Sunday Night. Silence in the McKenna household on South Beach. Great weekend. Hope it was splendid for you as well. Three weeks until training camp starts. Yes, I'm counting. I love football. I love the Green Bay Packers.
Prior to the start of training camp, I promised myself that I would add two dimensions to the blog. First, I wanted to state the 53-man rotation that I'll be rooting for come Week 1. Secondly, I wanted to post an initial "Who Are You Watching Now?" The "Who Are You Watching Now?" portion will arrive within the next week, maybe as soon as tomorrow, if you're following along.
Admittedly, I'm not 100% certain as to how many players you keep at each position in the 3-4. Couple that uncertainty with the interesting position battles for the '09 Season and it makes for an entertaining exhibition season.
QB: Keep 3. Seems obvious. UNO-DOS has a chance to be a Pro Bowler in his 2nd season as the starter for the most storied franchise in sports. At this point, it's Flynn and Brohm as the back-ups. As I've stated in numerous posts, I'm hoping to bring a veteran into the mix.
RB: Keep 5. Grant, Lumpkin, Wynn, Quinn The Eskimo, K. Hall. I'm hoping we trade B-Jack for either a pick or a back-up DL. When healthy, Wynn & Lumpkin have shown glimpses of brilliance. Last year, I felt that Lumpkin was on the brink of something special prior to his season-ending injury. Sutton is a candidate for the practice squad. The Eskimo will be the bruising back that we need to assist in short yardage. He'll also add value to our special teams units. Korey Hall beats out John Kuhn due to his special teams ability. This team needs to win the special teams unit. It's a necessary area of improvement. Should the Packers still be fascinated with B-Jack, I'd be OK if we kept only 1 FB - that being The Eskimo.
WR: Keep 5. Greg Jennings is going to be a Superstar in 2009. Pro Bowl. I'm convinced. Donald Driver will have another strong year. James Jones and Jordy Nelson will battle for the #3 spot. Ruvell is a good #5 WR and an average special teams player. I'm going to be keeping my eye on Jamarko Simmons progression. I don't buy the Brett Swain hype.
OL: Don't be surprised if the Packers keep 10 OL. The weakest unit on the team although we seem to have versatility among the group. A lot of players who are still "developing." Clifton, Colledge, Sitton, and Spitz appear to be locks for the starting line-up. Lang & Meredith are locks to make the team due to their '09 draft status. I'm hoping Lang is our Week 1 starter at RT. Win the job, TJ! I'm pulling for you! Barbre and Giacomini were huge disappointments in the exhibition season last year. Both appear to be in good position to still hold a roster spot in '09. Duke Preston will probably make the team as he was a FA acquisition. But, it'll be an hotly contested battle between him and Scott Wells. Wells appears to be unseated by Spitz at the Center position. Injuries might have taken a toll on him. Nonetheless, I'm hoping that they keep both Wells and Preston. Preston can play both Guard and Center. So can Spitz. Wells at C is a better option that ever having to play Tony Moll again. Moll is useless. If I were involved, he would not make the team. I'm going to be following Andrew Hartline. I read a lot about him prior to the NFL Draft. I'm happy he's in camp. He may be headed to the practice squad.
TE: Keep 3. One year, the Packers did only keep 2 years. This could be another year to do so except for Mike McCarthy's love of the 3-TE set. Personally, I have always felt that it's McCarthy's worst offensive design. Regardless, he uses it often. I'd prefer that the Packers go back to the Jumbo set that Kevin Barry made famous in '03. Donald Lee is the starter. Make no mistake. He's an all around player. J-Mike is going to have a good year. I'm hoping for 30 catches. 5 TD's. May not sound like shattering numbers, but we'll be spreading the ball around. I'm hoping Carson Butler beats out Tory Humphrey. Doubtful, but it'd be cool if Butler can play. As I've stated before, I believe Humphrey is, at best, a poor man's Donald Lee. We need a great blocking TE as our #3 TE.
DL: Here's where I get confused. I have the Packers keeping 6 DL and 8 LB's. This is the one issue that I have with keeping 10 OL. Oh well. We need to protect UNO-DOS. Any way, presently, I have the Packers going with Jenkins, Pickett, Raji, Jolly, Harrell, and Wynn. But, this is potentially problematic. Jenkins is injury prone and is recovering from a season ending injury from last year. Pickett needs his rest. Jolly might be ineligible for a portion of the year. Harrell has never been able to stay healthy. Wynn is not only a rookie, but he's a 6th round pick. Either way - Michael Montgomery does not make my team, if I'm playing GM. I'm hoping Ronald Talley is a player. I've read good things about him coming out of camp. Plus, he was a high school phenom. He got significant playing time as a Freshman and a Sophomore at Notre Dame before transferring to Delaware. So, you are saying there is a chance? Again, I hope so. Or else, I'm hoping that we can potentially claim someone off waivers prior to Week 1.
LB: I've got us keeping 8. Barnett & Hawk as starters in the middle. CM3 will beat out Jeremy Thompson at ROLB. AK-74 playing LOLB. The back-ups are Jeremy Thompson, Brad Jones, Brandon Chillar, and Brady Poppinga. Sadly, Desmond Bishop does not make the team. Could he possibly be traded for an additional DL? Chillar is a back-up at ILB. Brad Jones played some ILB in college. Hopefully, Jeremy Thompson will be able to also be a back-up at RDE. It's also sad for me to bid goodbye to Danny Lansanah. I saw great potential in him last year. It should be noted that the Dolphins tried to sign him off of our practice squad last year. Could he hold trade value? I've also got my fingers crossed that Cyril Obiozor has enough in him to at least be worthy of a practice squad bid.
DB: Keeping 10. Charles Woodson, you are my football idol. Ras Al across from him. So sweet. T-Mon is the best 3rd CB in football. Sign him up, Ted! Nintendo Nick is just playin', baby. Just playin'. Sign him up as well, Ted! Ras-A-tari will hopefully be back to his playoffs of '07 form. If not, we might be in trouble at SS. I believe that we will keep 6 back-ups. T-Mon, Willie B., and P-Lee are locks. I believe that the U-HAUL will definitely be on the team. He might have the versatility to also play S. That leaves Aaron Rouse, J-Bush and Anthony Smith to compete for 2 positions. Rouse is an average dime safety, but he's a liability if he's forced to start. At this point, it's hard to get overly excited about Anthony Smith even though I really liked his game in college. Essentially, he's been a bum in the NFL. J-Bush has been moved to Safety. They love his ability on special teams. I still have not forgiven him for the NFC Championship in '07. Tough to let him make this roster. He's always in position. He almost never makes the play.
In the end, it's quite possible that the likes of B-Jack, Desmond Bishop and Brandon Chillar might hold trade value. It should also be noted that J-Bush received attention in the Free Agent market. We need another DL, pending the Jolly suspension.
Up Next: "Who Are You Watching Now?"