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Keys to Successful Season: Previews

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by TOPHAT, Sep 5, 2007.

  1. TOPHAT

    TOPHAT Cheesehead

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    http://packers.scout.com/2/675898.html

    Three keys for a successful season: Packers must find ways to overcome shortcomings on offense

    Three keys for the season:

    1. Establish a productive running game. After letting franchise back Ahman Green bolt for Houston in free agency, the Packers are counting on a nondescript group to revive a ground attack that ranked 23rd in the league last year. Coach Mike McCarthy doesn't want Brett Favre throwing the football 60 percent of the time again, but that might be the case if Jackson and Morency, once he returns, can't run for daylight.

    2. The defense takes the outcome of games into its own hands. Given the possible shortcomings on offense, a loaded defensive unit will have to be more opportunistic after it made strides toward the end of last season. The team won its last four games thanks in big part to 13 takeaways.

    3. Restore home-field advantage. Playing at Lambeau Field has been a recipe for disaster for Green Bay of late. It has won only six of its last 18 games at once-venerable Lambeau Field. What's more, it has lost four straight home openers.
     
  2. TOPHAT

    TOPHAT Cheesehead

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    KEY: BALANCE

    http://www.packersnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070905/PKR01/709050624/1989

    Season preview: Balance means offensive success


    A year ago, Favre led the NFL with 613 passing attempts, a career high by six throws over his 2005 total, and the Packers' run-pass ratio was out of whack at 59.4 percent passes to only 40.6 percent runs. To be sure, some of the numbers were skewed because the Packers trailed in so many games, especially early in the season, but McCarthy would prefer to be a bit closer to 50-50. The starting offensive line from last season returns intact. Plus, last year's rookie guards, Daryn Colledge and Jason Spitz, have nearly a full NFL season under their belts, and the zone-blocking scheme implemented last season by McCarthy should have taken root. But the Packers' running back situation is as muddled as ever. The only running back with NFL game experience, third-year pro Vernand Morency, injured a knee during the first practice of training camp and missed the entire preseason. It's not a given he'll play in Sunday's opener against the Philadelphia Eagles. Rookie second-round draft pick Brandon Jackson got a lion's share of the work in the preseason but was inconsistent and never showed any signs of making game-changing plays.

    "We don't want to have to throw the ball 50 times a game to be effective," Rodgers said. "That puts way too much pressure on Brett, on our offensive line and on our defense, because that means we're controlling the ball less. You need your defense to be fresh. You need to be able to pound the ball and put together 10-, 12-, 15-play drives where you're running the ball for first downs." The Packers' ability to field at least a functional running game probably is the biggest question mark for this offense. Though they don't have a ton of deep-threat receivers, the emergence of rookie third-round pick James Jones in the preseason should complement starting receivers Donald Driver and Greg Jennings. The Packers don't expect pass protection to be an issue, in part because Favre, even at 37, remains adept at avoiding hits and getting rid of the ball. Though they have only two tight ends, Bubba Franks and Donald Lee, both had strong preseason showings. "We're not going to struggle running the ball. The preseason is over, and now it's time for us to turn it up a notch. You'll see. That needs to be something we stress, getting that running game off to a good start, because everything else is there for us to be a great offense."
     
  3. TOPHAT

    TOPHAT Cheesehead

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    KEY: SOLID, NO BIG PLAYS, DEFENSE

    http://www.packersnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070905/PKR01/709050623/1989

    Season preview: No question, defense is strength...BUT....

    It's clearly the strength of his team, but depending on how well the Packers can run the ball on offense, it might have to carry this club at times. The question is whether it will be a good defense or something better. The Packers appear to have the makings of a defense that could land in the top 10 in the NFL in yards allowed and, more importantly, points. Defensive tackle Corey Williams went so far as to say the Packers' defense can finish in the top five in the NFL in both categories. Last year, four teams accomplished that: Baltimore (first in yards, first in points), Chicago (fifth and third), Jacksonville (second and fourth) and Miami (fourth and fifth). The Packers return the starters from last year that moved the unit from 29th to 12th in yards allowed in the final four games, with one change: Atari Bigby replacing Marquand Manuel as a starting safety....In 10 series with the starters almost completely intact in those exhibition games, they gave up only three points and scored one touchdown on a fumble return by Barnett.

