YOOOAdrian’s 2010 NFL Preview- Green Bay Packers

So it looks like Packers management may have made the correct decision by going with their young stud Aaron Rodgers over the aging Brett Favre.  In his 2nd full season as a starter, Rodgers guided to Pack to an 11-5 record and a NFC Wildcard appearance.  In a wild and agonizing finish for Cheesehead fans, Green Bay lost to Arizona after a returned Aaron Rodger’s fumble in overtime 51-45.  The new 3-4 defense under new Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers improved dramatically.  They led the NFL in rushing yards allowed and 2nd in interceptions.

 Quarterbacks

Aaron Rodgers- 350/541  64.7%  4,343 yds  30 td  7 int  103.2 rat

Rodgers became the 1st quarterback in NFL history to throw for 4,000+ yards in his 1st 2 years as a starter.  He showed intelligence, play-making ability, toughness and scrambling ability.  He ran for 316 yards, 2nd most for a quarterback in the NFL.  He also tied for 1st in the NFL in lowest interception percentage with coincidentally Brett Favre.

(Aaron Rodgers)

There are things about Rodgers that bother me.  His scrambling can be an asset or hindrance.  He holds on to the ball too long and takes too many sacks; and it’s not the offensive line.  I realize he’s only in his 3rd season, but Rodgers still yet has proven to me that he can get the job done when it matters.  I know Green Bay went 11-5 last season, but in 2008 they went 6-10.  Some of that had to do with a bad defense, but Rodgers not once got the job done in the 4th quarter. 

 Others- Matt Flynn, Chris Pizzoti

Flynn won a National Championship with LSU in 2007.  Pizzoti is now the 2nd player from Harvard to play quarterback in the NFL; the other is Ryan Fitzpatrick from Buffalo.

GRADE- 8

Running Backs

Ryan Grant- 282 car  1,253 yds  4.4 avg  11 td  25 rec  197 yds 

Grant benefited from the Packers strong passing game by rushing for a career-high 1,253 yards and 11 touchdowns.  He’s tough, durable back who gives maximum effort on every carry.  He’s a downhill long-stride runner who takes care of the ball, fumbling just once last season.

(Ryan Grant)

In such a pass happy offense Grant needs to work on being a more natural receiver. .

Others- Brandon Jackson, John Kuhn, Korey Hall

In 2007, the Packers handed the 2nd round pick Brandon Jackson the starting running back job.  He’s been a disappointment. 

Kuhn and Hall will rotate at fullback.  Kuhn is more versatile, but Hall is the better receiver.

GRADE- 7.25   

Receivers

Greg Jennings- 68 rec  1,113 yds  16.4 avg  4 td

Jennings is one of the better deep threats in the NFL.  He’s caught 21 balls for 40+ yards over the past 3 seasons, the most during that span.  He’s a good route runner with quick feet, good hands and ability to adjust to balls downfield. 

Donald Driver- 70 rec  1,061 yds  15.2 avg  6 td

Driver is an ageless wonder.  At 35, Driver continues to be one of the better starting receivers in the NFL.  In his usual slot position, Driver does the dirty work inside.  It’s been 6 consecutive seasons of 1,000+ yards receiving for Donald.

 Jordy Nelson- 22 rec  320 yds  14.5 avg  2 td

Nelson is a dependable receiver who’s smart and runs good routes.

TE- Jermichael Finley-  55 rec  676 yds  12.3 avg  3 td

Finley is an athletic, big, underrated, emerging tight end for Rodgers.  He gives opposing defenses matchup problems due to his unique abilities.

(Jermichael Finley)

 Others- James Jones, Brett Swain, Donald Lee

Jones is another threat who could even start for a few teams. 

Swain played well until blowing out his knee in week 7.

GRADE- 8

 Offensive Line

LT- Chad Clifton

Even at 34, Clifton remains one of the league’s best pass protector’s although he’s lost a bit of quickness.

 LG- Jason Spitz

Spitz will be challenged by Darryn Colledge for the left guard starting job.

C- Scott Wells

Wells has short arms for a center, but he uses them well.

RG- Josh Sitton

Sitton is the most physical blocker on the line. 

(Josh Sitton)

 RT- Mark Tauscher

Clifton is 34, Tauscher is just a year younger at 33.  He’s a cagey veteran who quicker than he looks. 

