A GB Packer 2007 review (so close but yet so Favre) and 2008 preview (no more Favre!??)

08/21/2008
2007

A storybook season with a predictable ending. The Packers went 13-3 despite getting swept by the Bears of all teams. The strange bounces of the oblong football went their way mostly and they won a couple close games at the end (as most teams with 13 wins do). Favre flashed back to the mid 90’s and a franchise that had been through a lot of changes in the last 3 or so years finally started to look like they were really coming together as a team. Unfortunately the defense got manhandled by Eli Manning (I have to keep reminding myself that this really happened) in the conference championship and like a bad sports movie Favre’s magical resurgence came to an end and he threw an utterly inexcusable INT in OT. Seriously, watch it again, I forget who it was but another receiver on the leftish side was coming open and Grant was open for a dump off of at least 5 yards and Favre forced it to a not so open Driver. I haven’t watched it since then so let’s see, Grant wide open and I think it was Lee coming open over the middle breaking to the left:


Offense
Favre put up his best rating since 1996 and really was pretty good. If Tynes could kick at all Favre never would have had chance to throw that pick, so really it’s all his fault. Besides that one pass, the Packers couldn’t have asked for more from Favre. Rodgers had his one big half, which was impressive. I really liked his mobility compared to the aged one.

On the TE front, Bubba Franks played only half the season and still managed to score 3 more TDs than the year before. But basically he wasn’t too helpful with only 18 RECs. Donald Lee had a solid season which makes me even more confused about why they didn’t throw him the ball more in 2006.

Driver was still Favre’s favorite target but his numbers are starting to decline. His RECs, YDs, AVG, and TDs were all down. Greg Jennings picked up a few of those stats despite getting hurt again and missing 3 games. He proved to be extremely dangerous after the catch and scored 12 TDs. James Jones had a huge rookie year and caught only 6 less passes than Jennings, though the rest of his numbers were lower. Ruvell Martin showed some skills in his limited opportunities and managed 4 TDs, possibly putting himself in the mix for further red zone playing time. Koren Robinson had some catches too, but I don’t like him.

The RB receiving game was down from the previous year from 113 RECs to 95 RECs and more surprisingly those 95 catches resulted in 0 TDs! You almost have to try to do that. The running game was much better than recent years once Ryan Grant took over. Team total yards were actually down a bit, but the AVG was more repectable, TDs were up, and fumbles were down. Grant actually had a really good AVG at 5.1 yards per carry. Rookie Brandon Jackson and oft-injured journeyman Morency were somewhat disappointing though. DeShawn Wynn was a nice surprise early on until he unsurprisingly got injured.

The offensive line was still a bunch of big guys. As previously mentioned, the team per carry average improved .2 yards to 4.1 (12th best in the NFL) and the sacks went down 5 to a pretty impressive 19 (3rd best in the NFL). Overall they were an above average group and deserve a lot of credit for the offense’s success.

Defense
The defense was pretty good, but I was maybe expecting more from them. They finished 11th in yardage and 6th in scoring. But sacks, tackles for loss, fumbles forced, and interceptions were all down from the previous year and that NFC Championship game was embarrassing as the Giants held the ball for 40 minutes and 1 second. Granted the Pack was 1 for 10 on 3rd down but Burress lit up the secondary like none other. At any rate, Aaron Kampman had a solid year with 12 sacks, KJB bounced back a bit with 9.5, and Corey Williams played well inside. Nick Barnett proved me wrong a bit and was clearly the #1 LB with AJ Hawk having a decent sophomore season. Charles Woodson and Al Harris both had less pass deflections and INTs than the year before and I think it was mostly Harris who got torched by Burress and also looked bad against some other top WRs when Woodson missed a couple games. Atari Bigby made some big hits and picks.

Special teams
The return teams were a little better and provided 2 scores. It’s unfathomable that they still let Woodson return punts though. Crosby kicked well (most points for a kicker) and was also an improvement. Jon Ryan’s punting improved and I guess he actually had the 9th best net avg.

