Friday, June 12, 2009

Waddup Cheeseheads??

Here is a preview to the pre-training camp situation with the packers.

I don't believe what I'm doing. Is there never an off-season for football? Atleast not for me. Football season doesn't end with the super bowl these days. When the super bowl is one and done in early february (add all post super bowl analysis plus time to get over all hangover from all the drinking and partying for the big game by mid - end feb), its time for draft analysis. And before you know, the draft day is upon us end of April. The next month or so goes on with the draft pick analysis. Add to some free agent signings and trades (which are not a whole lot with my packers though) ....theres always a lot to chew on. And soon, mid may they start with off-season programs, where you are kee to see how the new guys are comming along with your team. Then come the OTAs (Organized Team Activites) in early June followed by Training camp in July and then pre-season in August and then ..... boom!! Football Sundays are back come september!!

For the packers the last two off-seasons (in name only) have been extra special. Apart from all the activities I mentioned above they have a "drama queen" to deal with. Yup, you know I'm talking about Brett "the drama queen" Favre. (And yeah ....he's earned that knickname with all his antics the past 2 years). His melodrama will require a whole new post from me, which I'll save for another day (maybe). But apart from that the season seems to be shaping up pretty good for them Packers. Here are a few notable things to keep an eye on (at least I would):

1. Defense switch from 4-3 to 3-4:
As you might have known, after all the defensive breakdowns at end of games last year, which was probably the main reason for their miserable 6-10 record (No, Aaron Rodgers wasn't the reason ....although he didnt help a lot at end of games ....more on that below), coach Mccarthy blew up almost the entire coaching staff and brought in Dom Capers to install a 3-4 defensive scheme. The change in defensive philosophy for the team means a fairly big reshuffle in personnel on defense and also there were soe gaping holes that needed to be filled. Without going too much into details, I would like to point out a few personnel adjustments / inclusions. Aaron Kampman is movin from DE to outside linebacker. They added BJ Raji in the draft and hope Harrell stays injury-free (at least this year) for depth in Defensive Line. the new scheme requires more Linebackers and along with Kampman they drafter Clay Mathews for the other outside position. Inside Linebackers should be Hawk and Barnett (who is recovering from injury). The secondary is something which I would like to keep my eyes on. For the cornerbacks, its no more man-to-man coverage, so its gonna be new for the old guys. I think Woodson should be fine as CB, but I am a bit concerned about Al Harris. They have decent depth with Tramon Williams and Bush at backup / nickel. Safety is probably the most important position for this defense ....probably the captain of the D (see Troy Palamalu in similar scheme at Pittsburgh or Ed Reed at Baltimore). Should be fun to see if Nick Collins can do that ....from what I hear, he is cerebral enough to pull it off. Hopefully, Atari Bigby is fine after an injury plagued year in 2008. I think its gonna be his breakout year. The depth is ok with Aaron Rouse and Anthony Smith (signed from Pitt).

2. Rodgers the leader:
Rodgers seems to be taking up the leadership role pretty well. This is his first off-season with very little Favre Drama. He had a great year 2008 except for the win - loss column, which is what counts the most (but its pretty telling when as a rookie starter you throw 4000+ yards for the year ...only other person to do it?? ...not Peyton Manning ...not Dan Marino ....not John Elway .... definitely not Favre ... it was Kurt Warner!!). Rodgers will only get better and hopefully with a better O line and better running game things should get a little easier too. A new twist to his story line is that Cutler is now in the NFC Norht division.... with the friggin Bears at that. Imagine the division with Rodger , Cutler, Favre (if he joins the vikes) and Stafford (with lions). What a division for QBs!!

3. The YAC Pack and the Offense:
I already pointed out that Rodgers should be better this year with a seaon under his belt. It can only get better for the O-line (stay away from injuries) and for Ryan Grant and the other RBs. Waht can I say about the receivers. Driver is gonna be tough down the middle as ever. Jennings will probably earn the contract he's gonna sign soon. Jones, again one of those injury plagued players hoping to be fit this year. And then theres Ruvell Martin and Jordy Nelson. As a group its probably the best receiving group in the league (cant think of a better group considering nos. 1 to 5). It could be a break out year for Jermicheal Finley. at Tight End. If he is good Mccarthy will have two TEs along with Lee to increase the flexibility of the offense. Gonna be exciting!!

4. Special Teams:
To be honest, I dont really know much about the improvements here. Although I can vouch that it has to be an area of improvement for this team. Tramon and Woodson can return kicks/punts. They have a new punter (thank goodness for getting rid of Frost). They have added a lot of bodies in the draft which should help in coverage. So I guess its just fingers crossed.

Well I guess thats all I have for now. But a lot could change from now and even training camp. let alone pre-season. I'm just hoping for the best. Go Packers!!

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