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Coaching Staff Looks For KGB To Step Up


Perhaps no Packers defensive player can change a game like Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila.

Although the defensive end recorded two quarterback pressures and five tackles against the Cleveland Browns, head coach Mike Sherman met with him on Wednesday because he wants more heat on the passer.

'He just said he needs me," Gbaja-Biamila said. "He was disappointed and he should be."

Neither Gbaja-Biamila nor any other Packers player recorded a sack against the Browns. The defense as a whole takes responsibility, but much of it falls on the talented Gbaja-Biamila, who has posted double digit sacks in the last three consecutive years, including 13.5 in 2004.

"Kabeer is our premier guy," Sherman said. "We want him to get 14 to 16 sacks."

Last year's third-leading sacker in the NFL said he will become even more tenacious, not letting up until the whistle blows on Sunday. He will go through and around his opposing lineman.

"You can't be wrong with being relentless," he said.

In Week One he relentlessly harassed Detroit Lions quarterback Joey Harrington with four tackles, including a half sack.

Week Two featured less success for Gbaja-Biamila and the Packers' pass rushers. Browns quarterback Trent Dilfer took short drops and released the ball quickly. He read his options and knew exactly where to go with each pass.

"Dilfer was not going to take a sack," Sherman said. "He was very, very accurate with his throws."

Gbaja-Biamila blamed himself for emphasizing his speed against Browns left tackle L.J. Shelton too much rather than muscling him or countering with a variety of moves.

"I just got so stuck on trying to beat him around the corner. I never really took the fight to him," he said. "I was really trying to get him to respect my speed."

Who could blame him? Gbaja-Biamila has a burst that few in the NFL possess. That attribute can make breaking down film difficult, considering he is faster than any defender he sees on tape.

"You watch film, and there are not a lot of guys like me," Gbaja-Biamila said. "So it's kind of hard to gauge it."

He also continues to adjust to the Packers' new defense, which employs their defensive end in a different way than last year. In this year's classic 4-3 defense, they line up at a wide angle toward the offensive tackles.

"I'm in the learning process," he said. "I haven't mastered the system."

The wider splits have allowed the ends to gain an angle on running backs and bolstered the run defense. Ranked seventh in the NFL against the run and allowing a mere 78 rushing yards-a-game, the Packers have shut down two quality running backs -- the Lions' Kevin Jones and the Browns' Reuben Droughns.

"It's pretty good for the run," Gbaja-Biamila said. "I'm still trying to work it out for the pass."

In the new system, Gbaja-Biamila said he must rely on more than his speed. He plans to use more pass rushing moves to reach the quarterback.

The Packers have not yet forced a turnover this season, and Sherman said they need more quarterback pressure to cause takeaways. If they blitz, that could force the cornerbacks into one-on-one coverage.

'In order for us to be successful in what we're doing, there has to be consistent pressure," Sherman said. "And it has to come not only from a five or six-man effort but from a four-man effort."

Gbaja-Biamila admitted his Week Two performance fell below his standards. That will not add extra incentive to Sunday's game because he is always raring to go.

"I'm always motivated to have a good game," he said.


Injury Note: Contrary to some published reports, cornerback Ahmad Carroll has an injured abdominal muscle, not a groin injury. The Packers have listed him as probable for Sunday's game.

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