Want to run an NFL organization for the day? Here’s your chance. Let’s take a look into the future.
The story begins on Halloween night. The Packer’s season has been incredible. Ahead of the curve in all facets of the game, the Packers squad has posted a league best 4-1 record heading into tomorrow’s game against the Vikings at Lambeau.
Aaron Rodgers has been spectacular. A near lock for the Pro-Bowl, the mustached maestro has orchestrated a near perfect performance. Putting up 1953 yards and 14 touchdowns, Rodgers has proven he certainly is the superstar of the future. Greg Jennings had been on the receiving end of 10 of Rodger’s darts, while allowing his teammates the other four balls as a pure act of sportsmanship. Michael Finley’s 82 yard dash in overtime against a surprising Rams team has hogged highlight reels for several weeks.
The offensive line has been serviceable. The early worries at right tackle never surfaced as Allen Barbre has dramatically improved all facets of his game. Josh Sitton, Jason Spitz, and Darren Colledge have been solid, and without the five false starts by Chad Clifton, Joe Philbin’s unit has been penalty free.
The offensive line play has also opened up the running game for starter Brandon Jackson. Now a dual threat out of the backfield, his 750 yards are hardly pedestrian going into this weekend. Deshawn Wynn has been average on third down, but should be given a pat on the rear for his devastating blows in pass protection. Ryan Grant has seen less and less playing time after coughing up the ball in week four to essentially hand the game to Minnesota. Most notable has been the effectiveness of the team on third and short situations. The GB-22 formation of Kuhn and Johnson has been near unstoppable. Affectionately known as “The Mighty Quinn” it has been a welcome addition to the short yardage game.
The defense continues to improve. The loss of Al Harris and the continued holdout of Nick Collins did not hurt the team’s chemistry early. Tramon Williams has shown he was worthy of the contract he signed earlier in the season, while Atari Bigby and Anthony Smith continue to improve. The heart and soul of the defense continues to revolve around the linebackers and defensive line. The “Greene” Bay wrecking crew has been fierce, ranking third in the league against the run. Rookie Clay Matthews has shown why he was branded such a hard worker, and Aaron Kampan, although still not polished in coverage, has caused fits for quarterbacks in every matchup. The combination of Raji, Pickett, and Jenkins has made the middle of the line nearly impenetrable, while Nick Barnett leads the team in tackles with 43. According to his latest Twitter, he is happy about it too, exclaiming:
"feeling good about leeding the team in takles. they should play me on offens LOL via TwitterFon"
The Vikings arrive in Green Bay looking for a season sweep. The team has been solid this year. Sage Rosenfels has been a surprise, leading the squad to a 5-2 mark, and leaving little question who the quarterback in Minnesota should be. The run game continues to flourish behind Adrian Peterson, and the defense has not lost a step even with the four game suspension of defensive tackle Pat Williams. The Packers come into the game eager to wash out the sour taste left in their mouth after the Grant debacle in the Metrodome.
The game is a back and forth struggle that finds the Packers driving late in the ballgame down 23-21. With two minutes left in the fourth quarter, Rodgers drops back on what should be a simple dump off to Lee over the middle. Shortly after releasing the ball, Aaron is hit low and late by the Viking's Jared Allen, perhaps the dirtiest player in the NFL. It is a blatant late hit, and Rodgers rolls on the ground grasping his shin in agony. Chad Clifton and Allen break out in a scuffle, and the crowd at Lambeau shouts obscenities before dimming to a low murmur.
Shortly thereafter, Rodgers is carted off the field to a standing ovation, but backup quarterback Matt Flynn is unable to drive the team to victory. Both the Vikings and Packers leave week eight with two losses. The Vikings take a slight edge with their 6-2 record, as well as commanding the division win in the result of a tie-breaker. The Packers at 5-2 are now scrambling for answers at quarterback.
The next day Jared Allen receives a suspension for his hit on Rodgers, but it is too late. An MRI has revealed a broken bone in Aaron’s leg and he is expected to put on the IR list for the remainder of the season. You sit in your office debating what to do. Matt Flynn, although growing at the position, has been little more than average. Third stringer Brian Brohm, still recovering from his training camp injury, has not thrown a ball in game action in over a year.
You are sick at the thought, as the chance for a division championship was not only looking like a possibility; it is a necessity as the wild card race is tight throughout the NFC. You are just about to sit down with Coach McCarthy to discuss strategy when the phone rings. As you answer you are taken back by the voice on the other end. After a slight pause, and a moment to reflect, you decide to choose your words carefully.
You raise the phone back to your ear and say, “Well Bus I was just thinking about that and…”
Finish the sentence