Q&A with Green Bay F2FA
Our friends over at http://www.packerchatters.com/ have teamed up to do a Q&A article.
Check out their answers to the ClanRam mods questions.
1) Green Bay has had, arguably, the best defense in the league this year. A huge part of that is one of the best pass rushing D-lines in all of football. So, what did Dallas do to hold that line to 0 sacks and hang 37 points (27 in 1st half) on the defence?"
A) The Dallas game was a unique situation in that several defensive starters were missing. Most notably, Charles Woodson, KGB, and Johnny Jolly. The success of this defense is especially dependant on working as a cohesive unit. That is, the secondary helps the DT’s out a lot by getting tight coverage and knocking guys off their routes which ultimately leads to “coverage sacks.” Conversely, the depth of the defensive line keeps fresh legs rotating in throughout the game which keeps pressure on the QB and allows the secondary to do its job that much better. That’s been most evident in the fourth quarter of games where the defense really starts to flourish as opposing offensive lines get tired.
2) How many more seasons do they anticipate Favre playing?
A) Seems like fans and the management in Green Bay are pretty much on a year-to-year basis with Favre. It’s pretty cleat that Favre has all the tools needed to still be a top-tier quarterback in this league. Despite all the, “what if’s?” that accompany that yearly decision, the bottom line has come down to simply, “does he still want to play? From the looks of it, he’s having a great time playing. The general concensus is if he’s able to go out on top, then he’d be done. Other than that, next year seems like a real possibility.
3) What effects, if any, has been Ryan Pickett to your defence??
A) Pickett has been one of those free agent signings that didn’t gain a huge amount of attention, but has been of tremendous value to the defense. Again, the defensive line relies on its depth, but both Pickett and Corey Williams have been kind of the anchors inside. Both are effective at getting pressure on the QB as well as plugging holes. On top of that, Pickett has been very professional and a pleasure to have on the team.
4) What does the future hold for the QB position??
A) Packer fans were able to breath a collective sigh of relief after seeing Aaron Rodgers pick apart Dallas a few weeks ago. He showed nice poise in the pocket, very good mobility and elusiveness and threw a crisp, accurate ball with a quick release. As a starter, the jury still might be out on him, but clearly, Aaron Rodgers is the future of this franchise.
5) Is Grant for real, and why?
A) Quite simply, yes. Earlier in the year this team threw several running backs into the mix. Vernand Morency, Brandon Jackson, and surprise rookie, Deshawn Wynn. Though Wynn did relatively well, the running game was still pretty anemic. Enter Ryan Grant. Since his arrival this team has taken on a whole new persona. While they’re still dangerous as anyone in the pass game, Grant gives this team a real homerun threat every time he touches the ball (see Dallas game). He possesses all the things you want in a back. Big body, good vision, runs hard and has amazing cut back ability. He looks like a slightly slower, less elusive Adrian Peterson which, isn’t a bad thing in the least bit. It’s amazing the Giants let this guy go.
6. What are the early thoughts on the Packers 2008 draft?
A) While this team is the youngest in the league, there’s a few spots that they could use some youth at. Particularly, cornerback where Al Harris and Charles Woodson – even though they’re playing Pro-Bowl quality football, aren’t getting any younger. Next is offensive line. Partly because you can never have too many offensive lineman, and partly due to draft picks Daryn Colledge and Jason Spitz have been relatively disappointing thus far.
7. What are the early thoughts on the Packers 2008 free agent needs?
A) Here is where the Packers if they don’t reach or win the SuperBowl this year can instantly take themselves to that next level. Ted Thompson won’t overpay for anyone, but if the price is right, he’ll go after some big names. One particular name that Packers fans seem to be pretty hot about is Alan Faneca from the Steelers. He’s a big, nasty, and quick guard which is exactly what this team needs. Other potential free agents that might be of interest are Michael Turner to give this team an amazing 1-2 punch at running back, Bob Sanders and potentially Lance Briggs. Aside from that, Ted Thompson has proven to be very effective at landing middle of the road kind of players (i.e. Grant) that fill roles, play well on special teams and have starter potential.
8. Which player would you say is the leader of the Packers' defense?
A) At this point Nick Barnett is the heart and soul of this defense. It’s no coincidence that in the games that Nick plays well, so does the defense as a whole. Aside from being a pro-bowl quality linebacker, he provides this team with an emotional spark when needed and leadership qualities that you love to see out of your MIKE linebacker.
