Behind Enemy Lines: Seahawks/Packers, Pt. 3

In Part Three of our four-part series, Doug Farrar asks PackerReport.com Managing Editor Todd Korth the final five of ten questions, and gets the inside take on Seattle's next opponent. Here, Todd talks about rookie linebacker A.J. Hawk, the team's dubious secondary, and how the Pack will go forward with their current management team.

Doug Farrar: DE Aaron Kampman ranks second in the NFL with 10 sacks after 10 games. Why is he so effective, and who else on Green Bay’s defensive line should Seattle’s depleted offensive line watch out for?

Todd Korth: Kampman lost about 5-6 pounds during the off-season, and that has helped his speed quite a bit. He’s an excellent technician and student of the game. He uses his hands well to gain leverage on blockers, and that has helped him get to quarterbacks. Besides Kampman, the Seahawks will have their hands full with the interior of the line in Ryan Pickett, Cullen Jenkins and Corey Williams, who is emerging lately. Williams had three sacks against the Bills on Nov. 5. All three of those players have been effective at collapsing the ‘pocket.’

DF: Rookie A.J. Hawk leads the team in tackles, and seems to be playing far beyond his years. Has he lived up to the pre-draft hype?

TK: Yes, he has. Hawk has gained confidence with each week this season. He will be a top candidate for NFL Rookie of the Year. It probably won’t be long before he is a regular for the NFC in the Pro Bowl. He loves to play football, loves it in Green Bay, and it shows on the field. He leads the Packers in tackles and is on pace to break the rookie record 166 set by Rich Wingo in 1979.

DF: The Packers rank 31st in the NFL in pass defense, with only the Bengals behind them. What’s the problem, and why hasn’t Charles Woodson been more of a factor? Also, is former Seahawks safety Marquand Manuel, now a starter with the Pack, as much of a liability against the pass as it seemed against the Pats last Sunday?

TK: Manuel has not lived up to the expectations that the Packers had when they signed him to a five-year, $10 million deal last March. McCarthy says that Manuel is the best communicator in the secondary, but mis-communication has been the norm and cause for big, back-breaking plays in almost every game this season for the Packers. Manuel can often be seen out of position, chasing receivers into the end zone. He’s soft as a tackler and NFL safety in general. A big disappointment for Packers fans thus far.

Woodson has been inconsistent. He’ll make some plays but nearly as many as the Packers thought he would this season. He’s got two interceptions this season, one that he returned for a touchdown, but that’s about it. He skipped all the team’s voluntary off-season practices in May and June, and that has something to do with his inability to communicate with teammates when necessary.

DF: How would you rate the job that GM Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy have done? Are the Packers in good hands?

TK: I think Thompson and McCarthy are doing a good job in rebuilding the Packers this season. The organization is in good hands. After the Seattle game, which no one is expecting the Packers to win, look for the Packers to finish strong and carry that momentum into next season. They play three of five games in December at home. With Favre likely to return next season, and some new blood at a few different positions, like safety, the Packers may even be a legitimate playoff contender in 2007.

DF: What is the one thing the Seahawks need to watch out for on Monday night if they want to avoid their second straight upset loss?

TK: Judging by the way the Packers played against the Patriots, not much. Green Bay, no doubt, will be blitzing away, trying to rattle Hasselbeck into making mistakes. The Packers have nothing to lose. Look for Green to make a statement in front of Seattle fans, as well as Favre in front of the coach that molded him into the future Hall of Famer that he is. Still, the Seahawks should win this one in another Monday Night Football yawner.


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