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2011 Predictions Sure To Go Wrong But Hopefully Don't

2011 Predictions Sure To Go Wrong But Hopefully Don't

Driving in the car for over 8 hours allows a lot of time to think.

Driving to and from Green Bay yesterday, I had time to consider the 2011 version of the Packers, in particular specific players who could be in store for a big year. Along the same lines, there will be those players who could see their performance decline, as always happens from year to year.

There is a long way to go as we are only one week into Training Camp. However, after careful consideration, and a lot of Red Bull and Monster driving home late last night, I present to you five predictions for the 2011 Packers sure to go wrong but hopefully don't.

1-Mason Crosby will have better than a 80% field goal percentage

Now that Crosby is being paid like an elite kicker he needs to start kicking like an elite kicker. Having under a 79% completion rate for his career does not inspire much confidence to pay someone top money to kick field goals. But quick math will show that even if Crosby makes 1, maybe 2, more field goals this year, he will be over 80%. I'm not suggesting that he will become a 90% or higher kicker, but he could definitely go over the 80% mark this year.

2-Clay Matthews will have less than 10 sacks

Don't panic. He is not going to fall off the face of the earth with his play this year. His total will not fall that much. Losing Cullen Jenkins is going to hurt, and while I have no doubt that Mike Neal will be able to step in and fill his shoes nicely, he is at this time an unproven commodity as a pass rusher. That alone should shift some of the focus to Matthews and how to stop him. However, opposite Matthews, the combination of Zombo WaldenJones will see a lift in their play being another year under the Capers system, and their sack total will benefit from extra attention paid to Matthews.

3-Sam Shields will be a Pro Bowler

Stats sell. As Shields continues to grow as a Nickel back, Capers will find more uses for him. Whether it is blitzing from the outside or being opportunistic with interceptions, Shields will see his numbers jump and become a bonafide star. I could be way off on this, but it is very possible Shields makes the biggest jump from year 1 to year 2.

4-The Packers will have three 1,000 yard receivers

This may seem crazy, but hear me out. Jennings will be typical Jennings with his usual 1,100-1,200 yards and 6-10 TDs. He is the constant. The next two names would be new to the 1,000 yard. The first is Jermichael Finley, who was on his way to this the last two years before injuries derailed his seasons. If he can stay healthy, Finley will have a monster season, and seal a monster contract from someone (hopefully the Packers) along the way. The final addition to the 1,000 yard club, and a name which will no doubt cause much pain to some to read, is James Jones. While most expect Donald Driver to have a strong bounce back season, myself included, Jones is part the future, as evidenced by the three year contract signed this week. Jones will finally put it together and see by far the best season of his career. Driver does not need to be a focal point of the receiving corp anymore-he just needs to be a solid contributor. Nelson will be a good number 3/4 receiver, and rookie Randall Cobb will add his own dimension to the offense, but the passing game will focus around Jennings, Finely, and Jones, with everyone else adding to a very scary passing game.

5-Aaron Rodgers will throw for over 5,000 yards

See number 4, then add the return of Ryan Grant and the development of James Starks to take pressure off the passing game. If the Packers can have anything close to a running game this year, and the offensive line can keep Rodgers on his feet, he can literally pick defenses apart with his pinpoint accuracy. This season has the makings for a record setting offensive campaign.

There you have it, five predictions sure to go wrong but hopefully don't for the 2011 Packers.


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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (10) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Jay's picture

I can follow 5, but not 4. I think Arodg will spread the ball around too much for three guys to get 1000. Just my opinion though...

JohnRehor's picture

My thinking was if you combine the driver/Jones/Nelson stats over LY, it is well over 1000 yards. Keep in mind that Driver was hurt part of LY, and by the end of the season was no longer the "#2" receiver (a misnomer since all of the WR are interchangeable). Jennings will go over 1000; if Finley can stay healthy he should go over 1000 with his ridiculous skill set; which leaves Jones as the #3, and he will reward the Packers with his best season.

Should be a lot of fun to watch

willis's picture

Great list. But if Tramon didn't make the pro bowl I don't don't think Shields is going anywhere near it, even though he might play like it. I've sensed #4's gonna happen for a while, Jones was a few drops away from a couple hundred more yards and some touchdowns.

JohnRehor's picture

Williams. Woodson. Shields. 3 potential Pro Bowl CBs at one time. If none of them make the Pro Bowl and in trade we get another Lombardi Trophy, I'm fine with that too.

JohnRehor's picture

Yes! Finally someone who feels the same about Jones that I do. If he can progress a little more (hang on to the ball, for starters) he will go over 1000 yards this year. If not, it will be another year of potential left unfulfilled by him.

No doubt he has the talent, but now he needs to justify a new contract. I think he does it. As Packers fans, we need him to.

Ricardo's picture

I'm largely in agreement with points 1-3, but I feel that 4 and 5 are rife with inconsistencies and contradictions. Firstly, Jennings was not on pace for much of anything until Finley went down at Washington. Jermichael's injury freed up the slot position from which #85 just kills people. The reincorporation of Finley into the offense will, perhaps, be the dominant story that is the 2011 Packers' offense. Suffice to say, I don't see any scenario under which Finley and Jennings both top 1,000 yards. While I do share your enthusiasm for James Jones, I also feel he's less than 50-50 for a shot at 1,000. Teams will constantly rotate their coverages to take away whoever's hot, meaning better distribution and increased production, but yards failing to clot at any one receiver.

The presence of any running game necessarily means fewer opportunities in the running game. Moreover, if the Packers don't kill themselves (like they did all of last year it seemed) they should be in position to run out the clock more often in the fourth. This again means fewer chances to toss the ball around.

Pending the successful reincorporation of Finley into the offense (and Rodgers not over-targeting him at the expense of his other weapons) I expect the offense to be even better than it was last season. While passing yards will be down, points will be up. And that's all any of us really give a damn about.

JohnRehor's picture

You are right that Jennings was not on target for anything until Finley went down, but its hard to imagine that he would have finished with less than 1000 yards LY, based on previous seasons. Finley should be a potential 1000 yard guy for years to come, as long as he can stay healthy. As for Jones, if he can put all of his skills to use and have a complete season, he could be a 1000 yard guy as well. If you look at his numbers LY (50/679) he wasnt that far off pace. give him another 15-20 catches and the same YPC as last year (13.6) and he's right there as well.

The return of a run game should take the emphasis off the passing game some, but it could actually help, because defenses will have to plan for more than just Rodgers throwing. Plan to defend the run too much, and the passing game could be wide open. Plan against the pass, and Grant, Starks, and the rest of the gang could run wild.

Going to be interesting to watch.

The Delivery Guy's picture

1- New rules and Crosby's leg strength leds to a resurgence of the coverage units

2- Clay Matthews costs at least one more QB his job.

3- Tramon Williams is a Pro Bowl Alternate.

4- The Packers lead the league in skill guys (other than QB) with mediocre stats because of the division of labor.

5- Aaron Rodgers improves on his career QB rating... while throwing for 4150 Yds, 31 TD and rushing for 400 yds and 3 TDs... he also catches one on a trick play from Randall Cobb.

The Delivery Guy's picture

On #3, don't forget Nnamdi has moved from the AFC to the NFC.

JohnRehor's picture

1-consdering how bad the coverage units have been in recent years, only is one way to go.

2-I wouldnt wish injury on any player

3-I'd say Pro Bowl starter except he doesnt play.

4-Not sure how to answer 4. Could be a few guys that explode (Finley, Jones, Starks) or the stats could very well be split between everyone because of all the talent.

5-If you are correct on all of those points let me know at the end of the season. That would deserve a beer at the very least

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