Bay thought another championship was in their future, but the Giants derailed
those plans. How will Aaron and company
stack up this upcoming season against the likes of the defending champs and the
Pass Rush - Stat!
By: Craig Tattan
All eyes are
on the defensive line as the team heads into camp. Last season the Packers were among the worst
in sacks (29 for 2011) and dead last in passing yards allowed per game
(299.8). Green Bay understands the
importance of focusing on the defensive line to pressure opposing quarterbacks
into bad decisions.
B.J. Raji was overused last season and his stats
plummeted because of it. Ryan Pickett is
exclusively a run stopper and cannot be counted on to pressure the
quarterback. Young guns Jarius Wynn and
C.J. Wilson will be back and should be improved with another year under their
respective belts. However, the Packers
are looking towards their 2nd
round pick Jerel Worthy from MSU and 4th
rounder Mike Daniels out of Iowa to dramatically improve a line that could not
fire last season. Free agents Anthony
Hargrove, Phillip Merling and Daniel Muir will also be in the competitive mix
during camp. And, finally, their 1st
round pick in the 2012 draft, Nick Perry is smallish defensive end who will
most likely be used at outside linebacker but could put his hand in the dirt
from time to time as well. All in all,
it looks like Packers fans have a good chance of seeing a new and improved pass
rush this season.
Sandra Bullock At Left Tackle?
By: Craig Tattan
bodyguard Chad Clifton is no longer protecting Aaron Rodgers' flank, and his
departure is being groused about by many who feel the Pack should have given the
venerated left tackle one more year. But, football is a business and Green Bay felt the 36-year-old Clifton was no longer
suitable to secure the safety of the
So, who will
take his place? Derek Sherrod is looking
to unseat Marshall Newhouse as the odds on favorite to become the Packer's new
starting left tackle. He's a fast
learner but he may fit more seamlessly at guard. The other contenders for the most important
position on the offensive line are Andrew Datko and Bryan Bulaga. Datko's biggest knock is that he lacks reach, and we all know long arms are a big weapon at left tackle.
Bryan Bulaga was originally drafted in the 1st
round of the 2010 draft to grab the mantle held by Clifton. However, his success at right tackle has
deterred head coach Mike McCarthy from messing with a good thing. Therefore, Bulaga at left tackle is a long
shot at best. Who wins the Aaron Rodgers
bodyguard sweepstakes is still anyone's guess.
Niners Look To Ground Air-On Rodgers
By: Craig Tattan
All systems are go as the Packers prepare for training camp with an
eye towards their opening day date with the San Francisco 49’ers. The two teams did not meet last season but
this will be the ultimate test of a high octane offense led by Aaron Rodgers
versus the number one run stoppage unit in the league last season, the San
While the Packers are counting on Alex Green, who was drafted in the 3rd
round of the 2011 draft, to carry the load, he is coming off of a torn ACL and
their other option, James Starks, was hobbled last season with an ankle
injury. Thus, their running attack
is suspect at this point, but the aerial assault will continue with Rodgers
launching bombs across the gridiron.
However, the Niners
are a tough defensive unit. They will be
able to move the ball on a Packers’ defense that was dead last against the
pass. While many will get carried away
with Rodgers air force, some may overlook the 49’ers ability to exploit that
We say say Francisco looks
like the early play here +6 ½.
By: Craig Tattan
It seems like
forever ago that Brett Favre was holding the Packers franchise hostage with
his, will he play or will he retire ploy, that hamstrung the franchise and
ultimately led to his departure from the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. But
Favre was back in the Green Bay discussion when Aaron Rodgers was voted as the
number one player in the NFL Network's Top 100 Players poll.
Favre’s favorite NFL player of all time and the guy who has been the inspiration
for his illustrious career has always been, well…Brett Favre. He’s always been
a gambling, some might say reckless quarterback but he had the god given
abilities to back up his swagger. I too was a Favre fan right up until he
started with the retirement talk in 2006 and then again in ’07 when he
proceeded to hamstring the entire Packer’s organization with indecision,
innuendo, and incredible disregard for his teammates, particularly heir
apparent Aaron Rodgers, as they toiled through the dog days of summer unsure if
Favre would grace Lambeau Field with an encore performance.
