Packers’ faithful expect fireworks from Rodgers, “O”

How much should fans realistically think Green Bay will be unstoppable?

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By Chris Havel
Special to Event USA
GREEN BAY, Wis. – The sky’s the limit.
That goes for the Fourth of July and the Packers’ offense this season. They have so much in common – the holiday and the offense – when you think about it.
Certainly, there is always the potential for disaster. This seems to be as good a time as any to remind readers to be extra-careful this Fourth of July when dealing with explosives.
It’s the same for Packers head coach Mike McCarthy.
The Packers’ offense has the potential to be as good – if not better – than the 2011 edition that put up astronomical stats. Green Bay rolled to a 15-1 record that season, but ultimately when push came to shove in the postseason they fell short.
So how does the 2017 version stack up?
Frankly, the Packers’ offense has a legitimate opportunity to be as powerful as any in franchise history. Let me count the ways:
** It starts with Aaron Rodgers, a franchise quarterback who will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day.
Rodgers, 33, is at a stage in his career where his vast cache of knowledge intersects with his ability to physically play at a high level. It’s where New England quarterback Tom Brady, at 39, is attempting to stay for as long as possible.
In terms of being at the height of a quarterback’s powers, both physically and mentally, Rodgers is at the zenith. The only question is how long can he maintain it?
That depends on several factors. Again, Rodgers has several key circumstances going in his favor.
** The head coach/quarterback relationship has thrived, struggled and persevered. Rodgers and McCarthy have reached a point where their evident sense of urgency will be sub-consciously communicated to the entire locker room.
There’s no reason for a rally cry of, “Let’s win one for Aaron.”
The fact is 53 men will have an opportunity to win a Super Bowl because of Rodgers, not for him. That subtle concept takes time to evolve and develop. Often, circumstances derail it’s occurring.
Green Bay has a realistic chance to claim Super Bowl LII.
** The abject lack of a running game and capable talent at the tight end position were the key motivating factors this offseason.
It’s why McCarthy, in concert with GM Ted Thompson, acquired Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks at tight end. It’s why they drafted not one, not two, but three running backs to round out the position unit with Ty Montgomery.
The Packers are serious about this thing.
** The offensive line should continue to rank among the NFL’s best. The bookend tackles, David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga, are more than good enough to win a Super Bowl with.
Lane Taylor did a commendable job at left guard, and Jahri Evans is an upgrade at right guard.
With this offensive line, McCarthy should be able to pass when he wants to, not because he has to.
** Leadership is a strange commodity. If you’re winning, you’ve got an abundance of leaders. If you’re losing, you need it desperately. So where does the Packers’ locker room rank in terms of leadership?
Frankly, I think the free agent acquisitions lend as much in the locker room as they do on the field.
Martellus Bennett is a class act in spite of his eccentricities. He’s a true leader and a proven winner. He’s the type of pro that coaching staffs HOPE their younger players follow.
Kendricks is a leader, too, and don’t discount the addition of Ricky Jean-Francios on the defensive line. With the self-destruction that seems to bedevil Letroy Guion, Jean-Francois becomes an even more important piece of the defensive puzzle.
Thank the Packers Gods for two things:
A) that they drafted Kenny Clark last season;
B) that they signed Jean-Francois this offseason.
I don’t care how potent your offense is – and the Packers’ offense is going to be amazing – you’ve still got to be able to line up and play defense.
The Packers should be able to do that and then some.
Have a Happy Fourth!