The Detroit Lions look to break their road losing streak against the Green Bay Packers in week five of the 2013 season. Then it is the Lions’ turn to host in week 13 when the Packers come to town for the annual Thanksgiving Classic.
To get the Packers perspective on preparations for the season, I got together with Ray Rivard of Lombardi Ave.
1. How would you assess the team’s offseason? Did they do what they needed to do through the draft and free agency?
Ted Thompson and the Packers did what they needed to do during the offseason. Though they missed on landing Steven Jackson and bringing Greg Jennings back into the fold, they hit home runs in the draft by nabbing both Eddie Lacy and Jonathan Franklin to bolster their running game. In addition, the drafting of defensive lineman Datone Jones will go a long way in beefing up their options on the D-line. As always, the Packers also went out and grabbed some undrafted free agents – one being RB Angelo Pease – who have a legitimate chance at making the 53-man roster. In all, it was an offseason that will make the Packers better.
2. Which Rookie are you most excited to see play in 2013 and why?
Aside from Lacy and Franklin, we are all excited to see what Jones will bring to the defense. With what happened at the conclusion of last season in San Francisco, this will be the season when the Packers must show significant improvement on the defensive side of the ball and a big part of that improvement has to come from the play of Jones. We’re excited to see if he’s everything everyone says he is. If he can apply pressure in the backfield and help stop the run, his first round selection will be worth it.
3. What is the biggest question that still needs to be answered heading into training camp?
The flip-flopping of the offensive line by McCarthy – moving Bryan Bulaga and Josh Sitton to the left side – is the biggest change and offers the biggest questions for the Packers. The question is whether it will help cut down on the number of sacks that Aaron Rodgers has endured in recent years, as well as help improve the running game. It should also be interesting to see who emerges as the team’s right offensive tackle as that position is up for competition among several players.
4. What are your expectations for the team in 2013?
As with every team every year, the expectation is a Super Bowl championship. We all know just one team claims it in February, but if there’s one team that has a legitimate shot in making the tournament to chase a championship, it’s the Packers. But first things first … the Packers must have their eyes on the NFC North Division title. Winning three straight would be sweet, but with the Lions, Vikings and Bears all showing significant improvements this offseason, it will be difficult.
5. Right here, right now, are you marking down the game against the Lions as a win, loss or toss-up?
I feel the Packers, with Aaron Rodgers at the helm, is still a leg up on the Lions. If the Packers’ defense shows the improvement that’s anticipated, they will once again sweep the Lions. Rodgers is the difference-maker.
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