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Butler: A Win Is A Win


Before everybody jumps to conclusions and picks out all the bad stuff that happened in the game Sunday, let's talk about the good things that came out of the win in Washington. That right there - the win in Washington is really all you need, but let's go into some more details.

A win is a win. Remember back a few weeks ago when the Packers were in the midst of that four-game losing streak? All anybody wanted then was a win, and now they have delivered three in a row to get back to .500. For some reason, the fans aren't satisfied.

I think that's a good thing, because the Packers aren't satisfied at .500 either, but they know they've made some strides since they started the season at 1-4. Now the bye week is here, and they will have a chance to get healthy and make a strong run in the second half.

The Green Bay Packers came out Sunday with a lot of fire and a lot of desire. They were ready for the hunt. Offensively, the Packers had a very aggressive game plan going into the game with the Redskins.

Brett Favre will be relied upon heavily for the rest of the year, because just like the Redskins showed, all defenses from here on out will be stacking the line of scrimmage to try to stop Ahman Green and the Packers running game.

The coaching staff is working very diligently to put some more packages in place to combat the stop-the-run looks that defenses are giving them. Yes, the Packers are still a running team, but they will be opening the run up by creating some different schemes.

I think the offense proved that they can score when they need to. They went through a little lull in the third and fourth quarters, but they did enough to win the game. The Packers weren't sitting on the lead - as you could see by the fact that Brett was still throwing the ball - but the turnovers really put the game in question for a while.

Ahman Green showed that even when he's not having a great day running the ball, he can still be effective. He was going up against the NFL's #1 defense, and still was able to grind out two touchdowns, but he also helped in the passing game. He played a big role in helping to pick up blitzes as a blocker and also as a receiver.

Brett Favre continued to show off his arm strength, hitting a couple of deep passes and just missing on a few more that maybe should have been caught. Mike Sherman called another good game, and Brett spread the ball around to nine different receivers, making it a true team victory.

Defensively, I have to say that the Packers are playing so much better against the run lately that it's hard to believe that it's the same team that was out there earlier in the season. The one thing they are doing is that everyone across the defense seems to be playing well and starting to dig in.

Bhawoh Jue stepped in for Darren Sharper and had a pretty good game. He had an interception and would have had another one when he made a great catch in the end zone that was negated by a penalty on Ahmad Carroll.

Ever since Grady Jackson came back, the run defense has improved tremendously. Coincidence? I don't think so. The linebackers have been very active, especially since they have a little more space to run free with the big man taking up two blockers, and they have tackled very well.

One thing that confused quarterback Mark Brunell Sunday was the variety of coverages that Bob Slowik threw at him. Sometimes all 11 guys were up in a position where they could blitz and Brunell didn't know where the pressure was going to be coming from. When it was time to blitz, there was generally a blitz coming from the guys in green shirts.

On one of Na'il Diggs' blitzes up the middle, he got to the quarterback and hit Brunell's arm, which led to Jue's interception. That's the kind of teamwork that this defense needs.

Cullen Jenkins continues to show some explosiveness on his pass rush along the line. Kabeer has started to get into a little bit of a groove. He picked up a sack going against Chris Samuels, the Redskins left tackle who is thought of as one of the top tackles in the whole NFL.

One thing that is definitely a key to any defense is forcing turnovers. That was evident again this week when Al Harris cut in front of Rod Gardner to make the interception that sealed the victory for the Packers.

This is just what the Packers needed - another big win as they head into their bye week. They've now won three wins in a row and have two weeks to heal up and get ready for the Minnesota Vikings and the rest of their opponents in the second half of the season.

*LeRoy Butler played 12 seasons for the Green Bay Packers, helping them to two Super Bowls and earning NFL All-Decade Honors for the 1990s, before retiring in July 2002. This season Butler is again providing exclusive analysis to beginning with training camp and later with a breakdown of the upcoming game on Saturdays, followed by a column and Q&A session on Tuesdays during the preseason and regular season.

Butler's autobiography, 'The LeRoy Butler Story ... From Wheelchair to the Lambeau Leap,' is available on his website,*

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