Offseason raising expectations for Packers

Judging from the likes of Peter King, Chris Mortensen and Mel Kiper, the Packers are the feel-good pick as a Super Bowl favorite in 2010. While it is two months before training camp, the Packers seem to have all the pieces in place. Granted there are some question marks, cornerback and left outside linebacker the most glaring, the Packers seem poised to make a deep run in the playoffs.

The locals might not feel the same way considering enemy number one Ted Thompson did sign any free agents again, even though there were none available. The people that cover the league and not just the Packers seem to see things a little differently. With Aaron Rodgers at the helm the sky is the limit for the Packers. While Rodgers didn’t win his first playoff game last year, he certainly proved he belongs in the upper echelon of QBs in the NFL. Rodgers bounced back from a horrible start put up 45 points and if not for one overthrow the Packers might have been in the Super Bowl.

I was going through my old video tapes and pulled up the Packers-49ers playoff game in which the Packers of the 90s had there coming out. The next year they won the Super Bowl. I think the Packers of 2010 are very similar to that 1995 team that advanced to their first of three straight NFC Championship games. The biggest difference is this team doesn’t need to sign a half-dozen free agents to fill holes in order to win now, this team has much more depth than that 1995 team did. I think that bodes well not only for this year but for the next several years. Will a Super Bowl championship be part of the equation? I believe it will.

While Rodgers will always be compared to Brett Favre, which is fine, the guy Rodgers reminds me of more is Joe Montana. Like Montana Rodgers is a cerebral quarterback who rarely makes a mistake and is a leader of men. Rodgers certainly has the stronger arm. Rodgers is also more mobile, which can be a blessing, and a curse. I worry about Rodgers trying to cash a check is body can’t cash.

If Rodgers runs his starting streak to 48 games, the Packers will be in good shape next January.

Elsewhere it was interesting but not surprising to see B.J. Raji moved to nose tackle and Ryan Pickett moved outside. Raji was drafted to be the nose tackle of the future but never made it there on a regular basis last year because of a holdout and injury. Pickett is the ultimate team player, the kind of guy you wish you had 45 of. With Pickett stuffing the run outside and Raji more comfortable inside, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Packers led the NFL in rush defense again this year. That would be a good thing considering the running backs in the NFC North division.

I can’t wait for more OTAs and mini-camp, but training camp this year should be electric. The Packers have a good team and a potential superstar at quarterback just entering his prime. This team should will be thinking Super Bowl this year.

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  • iccyfan

    Sorry, Mark – I was born in December of 1962 so I don’t know the details of your Unitas game in 1967. I put a “wink face” at the end of my jab at you to indicate it was in jest – your serious fanhood is well-established and you long-ago explained your faltering moment. I’m no super-fan, just a guy who misses what used to be fifty or a hundred people posting regularly on this site. Now it’s seemingly down to about ten regulars and I can’t help but wonder why the others have vanished…

  • Oddball

    Well, iccy. I’m on my second incarnation here. Took a long break after the whole Favre ball-washing frackus and intend on staying out of the occasional piss fights.

    It comes down to the simple fact that a lot of the people here know a lot more than I do – reading is almost always an education, and I enjoy the games even more for what I’ve learned here over the years. That’s why I keep coming back.

  • http://Orlando Mark

    Sorry, iccy. I actually had this great point about that season. We didn’t have as good a roster as the Cowboys or Colts. I afraid of Unitas and the Colts(they went to the next two SB’s). The Niners destroyed our OL and DL but we won anyway that game and the championship. Because we had veterans, a great positive coach and Travis Williams a KR who still has the record for TD’s from that year. Something no one remembers.

  • Packer’s Advocate

    I think the whole Farve brew-ha-ha brought out alot of people who wouldn’t normally post otherwise, Iccy. Hence, now that’s over, so are they. Alot of them posting from emotion rather than a good base of knoweldge. My knoweldge is pretty limited but I think I have a decent sense of things. All the negativity from the fan base is not good for the team and I hung in there to put stuff out there for people to think about. There were good points made by them but also by myself, I feel. Some were just plain mean………. The 6&10 team was not that far from 10&6. Their short comings reflected their injuries. I believe Farve wanted to do the right thing at first but then became the prick he is, somewhere along the line. He put TT in a bad spot. Then we had the mess that was. Annnnnnddddd there really isn’t much to post about this time of year anyways, really. I’m predicting 11-5 for this year again and the division title. I’m hoping that that speed demon will star in the return game. I’ve seen the MM show where he explains where the KR is supposed to run. I’m sure they can teach him that, and the rest is up to him. My biggest concern for this year is pass rush. We need two of them that can defeat one on one blocks to cause the right kind of havoc w/o weakening another spot. Seems pretty obvious w/the moves they’ve made or haven’t made, that they have faith in B. Jones as well as Underwood and Lee to step up as quality CBs. B. Jones was a 7th rounder for a reason, but Tausch and Driver were also, and look how damn fine they turned out!!!

