The Green Bay Packers got hot at the end of last season, and entered the playoffs as a sixth seed, and won every game to their Super Bowl victory on the road. Momentum was one of the keys to their franchises’ fourth Super Bowl title. This year, the
team is back and poised to repeat their season from a year ago.
The Green Bay Packers managed to win the Super Bowl win fifteen players on injured reserve last year. Nick Barnett, Morgan Burnett, Jermichael Finely, Ryan Grant, Brad Jones, Mike Neal, Brady Poppinga, and Mark
Tauscher were a few they didn’t have during their playoff run to a title in Dallas.
This year, however, will Cullen Jenkins, who signed with the Eagles, Nick Barnett, who signed with the Bills, Daryn Colledge, who signed with the Cardinals, Mark Tauscher, and Brady Poppinga got released. These are some big losses, but the team is
still deep with plenty of talent and potential.
On offense, under center is Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers, who is poised to lead this team back to the promised land.
On the offensive line, at center will be Scott Wells, who is a proven veteran. Chad Clifton, who is 35 year old, will line up at left tackle. Josh Sitton, who is highly underrated, and has been great in Green and Gold, will line up at left guard once again. Bryan Bulaga, a second year player, had a great rookie campaign, as he stepped in when Tauscher was hurt, will be the right tackle. Right guard is the biggest the question mark right now. T.J. Lang, will get reps there, and 2011 first round draft pick Derek Sherrod has been as well during Training Camp. Sherrod is being groomed to take over for Clifton. Marshall Newhouse is also impressing at right guard at Training Camp.
In the backfield, it’s crowded. Ryan Grant returns from injury, James Starks is coming off a great postseason, in which he had 315 yards, a touchdown, and no fumbles. Starks added some weight this offseason, but McCarthy think Starks will be just as explosive. Then, there’s third round draft pick Alex Green out of Hawaii. Don’t forget about John Kuhn, famous for, “KUHHHHHNNNN,” chants. Kuhn is a third down and goalline back that is the Packers secret weapon.
The wide receivers are stacked again. Greg Jennings put the team on his back last season as the number one receiver and a great Super Bowl with two touchdowns. Donald Driver is getting old, but man can he run, get open. Just
remember the 49ers game last season. James Jones was resigned to a three year contract. Jones is fast, but drops a few balls now and then. Jordy Nelson is coming off a Super Bowl performance for the ages. Could of been the MVP with a 140 yards and touchdown. Don’t forget Randall Cobb, the second round pick, who is crazy fast, and great athlete. Expect Shaky Smithson to see some time, he has been tearing it up at Training Camp.
The tight ends are as deep as ever. Jermichael Finley, Rodgers’ favorite target before he got injured last year, is back and ready. Did anyone see the video where he caught two balls at once at Training Camp? Andrew Quarless and Tom Crabtree filled in nicely for Finley when he got injured. The team lost Donald Lee, but has a great athlete, D.J. Williams, a steal in the draft, coming
The Packers defense was tremendous last season. It was led by cornerback Charles Woodson, linebacker Clay Matthews, and Cullen Jenkins. This year will be a little different, but expect the same hard hitting, pass
deflecting, ball hawking defensive playmakers.
The defensive line is definitely the biggest question mark going into the season. Losing Cullen Jenkins is huge, but Mike Neal and C.J. Wilson will look to forget the loss of Jenkins. Big guys in the middle, Ryan Pickett and B.J. “The Freezer, ” Raji are poised to wreak havoc on quarterbacks and stop the run. Raji had a huge postseason, most notably against the Bears in the NFC Championship game.
The linebackers are a huge position in Dom Capers 3-4 scheme. Clay Matthews wreaks havoc on the outside, with Desmond Bishop, and A.J. Hawk in the middle making tackle after tackle, and the occasional sack and interception. The biggest question might be, who is going to line up outside on the other side opposite Matthews? Will it be Frank Zombo or Brad Jones be that guy? Both have plenty of promise, and can handle the task. Zombo had a huge sack in the Super Bowl.