Summary
After rebuilding the previous couple seasons, 2007 lead to much success but ended with a bitter, bitter defeat. I will probably remember 3 things: Favre’s resurgence, Grant’s emergence, and Eli freaking Manning kicking the Packers collective rear ends.

2008

Other than Favre mania I have paid virtually no attention to the Packers since the draft. And that’s how I like it because summer is for baseball and the Brewers march towards the playoffs. Also sometimes more is less and my predictions went pretty well last year. And I make one of the same predictions this year.

The Green Bay Packers will win the NFC North in 2008.

Obviously the play of one Aaron Rodgers will be a large part in determining the Packers’ success this year. And really, there isn’t a whole lot to go on. He’s a 1st round pick, rode the pine for a while, been a little injury prone, played one good half last year, and hasn’t been too great in the preseason. What I do like is that he has been riding the pine for a while so he should pretty much know what is going on and I also like his mobility. The running game should be able to carry the offense hopefully so Rodgers just has to make some throws and not suck. Seems easy enough right? The offensive line should be even better than last year, hopefully Grant can pick up where he left off, Jackson is supposedly having a solid camp as his backup, Lee is serviceable at TE (not sure about the depth there though), and from top to bottom the receiving corps is one of the best in the NFL (which should help Rodgers too).

The defense is actually a bigger worry for me than Rodgers. I like the line, love the linebackers, but I’m worried that the cornerbacks will give me ulcers, and that worrying is giving me ulcers. Will Harris and Woodson be able to at least sustain their level of play, which already wasn’t good enough at times last year? I suspect that the defense would like to and will try blitzing more with the maturing linebackers but if that leads to the corners getting burnt a few times…

The special teams improved dramatically last year and with all the same key pieces returning there shouldn’t be any letdown

Overall, their balance is what will get them to 10 wins. Some games the defense will be dominant, some games the offense will be dominant, and probably some games both sides will play bad and they’ll lose. But other than Favre (which is a bigger other than) they haven’t lost much. I guess they did lose the long snapper, Rob Davis, so hopefully that doesn’t lead to problems.

Chicago 8-8
They still have a good defense and anyone at RB is better than Benson. Not having a real QB and losing Berrian limits their ceiling though. I will admit that I have an inexplicable liking of former Purdue QBs so I secretly hope that Orton plays decently.

Detroit 6-10
Same as last year, the 1st half of their schedule looks easier than the 2nd half. And they're just not that good.

Minnesota 9-7
Pass defense and pass offense have to be concerns until proven otherwise, but the defense line improvements have to be worth at least 1 more win. Still, they need a real QB. Probably 9 wins won’t get them a wild card unless they win a tie breaker situation.
jeremy.jpgJeremy - 1.21 Gigawatts!?!?
08/21/2008 @ 10:30:47 AM
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Driver came open on that play too. I couldn't disagree more with the "the season ended on a typical 'WTF WAS THAT?!?!' Brett Favre int" people. That was just a regular old interception on a pass that was a bid behind the receiver and should have been thrown a lot harder, or lofted higher. As soon as Driver made his cut, which is when the ball has to come out, he had a couple steps on his man, which is wide open in the NFL. Furthermore, I've heard people say that he shouldn't have thrown it because the angle almost ensured that anything less than a perfect pass on that route would be picked off. While that may be true, that's likely the case with a lot of routes and either way at least as much blame would have to be placed on the person that called/designed that play.

In summation, poorly executed play, but not an unforgivable decision.
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avatar2345.jpgPackOne - 1528 Posts
08/21/2008 @ 10:42:07 AM
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Dammit nutcan, I made a long post on this thread last night, and it never saved.

Alex, this is vanilla and is precisely what I wanted to avoid in the Green Bay Packers 2008 thread.

Everyone knows the story already which takes us to your breakdown, in which you first admit you haven't been paying attention at all. This kind of hurts any analysis that might follow.

