Monday, September 15, 2003

Packers 31, Lions 6. Due to Direct TV technically difficulties, I missed almost all of the game on Sunday (I did get to see Ahman Green's great 1st quarter touchdown run). I also got to see Joe Johnson tackle Olandis Gary behind the line on Detroit's first run play which showed that Johnson might contribute for the Packers in 2003 and Detroit can't run the ball.

I did manage to watch some of the Minnesota vs. Chicago game on ESPN Sunday night. I was critical last week of Daunte Culpepper focusing too much on Randy Moss vs. the Packers, but after watching this game it is apparent that Minnesota doesn't have another receiver capable of starting in the NFL besides Moss. Kelly Campbell can contribute one or two big plays a game (ala Corey Bradford), but D'Wayne Bates isn't more than a number four WR. Jimmy Kleinsasser caught a couple of touchdowns but he isn't a runner after the catch, and Minnesota put the franchise tag on him only because he such a great blocker. Byron Chamberlain is coming back in week 5, but he wasn't much of a factor last year anyway. Minnesota' offensive line is BIG and should have no trouble creating running room for any of their running backs, although their left tackle, Bryant McKinnie, is suspectible to speed rushers and allowed KGB in week 1 and Alex Brown in week 2 to put pressure on Culpepper and force fumbles.

Chicago is just what I expected. Kordell Stewart shows signs of talent, but this offense needs more time to play together before it is effective. Chicago's offensive line has been completely reassembled, with former Badger Aaron Gibson playing at right tackle, and only center Olin Kruetz remains from their 13-3 offensive line of 2001. David Terrell had a great touchdown catch, but also dropped a key 3rd down pass that was Chicago's last offensive play for nearly 10 minutes as Minnesota ran off a game ending touchdown drive. Marty Booker has done nothing so far, and Stewart and Booker need to get comfortable with each other. Chicago's defense surprised me in how bad its linebackers played. Brian Urlacher was running around making tackles, but it seemed like he was the only linebacker in the game. Once a Minnesota running back got past the defensive line, he was tackled by Urlacher in pursuit or one of the defensive backs, giving the running back a two or three yard cushion to make a move. Warrick Holdman is coming back from a major injury and just needs some time, but second year man Bryant Knight didn't seem to be a factor. Chicago's defensive line is solid, but unspectacular. Chicago's offensive line alone makes them look better than last year's 4-12 team, but as they showed against San Francisco, if Stewart turns the ball over a couple times, they will get blown out.

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