March 4th, 2008 Favre decided to formally say goodbye by announcing
his retirement and thus allowing the Packers fans, management and Aaron Rodgers
to move on. But not so fast. By early July of that year, Favre contacted the
Packers about a possible return. The Packers had finally enough as even an icon
can become as annoying as an overeager water boy. On August 7th,
2008 Favre was traded, with his blessings, to New York where he would become
Brett the Jet.
As if it
wasn't bad enough that Favre would choose a Jet uniform over a dignified
retirement as a Packer, Favre hemmed and hawed two years later and left New
York for a traitorous signing with Green Bay's hated rivals, the Minnesota
Vikings. In a Vikings uniform Favre was rejuvenated and took his new love to a
date in the NFC Championship against the New Orleans Saints.
Ah, but fate
had a different destiny in mind when Favre’s rambling, gambling style came up
snake eyes. In the kicker friendly confines of the Superdome and with Favre
engineering a game winning drive to propel his new team into the Super Bowl,
Favre looked at the clock with 22 seconds left and a time out in his pocket. It
was 3rd and 15 at the Saints 38 and a short pass or even a few yards
on the ground would get them within range of a game winning field goal. However,
Favre’s penchant for “all in” just about done him in when he threw across the
field and had his pass intercepted by Saints cornerback Tracy Porter and the
rest is history.
There was a
time when Brett Favre reminded us of the cowboys in the Chevy truck
commercials. Like a rock. But with his prima donna posturing and feigned
retirements in the twilight of his career, he will forever remind me of a show
cowboy with feathers on his spurs rather than the grizzled Marlboro man with a
six-shooter in his pocket. At the end of his career he had the salacious
“sexting” episode with a lovely young lass who was more creeped out than turned
on as Favre went from a gunslingin’ desperado to an aging diva desperately
seeking the adulation once routinely rained down upon him from the rafters at
retirement has finally settled in and he has resigned himself to the fact that
no longer will teams lavish tens of millions of dollars to a forty something
quarterback with a storied, but now tarnished legacy, he can now be a bit more
circumspect in his opinion of his successor in Green Bay. He is now able to
give Rodgers his due, as he did in an interview with the NFL Network's Deion
Sanders, whereas before he appeared to only tolerate his heir apparent. One
thing fans in Green Bay know now about Brett Favre, it's always been about him
first and everyone else second.
Holes in the Cheese
By: Craig Tattan
The news on cornerback Tramon Williams is not good. Williams suffered a
shoulder injury on opening day last season against the Saints and was held out
the following game in Week 2. He played through the pain for the rest of the
year but tests conducted earlier this month concluded that the shoulder is
still only at fifty percent strength and nerve damage may be an issue. If
Williams is unable to heal quickly enough, he will be placed on the Physically
Unable to Perform (PUP) list and that would be a blow to a secondary that was
exposed throughout last season. If he does wind up on the PUP list, Williams
would be out for the first six games of the season and if his shoulder
continues to ail, he may be out even longer.
Former outside linebackers Jamari Lattimore and Brad Jones are being
moved to the inside, at least for the time being. Inside linebacker’s coach
Winston Moss stated, “They’ve shown a lot of promise,” which could mean the
move will be permanent or this is a last ditch attempt to keep them on the
Working On The Ground Game
By: Craig Tattan
Former University of
Hawaii product Alex Green was selected in the 3rd round of the 2011
draft with deceptive speed for a thickly built runner. After a very limited
role, Green was sidelined for the season after Week 7 with a torn ACL. Green is
trying to return to form for training camp but whether he can heal that quickly
is still an unknown. If not, the Packers will place him on the Physically
Unable to Perform list and he will have to continue to rehab through the first
six games of the season.