It won’t be long until 1st round pick Bryan Bulaga takes over at one of these starting tackle spots.

GRADE- 7.25

 Defensive Line

LDE- B.J. Raji- 25 tck  1 sck  1 p def

With Johnny Jolly suspended due to possessing sizzurp, I think Green Bay will start Raji.  He’s a 1st round pick from 2009 with tremendous lower body strength, plays with good leverage and gets a solid burst.  He will be a future nose tackle in this defense. 

 NT- Ryan Pickett- 33 tck  2 p def

Pickett is one of the better 3-4 nose tackles occupying double teams. 

See full size image

(Ryan Pickett)

RDE- Cullen Jenkins- 32 tck  4.5 sck  1 int  1 p def  3 ff

Jenkins did a little bit of everything, sacking the quarterback, forcing fumbles, and stuffing running backs behind the line of scrimmage.  He had a career-high 7 ½ tackles for loss.

Others- Mike Neal, Justin Harrell, C.J. Wilson

Mike Neal is a 2nd round pick who will play backup end and move inside on rushing downs.

Harrell is a former 1st round pick who’s suffered through back problems for most of his career.

 GRADE- 7.25

 Linebackers

LOLB- Brad Jones- 33 tck  4 sck  1 p def

Jones did a surprising job replacing an injured Aaron Kampman on the outside.  He played with good leverage, but we’ll see if he can hold up.

LILB- A.J. Hawk- 89 tck  1 sck  2 int  2 p def

Hawk is smart and competitive.  He needs to be more of a playmaker.

 RILB- Nick Barnett- 105 tck  4 sck  7 p def

Barnett played well coming back in week 4 after recovering from knee surgery.  He’s good at slipping and evading blockers and making tackles.  He’s led Green Bay in tackles in 5 of the last 7 years.

 ROLB- Clay Matthews- 51 tck  10 sck  7 p def  1 ff

In his starting debut, Matthews made on of the plays of the season on a Monday Night game against Minnesota.  He ripped and stole the ball from running back Adrian Peterson and took it back for a 42-yard touchdown.

See full size image

(Clay Matthews)

Matthews is a complete linebacker who is a solid rusher and tackler.

 Others- Brandon Chillar, Bradie Popinga

Chillar is the best coverage linebacker on the team.

GRADE- 7.5

Secondary

LCB- Charles Woodson- 74 tck  9 int  18 p def  2 sck  4 ff

Woodson won the 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award.  As an “overall” corner, Woodson is arguably the best in the league.  He’s the best tackling corner in football who has the ability to strip the football.  His coverage skills are great as he plays with outstanding instincts and football IQ.

(Charles Woodson)

RCB- Al Harris- 34 tck  2 int  5 p def  1 sck

Harris is one of the physical corners in the league who lines opposite the bigger receivers.  He is 35 and coming off knee surgery.

CB- Tramon Williams- 55 tck  4 int  15 p def  1 sck 

Williams is solid, but struggles against bigger receivers.

FS- Nick Collins- 53 tck  6 int  13  p def  1 sck

Collins is a vastly underrated free safety.  He plays with great instincts and closing speed.

 SS- Atari Bigby- 49 tck  4 int  8 p def 

Bigby is a thumper, but lacks range and coverage skills.

 Others- Morgan Burnett, Jarrett Bush

Burnett is a 3rd round pick who will challenge Bigby for the starting strong safety spot.

GRADE- 7.75

 Special Teams

PK- Mason Crosby- 27/36  52 lg

Crosby is talented, but the Packers expected better from him last year.

P- Tim Masthay- DNP

Masthay and Chris Bryan will battle for the starting gig.

KR- Will Blackmon- DNP

Blackmon is coming back from knee surgery, a good returner.

PR- Will Blackmon- DNP

See above

GRADE- 7

 2010 PREDICTION- 8-8

 I’m not ready to hop on the bandwagon quite yet on Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the Green Bay Packers.  Rodgers still has to prove to me that he can get it done in the 4th quarter.  There’s a lot of talent on this squad, but the talent is aging.  This is a team that’s hit or miss with me.

Offensive MVP- Aaron Rodgers

Defensive MVP- Charles Woodson

Breakthrough- B.J. Raji

Overrated- Aaron Rodgers

Underrated- Nick Collins

 

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