September 3, 2014

Arman Two Pack Preview: 2014 Season & Seattle Seahawks

Which aspect of the Packers team concerns you the most after the preseason and why? Could be a single player, position group, etc.

Adam: Safety and middle linebacker. Micah Hyde is talented, but out of position. Morgan Burnett seems to consistently be a step late. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix needs time and reps to become a player maker. AJ Hawk is an average linebacker. Brad Jones is undersized. These are pivotal positions for elite defenses to have difference makers and there just aren't any on the roster.

Packers Nose Tackle B.J. Raji being carted off the fieldShane: The defensive line. With BJ Raji out for the season and new faces across the line, the Packers will have a tough time winning against the league's top offensive lines. The strategy of getting more "athletic" and "quicker" on the line is questionable and may seriously hurt the run defense. And we all know being a top defense starts with making the opposing offense one dimensional by stopping the run.

Name one player who you think will surprise Packers fans early this season and why.

Adam: Richard Rodgers. It's been impressive to see him pick up the offense so quickly in a position known to be a difficult adjustment at the pro level. He's got the physical tools to double as a good blocker and an even better pass catcher. Classic Ted Thompson diamond in the rough.

Shane: Micah Hyde. Is Hyde a true safety? Maybe not. But the kid is athletic, instinctive and smells the football like a shark does blood. I'm not saying Hyde will be perfect - most fans would expect him to make some mistakes - but I think he'll also make some BIG plays early. And while he'll split time with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, I think this situation presents the perfect balance for two players adapting to a new environment. Look for Hyde to become the much needed big-play body on the Packers new look defense.

Give an analysis of the Packers defensive performance this preseason and your prediction of where they'll finish in defending the pass and rush. 

Adam: The Raji injury is a blow to the defense that knows stopping the run and limiting big plays are among their biggest opportunities. I'm predicting low- to mid- teens in both categories. The offseason has been focused on the run defense and I would predict that ending up slightly better than the pass defense which is still below average at safety and has struggled to get pressure without blitzing.

Shane: Green Bay's Run defense certainly looked improved, minus a Maurice Jones Drew long TD run against the Raiders. I'll be very interested to see how the preseason success translates to defending a top-five NFL rushing attack in the regular season. Passing-wise, I predict the Packers will finish in the top 12 and in the rush department, top 15. Dom Capers might be out of a job if this unit doesn't take a significant leap forward, given its improved talent and personnel that more closely fit Capers' vision.

Name one thing the Packers MUST do well to have a chance of beating Seattle week one.

Adam: Its all about communication at the line of scrimmage. Limiting the pressure on Rodgers and penalties. Not an ideal situation for rookie fifth-round pick Corey Linsley's debut. Rodgers was sacked eight times last time in Seattle (2012).
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson runs from defenders
Shane: Limit Russell Wilson's effectiveness outside the pocket. Wilson is deadly when passing outside the tackles and is one of the best in the NFL at knowing when to tuck, when to move and when to run. If the Packers can contain him, Seattle's defense will sputter and be unable to keep up with the Packers potent offense. 

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