The Packers may be thinking,
like many teams, that a firmer adherence to the ground game will make their
passing game even more devastating, if that’s possible. James Starks will
certainly be counted upon to carry the load but Green Bay would relish the
opportunity of employing Green and Brandon Saine as change of pace backs. While
the Packers have invited a few walk-on running backs, it was worth noting they
did not use any of their draft picks on the position.
Donald In The Driver Seat
By: Craig Tattan
"Dancing with the Stars" champion Donald Driver has waltzed right
back into the lovin' arms of the Green Bay Packers by agreeing to restructure
his contract from a reported $5 million this season including base salary and
roster bonuses to a more team friendly $2.5 million with half a million
guaranteed. The 37-year old Driver is
Green Bay's all-time leading receiver and has reportedly been given assurances
that his cooperation in restructuring the deal will keep him in a Packers'
uniform this season despite a logjam at the wide receiver position.
will probably start the season with the veteran Driver, Jordy Nelson, Greg
Jennings and Randall Cobb. There are
plenty of young prospects waiting for a shot to be the number five receiver and
maybe even sixth if head coach Mike McCarthy decides to lean heavy on
"The way we play, you could make
a legitimate argument for six receivers with the overall roster," McCarthy
said. "Special teams will play a big part on which positions are heavier
than the others. It always does."
Ryan Grant has rushed for barely 600 yards over the past two injury plagued
seasons but he may be given another opportunity to stick with the club. At 29 years old he is still young enough to
have enough left in the gas tank assuming he is completely healed, which is a
big question mark, but old enough to give a young stable of ball carriers a
Green Bay looking to the future
By: Craig Tattan
are coming off a season that saw them post their most victories in franchise
history but was nonetheless a disappointment for the 2010 NFL World
champions. They posted 15 wins against
only one loss but were stunned by the New York Giants in their divisional
playoff game and resolved to strengthen their defense by selecting six
defensive players in the draft.
year when the lockout prohibited teams from practicing, this season the Packers
are already working out as a group before the formal training camp begins. Aaron Rodgers will have legendary center Jeff
Saturday, formerly Peyton Manning’s snapper in Indianapolis, as his man in the
middle and appears ready to replicate his heroics from season’s past.
reigning MVP said, “It’s
good to be back with the guys. A lot of energy, a lot of new guys, new faces.
It was fun. It’s good to be back in the schedule. It’s nice to be off, but
there’s something to be said about structure, and it’s good to be back.”
Packers Draft For Defense
By: Craig Tattan
plucked six defensive players from the college draft but found out they will be
without the services of down lineman Mike Neal for four games due to a
violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy as well as the recently signed
Anthony Hargrove for his role in Bountygate as a member of the New Orleans
Saints. Hargrove was signed to a cap-friendly one year contract for a reported
$825,000 but will now miss the first eight games. This could very well cost him
a spot on the roster as his money is not guaranteed, and the Pack must
determine how many of their current crop of defensive linemen can contribute
Despite these losses, the Packers are counting
on first round selection and defensive end Nick Perry to play opposite Clay
Mathews while defensive tackle Jerel Worthy should also bolster an anemic
defensive front. Defensive back Casey Heyward was a second rounder who will be
counted on to upgrade a secondary that was dead last in passing yards allowed. But
perhaps the most interesting pick is 7th round quarterback BJ Coleman out of
Tennessee-Chattanooga who will come to camp without the elite pedigree of
others in this year’s draft class but is rumored to be a true student of the
game with a fanatical work ethic. In Green Bay, he will truly be studying at
the foot of the master in Aaron Rodgers.
NFL Draft 2012
By: Craig Tattan
Eight picks in this year’s draft for the Packers and seven were spent on defensive players. Apparently the Packers brass realized that Rodgers has only one football to throw and their offense needed no assistance in getting the ball in the endzone and lighting up the scoreboard as they have down so prolifically with Aaron Rodgers at the helm.
Nick Perry of USC is a defensive end who will most likely play outside linebacker for the Pack and hopefully can unleash his abundant talent from his new position. However, if their 2nd round pick Jerel Worthy of Michigan State is to play his natural position at defensive tackle, alongside BJ Raji at the other tackle, it would appear the Packers will be using a 4-3 defense which may diminish Perry’s effectiveness at outside linebacker.
