Packers' questions answered


Dec 15, 2004
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Lambeau Midwest
Posted Dec. 02, 2005
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Chris Havel

Packers’ questions answered

The Green Bay Packers are short on offensive skill players but long on questions that need answers during the final five weeks of this woebegone season.

Question: Will the Packers eventually find a way to win a close game?

Answer: Mike Sherman’s future may depend on it. While general manager Ted Thompson has declined to comment on the head coach’s performance, he has expressed dissatisfaction with the number of narrow defeats. Parity reigns in today’s NFL. The best teams win the close games, because they take advantage of any possible edge. It could be a first-rate kicker, a dynamic return specialist or a quarterback with nerves of steel when the game’s on the line. It also could be a savvy head coach whose gameday decisions — no matter how subtle — give his team a decisive edge.

Question: Is Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila an every down player? Or might the team’s top pass rusher be fresher and more effective as a third-down or situational player?

Answer: KGB is an above-average pass rusher with the skills to impact a game’s outcome. On a defense that lacks playmakers, KGB’s importance is indisputable. However, the Packers would be wise to employ KGB as a situational pass rusher in one or two games. It is possible that fewer snaps could translate into fresher legs, more energy and more explosiveness especially late in games.

Question: Can the Packers’ run defense hold up for an extended period with a rotation of Colin Cole, Cullen Jenkins, Corey Williams and Kenny Peterson?

Answer: If the answer is yes, the Packers needn’t rush to sign Grady Jackson to an extension. Jackson is the lynchpin of the run defense, but the Packers need to know if the other interior defensive linemen can survive without him. If the answer is no, Thompson needs to re-sign Jackson or acquire a comparable nose tackle in free agency or the draft.

Question: How does rookie quarterback Aaron Rodgers measure up against a NFL-caliber defense?

Answer: The only way to find out is by playing Rodgers if the opportunity presents itself. It is unlikely the Packers will build such an enormous lead that Sherman can afford to sit Brett Favre. But if the Packers are trailing by three scores in the fourth quarter, Sherman should give Rodgers a chance to run a few series. Some fans worry that Favre might be offended and less inclined to return next season. Nothing could be further from the truth. Favre knows the Packers, at 2-9, aren’t going anywhere this season. He also knows they need to evaluate players and that includes the backup quarterback.

Favre is "the man" in Green Bay for as long as he is willing and able to play. Giving Rodgers a few series in lost causes isn’t going to change that, but it is going to give the Packers an indication of Rodgers’ progress and potential.

Question: How good is rookie linebacker Brady Poppinga? How might veteran middle linebacker Nick Barnett play on the weak side?

Answer: Poppinga may be too raw to start, and Barnett may be miscast as an outside linebacker, but there’s only way to find out and five games to do it in.


As you notice - for the most part, Chris has kept these questions aimed at the Team, moreso than at the Coaching Staff - even with Mariucci being fired this week. Da Mooch being fired was a shocker - and Matt Millen simply "has to have" some large skeletons in his closet right about now. He's certainly got the Owners in Detroit foooled with that fly-back-and-forth nonsense -- But, back to the Article.... I like how he's come back to the Nick Barnett question... I think he could have been more blunt on the Gravy Jackson issue. If I was TT (and I'm not) - I'd focus on making Colin Cole the new Nose Tackle and make sure to Draft yet another NT, so we can once again have that tandem setup to plug the middle like we did in 2003. (Maybe he'll read this comment :wink: )