Green Bay Packers Preview
I said few teams have had a more turbulent offseason than Miami. Well, the Green Packers are the exception to that rule. The face of the franchise retired to open the door to Aaron Rodgers, who has been waiting in the wings for a few years now. Well, that was the least of the drama, as the Prodigal Son attempted to return to the team only to find out they changed the locks on him. After a stalemate which included a candy-coated bribe, the drama played out with #4 moving on to the Big Apple. Sorry to rehash that mess.
On to football. Offensively there may not be a team with a wider differential of their expectations. They have a ton of weapons on offense. They have a stable of WRs in Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, James Jones, and Ruvell Martin. They have a couple of solid backs in Ryan Grant, who was one of last year’s biggest surprises and second-year player Brandon Jackson. They are solid at Tight End with Donald Lee. Some why the hesitation to crown them one of the NFL’s best offenses. Simple. You don’t know what they are going to get from the QB position for the first time since the early nineties. First, Rodgers is going to need to show he can deal with the pressure of replacing a legend. Second, he needs to prove his body can hold up to the rigors of the NFL. Finally, he’s got to show he has the talent to pull it off. If he can deliver, the Packers shouldn’t miss much of a beat offensively. If he can’t, however, it could be a long season in Titletown.
Defensively, the Packers have few worries. They have a solid Defensive Line with Sackmasters Aaron Kampman & KGB. They get strong play from their Secondary including stellar CBs Al Harris and Charles Woodson and hard-hitting Safety Atari Bigby. The crown jewel of the D though could be their linebackers A.J. Hawk and Nick Barnett.
I expect the Packers to challenge for both the NFC North title as well as a Wild Card berth. Ultimately I think they win nine games and come up short on both fronts.
Fantasy-wise the Packers have plenty to offer. Aaron Rodgers is a possible starter in 12 team leagues, but more likely one of the top backups. Ryan Grant is a Running Back that I mangaged to avoid, but he has the potential to be solid once again. Brandon Jackson presents a nice sleeper pick that could be had in late rounds or in the waiver wire if Grant struggles. At wideout Jennings and Driver are worthy of being #2-#4 WRs in most leagues. James Jones is a nice sleeper pick. At Tight End Donald Lee is a solid backup. Mason Crosby is a possibility at Kicker and Green Bay Defense is a top end D.