Green Bay Packers: 2009 NFL Preview

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Green Bay Packers: 2009 NFL Preview
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Pigskin Heaven's Sascha Bartels is breaking down every single team in the NFL prior to the season. Here is his analysis and forecast for the Green Bay Packers. Click on a team to read its preview.

AFC East: BUF | MIA | NE | NYJ

AFC North: BAL | CIN | CLE | PIT

AFC South: IND | HOU | JAX | TEN

AFC West: DEN | KAN | OAK | SDG

NFC East: DAL | NYG | PHI | WAS

NFC North: CHI | DET | GBA | MIN

NFC South: ATL | CAR | NOL | TBA

NFC West: ARI | STL | SFO | SEA

 

What’s New?

This was a slow and uneventful offseason for Green Bay.

Brett Favre is gone. Aaron Rodgers has taken the team over and looks to be effective at the helm. There was nothing of significance to talk about when looking at the trading and free agency periods.

The only time Green Bay did much of anything this spring was on draft weekend; but, it was a good weekend.

The biggest news out of Green Bay is the planned switch in defensive philosophy and adapting the 3-4. The Packers quickly got themselves two players who should thrive in this defense: B.J. Raji and Clay Matthews.

The Green and Gold also got themselves a couple of new tackles, T.J. Lang and Jamon Meredith.


Three Burning Questions

Will Aaron Kampman find a home in the 3-4?

Kampman is a pass rusher first and foremost, meaning he’s not well suited to play the end position in the new scheme.

Nick Barnett is practicing again and hopes to be healthy, A.J. Hawk is starting to play at All-Pro levels, and Matthews has already impressed in camp and is likely to start immediately.

Add in guys like Brady Poppinga and Brandon Chillar and the question of what happens to Kampman becomes even bigger.  The best solution for all parties may be to trade the 29 year old Kampman to a 4-3 defense in need of a pass rusher.

Green Bay should get decent value in return. Perhaps, instead of just a draft pick or two, a team is willing to part with a fairly good offensive tackle as well.

 

Will the offensive line hold up?

I already mentioned the age of Clifton and the absence of Tauscher.

The interior of the line looks pretty good and is young as well, but the play at tackle could make or break this season in the end. 

 

How will Rodgers play in the year 2 A.B. (After Brett)?

This team couldn’t have asked for better production from Rodgers in his first year as a starter.

With a completion percentage above 63, a passer rating over 93, a better than 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio while surpassing the 4000 yard mark. These figures are very comparable to those of the 2007 Favre.

Will Rodgers surpass those numbers this season?

Considering the level of talent all around him, from Driver to Jennings; Nelson to Jones; Lee to Finley, I would be very surprised if Green Bay doesn’t end up with the second best passing game in the NFC, behind only the Saints.

 

Fantasy Forecast

Good play: 
Aaron Rodgers should be very high on the list of quarterbacks.  Take him after Brees and Brady, but he certainly fits right in behind those two, on the same level of Peyton Manning and Kurt Warner.

Ryan Grant only had five touchdowns last year, a solid pick but don’t take him too high.

With the wealth of receivers on the roster, it may be tough to figure out who to play, but Greg Jennings and Donald Lee should probably be starters on any team.

With the offense scoring as much as I think they will, Crosby should be one of the first kickers off the board.

 

Avoid:  I would avoid Donald Driver.  He had a 1,000 yard season last year, but with the emergence of Nelson and the return of Jones, I look for those numbers to dwindle.  Still a good pick later in the draft though.

Avoid the defense, at least early on.  Last season the Packers only totaled 27 sacks, good for 25th in the NFL, and they are transitioning their top pass rushing threat to linebacker.

The Packers were very good in the turnover department though, but a change of scheme may change that.  Perhaps, as the 11th or 12th defense or a bye week pickup, but don’t take them high.

 

Sleeper:  If James Jones returns at 100%, he could quickly challenge the status-quo among the Green Bay receivers.  He could surpass Nelson and even Driver as the second best target for Rodgers.

 

Prognosis

 

For the prognosis and final record, read the originally posted article here.

This is an original article by Pigskin Heaven Staffer, Sascha Bartels. You can read it, more of Sascha's articles, and more from the Pigskin Heaven staff here.

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