Hey Wilde! Time for over/under for stats for Aaron Rodgers in 2012 compared to 2011. Wins: Under. Sacks: Has to be over. INTs: What say you? – John, via Twitter (@JohnLimbach)
Hey John! I’m with you on wins. I’ve got them at 12-4, which would be two fewer wins than he has last year. (Matt Flynn had the team’s 15th victory.) Sacks? I’m not sure. Rodgers was taken down 36 times last season, much of it played with Marshall Newhouse at left tackle. I realize he doesn’t have the ideal left tackle pedigree and was up-and-down last season, but he started 13 games last season, including 10 at left tackle. I think he wins the job (whether Derek Sherrod is healthy enough for camp or not) and plays better in 2012. Let’s say it’s a push at 36. As for interceptions, after winning the NFL MVP award, Rodgers himself said of those numbers: “I think it’s going to be tough. Not a lot of guys have been able to equal the numbers they had. I mean Peyton (Manning) had 49 touchdowns one year, Tom (Brady) came back and had 50. It’s been tough to replicate the crazy numbers we’ve seen from the 50 touchdowns of Tom and so on. But I think really the focus changed last year from a desire to maybe make the Pro Bowl every year, be considered one of the top guys to realizing that winning championships is the most important thing. After you win the first one you kind of take it for granted almost because it’s so special. You feel like you’ve got a young team, you’ll be back every year and just trying to remember how important each season, each opportunity is.” Short answer: I say Rodgers throws 10 INTs next year.
Hey Wilde! Do you see 5 TEs on the 53 man roster again this year or possibly one less in lieu of an extra WR or a third QB? Drew, via Twitter (@DrDoofy)
Hey Drew! I’ll be very surprised if the Packers don’t keep six wide receivers and only four tight ends coming out of training camp. Even though coach Mike McCarthy likes his tight-end “body types,” I don’t see any way Andrew Quarless doesn’t open the season on the physically unable to perform list. His Dec. 4 knee injury was horrific and if he practices during training camp, he’d be setting a land speed record for recuperation. Him landing on the PUP would open up that roster spot for Diondre Borel or Tori Gurley – or some other young wide receiver – to earn a spot. But that’s the key – whoever it is, he’ll have to earn a spot, and one way to do that is on special teams, which figures to be the deciding factor for that roster spot, whether it goes to a wide receiver or a tight end. With Brad Jones and Jamari Lattimore working at inside linebacker this offseason, the personnel staff could steal another roster spot from there to get an extra receiver on the team, too. One place I don’t see them using an extra spot: Quarterback. Unless B.J. Coleman is the second coming of his mentor, Brett Favre, the No. 3 QB figures to start the season on the practice squad, just as Graham Harrell has been the past two years.
Hey Wilde! When all is said and done, do you think Charles Woodson's number gets retired? – Brian, via Twitter @Bmarkovich57
Hey Brian! I think Charles Woodson ends up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, largely on the strength of his Packers career. As good as he was as a shutdown corner in Oakland, his game went to another level in Green Bay, especially under defensive coordinator Dom Capers starting in 2009. He now has a Super Bowl title to go with his 54 career interceptions, 37 of which have come in Green Bay. That said, I don’t think No. 21 ends up retired. Only five numbers have been – Tony Canadeo’s No. 3, Don Hutson’s No. 14, Bart Starr’s No. 15, Ray Nitschke’s No. 66 and Reggie White’s No. 92. As great as Woodson has been – and I think you can make comparisons to White in terms of impact on the defense – my gut tells me only No. 4, for You Know Who – gets retired, and No. 21 and No. 80 remain in circulation but are given out with high expectations, much like Nick Collins had when given LeRoy Butler’s old No. 36.
Hey Wilde! Will the Packers secondary return to form this season? – John, via Twitter (@linton5555)
Hey John! Tramon Williams thinks so. “I’m convinced. I was convinced after we finished the season, the day that we lost I was convinced,” Williams said at the minicamp last month. “Obviously we know the guys upstairs were going to get us some help and they did that. We’re excited about the guys they brought in. We’re excited about it and hopefully we can get back to playing the way we do.” I think with Williams playing closer to 100 percent after last year’s shoulder injury, a pass rush that will be significantly better (it can’t possibly be worse) and better production from the third corner (Sam Shields, Jarrett Bush, Casey Hayward, whoever), I think the unit gets back to being a strength – no matter who’s playing safety.
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