I thought that I'd send a "What to Look For" in the eyes of Scott McKenna as we head into tonight's pre-season Home Opener. Holmgren coming back to town.
This time of year - it's all about positional battles and team chemistry. We need to find out who is making the team and what makes our team gel?
Amazingly, I feel it's important to start with the Defense when assessing the Packers. The strength, the core of this team will be our Defense. We will compete in games solely on the dominance of our Defensive Line. Jenkins, Kampman, KGB, Montgomery, Burdine, Harrell, Williams, Cole, Pickett, Muir, Jolly can all play in the league. It's a treat to have a surplus of NFL players on your preseason roster. A healthy problem.
I am excited to watch our LB's battle and continue to develop. Hawk will soon be the best LB in the NFC North. Yes, Urlacher, that includes you. We need Barnett to take the next step. His 100 tackles are unimpressive. In today's world, statistics go beyond tackles. Statistically speaking, a tackle counts the same whether it is 2 yards downfield or 8 yards downfield. Unfortunately, in Barnett's case, I feel the majority of his tackles are the latter rather than the former. Furthermore, since his rookie year, he has not been a player that is committed to forcing turnovers. This year - that must change! I'll be curious to see what Poppinga looks like with a full year under his belt at LB and another year to recover from the knee injury.
Then comes the battle...
Bishop, Hodge, Johnson, Havner, Simpson, White. 6 players. 3 spots. I keep reading that Havner has impressed due to his ability to play more than one LB position. Josh, at , I want athletes. He does not suffice. You heard it here first - the player to come out of this group is Rory Johnson. He's got all the tools to not just make it in this league, but to be a bit-time starter in this league. Over the last four years, I've followed Southern-style College Football. And this kid can not just play, he can dominate. He's got all the tools. He's been injured. He'll be wearing #98 tonight. Watch and Learn.
This is our best CB group since '96. And it could be argued that this group has the potential to be the best CB group of our lifetime. We know what Chuckie and Rasta are bringing to the table. Throw it Willie B. and J-Bush and I like what we are bringing to the table. Josh, live and love #27 this year - Willie B. - he has the potential to change our organization. Literally. He has the upside to change the face of our team. A defensive player thinking offensive. And every time he touches the ball on Special Teams, he's thinking about two things...the end zone and the angle to get there. Ultimately, in the simplest of forms, Football is about angles. He understands them. J-Bush can play the run. He can play the pass. He never gives up. And I like that mentality. Plus, he's a decent gunner on special teams. Also, Tramon Williams should make our team. He's been a huge surprise every time that I've turned on the Packers this offseason. Granted, I have not seen a bunch of Football this year, but from what I've seen, this guy is worth a roster spot. Frank Walker and Patrick Dendy have not impressed me.
The Safety spot is a miserable component of our team. Nick Collins should be fine. But, who do we line up next to him. Underwood? Maybe without the injury. Bigby? Haven't seen it. Manuel? Please. Peprah? He hasn't grasped anything yet? Culver? Bum. Our starting safety is not on our team right now. At least, he better not be.
As for offense, Favre would not be here if he could no longer play. Fret not. Rodgers is improved. Paul Thompson will beat out Ingle Martin for the 3rd QB spot. Worst case scenario - Thompson can at least present sound scout duty skills for when we prepare for McNabb in Week 1.
Jackson runs better out of single back. Wide Field. 5 yards deep. Check it out. Herron must step up as a 3rd-down back. Both have suspect blocking skills.
We don't have a FB. Korey Hall is more than a project. Miree cannot stay healthy.
TE - we are pathetic.
OL - We can only hope for continued growth and development of the youngsters.
I hope Crosby wins the kicking duties.
All For Now. Hope you are well. Tell me your thoughts.