2009 Green Bay Packers Season Preview
2009 Green Bay Packers preview from MadduxSports.com. The NFC North is a division filled with question marks. Expect the NFL odds makers to have trouble setting lines on these teams, using a proven winners NFL picks will provide dividends early and often for the 2009 campaign.
2009 Green Bay Packers Predictions
By Adam Barone
The Packers finally have Brett Favre in the rear-view mirror, and Aaron Rodgers in the driver’s seat. He showed that he’s a more-than-capable replacement in 2008, throwing for over 4,000 yards. The key to the Packers’ success in 2009 will be the defense’s transition to the 3-4 under Dom Capers.
Rodgers had a 93.8 quarterback rating in 2008 and an impressive 28 to 13 touchdown to interception ratio. He has room to improve in the intangibles category, though. The Packers were 0-7 last season in games where they got the ball back with less than five minutes left in the game with a chance for the go-ahead score. Rodgers obviously needs to work on his Elwayness.
After a stellar 2007 season where he accumulated almost 1000 yards rushing on 5.1 yards per carry, Ryan Grant was somewhat disappointing in 2008. A hamstring injury in training camp caused him to get off to a slow start, but the Packers stuck with him and consistently gave him a heavy work load including two 30-carry games. He’ll be the guy this year, with third-year third down specialist Brandon Jackson backing him up. Jackson is not likely a feature back, but did average 5.5 yards per carry last season.
Greg Jennings leads a young and developing receiving corps, with veteran Donald Driver still in the mix. The team has high expectations for James Jones and Jordy Nelson, a third and second round pick respectively.
The offensive line is young and developing, but still has 33 year-old Chad Clifton still at left tackle. Former main-stay at right tackle, Mark Tauscher, was lost to a knee injury, and will leave a big hole. He’ll be replaced by a group of youngsters.
Head coach Mike McCarthy has run a 4-3 defense for his three seasons as Packer’s head coach, and is taking a huge risk in switching to the 3-4 in his fourth season. First round pick B.J. Raji out of Boston College will play a key role in the new scheme. He’s a nose tackle, a position that is unique to the 3-4. Success at that position is typically the determining factor for the entire defense. The linebackers will be able to make plays if Raji can draw blockers. Former tackle Ryan Pickett will probably shift to end most of the time to play alongside Raji.
Cornerback Charles Woodson is still very athletic, and hasn’t started to look his age yet (32), but the linebackers should be the strength of the defense. Nick Barnett, A.J Hawk, Aaron Kampman, and rookie Clay Matthews make an impressive group.
Mason Crosby is back as the kicker, and will need to improve on his mediocre 2008, when he made just 27 of 34 field goals. Will Blackmon will likely handle both kick and punt return duties after scoring two touchdowns in 2008.
This team is a little young, but has a ton of potential. Favre may have left at just the right time. They probably won’t win the division, but do have a real shot at making the playoffs.