Since 1996, have you ever been this excited after 2 preseason games? If so, I can't remember the time. In less than 2.5 quarters of play, the Packers 1st unit has outscored the opposition 35-0. That is not an exaggeration. 35-0.
In 6 offensive possessions, our offense has scored 5 TD's. In 7 defensive possessions, our first unit has forced 3 turnovers. We been dominant. Granted, it's been the Bills and the Browns, but man, we've been convincing. And through it all, there have been smiles all around. UNO-DOS!, Jennings, Driver, Grant, J-Mike, Barnett, and Cullen Jenkins are consistently seen having a good time on the sidelines. Congratulating teammates for a job well done. Internally, this team has unity. It's a joy to watch.
Props to UNO-DOS! When we drafted him, I never imagined that he could be this good. Yes, I'm on my high horse, but UNO-DOS! looks primed for what could be an MVP season. He has a plethora of weapons. Grant, Jennings, Driver, J-Mike, and Lee look to be in mid-season form. James Jones looks to be lighter, more agile. Jordy Nelson looks steady. UNO-DOS! for MVP!
I credit UNO-DOS! for his approach to the offseason. All the things I suggested he should be doing last year, he seems to be excelling at this year. He's taken on a leadership role. He's checking down to the TE. He also checked down to Grant for a first down. And most importantly, yes most importantly, he's added the slant to his arsenal. And boy, it was a thing of beauty.
I could argue that Greg Jennings runs the best slant in football. (Quick sidenote: anyone else notice how stallion Greg Jennings' solid yellow wrist bands were? PatRad, dude, you may need to hook those up for you & Baemmert for the season. BOTH WRISTS. We need a little '07 lovin'. Rockin'! I might join you.) Anyway, Jennings runs the slant. Last year, UNO-DOS! could not throw the slant nor the skinny post. Over the offseason he committed himself to it. The slant/skinny post routes will add at least 200 yards and 3 TD's to UNO-DOS!'s totals. Guaranteed. Think Jennings in '07 against the Chargers.
It appears as though J-Mike has become our 3rd receiving option. UNO-DOS! looks to have tremendous confidence in J-Mike. At times, it seems as though he's the #1 option on the play. He's running the crossing routes that James Jones ran in '07. He's a mismatch and displayed more speed against the Bills than I have seen him play with in the past.
The first cut is a week away. I don't remember a time in which the Packers appeared this deep. We have tough decisions at DB, at LB, and at RB/FB. Rouse's injury might have prevented the same scenario at S. Harrell's injury might have done the same on the DL.
On the DL, I imagine we keep Raji, Pickett, Jenkins, Jolly, Montgomery and Wynn. Yes, unfortunately, we will suffer through another year of Montgomery. Hopefully, it's in a limited capacity. Wynn was not as impressive against Buffalo as he was against Cleveland, but he still overpowered his opposition for a 2nd down sack. I was stoked to see that on 3rd downs the Packers moved AK-74 to a down lineman alongside Raji and Jenkins. Add a healthy & productive CM3 and that's fierce!
It seems like this year is much like '07 where everyone is making plays. No one is playing above their ability - each play it's someone new. This formula has worked for us in the past. Statistically, this defense may end up similar to '96. Remember that in '96, Reggie led the Packers will only 8.5 sacks. The '96 defense also had LeRoy Butler, Santana Dotson and Sean Jones all finish with 5-plus sacks. In '96, the Packers defense had 37 sacks. In '07, we had 36 sacks. Last year, we only had 27 sacks. I expect to be in the 36-40 sacks range this year.
Anthony Smith has been all or nothing. He's either been strong on the ball or absolutely boneheaded. I would not like it if he were forced into duty. Ras-A-tari must elevate. Mr. Charles Woodson, Ras-Al, Ras-A-tari, Smith, Nintendo Nick, T-Mon, and Willie B are locks for the team. I like the U-HAUL. He's shown promise. Much more promise than I've seen out of P-Lee in his brief appearances. Where does J-Bush fit in? We just handed him $1 million during the offseason. Could we get a 6th rounder for him? Rouse's injury is a concern.
Credit Dom Capers. We look overly deep at LB. Who do we cut? I read that traditionally in a 3-4, you keep 8 LB's. You'd expect Hawk, Barnett, Thompson, CM3, AK-74, Bishop, and Chillar to be locks. Poppinga is having his best camp. I hope he is trade bait, but at this point, it'd be hard to argue if he were the starting ROLB. I hope this does not end up to be the case, but thus far, man, he's been good in the preseason. Brad Jones made a big sack, forced fumble to set up 3 points. Cyril Obiozor and Danny Lansanah have been impressive projects. They, too, might be trade bait. Or do we only keep 2 TE's in order to keep an extra LB?
Why don't we play Bishop with our first unit? It almost seems like we are trying to put him in position to be a stallion in order to garner interest from other teams scouts. He's been our best 2nd team player.
At FB, Kuhn looks to be the best blocker. He provided a HUGE block on Grant's TD run. Hall was overpowered when we got stopped on 4th & 1. We just spent a high draft pick on Quinn Johnson. You'd expect Quinn to make the roster. Is Hall trade bait?
At RB, who do we keep to back up Grant? All indications are that B-Jack is our go-to guy. But, how could we cut Sutton? If I were coach, I'd give him a look with the #1 unit this week to see if he can perform against the 1st teamers. Lumpkin's fumble cost him a job. The Packers love Wynn. If it were me, I'd keep Sutton & Wynn.
I've seen enough of Breno. He's not a starting RT. He almost killed Flynn, which might have been a blessing because then we would have gone after a back-up QB. Can we please sign a veteran? What are we waiting for? Here's my point: Flynn becomes the sacrificial lamb. True that he's better than Brohm right now, but really, Flynn has not been that impressive. You've invested in Brohm. He's been miserable, but give him another year. Tuck him away. Sign a veteran. See if Flynn can be traded for a 7th rounder. OK, I've beaten this topic up. I'm done with it for a while.
If Wells does not start, does he make the team? He's been far better than Preston, but does Wells have trade value? You know that TT is looking to stock up on picks over the next 10 days. Wells might be a casualty. I hope not. I like his game. And I'm not convinced that Sitton can be an everyday RG.
In the third preseason game, which is usually the best indicator as to how the Regular Season will start out, the Packers go to the desert to play the defending NFC Champs. It'll be great competition and I think the Packers will be more than up for the challenge. I expect us to impress. We are in rhythm. I predict that the Pack jumps out to an early lead. And then we get another solid performance by Sutton and barely enough back-up QB play to hold on.
Packers 27. Cards 23.