The 2012 NFL schedule is out and fans are already blowing up hotel receptionists. As Mike McCarthy likes to point out, it’s not always about who you play, but when you play them. In addition to teams getting hot and cold on their own, some tend to fare better at different points of the season. Under McCarthy, the Packers have been very mediocre in the first half of the season, with the exception of 2007 and 2011.
Last season, the Packers played in five prime time games (including Thanksgiving), a tribute to being both good and an exciting team to watch. Not surprisingly, the Packers received another five prime time games in 2012, including one Monday nighter. One interesting thing to note about the Packers’ schedule is that five of their six divisional games come after the bye week.
When Green Bay Packers fans are asked what was the biggest difference between the 2010 and ’11 seasons, the most common answer is the free agent departure of Cullen Jenkins. The loss of the former starting defensive end is a hole that still needs to be filled and the 2012 draft would be the perfect time for Ted Thompson to address it.
The strength of the 2011 defensive line was starting tackles Ryan Pickett and B.J Raji, but after those two, the Packers didn’t get consistent play from any of the other defensive linemen on the roster.
It’s been quite some time since Ted Thompson hit it big on cornerback in the draft. In fact, you’d have to go all the way back to his days in Seattle where the current Packers GM endorsed the selection of Washington State cornerback Marcus Trufant. That’s not to say Thompson hasn’t built the position well – Sam Shields was quite the find in undrafted free agency – it’s just that his wins haven’t come in Radio City Music Hall.
For the most part, Ted has avoided early-round selection of cornerbacks, his only early-day pick being second-round bust Pat Lee in 2008. Thompson added Al Harris look-a-like, Davon House, in the fourth round of last year’s draft but so far has seen zero return on investment. With a fair amount of cornerback talent in the first two rounds of this year’s draft, don’t be surprised to see Thompson make a move with either the 28th or 59th pick.
Having just lost Matt Flynn to Seattle in free agency, the Packers will be faced with their first offseason since 2008 where quarterback is a relevant position to scout for heading into the draft. The Packers barely missed a handsome return on their seventh round investment in Flynn but discovered the value in developing a middle-of-the-road passer behind a great one. Expect Green Bay to draft another arm this year that can serve as insurance for Aaron Rodgers and potential trade bait in a couple of seasons.