TORONTO - One game into the NFL season and the Green Bay Packers have already convinced us there is going to be no Super Bowl hangover.
Forget last nightís final result for a minute, as impressive offensively as the 42-34 shootout was, and look closely at how this team has come out of the gate.
Complacent? Not even a little bit.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers were in a no-huddle for most of the first half. Thatís the best quarterback in the business arguably changing it up despite the success heís had already in his young career to make his team better.
Through the first quarter alone, Rodgers had already put up the kind of stats most quarterbacks would gladly take for a full game. He was 14-for-15 for 188 yards and three touchdowns. The one incompletion was a throwaway.
Drew Brees and his Saints offence arenít exactly slouches either, and somehow managed to stay with the Packers through a stunningly efficient first half by the home team.
But if there was a message sent last night, it was that this group of Packers isnít satisfied with one Super Bowl and theyíll make whatever changes they need to to get another.
The rich get richer
Already possessing one of the best receiving corps in the game, the Packers look even more deadly this year. Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson and James Jones are just the first four wideouts. Now you can add Randall Cobb, the last player left in the Green Room on draft night, who had one of the four first-half touchdowns with a 32-yard pass-and-run play.
Cobb, the first NFL player born in the 1990s, then added a spectacular second touchdown in the third quarter, returning a kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown.
If nothing else, the Cobb return finally got Al Michaels to quit yapping on incessently about all the touchbacks.
But back to the Packers, if adding Cobb wasnít enough, the Packers get back tight end Jermichael Finley, who didnít find the end zone in that first half but he did haul in three passes for 53 yards which tied Jennings for tops on the team over the first two quarters. Finley missed almost all of last season due to injury.
These Saints can march
Good thing the Saints went out and revamped their running game. It was the only thing that kept them in this game through the first half. The trio of Darren Sproles, rookie Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas as the only returnee look like they are going to be a force to be reckoned with. Brees and his receivers, minus the injured Lance Moore, didnít look as solid as they have in the past, but that too will come, especially if the running game continues to be this productive. Sproles in particular looked good. There was some concern that losing Reggie Bush would hurt the Saints offence, but Sproles looks every bit the energizer that Bush was in his years as a Saint.
Short and inches
Dan Patrick, Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison: If there has been a better trio to preview a game, even a game as overhyped as this one, we havenít seen it ... Now if they could just pry that microphone out of Bob Costasí hand, it would all be just fine ... Dungy had to surprise a ton of viewers when he said he would take Rodgers over all other quarterbacks in the game if he had his choice. Somewhere, Peyton Manning is feeling very much like yesterdayís flavour ... All this angst over making sure the Presidentís address to the nation would be over in time to give the network carrying the football game time to set it up properly was ridiculous. Really, did anyone require Kid Rock and Maroon 5 that much? ... Apparently ,no one told Jordin Sparks that making the anthem your own personal little number was no longer in style ...Every time Driver gets up after being hit, you wonder if heís thinking he may have stuck around a year too long. He is 36 years old, but it seems like heís been around forever and the facial expressions after all that contact make him look much older than his 36 years ... Jennings came alive a year ago when Finley went down and through one game this year, he is showing no signs of taking a backseat to the talented tight end or anyone else, for that matter.