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 five 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.
COLOR PHOTO: AL TIELEMANS As a Falcon, Rison was sitting pretty. Can he help the Pack? [Andre Rison sitting on his helmet]
ANDRE RISON'S PER GAME AVERAGES
FALCONS 1990-94, 78 games
5.4 catches 71.2 yards .72 TDs
BROWNS and JAGUARS 1995-96, 27 games
3.0 catches 42.9 yards .19 TDs