    The Packers are counting on reducing the number of coverage errors by defensive backs and linebackers that plagued them early last season in losses to Chicago, New Orleans, Detroit and St. Louis. Manuel was by no means the only culprit in making major mistakes, but he had more than his share, which especially was surprising because he was signed as a free agent last year to be the quarterback of the secondary. He ended up perhaps trying to do too much and was the defense's weak link. Bigby is stronger and more athletic than Manuel, though the second-year pro has only two snaps of regular-season defensive experience in the NFL, in last year's finale against Chicago. Still, with only one new player in a starting lineup that has worked in Sanders' scheme for 1½ years, the defense will have no excuses for excessive communication and alignment errors in his aggressive, bump-and-run-oriented coverage scheme....
     
  4. TOPHAT

    TOPHAT Cheesehead

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    KEY: OF COURSE, FAVRE...SUPPORTING CAST

    http://www.packersnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070905/PKR07/709050625/1989

    Season preview: Mike Vandermause column — Favre's effectiveness will make or break team

    The 2007 Green Bay Packers come in all shapes and sizes. They range from the oldest (Rob Davis, 38) to youngest (Brandon Jackson, 21); from heaviest (Ryan Pickett, 322 pounds) to lightest (Tramon Williams, 182); from tallest (Bubba Franks, 6-foot-6) to shortest (Jackson, Vernand Morency, DeShawn Wynn, all 5-10). But it takes more than numbers to determine who has the most value. Here's a ranking of all 53 Packers, from best to worst, based on individual talent, position importance and other intangibles:

    1 — Brett Favre, QB

    Everything revolves around the still-talented quarterback. His effectiveness will make or break the season.....
     
  5. TOPHAT

    TOPHAT Cheesehead

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    KEY: CATCHING CHICAGO

    http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=657401

    NFC North still polarized

    The gap between the Chicago Bears and the rest of the teams in the NFC North remains wide and the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions are not good enough to challenge for the division title. That's the opinion shared by Troy Aikman and Jimmy Johnson of Fox Sports when they were asked to handicap the Packers' division. The two analysts made their comments Tuesday during a conference call with reporters. Aikman is his network's lead game analyst. Johnson is part of Fox's Sunday studio crew. Rex Grossman or no Rex Grossman at quarterback, the Bears are the clear favorites. In fact, Aikman picked the Bears to return to the Super Bowl, this time to play against the San Diego Chargers. Chicago lost the championship game last season to the Indianapolis Colts. Aikman said the distance between the Bears and whatever the second-place team is this season will not be any narrower than last season, when Chicago finished 13-3 and the Packers were next at 8-8.

    "But as far as Brett Favre individually, obviously one of the greatest quarterbacks ever to play the game. As far as going back to my years in Miami, when I took over the Dolphins, Dan had had umpteen surgeries on his legs. Really, in his last two years (1998-'99) he could not move at all. The thing that impresses me about Brett is, and one reason he is still able to play at such a high level, is he has kept himself in tremendous condition. He is still able to move around. He's mobile. Obviously he can still throw the football. I think he can still play at a high level."
     
  6. Greg C.

    Greg C. Cheesehead

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    Here's a fact that jumped out at me in a good way:

    "In 10 series with the starters almost completely intact in those exhibition games, they gave up only three points and scored one touchdown on a fumble return by Barnett."
     
  7. Packnic

    Packnic Cheesehead

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    i understand that Green was a great player for us and is a good teammate and what not and a veteran.

    But i dont understand how signing Green to a very very overpriced contract, would help this team. if you havent noticed the running game the last two years has sucked... and Green was part of that running game. We ranked 23rd last year in rushing.... if you ask me... keeping Green would only yeild similiar results.
     
