Excitement in the air as new era nears


The Green Bay Packers are two weeks away from training camp and even after coming off a disappointing 8-9 season confidence is high in the Packers’ locker room. A new era begins with Jordan Love taking over for Aaron Rodgers after the one-time Super Bowl champion was traded to the New York Jets. Love is tasked with replacing Rodgers, who started for 15 years and who replaced Brett Favre, who started for 16 years. That’s 31 years on his shoulders.

So far Love has handled the promotion like the pro he is. No major proclamations of greatness or disrespecting opponents, despite the media’s best efforts. And by all accounts his teammates are 100% on board and excited to have new blood under center. I mean, players aren’t stupid. They know it was the quarterback holding them back last year. No further evidence of that is needed than the season ending loss to the Lions. The Packers held the high scoring Lions to 20 points but Rodgers could only muster 16 on his home field. And with time and downs, Rodgers threw the season away on the Packers last possession.

Now it’s a fresh start with a young, inexperienced, but seasoned quarterback. Certainly Love was able to garner a wealth of knowledge working with Rodgers for three years. Rodgers treated his future replacement better than Favre did by all accounts. One thing he already said he learned not to do was just throw to the guys he likes. Love said he will hit the open man. Wow! What a fascinating concept. Favre didn’t even do that, he’d look for the guy who was doubled and rifle it in there.

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The weapons are in place

There is no doubt Love has the weapons around him to succeed. He will have a solid offensive line in front of him, with perhaps the best left side combination in the NFL with Elgton Jenkins and David Bakhtiari at left guard and left tackle, respectively. Behind him he will have one of the most explosive running back in the NFL in Aaron Jones, who joined Love in offseason workouts in California over the offseason. And of course AJ Dillon brings the iron to the backfield. They are another top combo in the league.

At receiver the Packers are young, but insanely talented. And they have the perfect mix of guys. Christian Watson is touchdown threat every play, Romeo Doubs is the get-open guy who has already shown chemistry with Love in the offseason workouts. Samori Toure is the jack-of-all-trades man and they added three more receivers in the draft. Not too mention two highly drafted tight ends in Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft. Finding a guy to throw to is not going to be a problem.


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Defense needs to continue it’s good play

Another reason for optimism is the play of the defense down the stretch last year. Coupled with an improved special teams it was the defense and teams that spurred the Packers four game winning streak last year. Rodgers’ passer rating actually dropped over that span. Now I totally get the Joe Barry backlash, and I don’t have a ton of confidence in him myself. But the fact he let the players have a little more say in things I think was a good step. If Jaire wants Justin, Jaire gets Justin.

The talent is there on defense, Barry just needs to use it correctly. And I do think a better offense will take some of the pressure off the defense, which will help a lot. When the offense is only scoring in the teens or less ever game that’s a lot of pressure on a defense.

I have already bet on the Packers to win the North and I can’t wait to beat the Bears on opening day. The NFL couldn’t have picked an easier opponent for the Love’s first start as the guy. The scrutiny Love will be under in training camp will have him itching to prove to everyone he’s the man. I expect a big year out of him. I do think he’s going to be more Brett Favre than Aaron Rodgers when it comes to interceptions, though. But Brett went to twice as many Super Bowls as Rodgers did, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

Can’t wait to get started.

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