John Madden
John Madden
Packers start season well
By John Madden

The opening kickoff weekend was a big success for the NFL and Monday Night Football is off and rolling right where we left off last season. Both the Carolina Panthers and the Green Bay Packers came out and showed why they were playoff teams last season. Brett Favre was the same old Favre and Ahman Green continues to show why he should be discussed as one of the premiere backs in the NFL.

The Packers coaching staff did a great job game planning for this game and the players came out and executed on both sides of the ball. The offense came out very conservatively and showed they are going to be the running team we all thought they were going to be. Early on that running game took a pretty big hit when RB Najeh Davenport left the game and didn't return. That left Green to take his carries and Davenport's as a matter of fact Green did so much work that he had to have three IVs after the game to replenish the fluids that he lost during the game.

The first half of the game looked a lot like a heavyweight fight, just a couple of boxers feeling each other out. The Packers were coming with blitz after blitz from different places and it just seemed like they were bringing one more guy than the Panthers had to block. When the teams came out for the second half the Packers had made the better adjustments. The defense was able to force a couple of turnovers and the offense was able to turn them into 14 points and that was the turning point of the game.

The Panthers were never really able to get anything going on offense to make the defense respect them and bring fewer players on the blitz and send more out to cover. Conversely the Panthers were never able to stop the run when they had to, at one point they went from a 4-4 defense, to stop the run to a 5-3 defense which is five defensive lineman and three linebackers, that should make it very hard to run against and they were still giving up positive yardage.

At the end of the day the Packers were the better team and the Panthers took one in the loss column but when the end of the season comes I still think that both of these teams will be in the playoff hunt.

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