Green Bay Packers: Let the games begin

Green Bay PackersWhile these games don’t officially count, the NFL preseason is underway and football is back.  On Saturday, the Green Bay Packers will visit the Tennessee Titans at LP Field.  Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 CT.

Last year, the Packers ended the season 8-7-1, but beat the Chicago Bears in week 17 to claim the NFC North title.  However, the Packers fell to the San Francisco 49ers for the second straight year in the playoffs.  For the Titans, they did finish second to the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC South, but only managed a 7-9 record.

As the Packers enter the new year, their number one concern will be to keep star quarterback Aaron Rodgers healthy for all 16 games.  In case you may have forgotten, Rodgers broke his collarbone against the Bears and was forced to miss seven games before returning in the season finale.  If Rodgers is healthy, the Packers are a legit favorite to win the NFC.  Look at how the Packers played once he got hurt; it shows how much Rodgers means to the Packers.

One objective the Packers’ coaching staff must figure out is the starting tight end position.  Heading into training camp, Andrew Quarless was slated to be the starter after Jermichael Finley was not resigned due to his neck injury.  Quarless impressed down the stretch last year, which gave him the advantage leading into camp.  But, Quarless’ top competition might be another guy named Rodgers.  Rookie Richard Rodgers, a third round draft pick, was thought to be the biggest reach of the Packers’ draft class.  Throughout training camp, Rodgers has proven his high selection by snagging almost anything in his reach.  This tight end battle will be fun to watch the next four weeks.

Another thing to watch will be how defensive coordinator Dom Capers uses first round pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and second year defensive back Micah Hyde.  Hyde has been rumored to be the starting safety opposite Morgan Burnett, even though Clinton-Dix was drafted for that exact reason.  According to what I have heard and read, Clinton-Dix might be the Packers’ dime safety, as Hyde would then move to the slot corner.  Capers has a lot of wiggle room with these two.  It will be interesting how he decides to use them.

The time has finally arrived and the Packers’ preseason is days away from beginning.  Even though I think the starters will only play a couple of series, it will be good to finally see some game action.