  8. TOPHAT

    TOPHAT Cheesehead

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    Preview

    http://sportprojections.com/green_bay_packers.php

    Green Bay Packers Football Preview

    Last Year Summary:The Green Bay Packers had the youngest team in the NFL last year so, of course, it took some time to hit their stride. They finished the year on a four game winning streak including a win in the season finale against the NFC Champion Chicago Bears. Highlights were Pro Bowl years from wide receiver Donald Driver and defensive end Aaron Kampman. Lowlights were an inconsistent offense and the worst special teams in the NFL according to the Dallas Morning News rankings.

    Key Losses: The biggest losses was Ahman Green to the Houston Texans, one of the faces of the Green Bay franchise for the past decade. The former Pro Bowler will be missed. Another loss was tight end David Martin who now starts with the Miami Dolphins.

    Key Additions: After a nondescript free agency, the biggest additions come through the draft. Running back Brandon Jackson and wide receiver James Jones look to contribute heavily to the offense. On the defensive side, it may take defensive tackle Justin Harrell and safety Aaron Rouse time to mature, but they'll be key cogs to the defense in the future.

    Team Strength: The defense figures to be the cornerstone of Green Bay's successes in 2007. The cornerback duo of Charles Woodson and Al Harris could be the NFL's best. The entire defensive line is deep and will be strong against the both the pass and the run. And the linebackers will be even better than last year with A.J. Hawk having a year's worth of seasoning under his belt.

    Team Weakness: After losing Ahman Green to free agency, the running game will be suspect. The main holdovers from last year are Vernand Morency...does not have much experience to speak of. And the projected starters are a pair of rookies in halfback Brandon Jackson and fullback Korey Hall.

    2007 Projected Team MVP:Brett Favre returns to form, limits his interceptions, and throws at least 30 touchdowns in what will remind people of the 1990s era Favre.

    2007 Projected Record: Maybe it's a homer pick, but with a tough defense the Packers improve their 2006 record by one game with a 9-7 record.

    2007 Season Projection Summary: Everyone knows the defense will be formidable. And while the running game isn't the greatest, if the preseason is any indication, Brett Favre will get the passing game going once again. Offseason emphasis was put on improving special teams, and it will all add up to a better year than 2006.
     
  9. longtimefan

    longtimefan Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

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    How can David Martin be a key loss for us??

    6 years ( 70 games )

    87 catches

    766 yards

    9 tds
     
  10. IronMan

    IronMan Cheesehead

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    Not bad.....if it were 1 season. :lol:
     
  11. spardo62

    spardo62 Cheesehead

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    I agree, but think that the 3 keys listed are all inter-related. Success in 2 and 3 are heavily dependent on success in #1. If we cannot have an efficient running game, the potential is there for defenses to shut down our passign game, resulting in many 3 and outs, resulting in the defense being on the field too much and getting worn down as the season progresses, resulting in making it near impossible to win even at home.
     
  12. Pack93z

    Pack93z You retired too? .... Not me. I'm in my prime

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    Green is a wash in my opinion.. the contract he received far exceeded his value... Martin departure was a net gain even if we have only 2 TE's on the roster... INCONSISTENT as all get out.

    To me.. the offseason was a net gain overall... some areas we have question marks... but hell everyone does at this point. Even Patriots (Seymour out along with Harrison)... Indy with a rebuilt D backfield.. and San Diego with the coaching staff.)
     
  13. TOPHAT

    TOPHAT Cheesehead

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    Well said, Pack93z.
     
  14. TOPHAT

    TOPHAT Cheesehead

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    Keys to Successful Season: Summmaries

    With the Philly home opener on Sunday, the predictable Pack previews are out with the keys to a successful season. The staff writers at Packersnews.com predict the Packers will finish between 7-9 and 9-7. Two NFL analysts say, "The gap between the...Bears and the rest of the teams in the NFL North remains wide...." Meanwhile, one forecaster listed the essential three keys to a successful season: (1) Productive running game (2) Dominating defense & (3) Restoring home field advantage. Another forecaster added that while the Pack's strength will be its defense, but the question is "whether it is a good defense or something better." The fans are hoping the latter for a successful season. Another forecaster stressed that the vital key is "balance means offensive success." A final forecaster realized the crucial key of an improved special teams. Vandermause's column pointed out the "duh!" key to a successful season: "Favre's effectiveness will make or break team." Finally, I add a final crucial key: a legitimate deep threat offensive WR.
     
