December 2, 2004
With the Packer's defense giving up an average of 22.5 points per game, there is a lot of pressure on the offensive unit to consistently produce points. Luckily, they have been more than up for the challenge, averaging over 410 yards per game and putting up nearly thirty points per game. While most might argue that this success is due to the play of NFL icons, such as Brett Favre and Ahman Green, I feel that it can mostly be attributed to the solid play of the offensive line...
This line of veterans, consisting of Mike Wahle, Marco Rivera, Mark Tauscher, Grey Reugamer, and Chad Clifton is the impetus behind the Packer's consistent offensive success. Even without Pro-Bowl center Mike Flanagan (out for the season with a knee injury) this line has been able to dominate in the trenches, and has given up just five sacks all season. Without pressure, Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre is fully capable of shredding even the most dominant secondaries, and he has more than enough options on the recieving end. Javon Walker and Donald Driver are both among the league's top fifteen recievers in terms of yards, Pro-Bowl tight end Bubba Franks is extremely reliable in the red zone, and full back William Henderson provides an easy option in the flats.
In addition to giving Brett Favre time to get comfortable in the pocket, they have allowed the Packer's solid running core (Ahman Green, Najeh Davenport, and Tony Fisher) to average just under five yards per carry and over 135 yards per game. The importance of the offensive line was clearly demonstrated on Monday night, when the Pack was forced to start back-up Najeh Davenport over the injured Ahman Green. This was his first NFL start, and he produced 178 yards in just nineteen carries. These are great numbers for any starter in the league, and if a back-up can produce yards at that level, it is obvious that he has lots of help blocking. The Packers demonstrated their commitment to the running game and trust in their blocking by putting the ball in Najeh's hands, instead of asking gunslinger Brett Favre to carry the team himself. This is a championship caliber offensive unit with the potential to lead this team deep into the playoffs.