After a short practice on Monday and a Tuesday off, the Packers embark on the game planning today for the NFL season opener Sunday in Philadelphia against an Eagles team that will enter the campaign without Donovan McNabb at quarterback for the first time in a decade. Head coach Andy Reid traded his Pro Bowl quarterback to division rival Washington this off-season, turning the reigns over to young Kevin Kolb. Philadelphia has speedy skill players on the outside in DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, a solid tight end in Brent Celek, but a suspect offensive line and no reliable Brian Westbrook in the backfield. On defense, the Eagles are young in the secondary outside of veteran Asante Samuel but they'll continue to try and wreak havoc with exotic blitz packages. We'll spend more time on specific matchups later in the week.
The Packers are entering the season without a bona fide return man, giving the kickoff return duties to wide receiver Jordy Nelson and turning the punt return chores over to Tramon Williams. To cover their bases, the Packers on Tuesday worked out former Tampa Bay Buccaneer safety and return man Clifton Smith. He made the Pro Bowl after the 2008 season but suffered a series of concussions last year and was cut by the Bucs last Saturday. Smith also planned to visit Miami.
The young and old of the Packers secondary will be interesting to watch early this season with veteran Charles Woodson and Nick Collins paired with 4th year pro Williams and rookie Morgan Burnett. Another rookie, undrafted free agent Sam Shields may handle the nickel responsibilities on opening day. From the locker room, here's some quotes from Woodson and Burnett: