor likely won't go out on a bad note, after his poorly thrown pass in overtime was intercepted and turned into the game-winning field goal by the Giants in the NFC Championship Game.

Favre turned back the clock this season in a profound way. More often than not, he played within the confines of head coach Mike McCarthy's low-risk West Coast system and prospered with three-step drops and short throws. Favre had a career-high 66.5 completion percentage in the regular season, cut his interceptions to 15 and, thanks to a workout program with a personal trainer in the offseason, was elusive to avoid many a sack. The notorious arm strength hasn't escaped Favre.

Heir apparent Rodgers didn't let his third season of waiting in the wings go to waste. He is much more comfortable in the offense, is a polished passer and showed he is ready for the starting gig, whenever that time comes, by coolly rallying the Packers to a near-victory at Dallas late in the season after Favre was injured.

Green Bay went most of the season with two quarterbacks until re-signing Nall to cover itself when Rodgers missed time with a hamstring injury. Nall isn't inclined to come back as the third wheel.

RUNNING BACKS: Starters -- RB Ryan Grant, FB Korey Hall. Backups - RB Brandon Jackson, RB Vernand Morency, FB John Kuhn. Injured reserve -- RB DeShawn Wynn, RB Noah Herron, FB Ryan Powdrell.

The season ended as miserable as it started for Green Bay's running game. Second-half godsend Grant mustered just 29 yards in the NFC title game, which evoked nightmares of the team's inability to get anything going on the ground at the outset of the season.

The Packers still might not be out of the woods heading into next season, but the unexpected emergence of Grant is something to build on. The former Giant, acquired in a trade for a sixth-round draft pick before the season started, was the fourth starter of choice but proved to be the best fit with his combination of ambitious burst, keen vision and tenacious cutting in the zone-blocking scheme.

Morency, Jackson and Wynn squandered their starting opportunities with injuries, allowing Grant to step in at midseason and rack up 956 yards with eight touchdowns. His encore was even better, going for a franchise-record 201 yards and three TDs in the divisional playoff win over Seattle.

Jackson, a second-round draft pick, wasn't ready to be the lead guy at the start of the season, but he gradually found his way late in the season and has room to grow.

Morency, the anointed starter before he suffered a knee injury on the first day of training camp, is nothing more than a serviceable third-down back.

Wynn and Herron will have a fight on their hands in the offseason to try to regain a roster spot. The young duo of Hall, a converted linebacker, and Kuhn gained plenty of seasoning as lead blockers and wound up working in tandem late in the season in a wrinkle put in by McCarthy with an inverted wishbone.

TIGHT END: Starter -- Donald Lee. Backups -- Bubba Franks, Ryan Krause. Injured reserve -- Tory Humphrey.

Lee didn't let go of the starting job handed to him last offseason and established himself as one of the better downfield threats at tight end in the league. He was second on the team with six touchdown catches and ranked third with 48 receptions for 575 yards.

Conversely, three-time Pro Bowler Franks languished through a season in which he lost the top job after seven years, sustained a knee injury in Week 6 that cost him eight games and finished with a career-low 18 catches with three touchdowns. Franks has only 68 receptions and four TDs in the last three seasons, all of which are in the midst of a seven-year, $28 million contract extension he received in 2005. He might not be long for Green Bay anymore, especially if young prospect Humphrey can rebound from the season-ending broken fibula he suffered on the first day of training camp.

Krause is considered a better receiver than blocker but had only two catches after being promoted from the practice squad at midseason.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters -- FL Donald Driver, SE Greg Jennings. Backups -- James Jones, Koren Robinson, Ruvell Martin, Shaun Bodiford. Injured reserve -- Carlyle Holiday.

The collection of Driver, Jennings, Jones, Robinson and Martin inherited nicknames of "Big Five" and "Fab Five" with McCarthy's deploying them (and occasionally Lee at one of the spots) in five-receiver sets.

Jennings, though not regarded as No. 1 on the depth chart, was the leader of the big band that topped the league charts with nearly 2,300 yards after the catch in the regular season. Jennings had a knack for making big plays out of Favre's short throws across the middle, averaging 17.4 yards per catch and leading the club with 12 touchdown receptions despite missing the first two games with a hamstring injury. Jennings benefited from Driver's remaining the focal point of defensive schemes, periodically drawing double teams.

Driver shook loose for another 80-catch, 1,000-yard season. Yet, until he sprinted for a team-record 90-yard catch-and-run touchdown in the NFC title game, Driver had only two TDs in the regular season and none after Week 3.

Jones pushed Jennings for a starting job with a dazzling preseason and was a home-run threat as the No. 3 receiver with his quickness in separation, but he wasn't much help down the stretch.

Martin (four), a tall target in the red zone, and Robinson, who returned from a one-year suspension at midseason, combined for five TDs in situational roles.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Starters -- LT Chad Clifton, LG Daryn Colledge, C Scott Wells, RG Jason Spitz, RT Mark Tauscher. Backups -- T/G Tony Moll, G Allen Barbre, T Orrin Thompson. Injured reserve -- G/T Junius Coston, G Tony Palmer, G Tyson Walter.

The starting line with which the Packers ended the season was the same from when it opened the schedule in early September. Yet, injuries and inconsistencies in the interior prompted shuffling at the guard spots on an almost weekly basis. Consequently, the running game suffered until Grant entered the picture and the execution by the linemen finally percolated the last couple months.

Spitz was the best of the guard options the team had, though Colledge responded well upon his return to the lineup following a late-season demotion.

Both guard spots figure to be open for competition, with Coston and solid run blocker Palmer returning from injuries. Barbre, who trained all season at left guard after playing tackle in college, also has a chance to jump up next season.

Wells was as steady as ever.

Venerable bookends Clifton, going to his first Pro Bowl, and Tauscher were less than 100 percent physically for most of the season, but they started every game and were the catalysts in the line's allowing only 19 sacks in the regular season (15 for Favre).

Editor's note: Stay tuned for the position analysis of Green Bay's defense on Friday on PackerReport.com.


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