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Packers Preparing For Martz's Up-Tempo Offense


Just because the Lions have scored only 13 points in their first two games combined doesn't mean the Packers think their defensive task will be any easier this week.

Those 13 points don't accurately describe what Detroit's offense will bring into Sunday's game.

For one, it should be noted the Lions opened the season against the defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks, who held them to two field goals, and then played reigning NFC North winner Chicago, who allowed just one touchdown a week after blanking the Packers.

In addition, Detroit starting quarterback Jon Kitna has been efficient, completing nearly 66 percent of his passes (44 of 67) thus far without an interception.

But none of those is the biggest factor that will keep the Packers on their guard this week.

"Obviously you have to look at the head, and that's Mike Martz," defensive end Aaron Kampman said. "There will be a lot of film study this week. He'll give you a lot of shifts, a lot of different things to look at. There's not a lot of tendencies, as far as he's not going to run a certain play seven times in a row like some coaches. He likes to trick you, things like that. We'll have to be on our toes."

Martz is the Lions' new offensive coordinator, and his run-and-gun style as both an offensive coordinator and head coach in St. Louis helped lead the Rams to two Super Bowls in a span of three years (2000-02).

The Lions may not have the same players the Rams had, but many of the concepts will be the same, and the Packers plan to be ready.

"They're going to do a lot of deception and a lot of fast-break plays," linebacker Brady Poppinga said. "Back in St. Louis, I remember it being like a fast-break basketball game. The tempo was amazing.

"We're expecting a lot of high tempo, a lot of deception in terms of how they come out in their formations, and how they're going to motion and move for the formation and try to create confusion in the defense."

Detroit hasn't hit the ground running with Martz's system yet, but like any team learning a new offense, the Lions expect that execution to come in time.

Defensive tackle Ryan Pickett, who came to Green Bay from St. Louis, admits he didn't expect the Lions to have difficulty scoring points.

"I'm surprised too," he said. "Just watching from the film, they've been moving the ball pretty well, just not coming up with the plays. So hopefully we can keep them struggling, at least for this week."

Essentially two things have kept the Lions from finishing drives with scores - sacks and penalties. Kitna has been sacked nine times in two games, and the Lions are the second-most penalized team in the league, with 21 flags.

Seven penalties were called against the offense alone in last week's loss to the Bears.

"We're moving the ball well, but we keep bogging down with a penalty or a missed assignment or a mis-read by the quarterback, whatever it may be," Kitna said. "It's never been one guy or one facet that's been bogging us down, just untimely things."

Kitna doesn't think points scored tells the entire story about the Packers' defense, either. The Packers have given up 60 points in two games, including one touchdown on special teams.

"When you watch that first half against New Orleans, I think that's the team they think they are and that they can be," Kitna said. "They had New Orleans looking pretty befuddled, to be honest, and in disarray."

That's what Kitna hopes Martz's offense starts doing to other teams. The Packers will have to counter the tempo and confusion with discipline and smarts.

"The thing about an offense like this, as long as you read your keys, you should be fine," Kampman said.

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