Notebook: Defense Dominates, Changes The Game

The Green Bay Packers’ defensive front continued its dominant start to the 2007 preseason with another havoc-causing performance on Saturday night against Seattle. - More Packers-Seahawks Gameday


The Green Bay Packers' defensive front continued its dominant start to the 2007 preseason with another havoc-causing performance on Saturday night against Seattle.

Coming off a barrage of sacks last week against Pittsburgh, the Packers' No. 1 defense racked up three sacks and two other tackles for loss, along with a touchdown, in just over one quarter of play to give Green Bay a commanding 21-point lead against the Seahawks en route to a 48-13 blowout at Lambeau Field.

It should be noted the Seahawks were without starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and offensive tackles Walter Jones and Sean Locklear against Green Bay's No. 1 defense, but it was nonetheless a good sign the Packers controlled the game on the defensive side.

The fact that the No. 2 defense added a sack, turnover and touchdown of its own by halftime only re-emphasized the depth on the unit.

But it's the starters that will make or break the team in 2007, and they set the tone.

Defensive end Cullen Jenkins, as he did last week, did a large amount of damage. He recorded his third sack of the preseason on Seattle's first possession, on third down to force a punt.

Jenkins then had two tackles for loss on running plays on subsequent possessions, stopping Shawn Alexander for a 1-yard loss and Maurice Morris for a 2-yard loss.

The latter play came one snap after linebacker A.J. Hawk got Green Bay's second sack of the night, when he whipped running back Leonard Weaver on a blitz to bury backup quarterback Seneca Wallace.

The clincher came on Seattle's next possession, when Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila beat his man around the blind side and swatted the ball from Wallace's hand while sacking him. Nick Barnett picked up the loose ball and raced 62 yards to paydirt. That put the Packers ahead 24-3 with 11:35 left in the second quarter.

"We know how good we can be, it's just a matter of going out there and doing it," Jenkins said. "We expect to be good, or be dominant out there. It's not something that's surprising us. It's something we have to make sure we do.

"We want teams to remember us and we want teams to know they're in for a fight every time they see us coming up."

The No. 2 defense didn't let up. A sack and forced fumble by Atari Bigby was picked up by Tracy White and returned 34 yards for a score. Jarrett Bush recorded an interception late in the first half and Bigby notched yet another sack before the end of the half.

Bush added another interception in the third quarter, and, ... well, you get the picture. By game's end the totals were seven sacks and six turnovers.

"We played unbelievable," Bush said. "Everybody was trying to score. Everybody had sacks. But we were having so much fun out there, that was the thing too. Everybody was having fun, and I think that really broke the ice for us. Everybody was trying to have fun, trying to make plays. I think that really did it for us tonight. I think we took a step today."

Getting involved

Tight end Bubba Franks, who to this point in camp is playing behind new starter Donald Lee, was involved early and often in the Green Bay offense on Saturday.

On the Packers' first scoring drive, Franks had catches of 3, 10 and 8 yards from Brett Favre in a span of five plays. The latter two catches picked up first downs and helped set up a Mason Crosby field goal.

Then midway through the second quarter, Franks caught a 9-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers to pick up another first down early in a drive that ended with a touchdown. That gave Franks four catches for 30 yards in the game.

"It was fun to get the balls coming a lot earlier, rather than waiting until the second half to get the ball," said Franks, who left the game late in the second quarter when he got the wind knocked out of him, but was fine soon afterward. "It felt pretty good. I was just trying to help the offense out."

He was also helping Favre out. The veteran quarterback has spoken often of the time it will take to build chemistry with the young receivers and backs on offense, but Franks is one of the veterans Favre has thrown to for several years and could become a key target again.

"I wanted to get his confidence level back up, and show him that I still have it as well as he still has it," Franks said. "We do have a lot of young guys, and it takes time to gain chemistry. But he still has his veteran guys he can lean on, and that's something I really wanted to do tonight."

As for trying to win back his starting job, Franks was making no predictions other than to say the battle isn't over.

"We'll see how it plays out," he said. "I'm going to keep fighting."

{sportsad300}Still pretty even

With all the scoring by the Packers, kickers Dave Rayner and Mason Crosby got plenty of opportunities to kick off, and the two were pretty even.

On five kickoffs, Rayner had one touchback that went 5 yards deep for his best effort. Crosby's best, on four kickoffs, was 3 yards deep. Other than that, they each had a kickoff come down at the 5, the goal line, and 1 yard deep. Rayner also had one that came down at the 1.

Each kicker also made one field goal - Rayner from 24 yards and Crosby from 37.

Injury update

During the game, defensive end Mike Montgomery, fullback Ryan Powdrell, kick returner Shaun Bodiford and offensive tackle Orrin Thompson all sustained MCL injuries in their knees.

McCarthy didn't know the severity of the injuries but said each player would likely be out at least a couple of weeks.

Seven Green Bay players did not dress for the game due to injuries. They were running backs P.J. Pope (knee), Vernand Morency (knee) and DeShawn Wynn (quad), fullback Brandon Miree (neck/stinger), backup offensive linemen Tony Palmer (hamstring) and Tony Moll (neck/stinger), and reserve defensive end DeVon Hicks (groin).

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