Yes, the headline is tongue-in-cheek. The Packers haven’t even played a regular season game yet, but the Minnesota Vikings and former Green Bay Packer Brett Favre lost their season opening game to the New Orleans Saints last night. ESPN NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert tells us what it means, “The Minnesota Vikings fell to 0-1, obviously. But I think this game should relieve some concern about the cloud of drama that hovered over the team all summer. The Vikings withstood the New Orleans Saints’ early emotional surge, held a 9-7 halftime lead and really made the Saints work hard to win their home opener.” Music to most Packers fans’ ears.
After seeing Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis get his, Charles Woodson got a contract extension of his own from the Green Bay Packers on Thursday. “Woodson, whose original contract with the Packers was a seven-year, $39 million deal that maxed out at $52 million, was scheduled to make a combined $21 million in 2010, ’11 and ’12,” writes Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin. “Now, he’ll reportedly make $33 million over that span, and would make a total of $55 million over the next five years.” The money the Packers have dished out to veterans like Woodson, Donald Driver, Chad Clifton, Mark Tauscher, Ryan Pickett and Nick Collins in an uncapped year has been nothing short of amazing. All the chips are on the table.
A little reminder to Packers fans everywhere. “During the preseason, Aaron Rodgers completed 77.4 percent of his passes with six touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 141.2. He wasn’t sacked once. During last year’s preseason, Rodgers completed 70.7 percent of his passes with six touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 147.9. He wasn’t sacked once,” writes Bill Huber of Packer Report. Everybody remembers how the Packers offense sputtered to begin he ’09 season. The preseason doesn’t matter a whip. It starts now.
The offensive line will be in the crosshairs for many observers after such a spotty performance last season. “The Packers can’t hide from the pass protection failings that nearly derailed their season last year – they actually gave up a league-worst 51 sacks, as backup Matt Flynn wasn’t completely spared from the carnage – but they’re using their failures as a rallying point going into Sunday’s regular season opener at Philadelphia,” writes the Associated Press (and I can only assume Chris Jenkins). All the apprehension aside, I think the offensive line won’t have the same pitfalls this season as last year.
A potentially troubling injury was added to the Packers’ woes yeseterday. “The Packers added defensive end Mike Neal to their injury report on Thursday with what Head Coach Mike McCarthy called a strain in the abdomen,” writes Mike Spofford on the Packers official website. “It’s listed on the report as a ‘side’ injury, and Neal did not participate in practice.” A strain in the abdomen isn’t the worst thing in the world and it probably won’t sideline Neal very long, but the options on the defensive line aren’t exactly appealing. At least until Justin Harrell proves himself.
Apparently Tramon Williams and Greg Jennings could rotate on punt returns. “Special teams coach Shawn Slocum said that cornerback Tramon Williams and receiver Greg Jennings would handle punt returns against the Eagles,” writes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Williams is generally considered the starter, but Slocum said he may use them both depending on specific situations.” Part of the rotation might be to keep both players fresh. If the Packers happen to force a punt after an eight-play drive, Williams might be tired.
A good case is made as to why the Packers chose Daryn Colledge ahead of Bryan Bulaga for the starting left guard job by Kareem Copeland of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “The Philadelphia Eagles’ defense that Green Bay faces Sunday is as multiple and blitz-oriented as any in the NFL,” writes Copeland. “Recognizing and reacting to those blitzes will be critical, and Colledge is a fifth-year pro with 60 starts (including two against the Eagles) while this is Bulaga’s first game in the NFL.”
The Nielsen Co. conducted a study that found the Packers are the 5th most-popular team in the NFL.
Ol’ Bag of Donuts conducted a Q&A with an Eagles blog.
Seriously, go check out the videos with LeRoy Butler over at JSOnline, especially his Xs and Os stuff.