Hanging Their Hat On Defense

I can't begin to express what it feels like to have a bawl-hawking, good-to-almost-great defense in Green Bay.

Growing up in Wisconsin in the 70's and 80's, I was used to the Packers being one of two things. Bad, or, fun to watch on offense and bad. Rarely, if ever, did the Packers have a defense, let alone a good one. I remember admiring players like Mark Lee or Ezra Johnson and feeling sorry for them that  they had to play for the Packers.

Things improved exponentially when Holmgren brought in Fritz Shurmer and Ron Wolf provided players like Reggie White, LeRoy Butler, Gilbert Brown, Craig Newsome (Corey would kill me if I left him out...) and a slew of others, which all culminated with the Packers being ranked #1 in the NFL on defense the year they won the Super Bowl. But even then, the story was always Favre and the offense.

But now. Wow. I can't say what a treat it is to have good football being played on the defensive side of the ball. The Packers literally shut down the Redskins the last 7 minutes of the game last Sunday.  Remember the Carolina game in Lambeau the year that Ray Rhodes was the head coach? When he didn't use his time-outs at the end of the game because of his misplaced belief in his horrible defense? I remember feeling sick as I watched Steve Beuerlein run in for a touchdown on a quarterback draw and thinking the Packers would never have a good defense again. We've endured Emmitt Thomas, Ed Donatell and, of course, the comic reign of one Robert Slowik.

Jim Bates brought us halfway there. (And lord knows he got a raw deal from Thompson - but I'm glad McCarthy got a chance) Bob Sanders is taking us the rest of the way.

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