I took my son to his first Packer game Friday – and he loved it. Lambeau really gets the Packer fan experience right. The product on the field, however, was a different story. I wasn’t able to watch as analytically as I usually would but from what I did see, the Packers looked awful. There was very little positive going on. I wasn’t impressed by the running game, the passing game, the defense or even special teams. Here are some more specific thoughts:
- I know it was the first mostly meaningless preseason game and I know Rodgers barely played. And I know he obviously makes a huge difference for any game. But I came away concerned by exactly that – without Rodgers, this team right now seems really weak. I think this will be one of those years where Rodgers will be forced to squeeze the talent out of everyone for the Packers to even make the playoffs. Ugh.
- While Tyrone Walker showed some potential, with the loss of Jennings and Driver, our WR corps suddenly seems to lack depth. If Cobb, Nelson or Jones suffer an injury (or subpar play) this year, we could really end up being limited by our WR group.
- The running game looks like it is in process. Neither Starks, Franklin or Green inspired much confidence. I expect this to be the case as McCarthy continues to try to develop a more threatening running game. I won’t rule out the possibility of some positive development here with Lacy and DuJuan Harris in the mix (and the potential for Franklin). We’ll see.
- The defense could be a real problem this year. It hasn’t been that good now for a while as it is but now what I’m really worried about is leadership. I think letting Woodson go, while it may have made sense financially, will prove to be one of those quiet intangible losses – because he was a leader. I’m not sure who will step up to be a leader – but one key for becoming a leader is quality play. That’s why when Capers/MM talk about Hawk being a defensive leader I just don’t think it works out quite…because he’s just not good enough.
- We seriously lack depth at LB. I think this will dog us all year especially in light of the fact that those starting (with the exception of Matthews) are average or below. Not good.
- I think we may be seeing the end of the Graham Harrell era. I kind of liked him coming out of college but he still seems hesitant to me or something out there. I still am not sure how he didn’t see the rusher coming on the sack/fumble situation. Wasn’t a blind-side hit – I think he must have been locked onto a WR. I just get the sense that he’s overwhelmed by what’s going on out there and is still several beats away from playing with the instinct that probably got him to this level.
- Vince Young didn’t do a whole lot out there but one thing he did seem to bring instantly was a sense of respect and command. And of course, the threat of running. The players playing with him looked at him differently than the players playing with Harrell. As I’ve said before, I would feel better with Young as the backup if Rodgers got hurt. I’d feel like there would at least be a chance the team could pull off a victory.
- This Packer team felt very different to me. Again, I know it’s preseason but we’re missing some huge personalities and I feel a general personality void going on or something. While some personalities may not be “missed” (like Jennings…wow…), when guys like Driver and Woodson and even Bishop are gone, it just feels like there is a void now. While the lack of personalities may help the team fly under the radar a bit, I worry that it will more than anything, effectively dump the entire “leadership” burden onto Rodgers – who has plenty to do already.
- I think this season could essentially end up being a rebuilding year – I thought this before the preseason game and now I believe this even more.