The Packers have developed a reputation professional football teams want to avoid.
They have been categorized as being soft.
Since their most recent playoff failure, the Packers have been scrutinized up and down for not being physical enough to compete with the elite teams of the NFL. That their style of play is not capable of winning another Super Bowl, because they lack the ability to punch their opponents in the mouth
Their offense is too dome like, focusing on a down the field passing attack, with little help coming from a substandard running game.
Their defense relying too much on the big play to keep them in games. Giving up goo gobs of yards has become the norm for the Packers defense, only occasionally showing the capability of stopping some of the better offenses in the league.
Being called soft a mere two years after winning the Super Bowl with nearly the entire roster in tact must have echoed very loudly in the halls at 1265 Lombardi Avenue leading up to the NFL Draft. And a definite shift in approach seems to be on the horizon.
The drafting of bruising running back Eddie Lacy gives the Packers they have not had since the Ryan Grant era-a running back capable of carrying the ball 20-25 games. This will take substantial pressure off the passing game, giving the Packers a two dimensional threat, both through the air and on the ground.
Lacy is expected to, along with Jonathan Franklin and incumbent DuJuan Harris, provide the Packers with something else-the ability to grind out the final minutes of a game, when managing the clock is so critical. The running back by committee approach the Packers have employed over the past several seasons has been a failure, partially because of their inability to perform in this situation.
Shuffling the offensive line is also expected to show the Packers are intent on becoming more physical.
By putting their two best linemen on the same side to protect their $110 million investment, McCarthy is sending a message to the rest of the league, and the message is simple: their offense is not going to be pushed around anymore.
McCarthy has showed his cards for how the offense will look different in 2013. That leaves one huge question still to be answered: what about the defense?
Criticism aimed at Dom Capers has not gone unwarranted. His defenses have failed at the most inopportune of times, helping aid the soft label. And deservedly so.
Playing defensive backs nine yards off receivers when it is third and seven is not playing soft-it’s playing stupid.
Consistently rushing two defensive linemen when it is third and long does not help shed the soft label.
Getting spanked in the playoffs three out of the past four seasons has damaged Capers’ reputation as a defensive genius, and caused much of the Packer faithful to question his ability to lead the defense.
Something has to change on defense if this team is going to get back to being an elite team.
Drafting Datone Jones in the first round should provide something the Packers have not seen since Cullen Jenkins was still wearing green and gold: a defensive lineman with a knack of getting to the quarterback.
Getting tough nosed Desmond Bishop should help the beleaguered defense.
Maybe getting Johnny Jolly back will help too.
But the real question is whether Capers will be able to make the changes this defense needs in order to become a powerhouse again. After meltdowns in the playoffs the past two seasons, that is the biggest question surrounding the defense heading into 2013.
Mike McCarthy has shown his cards as to what the Packers will look like on offense in 2013. He is determined to shed the soft label from the offense.
Will Dom Capers show his cards at some point? Or will he do what he has done far too consistently in big games since 2010-fold under pressure?
The cards have been dealt.
John Rehor is a writer at PackersTalk.com and co-host of Cheesehead Radio. To contact John follow him on Twitter @jrehor or email email@example.com