Should The Packers Be Preparing For Shootouts?

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Al Harris is one many question marks at cornerback.

Much has been made of the games the Green Bay Packers lost to the Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers, as well as the playoff loss to the Arizona Cardinals, last season.

The main culprit in those losses was the Packers’ pass coverage, or lack thereof.

The Packers could have improved the area in the offseason by looking at the cornerback position and, to some extent, the outside linebacker position, where a quality pass rusher opposite Clay Matthews would have covered up some deficiencies in the secondary.

More than a few observers listed cornerback and/or outside linebacker as the team’s biggest offseason needs.

And so, the Packers did pretty much nothing to address either position in the offseason. Typical Ted Thompson.

Pretty simply, the Packers have a lot of question marks at the aforementioned positions, specifically at cornerback.

Charles Woodson had a career year in 2009, but it would be hard to envision him duplicating that success at 33. Meanwhile, the Packers’ other starter, Al Harris, is coming off major reconstructive knee surgery and is 35.

Tramon Williams, who stepped in for Harris, has shown a propensity for making big plays and for giving them up (as well as holding penalties). And then there’s Jarrett Bush, who needs no introduction.

Beyond that, the Packers have relative unknowns. Brandon Underwood showed continuous improvement in his rookie season, but still has a ways to go to be a solid NFL corner. Pat Lee, a former second-round pick, has gone on injured reserve each of two seasons with the Packers. Finally, Josh Bell, who was an in-season pickup in 2009, reminded people more of Jarrett Bush than Charles Woodson.

Clearly, a lot of things have to go right — something that rarely happens in the NFL — for the Packers to have a stout pass defense in 2010. It’s the precise reason that has Football Outsiders predicting the Packers will have to win a lot of shootouts in 2010.

The Packers have legitimate Super Bowl aspirations, but the team has serious potential for a disaster with its cornerbacks. Any contribution from Harris will be a bonus, and the Packers cannot assume that Woodson will either remain healthy or reach last year’s level. Unless Williams and Bush take major strides forward, the Packers will have to win a lot of shootouts.

The game plan for beating the Packers was established last season by the likes of Brett Favre, Ben Roethlisberger and Kurt Warner. It would be naive to think the rest of the league didn’t take notice.

While the Packers obviously have a lot of talent, the NFC North looks to be improved as well. With offensive coordinator Mike Martz, who masterminded the St. Louis Rams “Greatest Show on Turf” offense, Chicago Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler is bound to be flinging the ball all over the field. In Detroit, Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford, who was solid as a rookie, will continue to improve. And we know what Favre did last season.

If the Packers’ offense can’t put up big points, the chic preseason favorite may be in for a long season.

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About The Author

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

8 Comments on "Should The Packers Be Preparing For Shootouts?"

  1. Rubicon

    “More than a few observers listed cornerback and/or outside linebacker as the team’s biggest offseason needs.”

    Perhaps more than a few of these observers don’t know anything about managing/coaching/evaluating professional football talent, and therefore have really no idea what they are talking about and should just close their pie holes. If they really had a even half a clue, they wouldn’t be writing about their dumb opinions for a website, they would be working for a professional football organization. Or even college level organization, or even a high school with a reputable football program. But they are not, because they are clueless like yourself.

    Typical stupid website blog post by a typical clueless fan. Why don’t you leave the offseason position evaluation to the professionals, and not make comments on things you know nothing about. It would probably suit you well and your reader perceptions of you.

    If you would just actually look back at the highlight videos of the aforementioned games, you would plainly see the biggest problem was at the safety position, and low and behold the pack drafted a safety. Not to mention they have moved Will Blackmon to the position as well. There was some issues with the pass rush, which is to be expected with one of the starters down, and being in the first year of a new defensive scheme, but again if you would just look at the statistics over the last 6 games before you made your ignorant comment, you would see Brad Jones had 4 sacks. Not to mention we also drafted two strong defensive linemen and shifted Picket to the outside. There is more than one way to generate a pass rush, but you wouldn’t know that would you because your too busy trying to see all the negatives you possibly can with current Packer management.

    Again typical ignorant blog post by a typical ignorant fan.

  2. Matt

    i’ve got just two words for you rubicon— Jarrett bush… what the hell is he still doing on the team? He probably couldn’t even make the cut on a high school team and now we move will blackmon to safety… coming off knee surgery and some how we’ve shored up the safety position? How bout cornerback where we very well could see jarrett bush with significant playing time if two corners go down… which has happened the past two years.

  3. Al Borland's Beard

    Martz’s system needs a QB with great accuracy, that’s why he was so successful with Warner, who is a very accurate QB. Jay Cutler, on the other hand, not so much. Plus, they still don’t have a line or receivers.

    Stafford was decent considering who he played for, but I think he still has a ways to go before he can evoke concern. Also, Detroit still has no line and he’ll probably be on his back a lot.

    Favre is still a concern, but at 41 in October, you would think something eventually has to give. Without Favre, Tjack and Rosenfels are laughable options.

  4. Rubicon

    Ya Matt, and I’m sure you could play better? Or coach better? Or better evaluate NFL caliber talent? The sooner people like you realize you have know idea what you are talking about the better.

    You have no clue why Jared Bush is still on the team. Fine. But Jacksonville wanted him, and tries to sign him as a restricted free agent. So you are saying you know more and are better at evaluating talent than the scouts of two professional football organizations. Right.

    Sure Bush has had some problems that we as fans have seen on the outside looking in, but he obviously shows upside potential and is still a very young player. He is not expensive, and I highly doubt any rookie GB could have drafted this year would immediately be able to do better. Perhaps in a year or two, but not this year. TT saw better options at other positions, and had a very solid draft imho. We also have other young corners that are steadily progressing. Are we alittle light there? Perhaps, but only barring a catastrophe, and show me one team in the NFL that can have multiple players go down at specific positions without problems. I’m pretty excited about this coming season.

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  6. Lets not forget the panthers then saints showed how to beat the vikings…beat the living shit out of ol’ look at me I re-re-re-re-retired…or get his ass outside a dome post october…as you can see the nfl favre blowers gave the vikings an early game against the pack at home and 3 straight road games in the later part of the season…obviously we all know what roger wants (unfair fucker)

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