Each week throughout the season, PFW executive editor and resident Packers expert Dan Arkush hooks up with a personality who has connections with the Packers and asks him five team-related questions. This week, Dan connects with Jerry Kramer.
1. My first two questions relate to the 1961-62 Packers teams that you played on which now share the franchise record of 12 consecutive wins, counting playoffs, with the current team following its victory over the Rams last week. For starters, could you compare the Packers' 2011 offense with the 1961-62 offenses?
Kramer: Well, the big thing was that we obviously had a much more run oriented-offense. We would routinely run the ball 40 times, and rarely did we throw over 20 passes. I was at a recent Packers function in Milwaukee, and both Donald Driver and Boyd Dowler were also there. We were all talking, along with Paul Hornung, and Dowler mentioned that he caught about 400 passes in his career. Hornung piped in and said, 'Hey Donald, how many catches do you have?' and he said, 'Oh, 900 and something.' That's the big difference between both eras. We had Hornung and (Jim) Taylor, and we were young and strong, averaging about 8.3 yards per carry with the famous Packers sweep. Bart (QB Bart Starr) was very judicious with his passing selection.
2. How do the two defenses compare?
Kramer: Well, we had one helluva defense. We had three exceptional linebackers (Ray Nitschke, Dan Currie and Bill Forester), all about 6-5, 245. And we had an exceptional defensive backfield. Herb Adderley. Willie Wood. Those guys could play today with the speed and the moxie that they had. One big similarity on both offense and defense is that the current units are never really satisfied and always feel they could do better. We were the same way. I love that attitude of continually wanting to improve, and I think it should take them a long way.
3. Do you think these Packers could actually go undefeated? And if not, when do you see them losing their first game?
Kramer: The San Diego game on the road (in Week Nine) could be a problem. But the team that concerns me the most that we have yet to play is Detroit. They are not as prolific as far as receivers go as we are. They have one great receiver (Calvin Johnson), and we have the best receiving corps in the league. But the Packers could be entering a real hornet's nest on Thanksgiving Day. And if they continue playing the way they have been, the last game of the year could also really be tough. It's going to be extremely difficult to go undefeated, especially when you're the returning Super Bowl champ, and everybody is out for you. But it's not impossible.
4. What's your biggest concern right now with the current Packers team?
Kramer: It's got to be potential injuries. I don't want to start naming names and bring on any jinxes. But injuries are my biggest worry.
5. Can you critique the offensive line through the fist six games?
Kramer: I'd say it's been adequate. Pretty solid. The emergence of James Starks and the return of Ryan Grant at running back has helped the line a lot. Of course, it doesn't hurt that Aaron (Rodgers) gets rid of the ball so quickly. But having a balanced attack really helps.
(Go to JerryKramer.com/Contests to find out how to enter his weekly Packer PickPrediction and Super Bowl PickPrediction contest.