Good (Saturday) Night For Packers

Say what you want about the NFL preseason (and say what you want about my love for CBS’s Big Brother; I’m not ashamed), one thing you have to admit about football’s annual preamble to the regular season is that it’s bloody unpredictable.

Take Saturday’s Packer/Seahawk game. After struggling to score 13 points in the previous game against the Steelers, the Pack exploded for 48 points at home, including two defensive touchdowns. In case you feel I’m exaggerating by using the term “exploded,” bear in mind that the Packers hadn’t scored that many points in a preseason game since before World War II.

It wasn’t necessarily a pretty game, with the teams combining for 19 penalties and a whopping eleven turnovers (most of which admittedly were committed by players who will see as much playing time this year as Michael Vick), but it was an important victory in the sense that it — for at least a week, anyway — wiped out the doubts that this team could score; doubts which had been building up all offseason and which boiled over following the Pittsburgh game.

But what I found most interesting was how the Packers chose to move the ball; in stark contrast to recent comments made by several members of the organization (comments which I questioned here in light of the talent the Packers have and don’t have), the team didn’t adopt the grind-it-out, ball control style of play they had warned us to anticipate. Rather they called 38 pass plays to 27 run plays, achieving 197 yards through the air compared to just 79 on the ground. In fact, the most troubling aspect of the rout was the Packers’ run production — a paltry 2.9 yards per rushing attempt.

I know we’re not supposed to read too much into the preseason and in particular not too much into any one preseason game. But maybe, just maybe, the Packers are on the road to realizing where their offensive weapons lie — in the passing game. (Again, it’s early, but rookie James Jones may just make Packers fans — and more importantly, Brett Favre — forget all that anger over passing up on Randy Moss.) And maybe, just maybe, Favre’s days of being “frustrated” with the 2007 Packers will be as short-lived as his acting career.


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