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Bye Week Bits and Pieces (10/29/2008)
By Dave DeLano

With the Packers’ nice win over the Colts under their belt and a 4 – 3 record, the Packers are well positioned to defend their NFC North divisional title as they recuperate their injured warriors during the bye week. Green Bay is currently tied with Chicago for the divisional lead and it appears that it will be the Bears that the Pack will have to contend with to retain their title. Here are some of my thoughts on the season at the almost halfway point.

Aaron Rodgers’ performance thus far has been outstanding. Rodgers ranks in the top 10 in just about all measurements of NFL quarterbacks and that is very good indeed for a guy who never started a game before the start of this season. Had Rodgers’ performance been mediocre or worse, there would be Cheesehead mutiny in the wake of Brett Favre’s tumultuous departure. Instead, Rodgers brings a cool and calm intellectual demeanor to Green Bay’s offense and a very promising future for himself and the green and gold.

Wide receiver Greg Jennings has become one of the best at his profession in his third season. Ted Thompson deserves a lot of credit for selecting Jennings when he was drafted out of obscure Western Michigan. A lot of receivers were rated higher at the time, but Thompson saw something special and he was right. Greg Jennings absolutely explodes from the moment he catches the football into a talented runner. His yards-after-the-catch are unparalleled as he has become the Packers’ most talented offensive weapon. Jennings is deservingly in line for a blockbuster contract extension soon.

The Packers’ running game is dysfunctional right now and righting the ship in this area needs to be Mike McCarthy’s highest priority.

On the defensive side, the Packers’ lack of ability to stop the run is of major concern. Injuries to key players have factored, but something has to be done to get this corrected. The season-ending injury of defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins and the emergence of the play of linebacker Brandon Chillar might cause the Packers to consider modifying their defensive scheme to 3 defensive linemen and 4 linebackers when the opposition presents favorable match-ups. Keeping their eleven best defensive players on the field makes sense… and the Pack may have more talented linebackers than linemen this year.

Cornerback Charles Woodson is having an all-pro season and safety Nick Collins is now playing up to the potential Cheeseheads have heard about the past three years even as he has struggled. Both have four interceptions on the year. The return after the bye of ailing starters Atari Bigby and Al Harris means good news for the Packers’ defensive secondary.

The Packers’ next challenge is a big one. The Tennessee Titans are playing excellent football now and are well deserving of the # 1 NFL Power ranking. Look for the Titans to try to run the ball on the Packers and use their tough defense to get the Packers to sputter on offense. The Titans, however, do not have a great passing game so if the Pack can get ahead early and make the Titans play catch-up, they have a good chance for an upset.

Talk back! Tell us what you think of this year’s teams. What would you do if you were in charge?

Go to winonapost.com, click on Football Forum to discuss this year’s season. 


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