Due to the success of the Green Bay Packers franchise it is difficult to sum up a season in which a very talented team falls short of the Superbowl and the NFC Championship game for a second year in a row.
This season’s team had a lot of talent on their roster, but once again, in the playoffs they where beat up and sent home packing far earlier than Packer fans would like.
And that is the dilemma that the Packers organization faces. Because they have had so much success, fans want a Superbowl and nothing else. Packer fans are spoiled in this way.
In my 22 years of being alive, the Green Bay Packers have won two Superbowls and played for a third. When future Hall of Famer Brett Favre left, star quarterback Aaron Rodgers took over and he didn’t take long to become great. The Packers have brought out great talent from the draft every year. So yeah, I feel a little spoiled when it comes to my NFL team.
Were the Packers the best team in the NFL this year? No. Were the Packers talented enough to win a Superbowl this year? Yes.
This year’s team dealt with a ton of injuries. Both Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson, two of the Packers top receivers, missed multiple games with injuries. The offensive line was in shambles by the end of the season due to injuries and the defense was without many players, including star linebacker Clay Matthews and also Charles Woodson, both who missed a couple games due to their injuries.
All the injuries added up and the team had to adopt, which they did a great job of. But by the end of the season and in the playoffs the team was fully healthy and injuries could no longer be an excuse.
A lot of fans wanted to point to the Seattle and the “Fail Mary” game as a reason the Packers had to travel to San Francisco instead of the 49ers coming to Lambeau in the divisional round. While it is true, the Packers had plenty of chances to secure home field in games that weren’t decided by referees who haven’t called games higher than high school level (still bitter.)
The loss to the Indianapolis Colts in week five really stands out. The Packers had a big lead at half and squandered it, losing 30-27 on a last second touchdown. The Packers also dropped a close one to the Vikings in the last week of the regular season. Win either of those games and the Packers are the two seed in the playoffs and get the 49ers at home. Would that change the outcome of the game against the 49ers? Maybe not, but it doesn’t hurt to be playing at home against a quarterback making his first playoff start.
But for the most part the regular season was very positive. The team did play well, even though they resembled a shambling horde of injured players instead of a well-tuned unit.
While nobody really shined as the lead running back, there will be a hard battle in training camp for who gets that starting gig. Competition always bodes well for a team, as all the backs will be giving it their all for the whole season so they can be the starter.
The fans also got to see the quick rise of Randall Cobb. Cobb was a good weapon last season but this season he became Rodgers favorite target and he should only get better as he gets more experience.
The defense also saw great improvement over last season. Casey Hayward really made a name for himself this season and will be a staple of the Packers defense for years to come.
Green Bay will have an interesting off-season. The prevailing feeling is that Donald Driver won’t be back with the Packers. Either he will retire or he will be playing for a different team. Driver is a fan favorite and it was sad to see him standing on the sidelines right behind coach Mike McCarthy as the Packers watched their season fly away.
Most people also feel that Greg Jennings will leave the team after this season. Jennings is a free agent and will probably command a big paycheck. Because the Packers have a deep group of receivers they can let Jennings go and only take a small hit to the production level, but it will still be sad to see such a talent leave.
Green Bay will most likely stick to the same draft model they employed this season. They will most likely draft heavy on the defensive side of the ball, especially in the linebacker position because they will need more mobile linebackers to keep up with the scrambling quarterbacks like Russel Wilson and Colin Kaepernick.
This season can boil down to this point, and this point is much like last season. The Packers were a good team, they had the talent to win it all, but they just got beat by a more complete team.
The Packers are a good team. In the offseason, Packers management will do what they can to make them a great team and hopefully, a Superbowl team.