Green Bay Packers: 5 Things we Learned from Packers-Saints
Thursday night marked the beginning of a new decade of football. Jerseys were taken off of hangers, and old leather footballs came out of the closet. Chips, dip, and drinks were set out in households across the nation as the opening kickoff elicited excitement as men, women and children gathered to watch the action.
Football is back, can life get any better?
The 2011 season opener was every bit as good as NFL fans hoped it would be. The action-packed first quarter alone was enough to get football fans everywhere pumped for the upcoming season, no matter which team you root for.
Every play was a preview of the action that we would all be witnessing in the upcoming months, every touchdown foreshadowed the hundreds more that we would all be paying attention to. As the clock ticked down to the last few intense seconds, we saw where we would be for the next five months...right in front of the TV.
Like a good sitcom that you never tire of, every season of football is as fresh and diverse as the last. You never see the same thing twice. Along with that are new areas of interest that we get to focus on each year, and this year is no different.
Now that the first game of the new season has come and gone, there are even more that we have gleaned from the athletes who we live vicariously through.
Being drafted as a rookie to the Green Bay Packers has to be intimidating. Being brought in the year they are defending world champions has to be down-right awe inspiring.
Being in such a position, it’s hard for a rookie to imagine a career opening game to be saturated with their personal accomplishments; surely the veteran Super Bowl winners would be the focus of the game. For Randall Cobb, it’s a different story.
It is unlikely Cobb could have comprehended the immense success that he would personally have as an individual player during this game, his first game. The performance that we witnessed as Packer fans was enough to inspire impulsive No. 18 jersey purchases online. We will be seeing more of him, and rightfully so.
In the opening quarter, Cobb received a 32-yard pass from Rodgers to run it in after an 80 yard drive, his first official touchdown as a Green Bay Packer. It wasn’t long before we would see more though, with a play that would forever be imprinted into his memory in this iconic game. After the beginning of the second half, Cobb carried in a kickoff return for a whopping 108 yard touchdown after refusing to go down, tying the NFL record for longest return. In the most influential 14 seconds of his young career, Cobb made his mark in the NFL, and in our minds.
It is easy to say that the best just got better.
Right cornerback Tramon Williams ranked No. 1 in the NFL with a combined nine interceptions last season. Thursday’s night’s game showed us even more of the potential that he brings to the Pack for the upcoming months. In the first quarter of the game, Williams quickly recovered the first fumble of the season after it was forced by Nick Collins, enabling his team to recover the ball and drive for the second touchdown of the game.
It’s apparent that a Super Bowl hangover will not be an issue for this key defensive player.
Aaron Rodgers is not playing favorites. When it comes to throwing off the defense, this is huge. With the wide array of offensive players Rodgers was utilizing, it makes it much harder to be able to predict who he will be throwing to when the heat comes into the pocket.
Jennings, Nelson, Cobb, Starks and Kuhn each scored touchdown plays for the Pack. Rodgers' execution was phenomenal during the game, and the wide variety of his teammates that he included kept us and the Saints defense guessing.
If he keeps this up, it will be hard to predict exactly where he will be looking during his executions.
The season opener put Donald Driver in front of our noses once again. After the joy of the birth of his new daughter yesterday, Driver had one more thing to celebrate after Thursday night’s game: his new receiving record.
Prior to the season opener, Driver needed two receptions to hit 700 for his NFL career. In all the years the NFL has been in existence, and with every talented and hall of fame athlete that has played, only 33 other individuals have ever been able to accomplish this feat. You can now add Donald Driver to that list.
With a full season ahead of us, we can see a lot more records being broken by this Packer veteran.
The first game of the season is always thrilling. But when you have the type of intense action that this game offered, we know we’re hungry for more. What could have been better than a nail bitter such as what we saw for the first preview of the upcoming year?
The Green Bay Packers showed us without a doubt that the upcoming season will be full of a remarkable talent. Those who doubted the return of the Pack due to their lockout inactivity had their fears put to rest after play after perfectly executed play was shown to us in its high definition glory. There is no doubt that the boys from the bay are realistic repeat contenders for world champions. As I stated before, these boys have a tendency to run in streaks, and the season opener only reaffirmed that.
Is there any doubt why Packer fans are some of the most vibrant and eccentric fans in the NFL?