2010 Season Preview: Are The Green Bay Packers Flaws Too Big To Overcome?

Ian HanleyCorrespondent IAugust 31, 2010

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers drops back to pass during the 2010 NFC wild-card playoff game against the Arizona Cardinals at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Cardinals defeated the Packers  51-45 in overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Maybe it's my pessimistic nature as a sports fan, but I tend to spend a lot more time thinking about the weakness' of my favorite teams rather than their strengths. And although the Packers strengths out weigh their weakness' by a large margin, I can't help but think some of their flaws could lead to their ultimate demise.
With less than two weeks before the season opener, there is still much to be decided on the Packers roster, mostly on the defensive side of the ball and on special teams. Who will return punts and kicks? Who will be the nickel cornerback? Who will lineup at outside linebacker opposite of Clay Matthews?
At this point it looks like all of those questions, which were the same questions that most Packer fans had at the end of last year still have not been answered.
Jason Chery will get the opportunity to return all kicks and punts in the final preseason game to determine whether or not he has the ability to be a return man in the NFL and claim the job as the Packers fifth receiver. Chery earned this opportunity after returning a kick 75 yards for a touchdown in the Packers preseason victory over the Colts.
If Chery is not able to handle the return duties and is ultimately cut, kick returns will most likely be handled once again by Jordy Nelson who has been very pedestrian as a returner. Punt return duties could be taken care of by Will Blackmon if he is healthy, but Blackmon's knee, which he injured last season, continues to be a problem.
It was announced today that cornerback Al Harris will start the season on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list, which means he will be out until at least week 7. With Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson as the starting corners, Sam Shields, the rookie free agent out of Miami could be the nickel corner.
Shields only played one season in college at corner, but he has outplayed both Pat Lee and Brandon Underwood this preseason. I don't know if this says more about the talent of Shields or more about how disappointing both Underwood and Lee have been so far.
Also of major concern to the Packers secondary is the loss of safety Atari Bigby, who like Al Harris will start the season on the PUP list, leaving the the Packers extremely thin at the safety position.
Another undrafted rookie free agent who looks like he might find a spot on the roster is outside linebacker Frank Zombo.  Zombo has been the most consistent pass rushing linebacker so far, but it remains to be seen if he will be able to overtake Brad Jones and Brady Poppinga for the starting linebacker spot opposite Clay Matthews, who has missed most of the preseason due to injury.

Ted Thompson has a philosophy of drafting the "best player available" rather than drafting for need, but the question must be asked, with the possibility that four of their seven draft picks may not contribute anything this year, would they of been better off using later round picks to improve themselves this year rather than drafting based on potential?
The Packers could still make some changes before the season starts. Ted Thompson has been known to make moves at the end of camp and may try to bolster the roster be trading either offensive lineman Jason Spitz or possibly tight end Donald Lee who may have some trade value to a team looking for a veteran tight end.
The Packers very well could be this years New Orleans Saints—A team with an offense so explosive that the defense just needs to be competent and force some turnovers to get to the Super Bowl, or they could be like... well the 09 Packers—A team with an explosive offense, but that defensively can't stop top tier passing games.


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