10 QUESTIONS - Patriots vs Packers Part 1
PackerReport.com Insider Todd Korth is this week's guest on 10 questions.
1) The Packers have had trouble with their defense for a while now. What has been the cause of that, and how has it been addressed this season?
Todd Korth: The biggest problem with the Packers defense is lack of communication, especially in the secondary. Part of that is the fact that the team is on its fourth different coordinator (Bob Sanders) in four seasons, and part of that is on the players who, for whatever reason, are not on the same page. Last Sunday against Minnesota, the Vikings scored an easy touchdown when the safety failed to pick up a receiver in a simple Cover 2 defense. The week before against Buffalo, the coaches called for a certain defense but not all the players responded to it, and the Bills scored an easy touchdown.
2) The Packers took one of the high profile picks in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft in A.J. Hawk. How has Hawk fared this season? Is he having an impact on the defense?
TK: If Hawk continues to progress like he has, he will be a top candidate for Rookie of the Year. A strong-side linebacker, he leads the Packers in tackles with 90. The Packers often use defensive formations that allow him to be on the field on almost every down and to make plays. Opposing offensive coordinators are definitely aware of Hawk.
3) The Packers lost some interior offensive linemen last year to free agency. How has the unit performed without those players? How have their replacements done?
TK: The Packers have been pleasantly surprised with the progress of rookie guards Daryn Colledge and Jason Spitz, and third-year pro Scott Wells, who is a first-year starter at center. All three of those players, and rookie guard/tackle Tony Moll have picked up on the team's new zone-blocking scheme, and it has showed with the team's success running the ball. They also have combined to protect Brett Favre, who has only been sacked 11 times this season.
4) Ahman Green fought through injury to return to the field recently. How does he look and what impact has it had on the running game with and without him?
TK: The fact that Green has the ability to run as hard as he does is amazing. He sustained a major quadriceps injury in October of 2005, and many felt that he would miss games, or be very limited, early this season because of the injury. But he keeps himself in tip-top shape and returned during the middle of training camp. Though he missed two games with sore hamstrings in early October, he has meshed well with the offensive line and has had four 100-yard games rushing.
With Green, the Packers are in good hands. However, without him, his replacements - Vernand Morency and Noah Herron - have filled in admirably. That's a tribute to the new zone-blocking scheme. If a back reads his blockers well, he will prosper.
5) What prompted the trade of Samkon Gado?
TK: Gado tried during the off-season mini-camps and early in training camp to catch on to the zone-blocking scheme but never seemed to grasp it. So, the Packers swapped backs with the Houston Texans, dealing Gado for Morency, and it has worked well for both teams. Morency offers the Packers a change of speed from Green. Morency is shifts gears in a hurry while Green will try to run defenders over.
Look for part 2 where Todd addresses the future of Brett Favre, the loss of Javon Walker and his prediction for the the Patriots game today.