  15. Greg C.

    Greg C. Cheesehead

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    I think that's a pretty fair assessment from packers.scout.com. Nice work by them.
     
  16. CalifPacker

    CalifPacker Cheesehead

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    I think it's a fair write-up.
     
  17. Zombieslayer

    Zombieslayer Cheesehead

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    The only places I disagree with that scout.com writeup:

    WRs - We're higher than B-. Jennings and Jones will be solid. We all know Driver is a top 10 WR, maybe even a top 5. And defenses will learn the hard way that covering a 6'4" WR with their 3rd or 4th CB won't fly. I'd give us an A- or at worse, B+ here.

    DBs - Our CBs are A and we're definitely in contention for the best duo on the league. However, A- for the set is high, considering our safeties were our Achilles Heel last year. Maybe B would be more realistic.

    Special Teams - B-? I sure hope so. Last year, we were a D.
     
  18. warhawk

    warhawk Cheesehead

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    The key starts Sunday.

    Win need wins early and at home.

    The start of a rebirth of teams needing to step up large to beat the Packers starts Sunday.

    The football world get's to see a tough, strong, football team who will knock you on your ***.

    No cotton candy in this park no more!
     
  19. all about da packers

    all about da packers Cheesehead

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    Apparently Dawkins has been nursing an achillies injury this pre-season, so that raises instant questions about how effective Dawkins will be playing on Sunday.

    But as warhawk said, we need to bring back the Lambeau advantage, and there would be no better way to do that than to wipe the floor with the Eagles.

    God, I can't wait for Sunday.
     
  20. TOPHAT

    TOPHAT Cheesehead

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    JSOnline Preview: Forthcoming

    http://blogs.jsonline.com/packers/archive/2007/09/06/coming-sunday-packers-preview-section.aspx


    [​IMG]


    Coming Sunday: Packers Preview section (McGinn picks...)

    The Journal Sentinel's annual Packers preview special section publishes with this Sunday's newspaper. Among the highlights is beat writer McGinn's take on the Packers (Hint: He's one of the few experts around picking Green Bay to win the NFC North over the Chicago Bears). Also in the section:

    In his cover story, Tom Silverstein focuses on the importance of a fast start to a team's ultimate success in a season, and he has some convincing statistics to back up the premise.
    Columnist Michael Hunt looks at Ted Thompson's blueprint of building a team with draft picks.
    McGinn provides his annual analysis of the 53-man roster, ranking the players' importance to the team from top to bottom.
    In an interview with McGinn, Brett Favre reveals his mental process behind directing the offense.
    Greg Bedard writes about the lack of experience in the offensive backfield, and about the strength of this season's defense going in.
    Lori Nickel takes a look at all the NFL passing records Favre is poised to surpass.

    :pop: :pop:
     
  21. cheesey

    cheesey Cheesehead

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    Re: JSOnline Preview: Forthcoming

    I see it as some others have stated already. Ahman Green WAS an excellent RB. I believe he was WAY past him prime though, and not worth anything close to what the Texans gave him. Time will tell if thats true or not.
    He did not put up numbers close to worth what his paycheck is now.
     
  22. LambeauEast

    LambeauEast Cheesehead

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    Re: JSOnline Preview: Forthcoming



    I'm sorry, I couldn't get past Mike Hunt's name...::giggle::
     
