We're back for our third Q&A with an SB Nation blogger. We started with the Saints and Canal Street Chronicles, followed by the Falcons and Falcoholic. Today, we sit down with Brandon from Acme Packing Company, our Packers blog. The 49ers and Packers have had some great matchups in the past and the rivalry might be developing back into an interesting one. Aaron Rodgers has taken hold of the Packers, while Alex Smith might potentially developing into a solid QB for the 49ers.
The 49ers travel to Green Bay December 5, which could make for an incredibly cold game. The Packers are coming off an 11-5 wild card season and given the timing of this game, it could be a game with huge playoff implications. Thanks to Brandon for taking a few minutes to chat with us about the Packers offseason.
Fooch: What would you say has been the biggest acquisition and biggest loss in free agency for the Packers this offseason?
APC: It was a big deal that they kept (almost) all their own free agents, though only LT Chad Clifton had a visit with another team. The biggest free agent signing happened recently when they signed QB Graham Harrell. I'm serious! At least he was in the Browns training camp last season, unlike the Australian rules punter they signed. The major free agent loss was DE Aaron Kampman. He's been a great player and teammate during his career, but the transition from 4-3 DE to 3-4 OLB wasn't a huge success. He's also over 30 and coming off a torn ACL, so I don't think they really made an effort to keep him.
After the jump, Brandon discusses the Packers draft, their current holes, and provides a prediction...
Fooch: Can you give a recap of your draft as far as players that you expect to make an impact in 2010, whether it be starting or in terms of adding depth. Who do you think will be someone the 49ers will have to keep an eye on in this game?
APC: The 2010 NFL draft was all about depth. GM Ted Thompson is a big fan of LT Bryan Bulaga and couldn't believe he slid down to them. But they just re-signed veteran LT Chad Clifton so Bulaga will understudy in 2010. 2nd round DE Mike Neal is 4th or 5th on the depth chart right now, but may start in a year or two if there are free agent departures. 3rd round S Morgan Burnett is the most likely candidate to have an impact, but he'd have to beat out veteran SS Atari Bigby this preseason to start, which I think is unlikely. He may make an impact in the nickel or dime package if the 49ers open it up in 2010.
Fooch: The Packers took a big step forward in Aaron Rodgers second year as a starter. Coming off the 11-5 victory, what holes do you see in the Packers at this point in the offseason?
APC: The two biggest problems in 2010 were depth at offensive tackle and in the secondary. You can see they addressed both positions above in the draft, and they have some guys healthy (RT Mark Tauscher, CB Pat Lee) at the start of 2010 that weren't healthy this time last year. They also may get CB Al Harris back, but he's 35 years old and coming off a serious ACL tear. I'm not counting him out, he came back mid-2008 after a torn spleen to earn a trip to the Pro Bowl, but he'd just be a bonus. They addressed the problems, assuming they made the right moves to address them.
Fooch: Although it's still incredibly early, could you make a prediction on the 49ers-Packers game? Given that most teams haven't even conducted OTAs yet, we certainly won't hold you to it come December 5.
APC: It could be a shootout. When the Packers lost down the stretch last season it was in shootouts against the Steelers and Cardinals. Last year, once the 49ers put QB Alex Smith in the shotgun, he started picking the Packers secondary apart. It depends on what offensive style the 49ers bring to the game because you can't run against the Packers defense.