It's life post "the Legend." The "Greatest to Ever Grace the Field" is no longer a member of the Franchise. The "Spirit Sniper" is no longer the face of the Green Bay Packers, he is no longer the face of the NFL.
The last time the Packers had a terrific QB, it took us 25 years to replace him. Aaron Rodgers is not Brett Favre. A-Rod is not a three time MVP. Instead, he's a three year back-up. Regardless, as the G-Force, we must carry on and believe in a prosperous future.
The Bills, Broncos, Steelers, 49ers, Cowboys, and Dolphins have all struggled after the loss of a HOF QB. However, I believe that the current state of the Packers organization is positioned for success. Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy have developed an infrastructure that is built to be competitive. We're structured in a youthful manner. Therefore, I firmly believe the Packers will compete in '08.
In order to continue to construct a franchise that is "Built to Last," the Packers must continue to develop depth with young talent. I am not concerned with our silence in FA thus far. We must add depth to our Defensive Backfield, our LineBacking core, our Offensive Line, at the TE position and at the Running Back spot during the '08 off-season. A 3rd CB is mandatory. Another LB is vital. And a Home Run hitting RB would add a missing component to our offense.
A possession TE would assist in A-Rod's development. This TE must be able to be a safety valve. He must be able to master the 7 yard curl. He must be able to dominate the down and out. He must fall forward after contact.
In regards to the future of the Packers franchise, my biggest fear is the current state of our Offensive Line. The Packers must add 2 developmental players in the '08 draft. Clifton and Tauscher are nearing the end of their careers. Coston, Spitz, and Colledge are all question marks. Wells has been inconsistent. His durability also gives me minor concerns. I am excited about the prospects of Barbre, but confused as to why he could not win a spot among our average Offensive Line unit last year. Much will be asked of our offensive line this year. They'll have to help A-Rod with in-game adjustments. The line will have to provide ample protection as A-Rod's decision making skills improve. A-Rod will have to learn to get rid of the ball faster and the O-Line must be a forcefield for our offensive backfield.
I'm happy Quinn Gray visited Lambeau. I'm also joyful that he left campus without a contract. If I'm the Packers, I do not heavily invest in a back-up QB. I'm fine with Craig Nall as our back-up. I'd also spend a 4th or 5th round pick on a QB. A-Rod has durability concerns. But, 3 years ago, when we drafted him in the 1st round, we committed to giving him a chance to carry our franchise. A-Rod's time is now.
We have a bundle of $$$ to spend this off-season. I'd treat Greg Jennings and Ryan Grant to healthy long term extensions. I'd add 2 years to the contracts of Tauscher, Clifton, and Pickett. I'd give a financial high five to Johnny Jolly and Atari Bigby and add another 3 years to their contracts. Even though I feel that - if available - an upgrade should be considered at S, I'd ponder the notion of offering Nick Collins a little love as well.
As for the draft, at this stage, I am realistically looking at either Dan Connor or Reggie Smith as potential players for the Packers to draft in the 1st round. I enjoy Connor's game. If he falls to us, he is the guy that I want. I love his attitude towards the game as well. Smith has the ability to play either the safety position or he can play CB in the slot during our nickel coverage. He could possibly do both. If DeSean Jackson falls to us, he'd be tough to pass up. I am also heavily interested in Fred Davis although he does not fit the ideal A-Rod safety valve. I also have concerns about his blocking and his ability to play in the cold, but I would love his knack for stretching the middle of the field.
With this being said, I still want the Packers to trade down and out of the 1st round. We are entering the draft with 6 picks. I expect to get another pick as compensation due to the losses of Ahman Green, David Martin and Vonte Leach in FA last year. I want to turn those 7 picks into 10 picks in this year's draft. I want a QB, a RB, Owen Schmitt, a LB, 2 CB's, 2 OL's, a TE and a P. I'd like it if the Packers brought in a couple of undrafted FA's at P and S as well. Bobbie Williams could be the type of player that the Packers are able to pick up after the draft. A small school guy that had a productive college career.
From what I hear, the experts are still picking the Packers to win the NFC North. We're in position to be that team, but we must add to our roster in a big way over the next two month. I feel that we can do it in the draft. I'll remain patient over the next 5-6 weeks.
Gotta Have Faith,