I recently conversed with Jason Hirschhorn, who you can follow on Twitter @JBHirschhorn, of fellow SB Nation site Acme Packing Company. We traded our 5 questions this week about the teams we cover, his team of course being the upcoming opponent Green Bay Packers. Here is what he had to say!
Well, before he was an ex-Raiders quarterback, Matt Flynn put in four years of service as Aaron Rodgers' primary backup. Spending that much time in the Packers' offense begets a high-level understanding of the scheme. That's primarily why Flynn was able to perform at a high-level for Green Bay just ten days after being signed off the street. The system is second nature to him.
It's for those same reasons that Flynn projects to enter the 2014 regular season as the Packers' top backup quarterback. While his preseason stat line is dwarfed by Scott Tolzien's, Flynn runs the offense more competently and with better tempo. That's not to disparage Tolzien, who as of this moment appears likely to make the roster as a third quarterback, but Flynn presents a better threat to opposing defenses at this point in time.
2) With the Packers losing Johnathan Franklin, how will they replace that speed threat in the backfield?
It's difficult to ascertain quite what the Packers lost in Johnathan Franklin; the former UCLA tailback registered just 19 carries during his time in Green Bay. While he was presented as a change-of-pace compliment to Eddie Lacy, Franklin really only showcased his ability in one game — a 13-attempt, 103-yard performance in Cincinnati.
Given that the Packers' ground game centers on the one-two punch of Lacy and James Starks, the void left by Franklin isn't overly apparent. However, should Green Bay wish to add some speed at tailback, slot receiver Randall Cobb can shift to the backfield. The team has previously used him there to great effect, such as his 67-yard run against the Lions last season.
3) The Raiders have many transplants from Green Bay. Out of GM Reggie McKenzie, WR James Jones, DL CJ Wilson, S Brandon Ross or S Charles Woodson; who is the person the Packers regret losing the most and why?
The answer is pretty clearly Charles Woodson. While the Packers seem to have shored up their secondary this offseason, they spent all of 2013 with a semi-trailer-sized hole at safety. The combined efforts of M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian failed to cover for the loss of Woodson's playmaking ability. It's no coincidence that neither remains on the roster. While Woodson is no longer the All-Pro candidate he was for much of his Green Bay tenure, his absence from last year's defense was felt.
4) We already know that the Raiders like ex-Packers, who are the Packers' bubble players that are fighting for roster spots that other teams would be most interested in if they are cut?
The logjam at outside linebacker will likely result in one or more capable pass rushers looking for work come September. The addition of Julius Peppers along with Mike Neal's re-signing forces second-year players Nate Palmer and Andy Mulumba to compete with rookies Carl Bradford, Adrian Hubbard, and Jay Elliott for one or two roster spots. Palmer and Mulumba combined for 561 snaps last season — a lot of experience for young linebackers on the bubble. Yet impressive showings for Hubbard and Elliott could push one or both out the door. They might be attractive for Oakland should they be released.
5) You knew this question was coming, but how do you believe Brett Favre will be received when his number is retired and he is entered into the Packer Hall of Fame and Ring of Honor?
The national concern over the Brett Favre – Packers reunion has always been overblown. While a Twitter search may reveal numerous Favre antagonists, the majority of the Packers' fan base supports his return. Despite discussion to the contrary, the cheers for Favre during the number retirement ceremony will drown out the few who choose to boo.
I will post a link to my questions and answers on Acme Packing Company as soon as they are posted!