5 Green Bay Packers Who Will Shine in Week 1
Green Bay Packers to Shine in Week 1
Green Bay Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers may be worth 11 wins all by himself. Rodgers' ridiculous 104.9 career quarterback rating is the highest of all time, and his right arm drastically alters the game plan of every single opponent the Packers face.
Unfortunately, Rodgers could do little to help the Green Bay defense during last year's humiliating playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers, as Colin Kaepernick & Co. put up 579 yards against the porous Packers D.
Green Bay Head Coach Mike McCarthy hasn't let his players forget that number, 579. Football is a lot more than Xs and Os on a chalkboard; it's a human confrontation in which emotion, passion and energy determine the outcome as much as anything else. The 49ers were significantly tougher than the Packers, and that, more than any other factor, was the driving force behind their playoff victory.
If only the Packers had a chance to immediately avenge their defeat in 2013 and prove to the world that they're more than just a finesse team. Luckily for football fans, the NFL schedulers had similar thoughts, and scheduled a rematch of the playoff matchup for Week 1.
Though Green Bay will return much of its homegrown talent, there are new players on the roster who have a ways to go to prove that they deserve one of the coveted 53 active spots. Here are five of those players who could distinguish themselves in Sunday's game and show just how tough they are.
5. Micah Hyde
Rookie cornerback Micah Hyde had a monster camp for Green Bay, and his emergence means that Green Bay's position of greatest depth may well be cornerback. Expect to see Hyde get plenty of snaps as a slot corner while Casey Hayward nurses a sore hamstring. Hyde's speed will help the Packers keep up with Kaepernick's lightning feet whenever he ventures outside of the pocket.
4. Brad Jones
As the man in the middle of the Green Bay defense, Jones will have his hands full trying to stop Kaepernick and San Francisco running back Frank Gore from gashing the middle of the field as they did in last year's playoff game. If Jones has any competitive spirit, he has to own the middle of the field and lay some major hurt on anyone in a San Francisco uniform who dares venture between the hash marks.
3. Johnny Jolly
Jolly is poised for a great comeback year after not having seen any action since 2010 due to problems off the gridiron. He fought hard to secure his roster spot, and he could make a huge statement by harassing Kaepernick and stuffing the run in San Francisco.
2. David Bakhtiari
No one will be under more pressure than Bakhtiari, who will be lined up opposite prolific pass rusher Justin Smith in his first ever regular season game. Given the Packers' troubles on the offensive line in recent years, the bar is set pretty low, but Bakhtiari will be expected to protect Rodgers' blindside nonetheless.
1. Eddie Lacy
In last year's playoff game, the 49ers had zero respect for the Packer run attack. They routinely rushed only four and dared Green Bay to run the ball. Lacy will have to make San Francisco pay in a big way should they choose that approach again; a power running game would lend this team an entirely new personality, and there's no time like the present.
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