Thursday, April 15, 2010

Packers 2010 schedule coming Tuesday

Just ahead of the fan frenzy that is now the three-day NFL Draft extravaganza, the NFL will announce team schedules on Tuesday, April 20. The preseason schedule and times were set the last week, and come Tuesday we will know the Pack's schedule versus the team's designated opponents.

For those needing a refresher, here are the Packers' 2010 Home and Away opponents:

Chicago Bears
Detroit Lions
Minnesota Vikings
Dallas Cowboys
New York Giants
San Francisco 49ers
Buffalo Bills
Miami Dolphins

Chicago Bears
Detroit Lions
Minnesota Vikings
Philadelphia Eagles
Washington Redskins
Atlanta Falcons
New England Patriots
New York Jets

Wayne Larrivee's draft prognostications
The radio voice of the Green Bay Packers, Wayne Larrivee, spoke on flagship station 620WTMJ (Milwaukee) this morning about this year's NFL Draft. His opinion is that it is not as deep overall as many media types suggest. Still, he said in the areas that the Packers have needs, good options should exist. In particular, he said offensive tackle, outside linebacker and cornerback are the areas where the Packers will need to bolster the short, pretty much what everyone knows.

Where his comments became very interesting, however, was the order in which Larrivee thought the Pack's first picks might fall. Rather than the conventional wisdom of selecting an offensive tackle with their first round pick (assuming the Pack stays at #23 rather than tradiing out of it, which could also be a real possibility given GM Ted Thompson's tendencies), Larrivee said he believed the Packers would select an outside linebacker to provide a pass rushing complement to last year's draft sensation, Clay Matthews. Larrivee then said the Pack would address their offensive tackle needs in the second round.

This does seem to make sense as there is a greater opportunity for an outside linebacker to make an immediate impact, as Matthews did. A rookie offensive tackle will sit behind Chad Clifton or Mark Tauscher to learn the trade, and perhaps won't have the possibility of starting for at least another year. Given that scenario, and the apparent equality of tackle prospects beyond those that will likely go in the first 20 picks, Larrivee's scenario might indeed be the one that plays out.

On the other hand, it could also very well be that the Packers would pop for a cornerback in the second round -- or even first -- if one of their key targets is still on the board. There are several good corner prospects in which the Packers would no doubt have interest. A few could not only provide key backup support initially -- or perhaps move into a starting spot depending upon how 35-year-old Al Harris returns from his injury -- but also have kick/punt return capabilities as well, which is also something the Packers have needed for about the last decade now.

Ah, the draft...great to be able to start talking and thinking football again, isn't it, kids? You bet!