the 2011 season tonight at Lambeau Field.
The Packers have dealt with questions during the entire preseason about defending their title. Coach Mike McCarthy had that one covered from the very start. He told his team before training camp workouts officially got underway that they will be the hunters and not the hunted. The players have had that stock answer in their hip pocket every time they encountered the question.
General Manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy will once again, try to win with youth. After keeping 10 rookies on the 53-man roster, the Packers head into the regular season opener tonight with the second youngest team in the NFL. Only Tampa Bay is younger.
While several teams have decided to dip into the free agent market when the signing period began just prior to the start of training camp, Thompson elected to stand pat. When the Packers won the Super Bowl title last season, Thompson’s only dip into free agency came while trying to fill the shoes of injured starters. It appears he’ll use the same formula this season.
Thompson’s long-standing tradition of signing his own players continues to hold true to form. In fact, the Packers have already signed their outstanding young right guard Josh Sitton to a 5-year contract extension.
The Packers have good depth in a number of areas, but they’re definitely short on the offensive line. If something happens to any one of the teams 5-starters, Thompson may be looking quickly to fill a void.
Despite that deficiency, I like the Packers chances to repeat. It’s not an easy thing to do as history would dictate. But, if the Packers can keep their key players away from season ending injuries, players like Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson, then this reporter believes they’ll defend their title. Every team has its issues, including the Packers. But the Packers have fewer problems going in.
Tonight’s matchup between the Packers and Saints features the last two Super Bowl Champions. Both teams could be battling again in the playoffs to see who gets there again. The game pits two of the top quarterbacks in the league in Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees and a number of talented players to surround both.
The game also features two of the top defensive coordinators in the game. Dom Capers was hired by the Packers and Sean Peyton nabbed Greg Williams. Both men like to mix things up defensively and both like to bring pressure from all angles.
The winner tonight will have a head start on what should be an outstanding season. The loser will obviously have a notch in the “L” column, but it shouldn’t take long for them to reverse that trend.
Green Bay is electric, waiting for the NFL’s pregame celebration and concert to start. Hopefully the game will follow suit. By all accounts, it should.
I see thing game going right down to the wire and it’s hard to imagine the home team, with all of it’s fans behind them, falling short on opening night. I’ll take Mike McCarthy’s Packers to pull out a thrilling 30-27 win over Sean Payton’s Saints.
Enjoy the game!