Potential for something ‘special'

Packers head home after minicamp with thoughts of Super Bowl

"Super Bowl."

Those two words rang through the Don Hutson Center late Thursday morning as the Green Bay Packers huddled after wrapping up their offseason with their final minicamp practice.

It's a lofty goal, and one few teams could harbor after losing a future Hall of Fame quarterback who was coming off one of his finest seasons of his singular career.

Yet, the Packers believe they have the pieces in place to overcome Brett Favre's retirement. Even with the 38-year-old Favre, the Packers had the NFL's youngest team last season. Combine the expected improvements from the young players and a successful offseason program, and the Packers step away for their final break before training camp convenes in late July with the highest of hopes.

"That's our goal every day," linebacker Nick Barnett said of the Super Bowl.

Asked if this was a Super Bowl-or-bust season, Packers coach Mike McCarthy wouldn't quite go there, but he didn't dismiss the high expectations, either.

"It's Super Bowl for me every day," McCarthy said. "I don't operate that way as far as trying to build up a bunch of what I would refer to as false confidence and trying to sell tickets. As far as our roster, with the names on the board, the talent level on our depth chart board, it's the best that it has looked since I've been here, especially at this time of year."

Last season, of course, ended with a thrilling run to the NFC championship game but a devastating overtime loss to the underdog New York Giants. That has fueled this team's hunger.

"It's like you see a big, juicy steak in front of your face and you get a nice bite out of it, then they kick you out," Barnett said. "We want to go back in there with a vengeance and tear down the restaurant. We're not stopping until we get there. The Super Bowl is the ultimate achievement, and that's where we want to go."

That's a common sentiment among the team's veteran players.

"We have, of course, minus Brett, basically everybody back on this team," cornerback Charles Woodson said. "With the guys we have, we feel comfortable that we can carry it forward. Hopefully, we can get this opportunity again to get to the championship game, that we can win it and get to the Super Bowl."

McCarthy was thrilled with the attendance and accomplishments made during the offseason, calling it the most productive in his three years.

"What does that lead to?" he asked. "We're trying to win every game, so I don't believe in predictions. I don't really get caught up in them. Once again, we're trying to win every single football game, and this team has a team that has the ability to be something special."

Steve Lawrence is a frequent contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at steve_lawrence_packers@yahoo.com

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