The Green Bay Packers are heading into this season as Super Bowl favorites. They finished the regular season last year with a record of 15-1, but had a disappointing loss to the New York Giants in the divisional round of the playoffs. During the offseason, the Packers focused on fixing their defense, which struggled last season. All of their draft picks in the first five rounds were defensive players, with the main focus on the defensive line.
There are high hopes all around Packer nation as the season is getting closer to getting under way. The Packers are full of talented stars on their team, but here are a few players who the most important to a successful season in Green Bay.
Aaron Rodgers- This is an obvious one, but Rodgers is the most important player on this team. The way the NFL is played now it is basically a quarterback league. Rodgers has proven that he is one of the best, if not the best, quarterback in the league and he is the heart and soul of the Packers offense. There is virtually no run game and coach Mike McCarthy prefers to throw the ball so expectations are high for Rodgers to perform well.
Marshall Newhouse- Veteran left tackle Chad Clifton was protecting the blindside of Brett Favre and Rodgers for the past decade, but he is no longer with the team. This means Newhouse will be getting his first full season at the left tackle position. Newhouse still has a lot to prove and it is unclear whether or not he will be a good protector of Rodgers’ blindside. However, Green Bay will have to work with him throughout the season because it is clear that the backups are not even close to being ready for NFL regular season games. Rodgers got roughed up with backup Herb Taylor starting the first preseason game while Newhouse was sidelined with a concussion. If Newhouse goes down in the regular season, the Packers may be in serious trouble.
Charles Woodson- The veteran cornerback will be moving to safety for most of this season. The Packers were incredibly weak at the safety position after the injury to Nick Collins and Woodson will look to bring stability back to that position. Last season, and in the first preseason game, the safeties were constantly blowing coverages and missing tackles. Woodson is one of the best at both of those things and it will be interesting to see if he can transfer his cornerback skills to the safety position.
Jermichael Finley- One of the most athletic tight ends in the league, Finley is a big weapon for the Packers’ offense. He has the speed and athleticism of a wide receiver but the size of a tight end. Every year there is great potential in what Finley will accomplish, but each year he seems to under achieve. Last season he tied his career high in catches with 55 and had a career high of eight touchdowns. Finley though still needs to improve on his hands. He drops the ball too much and seems to drop passes in key situations. The last memory Packer fans have of Finley is from his performance against the Giants in the playoffs where he had multiple drops. If Finley is able to become a more dominate force, the Packers will be almost impossible to stop on offense.
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