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Packer Partisan (09/03/2008)
By Dave DeLano


     
Packers Open ’08 Season on Monday Night Football vs. Vikings

Cheeseheads have had a rough off-season mostly due to the controversy involving the Brett Favre situation. The aftermath of the Favre/Packer divorce has left some hard feelings by some but time marches on and here we are on the eve of the 2008 season.

General Manager Ted Thompson has selected the 2008 roster and here are my thoughts.

The quarterback position is critical in professional football so it is almost shocking to see the Pack enter the season with three quarterbacks with a grand total of zero NFL starts. Aaron Rodgers has a ton of weight on his shoulders. Rodgers is talented but injury prone. Fate will determine which direction his career will go…. I hope for the best but have some apprehension.

Quarterback inexperience is complicated by an offensive line which is very unsettled. Tackles Clifton and Tauscher are solid but center Scott Wells has an injury and the guards have been injured and shuffled around like a deck of cards. Poor offensive line play caused the Pack’s ground game to get off to a very slow start last year and there are concerns again this year with this marginally-talented group.

The Packers’ receiving corps is one of the best in the NFL. If the line can hold up to adequately protect Aaron Rodgers, there could be some big numbers this year for the receivers. That is a big IF though!

Running back Ryan Grant had a huge last-half of last year. As a result, he was rewarded with a fat contract and it will be interesting to see if he can perform up to expectations with all the problems in the line. Much-improved second year back Brandon Jackson has looked good in the pre-season and so has undrafted rookie Kregg Lumpkin, who beat out a couple of decent veterans for a roster spot. The talent level here is much deeper than last year at this time.

The Packers’ defensive line, last years’ unit of strength, has become a major concern this time around. Injuries have taken their toll but if this unit fails, Ted Thompson has no one to blame but himself. Thompson traded talented tackle Corey Williams this off-season. He also drafted tackle Justin Harrell with the Pack’s first pick last year. Harrell contributed nothing last year and after inexplicably showing up for camp this spring out-of-shape, he has injured himself again and appears to be a bust.

The linebacker unit has looked awesome in preseason play and has excellent depth.

Charles Woodson and Al Harris give the Pack two talented veterans at cornerback. The back-ups have looked pretty good too with the exception of Jarrett Bush. I have no clue why Thompson kept this guy, whose play reminds me of that of Ahmad Carroll only worse. Our safeties are pretty decent, but I think back-up Aaron Rouse is better than either starter. Look for him to push one of the incumbents out of a job before too long.

I don’t understand why Thompson saw the need to cut Jon Ryan, a decent punter who also held for place kicks. A new long snapper was also just added to the squad this week.

The Pack could have some special teams problems.

This will be a very interesting season. Enjoy!

 

 

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