In the secondary, the Packers are abundant with talent. The cornerbacks are one of the best in the NFL. Charles Woodson returns, as does Tramon Williams, who made a name for himself in the postseason last year. Williams’ two interceptions in the first half against Atlanta, and the second was for a touchdown swung the momentum in the Packers favor. Williams’ also had an interception that clinched the Super Bowl for the Packers. Don’t forget about second year player, Sam Shields either now. Shields’ interception against the Bears in the NFC Championship game off Caleb Hanie clinched the Packers ticket
The safeties are led by Nick Collins. A beast that makes huge tackles, and intercepts huge passes. Just remember his first quarter pick for a touchdown in the Super Bowl. Morgan Burnett returns for the Packers from injury, and he started 2010 as the starter. Jarrett Bush, Pat Lee, and Charlie Peprah also are huge contributors in the secondary.
On special teams, the Packers have struggled in recent years. Mason Crosby has missed kicks he wasn’t supposed to, the punting game struggled to pin teams back in their own territory, the special teams struggled with tackling and giving up huge kick and punt returns, and not getting anything out of their own kick and punt returns. Well, the tide may have shifted now.
One of the biggest free agency acquisitions the Packers made was resigning kicker Mason Crosby. Crosby and punter Tim Masthay had great seasons a year ago.Both will only get better, and more confident after last year.
In the return game, a young man named Randall Cobb is welcomed to the Packers. Cobb, a second round draft pick, is versatile, athletic, and dynamic. Cobb has electric speed, has breakaway moves that will be huge. Cobb will most likely return kicks. Look for Jordy Nelson to return some kicks and punts, as he did last year. Undrafted free agent Shaky Smithson has been impressing with his speed at Packer training camp, and looks to get looks in the return game as well.
I have to admit when Brett Favre left the Green Bay Packers, I didn’t know what to say. The Packers had a young team, but TedThompson and Mike McCarthy had a plan to develop them into a Super Bowl winning team. I couldn’t be more happier today.
Take McCarthy’s job. It is tough. McCarthy had to deal with injuries last year, the suspension of Johnny Jolly, and the task of maintaining a championship caliber team.
The chemistry that is between Rodgers and McCarthy reminds me of when Favre was with Mike Holmgren back in the day. McCarthy can make those questionable play calls, but heck every coach does.
McCarthy knows how to discipline a team, and make the locker room player friendly. Just take last year. Fifteen season ending injuries, and Rodgers’ two concussions were prime examples. McCarthy was without Rodgers’ against New England, and nearly beat the Patriots with Matt Flynn. This was no doubt a turning point for the Packers season. It made the players believers out of themselves, that they can overcome anything and win.
Green Bay has the perfect fit at head coach. Mike McCarthy is here to stay.
Aaron Rodgers is hands down the most important player to the Packers. Rodgers’ broke out last year with a huge year despite losing his favorite target in Jermichael Finley. Rodgers’ can spread the field, vertically and horizontally. Undoubtedly, an elite quarterback in the NFL. Rodgers’ arm is accurate, can throw the deep ball, short routes, screen passes, and anything that McCarthy calls from the playbook. Rodgers’ also is great at picking up audibles at the line of scrimmage.
Rodgers’ 2010 stats were: 3,922 passing yards, 28 to 11 interceptions, completed 65.7% of his passes, and a 101.2 passer rating. rating. Rodgers’ postseason stats were even better. Rodgers had 1, 094 passing yards, nine touchdowns to two interceptions, completed 68.2% of his passes, and had a 109.8 passer rating.
Don’t forget about Rodgers’ legs either. Rodgers’ is mobile, moves around the pocket, and can hurry down the field for big yardage.Rodgers’ had 356 rushing yards last season, averaged 5.6 yards a carry, and scored four touchdowns. Only lost one fumble.
One thing Rodgers’ must learn is slide feet first, not head first. It will only be for Rodgers’ benefit and health.