  • Packer’s Advocate

    Speaking of Driver……………… those were a couple of the prettiest one handed catches he had last year, that I’ve ever seen. The guy is still super. He’s just going to look like he’s faded a little due to the fact that Finley is going to be sucking up more and more throws now and Jennings is no slouch either! TT is getting this club stocked. Keeping it together will become the hard part eventually.

  • Packer’s Advocate

    And just to clarify my statement “Farve wanting to do the right thing” doesn’t mean that I think he needed to retire. If they wanted an answer for the next season sooner than he was ready, he should have just told them, he’s a grown man (or his over paid agent could have) that it’s too soon, he’d need more time. That would have put things in the Packer’s hands and they could then decide to wait, trade or release him or choose whatever route they wanted too at that point. That would have been the proper route. He screwed everything all up when he went the route he did.

  • iccyfan

    PA – This is an exciting time of year – the draft is over and we get to see the newly acquired picks and free agent acquisitions! OTA’s with training camp around the corner – there’s plenty to discuss. I guess I have a different theory as to why we presently have such low participation numbers, with stalwart contributors from the past such as Reid and Jay entirely absent. Certain people don’t tolerate divergent opinions well and engage in thinly-veiled ridicule; why would somebody hang-around to get shit on every time they posted? To disagree and engage in healthy debate is fun – what goes on here, not so much….

    Oh well, if I don’t like the shenanigans, I can always limit myself to the news section…
    I don’t fund the site, but I’d make a contribution if Al would install an “ignore” feature (you never see posts from the people you have on your “ignore” list)…

  • Packer’s Advocate

    Safe to say I’m one of those people, Iccy???? I’m not sure of “what goes on here”? We’ve certainly have had times when there’s been a minority. And it’s flipped back and forth a few times. Not much fun arguing from that spot. When in that spot, gonna take a bit of a thumping….. Doesn’t mean there aren’t gems to be gleaned from posts you don’t necessarily agree with. Sometimes they’re able to tint my rose colored glasses…

  • Packer’s Advocate

    Just thinking about it a bit more…………….. Guess we all need to be careful of reading between the lines and putting words in someone’s mouth that they didn’t say. We all must realize that our perspective, is just that. Unless we’re in the locker room and business, there’s only so much we can know. Hindsight drives me nuts…. it’s not hard to figure things out afterward. We don’t need to be mean. Personally, I’m a bit rigid and probably shouldn’t actually engage in this, with my patience. It was just last year that we had the big discussions over TT releasing the RB (Sutton?) and S (Smith?) and yet what have they done? Hindsight now, I know, but at the time, I thought it was pretty crazy for a couple third and forth stringers to be such a big deal.

  • Packer’s Advocate

    Anyway, to get this back to something else………….. Any guesses where the special teams end up in 2010?? Middle of the pack?? Still crappy. Near the top?? Does that speedster we got end up as the next D. Hester???? What are missing?? What do we need?? Off to the weekend!!!!!

  • iccyfan

    No PA – I don’t think you’re party to the diminishment of site quality, nor would you make my “ignore list” if such a thing existed. Other than his sub 4.3 speed, what makes you think Sam Shields will be part of the return game? If returns was part of his arsenal, don’t you think he’d have done it for the “U” (more than the one return he had on the trick play vs the Badgers)? I think they’re looking at him as a special teams weapon, just not with the ball in his hands. As a “gunner” he’ll hopefully be lethal…

  • Packer’s Advocate

    Likewise Iccy……….. Maybe one could say that what the site lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality. Sometimes addition by subtraction is good. A few good discussions are better than alot of crappy ones. But seriously, it pretty much is the slow time of the season, but it’s definately starting to pick up.
    I was just thinking about Lew. Almost never hear anything from him any more. But during the bashing TT times he was vocal and passionate. He wrote a HUGE piece on TT’s timeline with the Seahawks that I forced myself through. Unfortunately his timelines were incorrect in spots, but man, I give the guy alot of credit for all that typing he did!!!!
    As for Shields………. I just wonder if they can’t teach the guy to hold the ball good and tight then let his speed take over. Still have to be able to locate and catch it. But after seeing that MM Show episode, the return guy is running to a spot in the blocking which should be triangle shaped ideally, then he’s to run toward the point guy and make a break to one side or the other before reaching him. I’m just thinking ST needs some speed. As for the player, alot of you guys know alot more about that stuff than me.

