September 4, 2010

Potent Packers Offense: Three Reasons Why it’s Better in 2010

After Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense lit up the Colts in the week three preseason beating of the defending AFC Champions, my best friend (who happens to be a Chicago Bears fan) said something like , “I don’t know why everyone is so high on the Packers being so good this year – it’s not like their offense can get any better than last year.”

On the surface, perhaps it was a valid question.  The Packers offense posted impressive team and individual stats in 2009-2010. Below is a snapshot of the Packers offense in 2009.

Green Bay Packers Offensive Stat Snapshot (2009)*

NFL Ranks - 2009
Total Points Scored: 3rd (461)
Points Per Game: 3rd (28.8)
Passing Yards: 7th (4,180)
Passing TDs: 4th (30)
QB Rating: A. Rodgers 4th (103.2)
Interceptions: A. Rodgers, T-2nd fewest (7)
TE Receptions: J. Finley, 12th (55)

But if you understand the Packers and what’s changed this year, it’d be clear why the Packers’ offense will improve. It’s scary to think the Packers can be more dangerous on offense; brace yourself NFC North and rest of the NFL. Here are three reasons why the Packers offense will be better in 2010.

1. Solidified Offensive Line Will Plow and Protect
Any great offense needs protection for its QB, lanes plowed for its RBs and depth. This years’ O-Line is aligned to provide all three.  Green Bay has a healthy (knock on wood) mix of veterans and young potential to facilitate learning, drive internal competition and allow the offense to optimally operate. 
(Stay tuned for a player-by-player breakdown of the Packers OL in a near-future post)

2. Dynamic Talent Will Emerge in Key Positions
Jermichel Finley is a matchup nightmare and is poised for a breakout year. His combination of speed, athleticism and height make him un-coverable (including you Revis). Every and I MEAN every Packer wide receiver is a threat. From #1 Jennings to #5 Swain, they all have big play capability and experience. 

 An improved O-Line means a more consistent running game and more breakout plays for Ryan Grant. And, dare I say I’d be excited to see Brandon Jackson get more touches? I’ve become a big Jackson fan and hope his talent pushes the coaching staff to consider a RB by committee system. He’s a nice change of pace, great blocker and formidable receiving threat. A 70/30 split between Grant/Jackson would force defenses to honor the run game more than in 2009. Look for Jackson to shine IF he’s given the opportunity.
(Stay tuned for specific statistical predications on emerging Packers in a near-future post)

3. Aaron Rodgers Will Take the Next Step
Rodgers’ talent doesn’t have a ceiling and as I predicted – he’ll win the NFL MVP in 2010. He has all the tools including the most important attribute a QB can have—instinct.With this intangible comes pocket presence, game management skills and success under pressure, among others.

The next measuring stick for Mr. Rodgers is real, proven success under pressure. While Rodgers has valiantly kept Green Bay in games, executed last minute drives and steered his team clear of catastrophic turnovers – he MUST show he can single-handedly win the Packers an important game (preferably in the playoffs – i.e., Superbowl?). NFL greatness is centered around winning—consistently, dramatically and impressively. A-Rod will prove that in 2010.
(Stay tuned for more in-depth analysis on #12 in a near-future post)



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