The Green Bay Packers obviously have high hopes for their defense this season and why not? That unit couldn’t possibly perform any worse than the last time we saw them on the field, could they?
Coach Mike McCarthy doesn’t seem to think so. He says the team will be relying on their defense out of the gate, presumably while the first team offense, which hardly played together during the preseason, gels.
“Of the three phases of our football team, our defense is definitely playing the best coming out of training camp,” McCarthy said.
“If I was going to point to who am I leaning on, I’m leaning on our defense, and particularly our defensive line.”
While that may seem like a laughable notion, the defensive line does look much stouter than it did last season. Johnny Jolly has injected some enthusiasm and fight into the group and first-round pick Datone Jones brings some speed and athleticism to the table. Mike Daniels has also shown quite a bit of improvement in his second season.
The Packers will need the defensive line to perform well in order to contain 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, something they failed miserably to do in their divisional playoff loss.
The offense, meanwhile, will be interesting to watch.
Aaron Rodgers hardly played in the preseason and his top two wideouts — Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb — missed most of the action because of injuries.
And then there’s that supposed new commitment to running the football. The Packers didn’t have a lot of success with the running game in the preseason, but McCarthy has remained steadfast that the Packers will run more.
The good news is, we’ll get to find out on Sunday.