Skip to main content

Butler: Just What They Needed


First of all, I'd like to start by wishing Tom Rossley a speed recovery, it seems like he's doing well. It seems like the biggest news coming out of the big win at Detroit was Mike Sherman calling the plays and coming out with the victory.

The performance shouldn't come as any surprise, since he's an experienced coach. In fact, he kept Detroit off balance with some of his play-calling.

Before we get into the great play of the offense, let's give some credit to the guys who have been taking all the heat around this team for the past month. The defense played great against the Lions.

And before you say 'Detroit was missing their top receivers and had some more injuries', none of that matters. Whoever is facing you on the other side of the ball, that's who you have to play against, and the Packers defense came out Sunday and pretty much shut the Lions down.

The defense held the Lions to 125 total yards. In any kind of pro game, that's a great feat. Games like that will help you move up five to six spots in the team rankings each week if you keep up that kind of showing.

This is a game the Pack can really build off of defensively. Darren Sharper had a tremendous interception return - one that I predicted he would have - and really broke out into a leadership role on the defense. It was great to see him flying around and making big plays.

I think the defense really took it personal, reading some of the clips that said how they weren't playing to their capabilities. Nick Barnett started the game off great with a lot of energy. The guys were fired up, and I think the defense will build off that. When they play Dallas, a team that has lost two in a row at home, they are going to need that same energy to build off of.

Brett Favre had a very efficient game, throwing for a couple of touchdowns and over 250 yards.

Has anyone noticed that Donald Driver has been on a tear lately? For consecutive weeks, he's been the top receiver that everyone has wanted him to be. He's blocking well on the run, he's running great routes, and he's showing great hands.

Javon Walker, who got banged up a little bit, continued to show why he's one of the top big-play receivers in the entire NFL.

Ahman Green got his good friend Najeh Davenport back in the backfield and they both ran very well against the Lions defense. Once Najeh gets 100% healthy again, he will really be something to contend with.

All three Packers running backs were very effective in the game. Tony Fisher, who caught an underneath pass and turned it into a touchdown, showed that burst that people have been waiting to see. Another thing Fisher showed that he does well is that he picks up the blitz on third down.

The Packers had a little trouble early with Shaun Rogers, the Lions' top-notch defensive tackle. A good thing that Mike Sherman did was to move Favre out of the pocket and called some shorter passes to beat the rush and get the offense going.

Whenever you're going against a big, quick defensive tackle like that, you try to trap him and run plays sideline to sideline that will make him run. Rogers proved difficult to block, but Marco Rivera and the rest of the line did a good job holding the Lions without any sacks.

The overall state of the team is that it was great to pick up a win, but there is still a lot of work to be done. It definitely feels better when you beat the teams that you're supposed to beat, and the Lions are a team the Packers should beat, even on the road.

Going into the game against the Cowboys, the players have to get re-focused and put a big emphasis on recapturing home field advantage at Lambeau Field. That's something I'll touch on in my breakdown for Sunday, but for now, they must just build off the good feeling of Sunday's win and have a great week of practice so they can come out and do it again next week.

*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,*

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.