Which Packer Will Make The Leap Forward Next Season?

I did not like Mike McCarthy's previous comments on "adversity situations", as if you can game plan for adversity, but he was much more of a realist in some comments on Wednesday morning. From JS Online.com:

Spread offenses had a lot of success against you. Why was that? I think the dime personnel probably wasn’t what we would have liked it to have been in certain segments, I don’t think you can deny that. And you can base some of that on injury.

My only complaint is he mentioned the dime package specifically. The problem with the dime was guys like CB Brandon Underwood, CB Josh Bell, and S Matt Giordano. One of those problems has already been solved. Giordano was waived and has signed with the Falcons. Hopefully he wasn't trying to exclude CB Jarrett Bush, who was the nickel back after CB Al Harris was hurt. Either way, it's clear he knows that certain players have to step it up or he'll find their replacements.

More from JS Online.com:

Which players do you expect to make the biggest advancement this season: T.J. Lang, Brandon Underwood. Those are the two that jump out. You say how can Clay Matthews get better? Well he can get better. Brad Jones is another guy in that category. I really think those rookies, this is their biggest window to make that jump and it’s important and it’s been identified. 

It's interesting that Underwood and OL T.J. Lang were the first two players to jump to mind. Neither one is projected to start in 2010. Maybe he expects they'll both be starters eventually, and it might be a hint that the Packers won't be jumping too early to draft an offensive lineman or a cornerback.

Unfortunately he has to go and bring up one of the biggest disappointments in recent years. From the Press-Gazette:

On Justin Harrell: "Justin, this is the best he’s looked in the strength and conditioning part of it."

It's easy to forget about DE Justin Harrell, and I wish they would. While it's possible he resumes his NFL career, I'd put the odds at less than 50%. They should just plan for next year as if he's not coming back, and then if he does return, they've got more depth on the defensive line. They wasted roster spots on guys like OL Breno Giacomini and Giordiano last season, so they can certainly find room for Harrell if he's healthy. 

The guy I'll be watching is LB Brad Jones. He's likely to remain the starting OLB no matter who is drafted in April. Hopefully he will become a big part of the defense next season.

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