  • Packer’s Advocate

    Also thinking……. some of the post may tend to lend themselves to the author’s interest. I’m more sci-fi, future. I like the challenge of looking ahead. If a person is a history buff, his interest would be in analizing the past. I can’t relate to that, but it goes to show how all the post can end up so different with interest from the past, to the present, to the future, to everything in between.

  • http://jlworden1suddenlink.net LarryTex

    You’re selling yourselves short, guys. Agree or dis-agree and this is a great site. I’m convinced, as I think you are too, that those who leave let their own ego get ahead of team discussions; and since they (yeah, I’m putting words into their mouths) think they have all the answers and TT can just snap his fingers and put a new OL in place through FA they can’t tolerate those of us who still think this is a first class organization with loads of potential. (yeah, again, I know bad grammar when I see it, ie a run-on sentance) In any case you’ll note a lot more civility in our conversations this year, compared to the last couple of years. Besides, with the team improving the Troika’s way how can they criticize constant winning.

  • Rick

    I agree. The drama draws out the emotions and the number of those posting goes way up.

  • Rick

    On to Packer Football.
    Sam Shields should be one heck of a special teams gunner. If he has the ability to avoid jamming on punts like he did in college, he has the speed to ruin returners day. I would love to see him be our own Steve Tasker.

  • Packer’s Advocate

    And if we dared take a poll, I would bet money that TT’s least enthrawled fans would have a gambler’s personality trait. I can totally see how they could look at him and not wonder “how is it you won’t even take a chance and try to get the player that could put the Packer’s in the SB???” And some have said as much. Fact is, TT’s gonna irritate the hell out of you “swing for the fence” guys. Won’t get a rush from him. No jack pots on the horizon…………. TT’s not a gambler!!! Won’t lose much either, though, as alot of people I’ve talked to only win at the casino. Still haven’t figured out how they pay the employees and bills if no one is losing any money???

    Love the site L-Tex. Been coming here a long time. Al’s had me in stitches before!! Guess I’m just musing a bit today on why there’s so many different opinions. Hopefully I’m better for it. Maybe others will take something from it, who knows. Not alot of other stuff to type about right now anyway………… Either way, we all want the same thing. A SUPERBOWL!!!!!!!

  • Packer’s Advocate

    Is Shields as a KR just not in the cards, Rick??? I was really hoping they could get a speed guy back there and coach him up!!!

  • Rick

    He was a heck of a gunner and won their conference special teams award for it. Other than the reverse against Wisconsin, he never returned in college. He may be a Desmond Howard returner once we give him a chance but if I was MM I see a fast Tasker type gunner that can cut the edge and block punts and gun down the returner or make them fair catch. We really need that with our division and the returners present. Heck out of division too. Can you imagine the Bucs game if we gun down the returner and no TD. We win the Bucs game. We would have had the higher seed and played at home instead of Arizona in the playoffs.

  • Oddball

    LT – “Besides, with the team improving the Troika’s way how can they criticize constant winning.”

    Allow me to take the minority viewpoint. After five seasons, Mike Sherman was removed as GM (rightly in my mind). The team’s record during his tenure was 53-27 and 2-4 in the playoffs winning three Div titles. After five seasons with Ted Thompson as our GM, I think we’re 42-38 and 1-2 in the playoffs winning one division title. Yes, I understand 2005 overlaps, so this statement is not a matter of precision comparison. The point is that Mr Thompson’s results are not remarkably better than Mike Sherman’s – though his cap management is clearly better.

  • http://jlworden1suddenlink.net LarryTex

    I would only add that TT has totally rebuilt the team other than the OTs, but I don’t want to split hairs. I just think TT is a better GM and McCarthy with all his faults is a better coach and developer of a QB. Thats a little like picking the better team among the ’60s Packers, ’70s Steelers, or ’80s SF/Cowboys; who knows?