The Next Step

By Troy A. Sparks, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: July 30, 2010

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MILWAUKEE (BASN) — This year’s training camp for the Green Bay Packers bring high expectations for the 2010 season. Among those expectations is the goal of reaching the Super Bowl.

The man expected to lead the Packers there is anointed as the leader of the pack.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has emerged from holding a clipboard and backing up Brett Favre to being the man in charge.

He’s already been featured on magazine covers. With the notoriety comes the increased pressure to get the job done in Titletown.

That pressure began in the offseason after their wild-card playoff loss at Arizona, a team they demolished in the preseason last year and the final regular season game.

The Packers knew they had a lot of football left in them, but they ran out of time and were outplayed.

This season, Green Bay has all of their players under contract. On Friday, first round pick Bryan Bulaga signed a deal reportedly worth $14.75 million over five years. ESPN reported that it contained $8.76 million in guaranteed money.

Bulaga will be battling aging tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher for some significant playing time. Bulaga could be one play away from stepping in and protecting Rodgers’ backside.

Most of the players on both sides of the ball appear to be healthy. After the players move in the dorms at St. Norbert College, which is near Green Bay, and complete physicals, paperwork, etc., then the gloves come off.

With a roster of about 80, almost every job is up for grabs.

One player won’t be in camp for the Packers this season. Defensive end Johnny Jolly was suspended by the NFL without pay for the 2010 season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

He can reapply after the Super Bowl.

There are several areas the Packers must improve in to have another good year. They have to limit the penalties and sacks allowed. The receivers dropped some balls that were catchable.

Special teams must step up, especially in the areas of kicking and punting and punt and kick coverage. Giving up the big plays on defense hurt the Packers late in some games.

Up in Titletown, the details are laid out. If everything doesn’t go according to plan, head coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson must answer to a lot of people.