Rodgers will be a key part, but it certainly doesn't look like riding the pine has done any good. Our number one halfback held out until training camp was over, got a big contract, and still hasn't suited up due to injury. Jackson, heralded as a huge stud, has done little to show it and Vernand Morency has shown more flash than Brandon at this point.

The offensive line is a mess, they don't look any better, they are beat up with Wells out indefinitely, and we still can't find a solid guard for either side.

The TE position is questionable too. Lee will be solid, and Finley is a raw talent at best. Evan Moore went down for the season which leaves Tory Humphrey and Joe Haynos a raw rookie to fill in the gaps.

I agree the receiving corp is loaded, but both Martin and Jennings have yet to come off their injuries.

Defense although better, has to be suspect right now. AJ Hawk is out indefinitely at this point, and although Chillar is a nice addition he is no AJ Hawk. The Williams trade could come back to haunt the Pack with injuries across the line, and Justin Harrell probably not seeing the field until the mid-way point. A position of strength is an Achilles heal at this point.

Harris and Woodson will be fine, it is the likes of Jarret Bush we should all be concerned about. He can't cover Chris Collinsworth.

Either way, to make an accurate prediction one should follow the team after the draft. That is when the guys actually play each other.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - Cube Phenomenoligist
08/21/2008 @ 11:19:42 AM
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This is a traditional article for Alex. (It just so happens that everyone not living under a rock, in a cave, on Mars knows the Packers' offseason story this year.)

Also, can everyone please stop with the "the Vikes need a real QB" bullshit. Every QB has to be a little unknown for a while. Also, in this particular case, of any team, Packer fans are in the worst position to say anything about any other teams' Quarterbacks. You guys sent a legendary QB packing to replace him with a guy who has sucked at every stage of his career, in every opportunity he's gotten, except for one half of one game. He's being backed up by two guys that also don't have a start. The only thing that makes Rodgers not look like he's having a horrible horrible preseason is the bumbling nincompoops behind him, likely the only two guys on the planet that could look worse behind center right now for the Packers than Rodgers. Also, what good does riding the pine behind a guy you most certainly would NOT want your QB to be like do you? Also, T-Jack doesn't have to deal with the pressure of replacing a legend.

The only reason Grant did squat is because it became apparent as the season went on that teams had to focus on Farve and the receivers. It could have been anyone, Grant just happened to be the one that could play consecutive snaps without getting hurt. Your offensive line has looked better than it is for years because you had a certain quarterback that could run the offense with his eyes closed (who's main shortcoming was that he apparently tried to do that every so often) Replace him with a guy who's even a LITTLE less sure what to do with it and you'll see the number of sacks skyrocket.

As for the receivers, they've looked pretty so-so so far too. Maybe Farve made them look good.

Obviously the future could tell a different story, but so far THIS YEAR T Jack looks like an all-star (hopefully his injury is minor. Slide damn you, slide!!) and Rodgers looks like he can't pass his way out of a paper bag. His big "highlight" was a poorly thrown ball that almost got his receiver killed.
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Jeremy edited this 4 times, last at 08/21/2008 12:20:26 pm
fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - Broadcast in stunning 1080i
08/21/2008 @ 12:38:46 PM
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Put it this way: The only 8 games the Vikes won last year were Jackson's starts. Using that as a guide a little bit of the "question mark" goes away. He had bad games, so so games, and a couple slightly above average games, and they were an 8 win team. There's really not a whole lot worse Jackson can be. As such, it would be surprising for the Vikings to be a 4 win team next year. Can you honestly say it would be shocking for the Packers to be a 4 win team next year? At this point you'd at least have to concede it's more likely than the Vikings, who didn't add any big question marks and added some missing components. Right? I don't see why people can't do this math, and instead give the Packers the de facto edge. The Packers have almost no chance of improving on last year, little chance of having a similar year, and a huge amount of room to fall. There are roughly one trillion ways that Rodgers can be worse than Favre was last year.

