In the shadow of a 6-10 season, it's easy to think about how horrible everything is and how much work the team needs to get back to the playoffs. Calls from players, the media, and Packer fans everywhere for General Manager Ted Thompson to make a huge splash in free agency are understandable. But I'd like to give everyone six reasons (three on offense, three on defense) that show he need not be as hell bent on bringing in those free agents everyone thinks.
- Jermicahel Finley
Yes, you read that right. Jermouthly painted a target on his own back by mouthing off about Rodgers and the coaching staff after a terrible game in Tennessee. And one good game against the lowly Lions does not portend amazing things to come. But what we finally saw in that final game, however, was Finley's athletic ability and how he could be a match-up nightmare for defense's for years to come. An offseason in the weight room and a continued focus on learning what is expected to be a pro should provide an already talented player with the tools necessary to do some real damage in McCarthy's offense.
- Kregg Lumpkin
Remember him? I still maintain that he was the best back on the Packers roster before being injured early in the year. With more elusiveness than Grant and more power than Jackson, along with soft hands and a decent ability to pass protect, Lumpkin has the makings of a complete back. I know everyone thinks DeShawn Wynn will be giving Grant the most competiton for the starting job next year, but I think Lumpkin will surprise them both and the coaching staff.
- Jason Spitz
Surprised? It's true - Spitz had a terrible December. But Spitz ended the year the same place he began it - playing center. With McCarthy all but annointing Josh Sitton the right guard at the end of the year, Spitz will no doubt be battling Scott Wells for the center job and it's a competition that will be one of the most watched in training camp. It says here that it will be Spitz' job. Not only is he more physical than Wells, he seems to do a much better job of sorting out the protection calls pre-snap and brings a measure of toughness to the interior of the line that is much-needed in a division that features such strong defensive tackle play.
Now, none of this is to say that all the Packers problems will be solved from within. Far from it. But I think it helps illustrate how things on the personell front are not as bleak as people are making it out to be. This is a talented team. The areas of concern (offensive tackle, defensive line, linebacker) are obvious. But there will be one or two players that emerge in the early parts of next season which will surpise. Happens almost every year.
Next up - the defense.
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