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Old 07-14-2001, 02:05 AM   #1
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Default Can the Pack Come Back?

The Green Bay Packers finished 3rd in the NFC Central last year with a 9-7 record and most experts predict the same this year. QB Bret Farve will have alot to say about that. As Marc mentioned in one of his post Brett Favre has not been very dedicated to the team so far this year. He's not getting any younger, so I think he will need to work harder and become the leader that this team so badly needs. Brett passed for 3,812 yards last year and threw for 20 scores. He had 16 interceptions.

The Packers had a very respectable home record last year going 6-2, but their road record was 3-5. They've always been tough to beat at home. Coach Mike Sherman is no Mike Holmgren, but he can hold his own.

So what does 2001 hold for the Pack? Back-up QB Doug Pederson played for the Pack when Mike Holmgren was coach. The good thing about Pederson is he knows the system, but he's not good enough to carry this team if Favre gets injured. Receiver Mark Chmura is gone. You know that story only too well. TE Tyrone Davis in injured. RB Ahman Green did a very good job running when Dorsey Levens went down with injuries last year. He rushed for 1,175 yards on 263 carries. He caught 73 passes, but he didn't run well after he caught them. Dorsey Levens should be back, but he's not getting any younger either. Receiver Antonio Freeman has been hard to deal with since he signed his new contract. He was really a disappointment last year. He did catch 62 passes for 912 yards and 9 scores. Rookie Robert Ferguson from Texas A&M figures to be a good one and may start soon.

The offensive line took some time to jell last year, but they figure to give much more protection to Favre this year. OT Chad Clifton(6-5-325) should be better this year. Mark Tauscher in his second year from Wisconsin figures to improve too. It's hoped that OT Earl Dotson can recover from back problems.

Defense did a good job against the run last year, but was weak against the pass. DE Vonnie Holliday can be explosive. Can Santana Dotson return from his injury? Rookie DE Jamal Reynolds(6-3-266) of Florida State expects to make an immediate impact on defense. DE Cletidus Hunt can be a big impact player if he has enough desire. MLB Bernardo Harris had a great year last year. Na'il Diggs in his second year did good last year at linebacker. Nate Wayne who played for the Denver Broncos did well last year at weakside. Rookie LB Torrance Marshall(6-2-245) from Oklahoma could make a big impact also on defense. DB Darren Sharper could be the best free safety in football, if his big contract doesn't change him. Leroy Butler is still a good player. Tyrone Williams has much to be desired. DB Mike McKenzie has some injury problems last year. Place kicker Ryan Longwell doesn't have the strongest leg, but he's near Pro-Bowl calibar.

What hurts the Pack is the tough division their in. They must fend off Tampa Bay and Minnesota. Nobody is quite sure what Detroit is capable of. The Pack's first three games will be a good test. They open up against Detroit at home then go on the road to play the New York Giants then return home to play Washington. They meet Tampa Bay Oct 7th in Tampa. It's going to be a tough road for the Pack, but if Brett Farve is on his game and Antonio Freeman can return to his old form and the defense can stop the pass watch out NFC.

The good news is that Green Bay beat Minnesota twice last year once 26-20 then 33-28. I don't think they will beat them twice again. Their biggest offensive game last year was when they had a total of 455 net yards against Arizona in week 4. Green Bay won that game 29-3. The Packers gave up the most passing yards when they beat Minnesota 33-28 in week 16. 332 yards. They gave up the most rushing yards against the Chicago Bears in week 5. The Bears gained 178 yards and won that game 27-24. I thought you would enjoy those stats. Green Bay gave up a total of 3,451 yards in the air.

So if the ball bounces just right for the Pack, defense against the pass improves and the rookies make a big impact, the Pack could challenge for the NFC Crown. I figured Marc would like to hear that. Just being honest. Don't forget GM Ron Wolf is gone and he was a master at making good trades.
Keith "baseball nut" Thronson
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