I guess at the very least you'd have concede that the Packers have a huge potential of being a boom or bust team where the "boom" isn't all that much higher than the Bears and Vikings might find themselves and the "bust" is adorning the bottom of the division.

Edit: I used 4 wins because that's a symbolic number here. Substitute [the number if wins you feel represents an bad team] for 4 wins.
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Jeremy perfected this 2 times, last at 08/21/2008 12:50:35 pm
2887.gifAlex - You've got to trust your instinct, and let go of regret
08/21/2008 @ 01:21:38 PM
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I guess I didn't realize I wasn't allowed to post anything that was cutting edge, breaking news, unconfirmed, or mind blowing. If them's the rules then we should delete 90% of the Internet (and the nutcan).

I will readily agree that Favre has thrown way worse picks, but in OT of the NFC Championship game I think he should've been playing it safer. Did you see how much room Grant had in front of him?

Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 11:19:42 AM
Also, can everyone please stop with the "the Vikes need a real QB" bullshit.


I'll stop when Vikings fans stop responding to it emoticon

Grant looked way better than anyone else the Packers sent out their at HB last year. His overall numbers were padded a bit by his long runs, but no one blamed other RBs in the past for that.

I guess my point about not paying too much attention yet, is that I believe a lot of people but wayyyy too much emphasis on preseason performance. The games don't matter, the final score doesn't matter, play callers aren't calling plays like they are trying to win, players don't play the same, stars sit out with minor injuries that wouldn't stop them in the regular season. I put much more emphasis on the 2nd half of the previous year than on the preseason.

The Packers don't need to improve on last season in the regular season, they won 13 games. I would honestly be very surprised if the Packers and Vikings aren't 1st and 2nd in some order, I only guessed 1 win differently for them.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - 8968 Posts
08/21/2008 @ 01:46:05 PM
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I know, I wasn't ragging on you about that last thing. For one thing it's perfectly fair to have the mindset that you're the reigning champ of something until proven otherwise. I'm just sick of people writing off the Vikings because of Jackson, but then giving the Packers automatic credit for what would really be the very very best you could expect from Rodgers, when by any reasonable "measuring" system you'd have to give the quarterbacking edge to the Vikings at this point. (You could make the case the Packers have the worst QB situation in the league.)

I'd agree that preseason isn't a very good measure of how your team will do, but it's a decent indicator of how a QB is doing. You can tell if they are in command, know where their guys should be, ect. Sure defenses are playing vanilla, but so are the offenses. I guess you could say that while Jackson's good preseason doesn't mean he'll have a pro-bowl year, because quarterbacks probably should look good at this point, Rodgers' sketchy preseason is troublesome.
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Jeremy edited this at 08/21/2008 1:52:09 pm
vignette.bmpCarlos44ec - "The tallest blade of grass is the first to be cut by the lawnmower."
08/21/2008 @ 02:35:04 PM
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The Vikes need a real QB. It ain't no jive, turkey.
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hoochpage.JPGSarah - How do you use these things?
08/21/2008 @ 05:16:41 PM
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I tried watching that video, but I only got to Favre's interception. I'm guessing it went on to show the game winning field goal, but it still hurts too much to watch.
Based on the preseason, the Packers are going to have a pretty bad year. If Rodgers is more mobile than Favre, how come he can't avoid a sack? He can't even throw it away when he has tons of time. The Packers' management made the worst decision possible in letting Favre go to the Jets. Why did they throw all their weight behind a guy who's played only a few minutes in the NFL instead of behind the guy who holds almost every record for a QB, including most consecutive starts? It just doesn't make sense. Favre gave us the best chance to win now, and instead they went to a guy who sux in the worst way.
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newalex.jpgAlex - 3618 Posts
08/21/2008 @ 06:01:09 PM
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I guess more mobile in that he might actually run for 5 yards once in a while. Favre is still as good as anyone at avoiding sacks. Management really has bet the farm on Rodgers, whether it works or not I would've preferred Favre, but I'm willing to give it a chance (as in at least 6 regular season games) before getting all doom and gloom (but I reserve the right to do so if need be).
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flower .jpgPackOne - 1528 Posts
08/21/2008 @ 09:21:30 PM
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The pre-season doesn't mean a thing unless you're talking injuries.