9. Has A.J. Hawk regressed this year and if so, why?
A) While A.J. hasn’t taken a giant leap that many were hoping for, he certainly hasn’t regressed either. Playing as a weak side linebacker forces AJ into more coverage than he would probably prefer. When given the opportunity, he’s shown to be a solid tackler and he covers sideline to sideline as good as anyone. AJ still gets blown up a bit by big linemen on the move, but most linebackers do. Once he’s able to shed blockers a bit better and learns his position and the game even more, he’s going to be something special.
10. Over the last 7 weeks, Ryan Grant has led the NFL in rushing. After struggling earlier in the season with the running game, what is the biggest reason for this improvement?
A) The running game has improved primarily because of two people. First is Ryan Grant. He simply just adds another dimension to the offense that the other backs on this team couldn’t match. He runs hard, has great burst and always falls forward. Second person is Mike McCarthy. Coach McCarthy has done a great job of keeping the heat on the offensive line in terms of run blocking. He’s kept the competition fierce, particularly at the guard position and have let guys know that if they’re not doing their job, they won’t have one. That alone seems to have been enough to light the proverbial fire underneath the line and to create more holes for the running attack.
11. Once Favre does retire, what will Rodgers have to do to be anything other than "the guy after Favre"?
A) The more Aaron Rodgers can differentiate himself from Favre, the better. The worst thing he could do is come out and try the same things Brett does, and fail. While Brett has had his fair share of failures, we’ve always given him a pass (most of us anyway). Rodgers doesn’t have that kind of pull. From what we’ve seen, Rodgers is indeed a different QB than Favre. He’s a bit more cerebral and less of a “gunslinger” and while Brett has always been elusive, Rodgers has shown the ability to scramble really well, which gives the offense yet another dimension. That and the fans and media have to continually remind themselves that Rodgers isn’t just that “guy after Favre.”, he’s his own man, and own quarterback that brings a lot to the table.
12. You have a bunch of no-names playing on your offensive line. Who is the best player and who has been your biggest surprise?
A) The best player on the offensive line is also one who isn’t exactly a, “no name” guy, and that is Chad Clifton. Though he’s getting up there in age and despite several injuries over his career, he’s been a rock at the left tackle position. Brett’s consecutive game streak can at least be partially accredited to Clifton’s consistency at keeping his blindside covered. Perhaps this season’s biggest surprise is indeed someone that not everyone is familiar with, and that is right guard, Junius Coston. After being shuffled around as a backup his first two years, Coston has really blossomed in his role this season. He’s a big, athletic guy who might just be the best run blocker on the line.
13. Do you really believe the Packers could matchup and compete with either the Colts or Patriots in the Super Bowl?
A) There are those in the media that believe out of any team in the league, the Packers would provide the steepest competition for the Patriots or the Colts. There are several reasons, but the biggest one seems to be that now that the Packers have a running game, they are the most complete team in the NFC. While Dallas has a ton of offensive talent, their defense is suspect. That and their running game at times has seemed a bit underwhelming. Secondly, there’s the speed factor. Both the Pats and the Colts have a ton of it. So do the Packers. Jennings’ speed is constantly underrated, Robinson and Blackmon can break one on special teams at any point, and the defense as a while is very fast. And finally, while they’re youth may be looked at as a negative when it comes to experience, it might just help them out when other teams are banged up, or dragging from the length of the season.
14. The Packers have one of the youngest rosters in the league. Which unheralded youngster do you believe will be a future Pro Bowler?
A) The easy choice here would be to choose AJ Hawk based on his draft position alone. However, the one guy that has really stepped up this year and has shown no signs of slowing down is Greg Jennings. As previously stated, his speed is vastly underrated and has made a number of teams pay dearly for doing so. He also has good size, catches balls in traffic and is shifty once he gets the ball in his hands. If he continues at this rate, he’s going to be a perennial pro-bowler.
15. Are Nick Barnett's legal issues something to be concerned about or much ado about nothing?
A) Anyone who has been around Nick Barnett or lives in Green Bay can tell you that he’s a standup guy. What happened took place in a bar which, is never the wisest place to hang out if you’re an NFL player. Regardless, Nick seems to have recognized this and appears to have learned from the experience. People make mistakes, even pro-bowl linebackers. What’s important is that he’s learned from it and moved on. In short, much ado about nothing.