Since game 7, when wide receiver Robert Brooks suffered a season-ending knee injury, Green Bay's passing attack has dropped off dramatically. Without Brooks, who was averaging 15.0 yards per catch, the Packers mustered a season-low 4.4 yards per pass attempt in their 21-6 loss at Dallas on Nov. 18. The next day they signed four-time All-Pro wideout Andre Rison. But unless coach Mike Holmgren intends to dump his highly structured West Coast offense for the run-and-shoot, the acquisition of Rison is unlikely to help the Pack much.
Rison, 29, flourished for live years in Atlanta's Red Gun attack, which allowed him the luxury of choosing his patterns at the line of scrimmage based on the secondary's alignment. He signed with the Browns as a free agent in 1995, but his inability to run prescribed routes prompted the team to release him last summer. The Jaguars waived Rison after 11 games this season, citing a similar problem. "I would be less than honest if I didn't say there were some errors and missed assignments," said Jacksonville coach Tom Coughlin.
Green Bay is putting up $350,000 for Rison's services and hoping he will learn to run precise patterns. Considering Rison's post-Atlanta history, that's a risky bet.