Maybe I am a day early but there is nothing wrong with being a little anxious. Lets all pat ourselves on the back because we have made it to this point, and i know everyone else is just as excited as I am. I am curious to see what is going to happen with so many players at each position. If we could take a moment to make some (early) evaluations of the team and what people will expect this season. We've added quite a few pieces and I really hope things will fall into place this season.
It all starts up front so with that respect we should begin our discussions there..
We are all aware of the Johnny Jolly situation and how losing him for the season could hurt us. I wouldnt say that its going to be devistating but depth at that position with a veteran like Jolly gone now is still going to be hard to replicate. The addition of second round pick Mike Neal and seventh round pick Cj Wilson should help mend that wound to some degree. With the previous debates we've all had its clear that the obvious answer for improvment is if the line can produce a better pass rush and penetration. Raji being moved inside to NT should be interesting to watch, and its been stated that when he was playing there, that the entire line has played better? I just dont know how to evaluate this with a NT being moved to DE and a relativly young but talented being put in the middle. So its a wash for me and dont really know what to expect.
This seems to be a major concern that I and alot of others have had. Adding Bryan Bulaga and Marshal Newhouse cant hurt us considering how bad the first 8 games were for this unit. But i think the real Improvment is bringing back Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton to solidify some positions that were like others pointed out before "Musical Chairs". To me it seems like Clifton, Sitton, Wells, and Tauscher will have their spots back..There is nothing wrong with competition and there is nothing short of one there at LG...I'm sure everyone knows my opinion on Colledge after last year, but Jason Spitz will be in that battle for the first time and im interested in seeing what happens. I like the progress Lang has made along with some speculation about Breno. We certainly look to be in a better position than last year and I'm just glad that the Offensive front is a little more solid.
This one is tough...Its obvious that we have a pretty good corp, but where can we look to see improvment? First of all its been talked about quite a bit with the LOLB position. Brad Jones in his second season and with the added weight should help him some. I'm like alot of people, not completly sold on him but I'm not scared when i see him on the field either so...On the Inside we've had conversations about A.J. Hawk and if he will start or what role he will play. I'm not so certain and i would like to see Chillar and Bishop get some time in there along with Aj...Nick Barnett is solid, I like him, LOVE the Intesity but sometimes makes mistakes, however he is clearly our best interior linebacker. Clay Mathews...Wow is all i have to say after last season, its been debated what kind of numbers he will put up this year due to him being our only legit pass rusher. I still see him making plays all over the field when he isnt getting after the quarterback... so i'm not particularly worried about him. Overall its pretty good but, we could definatly see a couple players step up this year.
I am hopeful to say the least...One thing that i would really like to see is the run game improve. I think thats a key in controling our destiny this season for a multitude of reasons. Begining with its going to help our defense out, and it will open up better PA opportunities down field. Not to mention that balance is alwase a good thing...Ryan Grant really needs to come through this year and Brandon Jackson knows his role and he can play it well...I really look to see what Starks can bring to the table...Maybe he is that guy we've needed to get our SCREEN GAME going again!!Remember that!? If we can move the ball on the ground its also going to neutralize alot of pass rushes, which is something that we could use...Now a real sleeper is lying in wait in my opinion...Who you might ask? Quinn Johnson... He can lay a hammer on anyone that steps in the path, obviously FB isnt the most exciting position to talk about but if he can open some holes for RG then we might be onto something...I'm not about to compare him to William Henderson but i'm looking forward to seeing what he can do...I'm optimistic about the backfield and look to see some improvement from last year..
This one is interesting, Cant complain about the pick we made in Morgan Burnett but its still early and he hasnt put pads on yet. Nick Collins is still one of the best in leauge at FS, Atari Bigby is back and i really hope he can get back to really punishing guys like he did in the playoffs of 2007..Here is where it gets tricky, CB.....Charles Woodson DPOY on one side and Tramon Williams on the other...How long is Harris going to be out? What level will he play at? Are all things we've discussed but who else is there? Its a subject of a little more concern than one of potential in my opinon...Pat Lee has his opportunity in his hands this season and he needs to stay healthy...Underwood and Blackmon have potential from what i'm hearing from most of you. So I'm going to say i am hopeful yet concerned about this group.
Arguably one of the deepest corps in the league...There has been questions about how much longer Donald Driver will be on the team and who will be the #3 this year..Well the fact of the matter is, everyone is here and healthy...DD got both of his knee's cleaned up and is not expected to miss any time. Greg Jennings i believe will have outstanding year and make a case for the pro bowl. James Jones and Jordy Nelson, both are strong as it gets at the wide reciever position. I see Jordy taking the #3 spot, however I like James Jones and i've said before that he has desceptive speed...Ask Champ Bailey after the 2007 game in Denver, not hating on Champ but he clearly underestimated his speed or was still hurt...Either way its what he did after the catch is what i like...Jermichel Finley, probably my favorite upcoming player and i just hope he doesnt want a trillion dollars to resign when the time comes but for right now the guy has to be a huge concern for oposing defense's...In games we didnt look that great as a team...Finley excelled, Minnesota, and Arizona to be more specific...The depth behind him has been a hot topic and i see Lee still on the team and Quarless taking Havners spot...Havner is kinda a jack of all trades but i'm not sure if he makes it or not...This group i have no doubt will be top notch.
Gotta say, I like the Grahm Harrell aquisition, but only for depth obviously..Aaron Rodgers is coming off last years roller coaster as a clear cut top QB in the league...My only concern is him holding on to the ball too long...I dont even want to mention last year's playoff finally...Ughh makes me sick but thats neither here nor there...I look for him to have another pro bowl year and go 4,200/33/8...ish
I will conclude this with saying that I hope for a 12-4 season with the possibilty of 13-3...I'm open for all opinions and welcome it, so please...