The NFL season would not be complete without a Packers team in the mix for the NFC North title and a playoff run. Fans feared that the decision to send Brett Favre to the New York Jets would start a Babe Ruth-esque curse that would haunt the franchise for decades and bring the team back to the ‘70s and ‘80s.
Fans had their doubts about a quarterback who had such a tough road to the NFL just to be a back up. Well, Aaron Rodgers has proven to be a very capable captain under center that will make mistakes (lets not gloss over the questionable decisions by Favre now), but will deliver wins.
What is really so shocking is the team’s nearly seamless transition from the Packers of yesteryear and today. The defense is very good and very young and the offense has young weapons that scare other defensive coordinators. The key word here is young if you cannot tell. Fans at Lambeau Field are getting a showcase every Sunday of the team that could very well end up bringing Super Bowl tickets to town in the next few seasons.
Charles Woodson and Al Harris are the only starters on defense over 30. They are a deadly combination as the starting cornerbacks, but they have a few seasons to play and/or be replaced by quality draft picks. A.J. Hawk, Nick Barnett, Aaron Kampman, and the rest of the gang are all in their mid-20s. This may be leading to a nightmare situation contract wise for the front office, but this also gives them a team approaching its pique of experience and physical tools.
The offense is a similar story. The keys to the pass protection, tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher are over 30, but the rest of the line is in their 20s. Gregg Jennings has emerged as the playmaker for the Packers and will be going to the Pro Bowl often in the next few seasons, probably with quite a few teammates. He has taken over for Donald Driver, who now is on the field as the second receiver option. Ryan Grant is simply an incredible find. The north-south runner has thrived in the system and when his hamstring stops being a nuisance he will play like it is 2007 all over again.
That leaves Aaron Rodgers. The Packers may be finding themselves in a 49ers situation in which a future Hall of Fame quarterback (a Joe Montana or a Brett Favre) is replaced by another great quarterback (a Steve Young or potentially an Aaron Rodgers). He has proven he has the ability to make the big throws throughout the Packers schedule and has shown that he can spread the ball around. Rodgers is dangerous and Green Bay fans must be excited to know that we do not suffer from Bear-itus when trying to find a leader for the offense.