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Burning personnel questions (cont.)

Posted: Thursday May 10, 2007 3:43PM; Updated: Friday May 11, 2007 2:24PM
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NFC North

Rex Grossman threw 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions in his first full season as a starter.
Rex Grossman threw 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions in his first full season as a starter.
John Biever/SI


Is Rex Grossman still the right guy to lead this team?

Yes. Despite his inconsistencies and struggles during last season, Rex gives them the best option at the position. In his first full season as a starter, he passed for almost 3,200 yards with 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. He passed for two or more touchdowns in seven games and had six games where his passer efficiency rating was over 100. The problem is the turnovers, but I think he can improve in that area significantly this season.


How can the addition of Calvin Johnson help the Lions' weak rushing offense?

Calvin Johnson teams with Mike Furrey and Roy Williams to give the Lions one of the most explosive receiving corps in the league. Mike Martz now has the ability to dictate the flow of the game to the defense by using his personnel in various ways. By using three- and four- receiver sets on early downs, defenses will be forced to send their nickel and dime packages on the field to match up. With the linebackers off the field, Tatum Bell and Kevin Jones have the advantage of running against smaller defensive backs. Secondly, the spread sets featuring Johnson and Williams on the outside creates match-up problems. The prospect of leaving corners alone versus the talented twosome is a scary proposition for defensive coordinators. They will counter by using more Cover Two to make sure there is safety help over the top. With all of the attention being paid to the passing game, the Lions will catch defense off guard with draws and quick hitters.


Have the Packers surrounded Brett Favre with enough weapons to be successful?

No. The Packers let running back Ahman Green walk via free agency and have failed in their attempts to acquire another playmaker to pair with Donald Driver in the passing game. Vernand Morency and Noah Herron will attempt to carry the load, but neither is as good as Green. Greg Jennings had a solid rookie season, but they need an established receiver to ease the pressure off Driver. Unless they make a move over the summer, this is a much weaker offense than Brett had last year.


Do the Vikings have enough weapons in the passing game for Tavaris Jackson to be successful?

No. Disappointed with the play of former first-round pick Troy Williamson, they signed Bobby Wade in free agency, but he is ideally suited to be a third receiver. Rookie receivers take time to become effective, so draftees Sidney Rice and Aundrae Allison likely won't step up and be primary guys. The recipe for success with young quarterbacks is a strong running game and experienced receivers outside. While the Vikings have the running game in place, their youth and inexperience will prevent Tavaris from being successful as a passer this season.


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