There, I said it. Way too soon, of course, as free agency and the draft are still down the road. Frankly, though, other than the Packers retaining Randall Cobb, I don’t think it matters much.
If we go under the assumption that the Packers can sign Cobb before he hits the free agent market, (and I think they will), the team as constituted is good enough to win it all next year.
More important than specific personnel, from my perspective, will be the emotional factors that will drive this team next year. The loss to Seattle has hit this team, the organization, the fans, the city, the media, etc, harder than any loss I can remember (and I’ve been following since the Lombardi years).
Perhaps the player that best described the feeling was Josh Sitton, who intoned he would have rather not make the playoffs at all then to go as far as they did and lose the way they did. The NFL season is an incredibly long grind and getting as far as the Packers did with as injury-free a season they had is something that is extremely difficult to do. They were five minutes from the ultimate destination – the Super Bowl, when somehow, they abruptly pulled the rug out from underneath themselves.
The effects have spurred the Packers organization to act in a manner that you could say is out of character for them – swiftly and with no mercy. The symbols of failure from that Seattle game have been jettisoned. Shawn Slocum, Brandon Bostick, Brad Jones; all sent packing. No need to worry about seeing them around Lambeau Field next year and being reminded every day of that terrible day.
That’s not to say the Packers will forget what happened and put on a brave face about having moved on. To the contrary, they will think about it every day. The desire to erase the memory and replace it with a Super Bowl victory will be what drives them every day. Every exercise in the weight room, every hour in the film room, every rep on the practice field, the memory will consume them to push harder, to get back into that same position and this time, to finish it properly.
I’m not a betting man, but if I were, I’d be heading to Vegas or hitting up an online betting site to put some money down on the Packers winning the Super Bowl next season. It WILL happen.——————
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