The Vikes need a quarterback.
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question_mark.giffrozentundrafan - 21 Posts
08/21/2008 @ 10:10:19 PM
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Crap, I had a long post on this topic that never saved.

I like to see all these Packers articles on this site from a Viking dominated front office.

The true gauge will be the home opener against the Vikings. That will really show where both teams are.
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jon.jpgJon - 2862 Posts
08/22/2008 @ 04:46:33 PM
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Alex, I liked the article. And I don't mind a bit that you didn't break down the groin injury to the third string long snapper.

Every season people pore over game film and study every excruciating story of the offseason and preseason and then they all give their predictions and we all find out they predicted things about as well as anyone with the ability to flip a coin could have. So count me in as one who's happy to read a fan's review/preview. I actually find in much more interesting.
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Jon perfected this at 08/22/2008 4:51:58 pm
IMG_3063[1].jpgjthompto - 209 Posts
08/23/2008 @ 10:57:50 AM
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Ok, I think its a bold prediction to pick the Packers to win and I applaud you for that. I don't think Rodgers is terrible but I still believe he is worth about 4 less wins that Favre. The fact the Rodgers has no experience and tremendous pressure worries me for him. The Packers have continued to win with all kinds of receivers and running backs and lineman and the one key factor was Favre. The Pakers front office has bulit a pretty decent young team, but they are banking their whole season on Rodgers and if Rodgers gets hurt (which he did in the "tremendous" second half loss against the Cowboys last season) they have 2 rookies backing him up.

Why do the Vikings need a QB? Who else was out there that they would bring in? Chad Pennington? It's not like they can trade for Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. Tavaris Jackson has one year under his belt as a starter and not a ton of pressure to play well. He has a great line and one of the top running backs in the league. Not to mention the Vikings have provided him with a viable backup in Ferrotte. I am perfectly fine with the Vikings QB situation and I have to say if I was a Packer fan I wouldbe a little worried.

Overall I think the Vikings may take a step up this season and the Packers will fall back a little. September 8th will be exciting but you wont be able to measure the season off of it. Either team could win that game and obviously with the Packers being at home, I would give them at advantage.

Good night now!
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newalex.jpgAlex - Who controls the past now controls the future
08/23/2008 @ 11:37:52 AM
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I'll concede that if Rodgers gets injured, the Packers will be in big trouble. But you can say that about fair number of teams losing their 1st string QB (at least teams that have a decent 1st string QB).

PackOne Wrote - 08/21/2008 @ 10:42:07 AM

Harris and Woodson will be fine, it is the likes of Jarret Bush we should all be concerned about. He can't cover Chris Collinsworth.


Bush has been my choice for deletion ever since they got rid of Fergie and then Franks got hurt.

Rodgers looked pretty good last night, the defense was pretty much pathetic. Barnett missed a lot of tackles, and badly. At this point, I'm expecting some high scoring games this year for the Packers and their opponents.
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scott.jpgScott - 6225 Posts
08/23/2008 @ 12:44:07 PM
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Alex Wrote - Today @ 12:37:52 PM
Bush has been my choice for deletion ever since they got rid of Fergie and then Franks got hurt.


Alex needs someone on every team he roots for to be the guy that feels the wrath of his frustrations.
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hoochpage.JPGSarah - So's your face
08/23/2008 @ 06:42:39 PM
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Favre just had a 8 yard scramble, who's mobile now?
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newalex.jpgAlex - I was too weak to give in Too strong to lose
08/23/2008 @ 07:02:38 PM
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That almost matches his season total of 12 yards last year.
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newalex.jpgAlex - 3618 Posts
09/09/2009 @ 09:11:17 PM
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That game still hurts.
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