I will be looking to see how Mike McCarthy handles his new success. If you remember a while back he talked about how his players will handle it, but now eyes will be on him. Many people, including myself, will want to see just how he will handle Aaron Rodgers and how much rope he will give him. I want to see whether or not he will change his philosophy and go back to what he said he was when he got hired, and that was a smash-mouth guy. If you read between the lines since he has been here, he couldn't pound the ball because Brett Favre didn't become one of the best to ever play the game for handing off the ball. It was as if he would apologize for doing what he thought he had to do. Now Favre's gone, along with his locker, thank goodness, so this team officially becomes Mike McCarthy's team. I really want to see if he can really coach. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan but now that the smoke has cleared I'm excited to see what direction Mike will take this team.
Now on the defensive side of the ball I really want to see what the philosophy of the defense will be and I want to find out whether or not this defense can play aggressively or if it will continue underachieve. I want to see whether or not Bob Sanders understands the talent he has, or will he have them playing like they are scared to make a mistake.
With the addition of Brandon Chillar, I want to see if Bob will allow the defense to attack and really use its athletic ability, especially in the secondary and with the linebacker corp. If I'm hearing right they got Chillar locked on tight ends all over the field, taking away the position that hurt them at crucial times last year. The other teams that they will be contending with or battling in the NFC are the Cowboys, Redskins, Bears and Giants. The thing that they all have in common is how they use the tight ends as a weapon, which now should be taken away.
As I see it the Packers should have no excuses, especially since they didn't go get Jason Taylor, which seems to be telling me and the world they don't need any more help. The guys on the roster should be able to get it done, right?
I will be very interested to see how Bob Sanders handles the corners. Even though Al Harris and Charles Woodson still are quality corners, I do believe Tramon Williams will push them because of his athletic ability and I'm wondering if Bob will allow that to happen. Not only that, but will they find a pass rusher to help Aaron Kampman? I worry he will eventually reach his peak before he gets any help. Besides the other pass rusher, Justin Harrell has to become a force inside otherwise he will be a bust because this team will go as far as the defense takes it this year.
Offensively it will be a question of whether or not the Packers can run the ball. This year they won't have Brett to bail them out of bad situations, so Mike McCarthy must have this offense clicking early and that means the days of musical offensive guards has to be over. Someone has to take over the guard spot and make it theirs. As of now all indications are that Allen Barbre has done exactly that. But the fact is that the offense must come out hitting on all cylinders, otherwise there will be a whole lot of pressure on Aaron Rodgers.
Another thing that I will have my eye on is exactly what type of personality this team will assume. Will it be a finesse team or a physical team? Most teams take on the personality of its head coach or coordinators which, at this time, is STILL UNKNOWN.
Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.