NFL Season Preview: The Green Bay Packers are Aaron Rodgers’ Team
The Packers made a strong statement following the 2012 season, with the expected departure of WR Greg Jennings and the massive contract that QB Aaron Rodgers signed in the offseason: the Green Bay Packers are Aaron Rodgers’ team, and will go as he goes.
The Packers have had the same story since winning the Super Bowl following the 2010 season: a non-existent running game, a sharp and lethal passing game, an oft-injured defensive unit, and a consistent pass-rushing threat in OLB Clay Matthews. That formula became too much for the Packers to bear, and changes were made in the offseason heading into 2013 in order to ensure that these pitfalls don’t continue plaguing the team.
The Pack went out and got Eddie Lacy (Alabama) to help a struggling running game. Additionally, the team extended the contract of the aforementioned Matthews as well, given that he is effectively the QB of the defense. Somewhat not surprisingly, the team parted ways with Charles Woodson, who was becoming rather “long in the tooth”, despite the demonstrated ability to make plays both as a CB and a safety.
The Packers are mostly going to roll with the same offensive philosophy: up-tempo offense, centered around a precise passing game featuring Rodgers, WR Jordy Nelson, WR Randall Cobb and WR James Jones. Lacy should be able to step in quickly and provide balance to the offense and gain tough yardage that cannot always come as the result of the passing game. The Packers know that they must establish a consistent running game if they are to return to the Big Game.
Defensively, the team had to address age at several positions, so their draft picks and free agency acquisitions were designed to bolster the LB corps and secondary. The Packers like Casey Heyward, and are certain that CB Tramon Williams will return to Pro Bowl form in 2013. There is plenty of speed in the Packer secondary, so the main issue is to maintain the health of their front seven which was absolutely ravaged by injuries in 2012.
Given that the Packers have not made any significant changes to their coaching staff, it appears that everything else will remain the same philosophically, just with an eye and hope towards the overall health of a defense that has been a veritable sieve (including in their playoff exit at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers in January 2013).
” It Is Only A Game, Until You Bet It “