The Packers have played two practice games and so far they look a far cry from the team that won the Super Bowl last year. Of course at the end of November last year they didn’t even look like a playoff team, so it is not time to rush to judgement, but that doesn’t mean I won’t. Here is a quick take on the state of the Pack.
On offense everything starts up front and things look quite shaky there after two games, especially the second stringers. I am confident that when the starters stay in for the whole game things will be better. It should even be better this week now that T.J. Lang officially takes over at left guard after winning the battle over Derek Sherrod.
Sherrod was beaten like a drum then hurt against the Cardinals last Friday. I just hope he can recover to be Chad Clifton’s backup in the likely event Cliffy misses a game or two. Right now though it looks like Sherrod is a year away. I’m not too worried about Scott Wells, Josh Sitton or Brian Bulaga, but injuries here could play a huge part in the Packers chances this year.
I have no worries about Aaron Rodgers and the passing game and Ryan Grant appears fully recovered and ready to have a solid year. James Starks promptly got hurt and might spell Grant a series here and there if he gets healthy, but I think he is out of the mix for major playing time. Alex Green may have locked up the third-down back with his nifty catch and run against the Cardinals.
Nothing needs to be said about the receiving corp. They are arguably the deepest in the league counting Jermichael Finley at tight end. Finley won’t play 16 games but when he goes down it might open the door for rookie Randall Cobb.
Defensively the linebacker crew is in shambles. Frank Zombo might be lost for the year with a broken shoulder blade. It happened in pregame warmups but Zombo played in the game anyway, he wasn’t about to pull a Culter and sit down. Anyway, with Clay Matthews nursing his annual hamstring injury and Brad Jones either hurt or just ineffective, the Packers could use some help there. it probably won’t come until after the final cuts though.
I think the d-line will be OK, especially if Mike Neal stays healthy, which is a big if. But with Howard Green and C.J. Wilson and even Jarius Wynn look good, they can get by without Neal.
The secondary is deep and with Morgan Burnett back they should be every bit as good as last year. Charles Woodson is healthy and looking excellent so far in camp and Nick Collins is a rock. Tramon Williams is the best cornerback on the team and one of the best in the league. I see a Pro Bowl for him this year.
We do have to remember the Packers did lose six games last year, there is plenty of room for improvement. And it is highly unlikely the stars align again this year like they did last year for the Packers. If the Packers return to the Super Bowl this year they will have earned it the hard way.