The Packers open the National Football League season at the top of the stack – the champion. They head into this year with the Super Bowl MVP and arguably one of the top three quarterbacks in the league, one of the deepest charts at the receiver and tight end positions, one of the stingiest and most unpredictable defenses with a genius as a coordinator and a special teams that seems on the uptick.
But there are two areas that should be and will be targeted by opponents as Achilles heels – the running game and even more importantly, the offensive line.
While the Packers’ running game, with the the return of Ryan Grant, a full season from James Starks, and the addition of rookie Alex Green, should be considered a strength, it will all depend on the play of the offensive line.
In theory, the starters are solid even with the loss of Daryn Colledge. But beyond that, we should be concerned.
The backups: Derek Sherrod, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Marshall Newhouse, had their moments in preseason, but they are backups for a reason. Though Head Coach Mike McCarthy and his staff have proven they are masters at plugging holes in the lineup without missing a beat, we all know how key the offensive line is to protection of the MVP quarterback and in opening holes for running backs.
We saw what occurred in preseason and the 15-or-so sacks given up.
Couple that with the fact that the Packers could be playing in the league’s elite division and against teams with defenses led by the likes of Julius Peppers, Ndamukong Suh, and Jared Allen and one has to wonder about the move to keep just eight offensive lineman on the 53-man roster.
I guess we will find out real quick whether this was a good move.
If the Saints shut down the Packers run game Thursday night and pin their ears back in the second half with their eyes in the backfield, it could be a very long night for Aaron Rodgers and would provide the template for other teams to follow this year.
Our hope is McCarthy has enough tricks up his sleeve in providing protection schemes and play calling (including appropriate use of the no huddle) to make it all work.
I guess that’s why he gets the big bucks.
We can only hope he earns every cent of it.
Tags: Aaron Rodgers Bryan Bulaga Chad Clifton Charles Woodson Chicago Bears Detroit Lions Dom Capers Donald Driver Green Bay Packers Greg Jennings Josh Sitton Mike McCarthy Minnesota Vikings Scott Wells T.J. Lang Ted Thompson Tramon Williams