The Packers had a major problem with the Vikings, Steelers, Cardinals, and even the Bengals with Carson Palmer. As announcers and reporters around the world have pointed out, these teams all had veteran quarterbacks.
This year the Packers face three veteran threats to their secondary.
In the first battle against the Vikings in 2009 Favre wasn’t sacked and rarely got hit. He managed to throw 271 yards and three touchdowns winning 30-23.
Four weeks later, Favre was able to escape without taking a sack against the Packers. His completion average was 60 percent with only 28 passes thrown, but he did manage to throw for four touchdowns with only 244 yards.
In order to stop the Vikings, the Packers must put pressure on Favre every single pass play. With that pressure could come a forced pass right into Charles Woodson’s hands. Maybe the old guy even goes down a few times. With the Vikings failing to gain momentum in the pass game, last years number one rush defense must prove themselves worthy of the title by stopping Adrian Peterson.
The Packers visit McNabb this year in Washington. This is a very hard game to read for me because McNabb has little to no relevant statistics to analyze due to the fact that we have never seen him play with his current teammates.
McNabb was extremely successful last year. He bombed over 3500 yards with only 264 completions on the season with a little bench time. McNabb now has a team full of veteran players to catch the ball when he had a host of rookies making the plays last year on the Eagles.
McNabb and the Redskins are going to be extremely threatening. If we put pressure on him we better make sure he hits the ground or he can easily scramble away for some positive yards on the ground. At the same time the combination of a veteran quarterback and multiple veterans in the offensive scheme could become extremely devastating to the Packers secondary.
Tom Brady was less than consistent last year. One thing of consistency that the Patriots and Brady did exhibit was the ability to devastate opposing defenses at home. Any time Brady and that offense can find a weakness in a defense it can become treacherous.
At home, Brady took out the Titans in a 59 point shutout. The Patriots were also undefeated on their home turf in 2009, winning five of the eight games by more than double their opponent's points. Going into New England to try to hold Tom Brady and his explosive offense late in the season is not going to be an easy feat.
Other quarterbacks that could be considered veterans by some are Eli Manning with the Giants, and Tony Romo with the Cowboys.
Manning has only six years under his belt but I consider him a veteran quarterback because he has a ring on his finger that says he is.
Manning and the Giants beat Favre’s last Packer team by a field goal to go on to win the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots. The Packers definitely cannot take Manning lightly in this game. He is a true professional now.
Although the Packers shut down Romo until late in the game at Lambeau, Tony and the Boys were absolutely on fire last year. Romo posted 4,483 passing yards with a completion percentage of 63.1 last year and 63.4 overall. Though he was in the shadows compared to Rodgers’ 50 plus sacks, Romo did give up almost 200 yards in 34 sacks.
With only seven years in the game and only four years as a starter, it is hard to consider Romo a veteran. However, he has shown his explosiveness. The Packers cannot expect the Cowboys to come into Green Bay and roll over like they did last year.
The hardest games for the Packers defense in 2010 will be against the Vikings and the Patriots. The Redskins could be a factor, although I don’t really know how well all those hot-headed superstars will get along.
They could become a force or they could become a day care center filled with whining men.
If the Packers can overcome these veteran quarterbacks then they will most definitely have the confidence and momentum to make a run for the big show.