So Far, So Good for the Cheeseheads

By Troy A. Sparks, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: September 21, 2010

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GREEN BAY (BASN) — How about the 2-0 Green Bay Packers?

It has a nice ring to it. But before you agree with the so-called football experts on whether the Packers will make the Super Bowl, don’t punch your ticket yet.

In Week 1, they played good but not well enough and barely escaped with a 27-20 win at Philadelphia. It the Eagles had more time, they would’ve beaten the Green and Gold.

Sunday’s game against the visiting Buffalo Bills at Lambeau Field more than covered the spread as they won 34-7. The running game wasn’t the same without Ryan Grant, who’s out for the season with an ankle injury suffered last week.

Green Bay got on the horn and signed Dimitri Nance to help newly-installed starter Brandon Jackson. Neither running back is as effective as Grant by himself.

“It’s a little difficult when you have to use running back by committee,” head coach Mike McCarthy said. “It’s a little harder for those guys to get into the flow, and I understand that.

So, we’ll continue to go that way and try to spread that ball around with the rush attempts.”

An ineffective running game will create more attempts to throw the ball to four hungry receivers, tight end Jermichael Finley and receivers James Jones, Donald Driver and Greg Jennings.

“He caught the same number of passes (four against Philadelphia),” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said of Finley, who caught four balls for 103 yards Sunday. “It was just finding ways to get him the ball in space down the field.

Philadelphia’s game plan was really to double him at all times, so we looked for some ways to get him in better matchup situations.”

Finley is the safety valve for Rodgers when everyone else is covered. He’s also a big target at 6-foot-5. In hindsight, he’s a receiving tight end because he doesn’t do much blocking.

Green Bay isn’t over the hump yet. They will play Chicago on the road next Monday in prime time. Both teams are 2-0, so somebody will lose their first game.

Meanwhile, the defense is playing well. Linebacker Clay Matthews has six sacks in the two games, three in each game. He brings his speed from the outside in the 3-4 defense.

“We have schemes where we have people moving around,” Matthews said. “It really comes down to winning your one-on-one battles, and fortunately I was able to get some good pressure (Sunday), and it led to a big victory.”

If everything goes according to plan, the Packers will get the national recognition they deserve. They sure played like a Super Bowl team in the second half after McCarthy lit a fire into their butts in the locker room at halftime for slacking off late in the first half.

“We just needed somebody to come in (locker room) and yell at us,” Jones said. “As an offense we hold each other accountable and pulled each other up, and (he) told us, ‘Let’s get rolling.’ We went out there, and everybody got their jobs done, got their assignments done, and we moved the ball.”

There were rumors that Buffalo running back Marshawn Lynch was coming to Green Bay for linebacker A.J. Hawk. Rodgers lobbied for Lynch. They were teammates at California.

Lynch, who’s listed as a third-stringer because he lost his starting spot to rookie C.J. Spiller, played most of the game and led the team in rushing. Maybe the Bills were trying to showcase him to other teams as trade bait because he’s unhappy in Buffalo.

Hawk didn’t play much in Week 1 and expressed his disappointment to the press last week, stating that he isn’t a part-time player. He even welcomed a trade, if that what it would come down to.

For now, he’ll act like a true professional and be ready when his number is called.