Skip to main content

Butler: Offense Must Stay Hot


Sunday's game with the Colts was just like I expected - a high-scoring shootout. I was talking to Brett Favre earlier in the week, and he assured me that if the game turned into a shootout, he was going to be ready. Boy, was he ever.

During the practice week, Tony Dungy went into their meetings and told Peyton Manning they might throw the ball 50 times. That isn't the normal approach. Normally, teams like to set up the pass by establishing the run, but the Colts came out firing right away.

The Packers players knew the magnitude of the game. They knew that Peyton Manning was a very good quarterback who was capable of coming out and putting up big numbers. The most disappointing thing about it was that the Colts scored too easily - too many big plays.

You can't allow that many transition plays - plays over 20 yards - and expect to win in the National Football League. Those are the plays that will hurt you. Going on the road, you focus on limiting transition plays and not turning the ball over in order to give yourself a good chance of winning.

I hadn't seen as many fireworks as I saw in the first quarter of that game since the 4th of July. Manning came out right away and was able to see what scheme the Packers were throwing at him, and was able to call his plays at the line to attack the defense and get the best match-up.

The best match-up for the Colts seemed to be Reggie Wayne on Michael Hawthorne right out of the box. Wayne caught consecutive passes right out of the box, and it seemed like the Colts caught the Green Bay defense off balance at times. They used a lot of different formations throughout the day.

They seemed to always be in the right set to take advantage of the defense, whether having more receivers than defensive backs on the field, or hitting some runs when the dime package was on for the defense.

At one point during the first half, I wasn't sure if the Colts were ever going to be stopped. Later in the game, the defensive scheme seemed to work better.

Manning really impressed me with his ability to control the speed of the game. In basketball terms, the Colts wanted to run a lot of fast breaks and the Packers wanted to just slow the game down.

Bob Slowik's defense at times was getting at it with pressure. Normally when you blitz six or seven guys, the quarterback has maybe one to two seconds to throw the ball. For some reason, Peyton Manning had enough time to throw to receivers making double moves. That's why they were so open.

When you blitz, you have to make sure the ball comes out quick, but Sunday the ball wasn't coming out quick. He had enough time to go to his secondary read, and the one thing you give Peyton Manning too much is time.

The one thing that really hurt the Packers defense this week was injuries. Mike McKenzie and Ahmad Carroll both got hurt in practice during the week and were unable to play. Right off the bat, the Packers didn't have all of their weapons, and the Colts knew that and took advantage of it.

I was happy with the way the offense responded. Brett Favre hit Javon Walker on some big passes that allowed them to keep up with the offense on the other side of the field. Brett might be coming up on his 35th birthday, but he proved that he can still get it done.

Javon Walker showed why he is going to be a Pro Bowler in the near future with the way he took over the game. He made some key catches. His speed and size made it hard for the Indianapolis secondary to cover him.

The Colts receivers weren't the only ones taking advantage of some mismatches, as the Packers wideouts showed what they could do too.

Their secondary had a couple of breakdowns, too. I don't see Indianapolis winning the title with that secondary. In fact, I'd love to see our guys get a re-match to redeem themselves, which we know which game that would be.

Right now, the Packers are sitting at 1-2 and need a win desperately. One thing that they definitely need to do is to get healthy. Injuries have really hurt them on the defensive line and in the secondary.

The offense has to be in the mode that they've got to go out and outscore people. If need be, they're going to have to out and win 49-48, 38-37, or whatever the case might be. That's the mode until the defense gets all of its key people back.

The Packers offense has gotten to the point where I think they can win games running the ball or throwing the ball. I think the team needs to keep in sync and keep their heads up. They've got to keep positive.

The Packers are not going to abandon their scheme on defense just because of one game. They will continue to be aggressive and this scheme is going to win a lot of games. The key will be getting more pressure with the blitzes.

That scheme, it appears, no matter who is on the other side of the ball, is going to be aggressive. Whenever you play an aggressive scheme on defense, it is going to result in a lot of one-on-one match-ups. That will leave it up to the quarterback to find those match-ups, and the defense needs to not allow him time to do that.

In getting ready for next week, you can't let a demoralizing loss rub off and affect any more than just one game. The Packers have to make sure that everyone stays upbeat and looking forward to going out and playing the Giants, another team that is 2-1 but looking for their first win away from home.

*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.