Monday, March 05, 2007

Green Bay Packers (8-8)

2006 season: 8-8
Head Coach: Mike McCathy
Offensive Coordinator: Joe Philbin
Defensive Coordinator: Bob Sanders
Pro-Bowl: Donald Driver (WR) and Aaron Kampman (DE).


The Green Bay packers were one of those up and coming teams due in part to their offense. Brett Favre snapped back from a miserable season last year when he threw a career high 29 interceptions. This year Favre threw for 3,885 yards, 18 touchdowns and just 18 interceptions. Although they aren't stellar numbers they were significantly better than last year. The Packers only real problem on offense was their mediocre running game. Ahman Green bounced back from an injury plagued 2005 season and started 14 games. He rushed for 1,059 yards and 5 touchdowns. Donald Driver had another great season, making 92 receptions for 1,295 yards and 8 touchdowns and capped it off by being selected to the Pro-Bowl. Another key target emerged this season in the form of rookie wide receiver, Greg Jennings. Jennings caught 45 balls for 632 yards and 3 touchdowns. With more playing time, Greg Jennings could become something very special in Green Bay. Besides Driver and Jennings the Packers had absolutely no one else in the passing game. The next highest player in receptions was Ahman Green who had 46 receptions for 373 and 1 touchdown. Bubba Franks continued his recent trend of being useless, catching only 25 balls and for the first time in his career, 0 touchdowns. Obviously they are in dire need of another receiver to help out Favre and the Packers.


The Packer's defense was very good this season, ranking 12th overall. Most of the great stats the defense put up last year was due to their 1st round pick last season, A.J. Hawk. Hawk led the team in tackles with 119. In addition to his tackles, he recorded 3.5 sacks and 2 interceptions. Nick Barnett continued his excellence in once again racking up 100 tackles which he has done in each of his 5 seasons in the league. He also had 2 sacks, and also picked off the ball twice. Green Bay's lone Pro-Bowl selection, Aaron Kampman had an amazing season. Kampan had 89 tackles, 3 forced fumbles and a staggering 15.5 sacks. Also bouncing back from a disappointing 2005 season was cornerback Charles Woodson. Woodson played in just 6 games in what turned out to be his last season in Oakland and in his first season with the Packers, Woodson tallied 59 tackles, 12 passes defended and tied for the NFC lead with 8 interceptions(Which is a career high).

Special Teams

The Green Bay Packer's special teams was a bit of a problem this past season. Dave Rayner only hit 74% of his field goals ranking 29th among kickers. But on the bright side he did score a lot of points, 109 but then again that was due to the Packers lack of red-zone scoring. Their Punter, Jon Ryan was pretty good this season, his average per punt was 44.5 which ranked 9th overall and he also had 12 touchbacks. Returning the ball proved to be a bit of hassle, especially with kick returns. The Packers had 9 different guys attempt to return kicks before setteling on Vernand Morency who ended the season with 670 yards. Charles Woodson wanted to return punts and the Packers granted him his wish and he didn't do too bad, ranking 17th in average with 8.9.

Draft Notes

Although Green Bay was a playoff contending team last season, they have a lot of needs that need to be filled during the draft. The number one glaring need for the Pack is runningback. Even before Ahman Green left for free-agency rumors were flying around that they were looking to replace him. Well now Green has signed with the Houston Texans they will most likely address that need with their 16th overall selection in the 2007 NFL Draft. The consensus is that they will take runningback Marshawn Lynch out of California and I have to agree. Lynch is very fast and has surprising strength. He can also catch out the back field which the Packers tend to do a lot.

Positions that must be atteded to during the Draft.

1. Runningback
2. Wide Receiver
3. Safety
4. Cornerback
5. Defensive Tackle


Like I just mentioned, their former starting runningback, Ahman Green has signed on with the Houston Texans leaving behind a huge hole that the Packers must fill. I really feel that they will use their first pick(16th overall) on Marshawn Lynch(CAL). Lynch compares favorably to last years stand out rookie runningback, Laurence Maroney in the sense that he is also a big play threat with good size, strength and speed.


Another desperate need for Green Bay's offense is the wide receiver position. They have no depth with Koren Robinson not being able to stay out of trouble and Robert Ferguson not being able to stay healthy. That leaves them with two very good receivers and a few very bad ones. I could really see them looking for receiver help in the 3rd round. Someone like Jason Hill(WSU) would be a great addition and he is quickly rising up the draft boards after running a 4.32 in the 4o yard dash during the combine. Other include: Johnnie Lee Higgins(UTEP), Craig Davis(LSU) and Paul Williams(FRESNO).


Nick Collins has proved that he can be a serviceable safety but Marquand Manuel is more of a back up than anything else. If someone like Aaron Rouse out of Virginia Tech or Eric Weedle out of Utah is available in the second round the Packers could go for them. If neither are there(which at least one of them should be) then the Packers could look to Jesse Daniels(LSU), Brandon Sharp(LOU) or Gerald Alexander(BOISE) in the later rounds.


Much like their receiver dilemma the Packers have two very good corners in Charles Woodson and Al Harris but beyond them two their is no depth. I could easily see them picking up two corners in the draft this year. Some potentials are Tim Mixon(CAL), John Talley(DUKE) and C.J. Wilson(BAY) to name a few.


Ryan Pickett and Cullen Jenkins are fine, but neither are really studs that can stuff the run. A couple of big guys that could stop the run are Paul Soliai(UTAH), Stanley Doughtry(SCAR) and Joe Cohen(FLA). Also don't look past Marcus Thomas who is slipping on a lot boards but he has all the potential in the world to be a top tier defensive tackle if he can sort out his character issues.

Green Bay was one of those teams that eeked out wins and and their record was better that the team actually was. But if they can get Lynch, add some solid depth at both receiver and defensive back they could make some noise much like they did this year in the NFC North.

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