Green and Gold Things To Be Thankful For

It's the time of year when we step back, take a breath, and give thanks for what we have. Hopefully for all of us that means getting together with family and friends on Thursday for a day of food, football and family traditions.

In the spirit of my favorite holiday, here's what I'm thankful for when it comes to my favorite team:

I'm thankful that Aaron Rodgers is our quarterback. It's a good bet about 27 other teams would take Rodgers in a heartbeat (I'll throw out the Patriots, Saints, Colts and Redskins). In today's NFL, a healthy Aaron Rodgers gives the Packers a chance against any team on any day in any locale. Barring injury, we've got at least another 5-7 years of Rodgers in his prime with a solid cast around him. To watch him play week in and week out is to watch a maestro who could go down as one of the best, if not the best of his generation.

I'm thankful that a couple of injured veterans and Packer favorites will be back this season, maybe for the last time. I don't think Charles Woodson and Greg Jennings will be back in 2013. The Pack has higher signing priorities in Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews and BJ Raji. Woodson is due a huge number next year and Jennings will want one more big payday. With five straight wins without these guys, and both positions showing young emerging talent, it appears these two Packer heroes will be gone after this season.

I'm thankful that Ted Thompson does as much homework on the bubble guys so that he can pounce on undrafted players. This year the Pack has gotten big efforts out of Dezman Moses and Sean Richardson. If one more offensive lineman gets hurt, there are two undrafted guys waiting in the wings. Let's not forget other undrafted players from Ted's treasure trove: Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, Tim Masthay, Erik Walden, Frank Zombo, Tom Crabtree, Robert Francois and Evan Dietrich-Smith.

I'm thankful the Packers drafted Randall Cobb last year. He brings a skill set we have never seen in Green Bay and you get the feeling he's just scratching the surface on how good he can be. At some point he'll relinquish some of his return duties because he will be too important as a member of the offense. You just know that mad scientist Mike McCarthy will continue to find innovative ways to incorporate his versatility. His chemistry with Rodgers is electric and it looks like he will be a double digit touchdown guy for years to come.

I'm thankful Ted made a draft day deal to move back into the second ground to grab Vandy corner Casey Hayward. The instant analysis on draft day was that he might make it as a nickel corner in the NFL, but didn't have the speed to stay with top end receivers. Well, the eye test after watching him play 7 or eight games suggests that Hayward has no designs on relinquishing any playing time when Shields and Woodson are healthy. He's second in the league with five picks and has knocked down more than a dozen balls. He's instinctive, athletic and makes the Packers' defense much better when he's on the field.

Finally, I'm thankful that KFAN, the Vikings' flagship station, continues to give us Packer fans a weekly forum to talk about our favorite team. For 17 seasons, I've been afforded the opportunity to host "Packer Preview" on Sunday mornings. Not too many rival stations would do it, but the Fan "gets it" and always has. And thanks to you all for taking the time to read and sometimes comment on my blogs.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody. Let's hope the Pack can close it out with a bit of revenge against the Giants on Sunday night.


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