Not world beaters yet

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.

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  • http://Orlando Mark

    Agreed Al. I just want to add that the entire coaching staff is improved and maybe the best since Holmgren and Shurmur.

  • Monkeon

    with the lack of an off-season, it might take a few more games to get all things rolling as they should

    • Steve Cheez

      Fortunately the other teams didn’t have an off-season either.

  • chris

    You going to have a final 53 projection for us soon AL?

  • Rick

    Starks is a case where he played extra hard for 7 games last season, then general workouts in the summer, and then a crush to get in game shape. I am glad he did not blow an achille like Leshore did. There will be a lot of Hamie and achilles injuries for the next 3 weeks or so til people’s bodies get in football shape. Grant, Woodson and the veterans know how to keep themselves fresh but in shape better than the rookies and delayed guys like Starks.

  • Packer’s Advocate

    Coming up????

    I suppose we’ll see Zombo in the first round of cuts. Either PUP or injury settlement. Seven more picks to add in next years draft………. and he was a F/A. Depends what they’re thinking. They may have to hide a player or two on there this year. Salary cap situation is a little tougher than last year tough.

    What to do w/Flynn??? I’m thinking sign him to a new two year contract (including this year) for 3 mil (????, one mil this year and two next). Should allow him to probably double his 7th rounder’s salary this year and pay him quite well as a back-up for next year should he actually be here. The Packer’s have helped him to become the QB he is and he should allow a contract like this to help them out. He’s here for this year and by being signed for next year, a team would have to trade for him. If no one steps up, it’s a short contract and he can then become a F/A and pick his team (and Harrell should be ready to back-up by then). Sure would be nice if the Pack could add an extra #2 pick in the draft. Scott Wells will be needing a replacement in a couple years and it would be nice to slide a 1 or 2 in that spot. And even though Woodson is kind of CMIII’s complement right now, if the Pack have an extra pick to move up and if they could find another stud LB like CMIII, they become very scary on defense.

    • Rick

      PA- For Flynn to stay it will take a 2year extension at $5million each($10M total) which is the going rate for a possible starter as back up in the league. That is if he wants to sit behind Rodgers.

      • Packer’s Advocate

        My first thought was 5 mil for two years. 2 this year and 3 next. It’d be basically him signing knowing that there’s almost a 100% chance he gets traded after this year. He and his new team could work out their own contract for him. Alot of Flynn becoming a starting QB will be him but some of that will be four years of coaching from the Packers and it’d be nice if he can give them a little something back in the form of an opportunity to recoup a draft pick for him. Plus, he gets to up his pay this year.

        • Rick

          I understand but then he is at Green Bays mercy on where he goes while right now he can play and be a FA next year and even stay with GB once he shops himself. He will get about 3 years and 15 million on the open market. 2 years $10 mil gives him market value and keeps QB depth strong in Green Bay.

  • Jeff

    How can you say the stars aligned for the Packers last year when half of their roster got wiped out from injuries?
    How can you say they do not look like a super bowl team after 2 meaningless games?
    You say the linebacking is in shambles? Matthews, Hawk , Bishop , and Wlden do not sound like shambles to me.