For a team that came within a whisker of losing their franchise quarterback, it’s tough to say that “everything’s coming up Packers” right now but the team is in a really good place heading into Week 1.
They got through camp mostly healthy (Za’Darius Smith’s back issue the only big area of concern and David Bakhtiari on PUP isn’t really a surprise) and by all accounts the strong locker room chemistry from last year has carried over into this year. Players are having fun and the bond between teammates seems stronger than ever.
All eyes were on Aaron Rodgers as his long standoff with the team raised concerns he was done with the Packers. Instead he showed up for camp on day one and has by all accounts been having the time of his life. We have no idea what’s actually happening behind the scenes, but this is still a good sign.
There are still some unknowns, mainly on defense and how the team will play in Joe Barry’s first year running the show. Smith’s back injury has raised concerns on how effective the pass rush can be as well as Barry’s track record as a defensive coordinator. Players have said all the right things about their new coordinator but we won’t know the truth until the starters take the field in just over a week.
That shouldn’t distract from the fact this is shaping up to be another fun regular season in Titletown. The majority of last year’s team is intact and after coming oh-so-close to playing for a ring last year, there is no doubt what this season’s objective is.
The Super Bowl in 2021 isn’t a dream for the Packers. It’s the expectation and the entire team from the top down is dialed in on that goal.
This is another reminder that preseason records don’t mean a thing. The Packers were smart with their players during the exhibition season and will be at near-full strength to start the season. You really can’t ask for anything more.
Those heartbroken to see Kurt Benkert released will be pleased to know he is back on the practice squad. Also noteworthy is Equanimeous St. Brown who in the past would likely have not been practice squad eligible.
General manager Brian Gutekunst feels the relationship with Rodgers is moving in the right direction based on conversations since camp opened and Rodgers says it’s a work in progress. If Rodgers staying in Green Bay hinges on this dynamic, it’s hard to see this as anything other than a hopeful sign.
The saga over where the Packers and Saints will open the season has come to a conclusion and it will be in hot and humid Jacksonville. It will definitely be strange seeing the Saints in their home uniforms in an open air stadium.
I won’t say “childhood ruined” to this but it’s definitely at least “childhood significantly altered.” Who would have known that’s what Grimace was?!