Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Defense of the Title Starts This Week

I feel as if my normal off-season rhythm was thrown off completely this year by the lockout, and even though I don't normally post much during the off-season, this year I have hardly posted at all.  And here the pre-season opener against the Cleveland Browns is only three days away.  It is high time to get myself back into a football frame of mind.

But before turning to the pre-season, why not take a couple of minutes and watch the story of the making of the Packers' Super Bowl rings.  The rings are stunning, and I love the fact that Jostens traces the history back to the Super Bowl I rings, designed jointly by Jostens and Vincent Thomas Lombardi.  Anyway, enjoy, and know that a lot of these rings will be on display in the White House on Friday.  Fire up the metal detectors.

Turning to the pre-season, the big news of the week is that Clay Matthews played the second half of the season, and the entire post-season, with a broken leg.  OK, it was a stress fracture, but that is still a broken leg.  It was over 30 years ago that the Rams' Jack Youngblood played in Super Bowl XIV with a broken leg, and I gather that his broken leg was also a stress fracture.  But it still is a powerful thought, that these guys can play, and play well, with that kind of an injury.  Play well?  My goodness.  I still get the chills when I see the video of Kevin Greene telling Clay Matthews that "it is time" [to make a play], followed by Matthews forcing a fumble to preserve and lengthen the lead over the Steelers.  To me, that Kevin Greene/Clay Matthews combination is right up there with Babe Ruth's called home run shot in the 1932 World Series.

Obviously, the key to this or any other Packer season is protecting Aaron Rodgers.  Just today, posted an article that pointed out something I had not thought of before.  The starting offensive line this year will consist of three left tackles, along with a center and a right guard.  Chad Clifton, Bryan Bulaga, and rookie Derek Sherrod are all left tackles by past experience.  Given that, for a right-handed quarterback, the left tackle is the most important member of the offensive line, having three of them in the starting lineup provides some promise that Rodgers' sack total should drop again this year.

Let the games begin.

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