Offense Expects To Bounce Back Vs. Giants

In a week the Packers would like to see their offense bounce back and have a productive game, facing the New York Giants on Sunday could be both good news and bad news. - More Audio | Video | Packers-Giants Game Center


In a week the Packers would like to see their offense bounce back and have a productive game, facing the New York Giants on Sunday could be both good news and bad news.

It's good news in the sense that the Giants had a rough defensive outing in their season-opening loss to Dallas, surrendering 478 yards and 48 points.

But it's bad news from the standpoint that New York's new defensive coordinator, Steve Spagnuolo, spent the previous eight seasons as a defensive assistant with the Philadelphia Eagles, the same team that came into Lambeau Field last week and held the Packers to just 215 yards, including 46 rushing.

"Their defense is very, very similar to Philly," quarterback Brett Favre said. "They're opportunistic, they create confusion. I watched the Dallas game on tape. They gave up some big plays, and that's part of that defense."

The reason Favre says it's part of that defense is longtime Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson's scheme takes chances, with blitzes from unexpected positions. Philadelphia has been strong defensively for several years because they have so many veteran players who can minimize the risks, and therefore limit the big plays.

But New York had trouble with the big play last Sunday. The Giants gave up eight explosive gains, defined as at least 10 yards on a running play or 25 on a pass. They also allowed the Cowboys to convert 6-of-11 third downs, and five of those six conversions were on third-and-6 or longer.

Adding to the struggles for the Giants is that starting defensive end Osi Umenyiora likely will miss the game with a knee injury, forcing some lineup shuffling.

Can the Packers take advantage? They'd certainly like to not be so reliant on the defense and special teams, as they were last week, to get a win. The offense did not score a touchdown in the 16-13 victory and had only one drive of significance that produced any points, a third-quarter field goal.

"We're going to win them any way we can, and if it's with a great defense, which I think we have, that's OK," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "But we're also working to have a great offense, too.

"We don't want to be having any weak links around here."

It would help if the Packers could get healthy on offense. Second-year receiver Greg Jennings, who missed the Philadelphia game with a hamstring injury, is hoping to return to the lineup.

So is running back Vernand Morency, who has been out since injuring his knee in the first training camp practice. Morency's chances of playing on Sunday don't appear as good as Jennings' after the running back was limited in practice again Thursday due to soreness in his knee, but his return will be a boost whenever it does happen.

"He is as quick as any running back I've ever played with," Favre said. "Hopefully if Vernand plays, he gives us a spark. But it's more than one guy that has to make this (offense) run."

The Packers will need a stronger performance from the offensive line, which allowed four sacks and numerous other pressures against the Eagles, and likely will need third-year pro Junius Coston to take over at right guard for Jason Spitz, who has a strained calf.

Favre says he believes in the offensive line, while McCarthy in hindsight believes he may have bogged down the offense with too much volume in the game plan.

So regardless of the opponent, the Packers are taking the "clean their own house" approach on offense to get better results.

"You obviously see what Dallas did and how they had some success, but we're not Dallas," Jennings said. "We're Green Bay. So we have to play to our strengths. Pretty much what we're trying to do is worry about what we can do to improve and build on."

As it always goes in the NFL, there's never a better time than this week.

"There's not one thing in particular I can sit here and say, 'That's got to be better,'" Favre said. "There's a lot of things that we have to do better, and I said this back in training camp -- our defense has played great, but at some point we have to have some production.

"Our guys want to score, they want to make it work. I think we have the guys to do that, but we have to get it done in a hurry."

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