After a massively disappointing 2017 season which saw the Packers unable to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008, Green Bay will be hoping for better this term.
The injury to Aaron Rodgers in week 6 completely derailed any hopes of reaching the NFC Championship game for back to back seasons. What followed was a complete capitulation with eight defeats in 11 games. The loss to the Carolina Panthers in week 15 pretty much eliminated any hope of reaching the playoffs.
But the new season brings with it new expectations and hope that these wrongs can be made right.
Prior to Rodgers’ injury, the Packers were flying; winning four out of their six opening games. If that form can be replicated and there are no injury concerns, there will be every chance that the NFC Championship comes through Green Bay.
Camp has produced what maybe will be a new undrafted star in former University of Wisconsin-Whitewater receiver Jake Kumerow. He has left an impression so far this camp in the team’s offense and pass-under-pressure periods.
Kumerow was upbeat after his performance and he said: “It feels good to get a few catches under your belt going into the rest of camp, the more plays you make, the better. And I’m just trying to do that every day. Hopefully tomorrow I come out and have another good day.”
Kumerow was born into the football world with his father, Eric, being a first-round pick for the Miami Dolphins in 1988. His uncle, John Bosa played three seasons for the Dolphins himself while his cousin, Joey, was the NFL defensive rookie of the year after being the third pick in the 2017 draft.
It’s not all plain sailing though as there are still concerns over the backup quarterback. Brett Hundley was a disaster for the Packers in 2017 and that was shown by the fact that he didn’t throw a single touchdown in Lambeau Field.
The Packers have attempted to address this issue in the trade of cornerback Damarious Randall for former Cleveland Browns starter DeShone Kizer. However, Kizer’s 2017 did not fare much better than Hundley’s. He led the league with 22 interceptions and was last in completion percentage with a mere 53.6 percent as a rookie.
The returning Rodgers was not so downbeat. Speaking with former teammate James Jones, he expressed his delight in the way the team was looking ahead of the season to come.
“I don’t think we’ve ever had as strong of group of coordinators as a whole. We have Mike Pettine, who’s been a head coach on defense and is an incredible leader and orator in front of the room.
“You’ve got Joe Philbin, who has been a head coach in the league, who can control the room. And you’ve got Ron Zook, who was a college coach for years and can control a room. We’ve got four head coaches on our staff. There’s a different mindset this year and a different feel to the team.”
Head coach Mike McCarthy echoed the reasons to be excited and hopeful for the new season.
“I think we’re all better for the negative things that have occurred. You talk about knowledge, the ability to learn from your past experiences and really the past experience of others that are shared with you.
“You learn a lot in this business about the mistakes and the ability to overcome adversity. All those, because, hey, this is going to be a rough ride to get to where we want to go.”
With the additional pressure on McCarthy this season, he is currently 80/1 to be the first coach fired. However, the Packers are the second favorites to clinch the NFC North at 29/20, while the Minnesota Vikings are favorites at 13/10.
Packers are currently 10/1 to win Super Bowl LIII, which will be in Atlanta. The New England Patriots are favorites at 5/1.
There’s no reason to think this team can’t be special, so long as Rodgers stays healthy.