Despite victory over Eagles, Packers' offense still scoreless Print
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Monday, 10 September 2007 23:14
NFL Headline News

 GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -With the Packers leading 7-0 in the first quarter against Philadelphia, Green Bay linebacker Nick Barnett intercepted Donovan McNabb's pass and ran the ball back to the Eagles 34-yard line. In the good old days, Brett Favre would've been salivating under his helmet in anticipation of a touchdown. But this time, the Pack went backward.
Rookie running back Brandon Jackson dropped a pass, causing Favre to rip off his chinstrap and toss it to the ground in frustration. Then came a false start, a 4-yard pass to Donald Driver and an incompletion on third-and-11. They settled for a field goal.
The Packers' offense was literally pointless on Sunday, but it didn't matter.
With special teams units that suddenly seemed opportunistic instead of vulnerable, and a strong defense, the Packers managed a season-opening 16-13 victory over the Eagles on Sunday without any scoring from Favre's side of the ball.
``I expect to lead this team down and score every time, I really do,'' Favre said after the game. ``That's not just talking. I really believe that. To not score at all is beyond disappointing, and I take that personally, as I should.''
It also was eating at Packers coach Mike McCarthy on Monday.
McCarthy comes from an offensive background and is more hands-on with the offense in practice. He admits offensive problems may ``sting'' a little bit extra. But he had to make sure he didn't let that cloud his overall message to the team - they still won the game, after all.
``I'm not OK with the way we played yesterday on offense,'' McCarthy said. ``So it may sting more than normal, and as a head coach, you want to be conscientious of that when you're in front of the football team. Because I don't want to ever tarnish a victory because the offense didn't play well.''
The Packers got a touchdown off a muffed punt and three field goals by rookie Mason Crosby, including the 42-yard winner with 2 seconds remaining. Only one of those field goals, a 37-yarder to tie the score at 13 in the third quarter, came after a sustained drive by the offense.
The Packers were expected to be a more defense-oriented team this year than they had been in the past. It was unclear how that would sit with Favre.
So far, not so good.
``I hope they play like that every week,'' Favre said of the defense and special teams. ``But there's no way we can win games like that week in and week out. We have to help those guys out.''
Favre wasn't the only one who was disappointed.
``We don't want the defense picking us up,'' Jackson said Sunday. ``We want to pick them up. We want them off the field. We're going to do a better job. Coach is going to get on us and we're going to go out and perform better.''
While the Packers started a pair of rookies in the backfield, Jackson and fullback Korey Hall, and were without No. 2 receiver Greg Jennings because of a hamstring injury, their biggest problem on Sunday was something of a surprise: the offensive line.
Going into this season, the theory was that it didn't matter that the Packers didn't have a veteran running back because the offensive line would be much more comfortable after a full year of running a new zone-blocking scheme.
But the Packers had only 46 net yards rushing on Sunday, averaging only 2.7 yards per carry.
Jackson didn't read every play correctly, but that's to be expected from a rookie in his first game. Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin also said the linemen weren't sharp enough when it came time to put opposing players on the ground with cut blocks, a key part of zone blocking.
``We were a little too quick at times,'' Philbin said. ``We wouldn't take our full run and cut, we'd kind of get them down too fast and the guy would get up and make a play.''
And the line didn't have a great day in pass protection, either. Favre was under pressure for much of the afternoon and sacked four times.
``We just flat lost some one-on-one situations,'' McCarthy said.
Granted, the Packers' offensive struggles came against a very good defense, one that has given the Packers fits even when they had more experienced players.
And the Packers did ask Favre to throw 42 times, the continuation of a trend going back to last year, when the Packers struggled to run and Favre set a career high for passing attempts with a league-high 613.
McCarthy took some of the blame. While the Packers went into the Eagles game looking to throw, McCarthy said he needs to stick with the run as the year goes on.
All that said, the Packers are still 1-0.
``We're going to win them any way we can,'' McCarthy said. ``If it's with a great defense, which I think we have, that's OK. But we're also working to have a great offense, too.''
 

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