Predictions revisited

PackerReport.com's Bob Fox made some fearless predictions in his column on March 24. Fox revisits those predictions today and offers his thoughts on the predictions that have yet to play out this season.

About a month before the 2006 NFL draft yours truly made 10 predictions (March 24, PackerReport.com) about the future of the Green Bay Packers. I realize that these prognostications were not earth shattering. But the Packers were definitely in a state of flux at the time. While not in the class of Nostradamus, I have to admit that my forecast looks pretty good right now.

Let's review the predictions:

1) Brett Favre will return for the 2006 season.

2) Ted Thompson will sign a "surprise" free agent that will have Packer fans buzzing.

3) The Packers will draft a QB this year, in the later rounds.

4) The Packers will draft either DE Mario Williams or LB A.J. Hawk with their first pick.

5) Paul Edinger will be the Green Bay kicker in 2006.

6) Javon Walker will be traded.

7) The Packers will have a winning season and make the playoffs in 2006.

8) The Packers will win at least six games at Lambeau Field in 2006.

9) Favre will have a very solid 2006 season and pass Dan Marino as the all-time TD pass king.

10) Favre will start all 16 games in 2006, running his consecutive start streak.

The results ... thus far
The first four predictions have come true. Favre did return and is comparing the talent on this team to the Super Bowl teams of the 1990's.

A lot of fans were shocked at the money Ted Thompson paid CB Charles Woodson to come to Green Bay, but so far in training camp Woodson looks like a great acquisition.

The Packers did draft a QB in the fifth round by selecting Ingle Martin from Furman.

Finally, the Packers selected A.J. Hawk with their first pick.

The fifth prediction is still up for debate. Billy Cundiff has a leg up for the kicker's job with an adequate camp thus far, although he missed two of his five kicks Saturday night in the team's intra-squad scrimmage. Dave Rayner is an option as well, but he also missed two of his five kicks Saturday. Paul Edinger was brought in last week for a tryout and reportedly made 12-14 kicks during his audition.

Cundiff's and Rayner's real test will be in game situations. If they are shaky under those conditions, then look for Edinger as a definite option.

Javon Walker was traded on draft day. The Packers parlayed the second round pick from the Broncos into several picks. As a bonus, the Packers may have found a real gem in wide receiver Greg Jennings who was one of their two second round picks. Jennings could be a rookie starter, which is very rare in the west coast offense. Jennings in fact, started Saturday night.

The 7-10 predictions won't play out until the season is over. I am still optimistic that all of those prognostications will happen. I believe the team will be very solid defensively. I also believe Favre will be very effective under the coaching of Mike McCarthy. Yes, Favre threw five interceptions during a practice last week Monday (3 were picked by Woodson). But McCarthy and offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski coached up Favre on those mistakes and he had his best practice Friday and a very nice outing in the Saturday scrimmage.

The quarterback position is not just about have a strong arm. It's mostly about decision-making. McCarthy will help Favre make the correct decisions, much like former coach Mike Holmgren did.

My biggest concern about the team right now is the offensive tackle position. Both backup tackles, Kevin Barry and Adrian Klemm are out for the season with injuries. Starter Chad Clifton is still trying to recover from off-season knee surgery. Add to that, the Packers are starting two rookie guards in Daryn Colledge and Jason Spitz. Plus, the team is implementing a new zone blocking scheme.

If the offensive brain trust can overcome the injury situation and/or add some veteran depth to the offensive line, then the offense can thrive. But football is all about what happens in the trenches. A quarterback can't complete many passes on his back. A running back can't expect positive yardage when he is hit behind the line of scrimmage. On a very positive note, the Packers did not have one running attempt for negative yardage in the Saturday scrimmage.

The biggest thing that impresses me about McCarthy and Jagodzinski is their confidence and optimism. They are not letting the injuries and mistakes impact their ability to coach and teach. Still, until we see the offense under real game conditions (not a scrimmage), the jury is still out. But like McCarthy and Jagodzinski, I am still confident that the Packers can be a force in 2006. Therefore, I am not wavering on the 7-10 predictions. Check back with me in January 2007 to see if I was right.

Bob Fox is a longtime Packers fan and frequent contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at greenbaybob@hotmail.com.


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