Green Bay line coming together
Updated: December 20, 2007, 1:48 AM ETBy Ken Moll
Much has been made of the explosive passing game that has led to Green Bay Packers to a surprising 12-2 record and given them a chance to secure home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. Brett Favre has been rejuvenated and is having his best season in recent memory, but an improved offensive line and stronger running game haves shown vast improvement since a dismal start deserves some credit as well.
Early in the season many people -- myself included -- questioned whether Favre and the Packers could continue to be successful with a one-dimensional, passing offense. They rushed for more than 100 yards as a team only once in their first six games of the season and the passing game carried the offense. Since it Week 7 bye, however, Green Bay has shown the ability to move the ball effectively on the ground as well, getting four 100-yard performances from Ryan Grant thanks to an offensive line that has jelled and come together nicely as a unit. The Packers have used several different starting units up front this season but eighth-year OTs Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher and fourth-year C Scott Wells have been the mainstays. They lead a line that has quietly become one of the best in the league. Grant is averaging 4.8 yards per carry on the season and Green Bay's 520 passing attempts rank fifth in the league yet the Packers have allowed only 17 sacks on the season. Much of Favre's success can be attributed to the excellent protection he is receiving. Defenses have thrown a variety of stunts, twists and exotic pressure packages at the Green Bay offense in an attempt to derail Favre, but he has checked to the best protections all season long and the line has done a spectacular job of executing the man and zone schemes that have been called. Offensive line coach James Campen and offensive coordinator Joe Philbin deserve credit of developing an offensive approach that has been extremely efficient, and much of that success can be attributed to the big boys up front.
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