Woodson: Where Are the Blitzes?

Veteran cornerback Charles Woodson questions the game plan and a personnel decision after watching Brett Favre throw three touchdown passes and not get sacked on Monday night.

The vision of Brett Favre playing catch with his receivers all night left veteran Packers cornerback Charles Woodson with more questions than answers.

Namely, was coordinator Dom Capers' aggressive play-calling that worked so well throughout the preseason?

"I think we've got a lot of tools in our bag that we're not using, for whatever reason," Woodson said after Favre riddled the Packers' defense for 271 passing yards and three touchdowns in Minnesota's 30-23 victory on Monday night at the Metrodome.

The 2009 version of Favre looked an awful lot like the 2007 version of Favre who led the Packers to the NFC championship game with an MVP-caliber season. Woodson was impressed but certainly not in awe after Favre picked apart the Packers' zone with passes both short and long.

"If you've got time, I could do that," Woodson said. "It don't take a rocket scientist to figure out that a quarterback, especially a quarterback of his nature, who's seen everything, he's going to find it. If you're not moving him around in that pocket and you're not putting pressure on him, a long day is where you're headed."

The attacking Packers' defense that took the NFL by storm in the preseason and made Jay Cutler look like Rex Grossman in the opener against Chicago was nowhere to be found in the Metrodome. Woodson was part of that attacking defense with frequent blitzes off the corner. He only did so twice on Monday, though one of them turned into a 14-yard touchdown to Sidney Rice that gave the Vikings a 14-7 lead in the second quarter.

"I anticipate us doing a lot of it today but it didn't happen," Woodson said in his typical thoughtful, measured manner.

Which begged the question of why. Could it be that Woodson is so valuable in coverage that the defense can't do without him? With Atari Bigby out with a knee injury and Anthony Smith and Aaron Rouse jettisoned, Derrick Martin started at safety. Martin had a long night and was benched in the second half, and cornerbacks Al Harris and Tramon Williams had trouble with the Vikings' receivers.

Woodson, however, didn't see it that way.

"If we're just going to sit back, I don't see why we don't just throw the kitchen sink at them instead of just sitting back," he said. "Sitting back there in the pocket as comfortable as ever, why not? We've got a ton of stuff. A ton of stuff. Not to get them called in the game. We're running a lot of different things during the week and in the game not getting them called, it gets a little frustrating.

That led Woodson to pose another question.

"We had a guy here, you know, that we brought in. For whatever reason, he's not here anymore," Woodson said in reference to Smith, who surprisingly was among the Packers' final cuts and is in the NFL's version of purgatory with the St. Louis Rams. "Again, I'm not saying we win the game if Smith is here, but, you know ... I know a lot of those things, I believe, wouldn't be a problem."

So, with a bye week, the Packers have some time to regroup and find answers. Not only was Woodson frustrated by the play-calling, but he was disgusted with the mental errors that plagued the defense for much of last season, too.

Asked if he would talk to Capers to voice his opinion to open up the voluminous playbook, Woodson said: "Maybe, maybe not, I don't know. I think anybody can see that, so I don't know if I have to plead or someone else has to plead. We have a lot of things that we have in the package that we can use. We've just got to do it."


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Bill also is giving Facebook and Twitter a try. Find him on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook.


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