Season Preview: Green Bay Packers

Season Preview:

Packers_HelmetGreen Bay Packers

How do you comeback from a loss like the Packers had? Yes Seattle had a horrible one, but that was one play call, and one play that determined that game, one mental mistake, one CB has the right read, one checkoff and its a different game. The defense can always blame the offense and move on.
The Packers can’t say that. This was a total team failure. Two Score lead and the ball with 5 minutes left. and lost in Overtime with a TD drive. This was on everyone. This team has to come back, again, and while having what is considered the best QB in the NFL and the best this and best that, still only has that ring from 2010 to show for it.

Offense

The LeBron James of the NFL?
The LeBron James of the NFL?

Aaron Rodgers is, as I’ve said, the best QB in the game, and with a stat line of 38TDs vs 5 INTS claimed his second MVP trophy. He’s only 31, if nothing else, learned how to never come off the field from Brett Farve, and what else can be said? Outside of some misses and going home early in the playoffs- though not always his fault- is a perfect QB.
Eddie Lacy was a great back  with 1139 Yards and 9 TDs, in the pass happy era, that’s like having 1600 yards back in the day. James Starks is the backup, and while he has none of the speed that Lacy does, his gears are more in the four-wheel drive kind. Just a great package of a home run guy and the guy that slams the ball on the ground and runs over the first baseman.

The Packers resigned Randall Cobb, and with  Jordy Nelson return a pair that had over 2800 yards and 25 TDs. Kinda hard to hate on that duo.  You know its a fun offense when a player can get 38 catches and 3 TDs and be considered a disappointment- in Kansas City they would be building him a statue. In Green Bay? You gotta work harder fella. Speaking of, Richard Rodgers and Andrew Quarless are both 6-4, 250- and neither has grabbed the job yet, and the Packers drafted Kennard Backman in the 6th round to see if they can find something here. Aaron Rodgers has not needed a strong safety valve like most QBs but if he ever does, the Packers have yet to find a dependable one for him.

Packers_OLineThe Packers love them some stability, and no where else does it show than up front. Every starter has been drafted by the Packers, and all will be there for the next 2 years, barring injury or something else unexpected. Sometimes the Packers get really lucky, finding a guy that can start from day 1 in the 5th round in Corey Linsley is just gold. LG Josh Sifton has gotten better in the last few years, and was rewarded with a second pro-bowl  last year, over on the other side RG TJ Lang is solid if unspectacular, but brings his lunch-pail to work and doesn’t miss a shift. RT Bryan Baluga just got paid, and the Packers are gambling that he’s finally got out from under the injury bug, and LT David Nakhtiari looks like he might be the guy to protect Rodgers blind side for the time being. The group is a bit thin, however.

Defense

I have always been a fan of BJ Raji, but his last few seasons have not been good for him and his bicep tear last season really did not do him or the team well. He did come back on a one year deal, and Letroy Gulon played well in his place, but moves back outside this year. The other side should be Mike Daniels – who is better than either of them vs both the run and pass, and is in a contract year. The Packers have a lot of bodies here, and are looking for something from third rounder Khyri Thornton.

Clay_MatthewsClay Matthews went inside last season, and actually played better than he has recently than as an outside linebacker. Sam Barrington is the other inside linebacker, and is a 7th rounder- in another one of those late round finds on this roster. Outside is Julius Peppers, who is in year 14, and Nick Perry a decade younger. Perry is under the gun here, as his option wasn’t picked up on the former #12 overall pick. No longer here? AJ Hawk.

The last line of defense is YOUNG, with no projected starter more than 6 years in the NFL, and no one in camp at all with more than 4 as a backup. Sam Shields is as solid as they come, and Casey Hayward is moving over to the outside to take the other teams #2 guy. Thankfully behind them are two very good safeties, with Morgan Burnett having a much better year than he has had lately and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix just looking great as a rookie.

Special Teams

Mason Crosby seems like he is going to keep his job after some issues in the past. Tim Masthay doesn’t get used a lot, and has to increase his average if he’s going to stay in the NFL. Coverage units are not exactly standouts, but decent.

Final

Packers DefenseThe Packers have an advantage. The early tough games are all at home. They beat Seattle and KC in weeks 2 and 3, and that is some serious confidence after last year, and might not have a tough game until San Diego in week 6, then a bye and then Denver on Monday night, to Carolina and home for Detroit. Get past that string and only Thanksgiving at Detroit then a home date with Dallas to worry about, barring injury. Take your pick on where you lose, but I’m going 13-3. Can I see 15-1 here? Sure. But lets go 13-3, as this team did lost to Buffalo  last year.

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