Our Q&A session was recently published on the Fansided.com’s Lions site and is offered up here for your review.
Don’t hesitate to slide on over to Snyder’s excellent site for a plethora of valuable information about the much-improved Lions – or you can take the shortcut and read the Q&A below and then go to Sidelion to see what’s new after you’re done reading.
Detroit Lions 2012 Schedule Preview: Green Bay Packers
Our preview of the Detroit Lions’ 2012 schedule continues with the Green Bay Packers.
To catch up on all the lastest from Cheeseland, I was able to get together with Ray Rivard, editor at Lombardi Ave, and he was kind enough to answer my questions.
1. What is your initial reaction to the Packers’ 2012 draft?
Ray Rivard: I was somewhat astounded, but pleasantly surprised with the tactics employed by Packers’ GM Ted Thompson when he traded up to retool the defense. I was very happy that all but two of their picks were on the defensive side of the ball. Clearly, Thompson not only went with the best players available, but the best defensive players. Thompson would have been hung out to dry by the fan base had he not drafted for defense. Given that the Packers finished dead last in defense last year – that’s dead last in the entire league – obviously it was time to revamp what they had in house. So, to answer your question – I was very pleased with the Packers’ 2012 draft.
2. The NFC North looks to be strong this season, any worries that the Bears or Lions could knock off the Packers as division champs?
RR: I’m always concerned with divisional games. It doesn’t matter how up or down teams are during any given year, those games are always monumental battles. So, the bottom line is that I’m very concerned with the Bears or Lions knocking off the Packers this year. Not only that, but we all know the Vikings could be spoilers this season as they rebuild. But as for the Bears and Lions – both teams have improved themselves significantly in the draft and through free agency and will be vying for a division championship. It will come down to some epic games this year.
3. Where are the Packers most vulnerable and what will be their greatest strength this season?
RR: The Packers’ greatest vulnerability will probably be with the uncertainty of the defense. We all know what’s been done to put the pieces in place for improvements on that side of the ball. However, having the pieces is one thing – to be able to utilize those pieces and fit them into the scheme is another. One thing is for certain – the Packers’ defense can’t get any worse – they can only go up from where they were last year. That said, if we look to the offense, the running game is another vulnerability that will be interesting to watch. With Ryan Grant gone from the scene, the Packers will look toward two players coming off serious knee injuries to be their main men – James Starks and Alex Green. Second-year player Brandon Saine might surprise a lot of people, as well. He catches the ball out of the backfield very well and is big enough to run between the tackles. He will push for more playing time this season.
The team’s greatest strength is a no-brainer. When you’ve got Aaron Rodgers as your quarterback and a receiving corps that’s as deep as the well to hell, there’s no reason why this year’s edition shouldn’t play even better than last year. That’s a scary thought considering the numbers the 2011 edition of the Packers’ offense put up. With the hope that injuries don’t cause issues, this should be a fun team to watch.
4. Have the last two regular seasons changed the way Packers fans view the regular season?
RR: Not really. For the past two decades, which is the time many, many Packers fans have been alive, the expectations have always been for a winning season, if not a divisional championship. There are many fans who only remember Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers as the team’s quarterbacks. Yes, there are many of us who go back 40-50 years with the team, but most are accustomed to winning year in and year out.
5. What are your expectations for the Packers in 2012?
RR: Is the expectation that the Packers will win 15 games again this year? Yeah, that’s the expectation, but the reality is that the team will probably win 12. They will have to win that many for a division crown. If they get 13 or 14, that will be icing on the cake. I expect the team to be playoff-bound again this year, either as the division winner or a wild card. And anything short of a Super Bowl berth will be a huge disappointment. The talent is too deep and the organization too sound to stand for anything else. However, to get there is difficult, as we all know showed through last year with the loss to the Giants in the first round of the playoffs. Packers fans expect the Lombardi trophy to be coming home every year. Our expectations are the highest they’ve ever been, but we all know this is the National Football League where anything can and probably will happen.
Not to go too far out on a limb, I’m saying it will be the Packers vs. the Texans in the Super Bowl this year. Packers 27 Texans 23.
It should definitely be another fun run with the Packers.
Topics: Aaron Rodgers, Alex Green, Brandon Saine, Brett Favre, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, FanSided.com, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, James Starks, Lombardiave.com, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, Ray Rivard, Ryan Grant, Sidelion.com, Super Bowl, Ted Thompson, Zac Snyder