Cornerback Casey Heyward, chosen at the end of the second round, was a team captain at Vanderbilt and may not possess the blazing speed of some of his contemporaries but he’s got good instincts and a nose for playing cover corner while ball hawking his way into the starting lineup. The Packers deepened their options on the defensive line by selecting defensive tackle Mike Daniels out of Iowa and bolstered the secondary with Maine product Jerron McMillian at strong safety. Quarterback BJ Coleman of Chattanooga was the lone offensive selection and may stick as a 3rd stringer to Aaron Rodgers as their former backup Matt Flynn signed to be the main guy with the Seahawks.
Packers in 2012
By: Craig Tattan
last season, their names indelibly etched on the Lombardi Trophy, looking
poised and primed for a repeat, the Packers proceeded to tear through the
regular season by posting a 15-1 record.
Rodgers shredded NFL secondaries just as he had the previous year in the
Packers championship season; heck, even his backup Matt Flynn threw for 6
touchdowns and 480 yards in the meaningless regular season finale against the
Detroit Lions. Perhaps the most
prescient stat, however, was the one that would eventually contribute mightily to
their demise. In that game, Lions
quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for 520 yards and 5 touchdowns, which should
have been cause for pause. It was
illustrative of a Packers defense that simply could not stop the pass. The following week, Eli Manning would prove
that 330 passing yards and a total of 42 points by the New York Giants would be more
than even the defending World Champions could stand.
were stunned by the Giants as Manning rewarded the New York faithful, bouncing the
defending world champs from the playoffs with a 37-20 drubbing. Cheeseheads all
across the country were shocked that their beloved Packers didn't even make it
to the conference championship game, let alone the Super Bowl. But what went wrong?
so many of the prolific passing squads, the Packers have become a one dimensional
offense, and their defense is simply an afterthought. Outside of the 49ers, all of the upper echelon
teams are big on passing but not so much on rushing, and statistically their defenses rank
among the worst against both the pass and the run. The Packers, like the New England Patriots, Saints and
Giants, have come to rely so much on their superstar quarterback that it
becomes a game of my guy's arm is better than your guy’s. If the Packers want to secure a spot in the
playoffs and make a deep run, they must do what all the others must do - and
that's get a whole lot tougher on defense.
Collins is a vital cog in the Packers secondary, but the talented 28 year old
suffered a career threatening neck injury in Week 2 trying to tackle Jonathan
Stewart of the Carolina Panthers. His
presence was sorely missed against the Giants, who picked apart the Packers
with little pressure from the defensive line and thin coverage by the cover
corners and safeties. The Packers are
hoping Collins can return, but his status and future are still in doubt.
did agree on a two year deal with their talented tight end Jermichael
Finely. The Packers are still convinced
he can be one of the best in the NFL, but most agree he has yet to fulfill his
enormous potential. Nevertheless, he
will have two years and $14 million dollars to prove the Green Bay management
Wells was allowed to skip town and join the St. Louis Rams, but the Packers
brass didn't miss a beat, signing Peyton Manning's longtime snapper, Jeff
Saturday. Saturday will provide a
seamless transition to whomever the Packers decide is their long term solution,
but for right now, Rodgers is in very capable hands.
they came up short last season, NFL odds makers are betting the public will stay
faithful and bet the Packers to reclaim their world title this upcoming
season. Most offshore books are making
Green Bay the odds on favorite with odds of approximately 6-1.
Not surprisingly, the Packers are also at the
top of the class with 12.5 total wins as the over/under. I don't see this season's edition of the
Packers as markedly different from last season’s, a team that went 15-1. And if they address their shortfalls at
outside linebacker, defensive end and secondary even marginally, they should be
able to replicate what they did last season.
13-3 should be a relatively easy task for this club, which would allow
you to cash a ticket on over the 12.5.
Will they win the Super Bowl at 6-1?
I think I'll wait and see if those odds get a bit more favorable.