  23. TOPHAT

    TOPHAT Cheesehead

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    Review: SCOUTS

    http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=658330

    ...GREEN BAY
    "I think you really have to look at the way they closed the season. They did an awesome job at the end. They played their young offensive line early and they figured out how to be NFL players. I expect (Jason) Spitz and those others to take the next step. Because of that, Brett (Favre) will be better because he'll have time. He won't feel like he has to make plays." . . . "They've got two major questions. Will they be able to have a running game? He (Mike McCarthy) wants to run the ball. I just don't know who's going to be doing it. And can Brett continue to play good without turning the ball over? He sounds frustrated with the receivers." . . . "James Jones isn't the fastest guy in the world but he's a good football player. He'll really help them. He's a big kid that catches everything." . . . "I've never been a real Donald Lee fan. Bubba (Franks) just can't run anymore." . . . "Their O-line will be better. They're good, not great. They're solid." . . . "I think Brandon Jackson is the guy. Whether he does it this year, I don't know. I do think he can be a good player. (Vernand) Morency is more of a backup guy that can carry 10 times a game. He's more of a straight-line guy but he's pretty fast and he's tough." . . . "The line is good enough. I don't know if people appreciate how good those lines were a few years ago in Green Bay." . . . "You get a competitor like Favre into a tough situation, he's going to force the ball a lot. I don't think he can carry a team on his back like he used to. But I still think he's as good as most." . . . "Greg Jennings kind of hit a wall last year. But now he'll complement (Donald) Driver really well." . . . "I know they have a really, really good running backs coach (Edgar Bennett). I know he'll always have those guys prepared. Look at the job he did two years ago when they all got hurt. He'll get that young kid (Jackson) playing." . . . "I like that defense a lot. It's very underrated. They put a lot of pressure on teams and will get even better this year." . . . "The corners are older so hopefully for the Packers they'll play well this season. They might not." . . . "The defensive line is pretty good. (Aaron) Kampman and (Cullen) Jenkins are both really, really good. Johnny Jolly played well. Colin Cole is good. (Justin) Harrell didn't do much for me in preseason." . . . "The top two are really good but the 'Sam' (Poppinga) is just kind of OK. Not bad, but not a great player. But no one's got three great ones." . . . "(Charles) Woodson is still playing pretty darn good. That's kind of surprising to me. Al's Al (Harris). He'll make a few plays and he'll give up a couple, too. Nick Collins is going to be really good and the Bigby kid, he's impressive. I remember when he was with the Jets. He was all over the place. He won't be great but you can find worse." . . . "I like Kampman more than 'KGB.' I think 'KGB' is on the way down." . . . "Their special teams will be decent. Not great." . . . "I don't have a problem keeping a rookie kicker. A lot of times teams go with people they're familiar with instead of looking at who's being the most productive. It takes a lot of guts on the Packers' part to pull that off...."
     
  24. jdlax

    jdlax Cheesehead

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    Just to add to this past post, scouts' take on the Packers, reading my SI NFL preview issue, one of the opposing scouts mention that "James Jones, the rookie out of San Jose State, had the best hands of any reciever in the draft, including Calvin Johnson".
     
  25. TOPHAT

    TOPHAT Cheesehead

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    http://blogs.jsonline.com/packers/archive/2007/09/06/schatz-sees-a-playoff-contender.aspx

    Schatz sees a playoff contender

    It appears Michael Smith is in good company. Packers fans will remember Smith as the only person among 16 contributors on an ESPN panel to predict that Green Bay would make the playoffs this season. Smith is now joined by Aaron Schatz of the Football Outsiders. To be fair, Schatz calls the Packers a surprise playoff contender, and does not specifically say they will make the playoffs – at least not according to the article at Slate.com. In an excerpt from the Pro Football Prospectus 2007, the Football Outsiders say the Packers are the team most likely to benefit from a probable decline by the Chicago Bears.

    Says Schatz: “The dominating defensive and special teams play that Chicago used to go 13-3 last year is simply not sustainable. . . . The Chicago offense is not good enough to drive the team to a 10-win season if the defense and special teams drop from brilliant to merely very good. That means another team has to pick up the slack. It's not likely to be Minnesota, with an inexperienced quarterback throwing to a cadre of below-average receivers, or Detroit, which has a high-flying passing game but no running attack and a very poor secondary.

    “The team that will benefit from Chicago's misfortune, then, is the Green Bay Packers. Brett Favre spent the entire offseason complaining that the front office wasn't doing enough to build the Packers into a contender. Perhaps he doesn't remember that Green Bay went 8-8 last year and was just a tiebreaker away from making the postseason. One or two more wins this season will almost guarantee them a playoff spot in the weak NFC.” Schatz says that the Packers have their deficiencies on offense, but it’s the defense that will carry the team this year – possibly right into the playoffs.
     

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