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NFL PREVIEWS: Green Bay Packers

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David Moore

David Moore has been the senior football writer for FOX Sports since Aug. 2005. He appears weekly on the FSN Baseball Report and MLB on FOX. One more line lorem ipsum dolor sit amet e pluribus unum.

 
   
 

Champs or chumps: A 12-4 record in each of the last two seasons suggests this team is knocking on the championship door. Cheeseheads have learned, however, that this optimism only lasted one or two weeks into the postseason before it is replaced by the reality of a blowout loss. The Packers are the best of a bad division. It can also be argued that an endless stream of injuries eroded Green Bay's chance at the title in the final weeks of last season. The Pack should be knocking on the championship door again this season. That doesn't mean it will open. Reasons for hope: Brett Favre. He's one of only five active quarterbacks in the league to lead his team to a Super Bowl title. The Packers are convinced they have a chance to do it again as long as he's upright and slinging passes. Until he retires, coach and general manager Mike Sherman will continue to tweak on the run rather than rebuild. After all, you don't look to the future when you have a great quarterback. You squeeze every last bit out of him before you're forced to move on.

Meet the 2003
Projected offensive lineup
WR Donald Driver
LT Chad Clifton
LG Mike Wahle
C Mike Flanagan
RG Marco Rivera
RT Mark Tauscher
TE Bubba Franks
WR Robert Ferguson
QB Brett Favre
RB Ahman Green
FB William Henderson

Projected defensive lineup
LE Joe Johnson
DT Gilbert Brown
DT Cletidus Hunt
RE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila
WLB Na'il Diggs
MLB Nick Barnett
SLB Hannibal Navies
CB Al Harris
CB Mike McKenzie
SS Marques Anderson
FS Darren Sharper

Projected special teams lineup
K Ryan Longwell
P Josh Bidwell
KR Robert Ferguson
PR Antonio Chatman
LS Rob Davis

Scout's take on the Packers
"(Coaching) is what keeps the Packers near the top of the league. Mike Sherman is a stabilizer. Tom Rossley does a great job with the offense. Ed Donatell doesn¿t get enough credit for the job he does with the defense."
— Scouting insider Brian DeLucia

  • Packers team page
  • Roster | Depth chart
  • Schedule | NFL on FOX schedule
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  • Don't get too excited: The Packers defense is opportunistic, forcing more turnovers than any group in the league last season. What it needs to be is more solid. Green Bay allowed an average of 4.8 yards a carry; only Seattle was worse. The Pack also allowed 30 or more points in a game five times. Green Bay did add some much-needed speed on this side of the ball in the off-season, but questions at linebacker must be resolved. Special teams play is also a negative rather than a positive. Hello, my name is: Joe Johnson. We know what you're going to say. Johnson isn't new. The defensive end signed with the Packers before the start of the 2002 season. True. But with a torn tricep that limited him to just five games, he didn't get a proper introduction. A healthy Johnson is crucial to Green Bay's thrust to improve its run defense. Revolving door: Defensive starters Vonnie Holliday (end), Hardy Nickerson (linebacker), Nate Wayne (linebacker) and Tyrone Williams (cornerback) were all allowed to depart in free agency. Johnson will replace Holliday. The Packers signed free agent Hannibal Navies and used a first-round pick on Oregon State's Nick Barnett to address the linebacking position. The team traded for Al Harris to take over for Williams. Receiver Terry Glenn is also gone, but second-year pro Javon Walker appears primed to fill his role. Ones to watch: If it's shootouts you're looking for, the Packers have three in a span of 14 days against Seattle (Oct. 5), Kansas City (Oct. 12) and St. Louis (Oct. 19). The first matchup in that high-scoring trifecta has coach Mike Holmgren returning to the land of cheese. If bad blood gets your juices flowing, you'll want to catch the Packers' trip to Tampa Bay on Nov. 16. Don't look for Sherman and the Bucs' Warren Sapp to exchange any pre- or postgame pleasantries after the devastating blow Sapp delivered to Chad Clifton in last year's game. The forecast: Green Bay shouldn't have any problem winning the division. But the idea of having to win a playoff game at Lambeau Field isn't as intimidating as it used to be. Atlanta erased that mental block for future opponents by disposing of the Packers 27-7 in the last year's wild-card game. Few will pick the Pack as the favorite to come out of the NFC and shouldn't, given what has happened to them the last two years in the playoffs. But the hunch here is that a healthy Green Bay team has what it takes to advance to the NFC championship game. Veteran NFL correspondent David Moore is a regular contributor to FOXSports.com.
    Tagged: Packers, Mark Tauscher, Robert Ferguson, Cletidus Hunt, Mike McKenzie, Josh Bidwell, Donald Driver, Chad Clifton, Bubba Franks, Na'il Diggs, Brett Favre, Darren Sharper, William Henderson, Ryan Longwell, Ahman Green, Al Harris, Marques Anderson, Nick Barnett

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