Official website of the New England Patriots

Replay: Patriots Unfiltered and Patriots Playbook Fri Dec 03 - 12:00 AM | Mon Dec 06 - 05:55 PM

Green getting worse every week, and so are the Packers

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - This was the year Ahman Green was going to be the heart of Green Bay's offense, with Brett Favre playing a supporting role. The Packers had visions of winning a championship as John Elway did twice with Terrell Davis in Denver.

Those plans have changed.

Green keeps fumbling, opponents have adjusted to stopping the run, and a sievelike defense has forced the Packers to throw more than they would like.

Since rushing 33 times for 119 yards in Green Bay's opening win at Carolina, Green's carries have fallen to 24, 17, 15 and 10 in his last four games, all losses.

He hasn't reached the end zone since scoring three times in the opener, and his yards have dipped from 128 in Week 2 - when his fumble led to a game-turning 95-yard touchdown return by Chicago - to 67, 58 and 33.

He looks nothing like the running back who gained 1,887 yards and scored 20 touchdowns a year ago, and consequently, the Packers look nothing like a team that came within an overtime loss at Philadelphia of reaching the NFC title game in January.

The Tennessee Titans brought the league's worst run defense into Lambeau Field on Monday night, giving up more than five yards a carry. But the Packers had just five yards total at halftime, and Green finished with only 33 yards on 10 runs in the Titans' 48-27 victory.

After Chris Brown had given Tennessee a 14-0 lead with two long touchdown runs, Green ended the Packers' second drive with his fourth fumble of the season.

Green's greatest flaw is his insistence on always carrying the ball in his left arm, which provides opponents a true target and doesn't allow him to fend off pursuers with stiff-arms.

The Packers have learned to live with this because Green, who fumbled seven times in the first nine games last season, has never shown a determination to learn how to switch hands without coughing up the ball even more.

Coach Mike Sherman, who chewed out Green on the sideline after his fumble, has said repeatedly this season that switching hands isn't something the Packers are going to experiment with again because Green was so bad at it the last time they tried.

Benching Green isn't an option, either, because "he does too many good things," Sherman said.

So, the only thing they can do is work with him and remind him of how he held onto the ball down the stretch last season, when he went the final nine games and 246 touches without putting the ball on the ground.

"We will work diligently on that part of the game," Sherman said. "We couldn't have talked more this week about how important in this ballgame not turning the ball over and getting takeaways was. We talked about it every day, at every meeting."

The Packers, though, had six turnovers and no takeaways.

Sherman isn't going to blame the Packers' poor ground game on the loss of center Mike Flanagan, who had season-ending knee surgery last week and was replaced by Grey Ruegamer.

"When you lose a player like Mike Flanagan - or Grady Jackson on the other side of the ball - it does have some rippling effects," Sherman said. "But I certainly do not assume that that is what happened (Monday night). We still should have been able to function without Mike Flanagan. There are four other guys that have played together for quite some time."

Until Monday night, the Packers were the only team in the NFL who hadn't been three games under .500 at any time during the last 12 years, which coincides with Favre's time in Green Bay.

"I am shocked," Sherman said. "But I have confidence in our ability to fight through these things. These are tough times. They are tough times for me, tough times for the team, tough times for our fans."

The Packers hope to become just the ninth team to reach the playoffs after starting 1-4.

"I guess now we find out what we're made of," Green said.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Latest News

Presented by

Trending Video


In Case You Missed It

Presented by