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Analysis: Bill Maas

By ERNEST HOOPER

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 12, 2000


When I was with the Kansas City Chiefs, the Oakland Raiders had won two Super Bowls and every single time we played them, we got up for the game because they were at the pinnacle of our division.

The Packers were an elite team, the pinnacle of the NFC Central and they had the household names. Now that's kind of Tampa Bay. You don't know the whole starting defensive line for Green Bay, but you do know that for the Bucs. They are the pinnacle now.

The Packers haven't been able to run the ball very well. To be honest with you, they never did. It's not an offensive line that's going to knock you off the ball. They always passed to set up the run. It has sort of caught up to them now because the passing game is kind of just hovering around average. Before they could get away with it. They would talk about it, but they really didn't need it. Now they need it.

Dorsey Levens is out and Ahman Green is a guy no one is going to lose sleep over. They'll still come up with spurts of Antonio Freeman and Brett Favre.

The defensive backs are stepping up and playing solidly. At linebacker, they have more speed in there. That's one thing they wanted to do. The two new guys are on the outside, Nate Wayne and N'ail Diggs, are guys who can cover backs out of the backfield. That's the area where they've made a little bit of improvement, but it's still not an overly productive group.

The Packers have a chance. Teams that have stopped the Bucs have done one thing and that's controlled the running game. Not just this year, but every year that Tony has been there. Even with the addition of Keyshawn Johnson, the passing attack isn't a game-changer. I think they would like to take away the running game and deal with Shaun King.

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