The last few seasons the Green Bay Packers have followed similar paths to their seasons with a slow start followed by a ferocious finish on their way to winning the NFC North. They have started 2-2 the last three seasons. Mike McCarthy is tired of that trend and is looking to change it.
“Obviously we need to start the season better,” McCarthy said via ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky. “A 2-2 start is not going to cut it this year.”
In order to accomplish this McCarthy is looking for the younger players to learn the system quicker.
“We’re challenging the older guys to bring the younger guys up and then coach those younger guys in more of a one-on-one fashion,” McCarthy said. “It’s just finding as many different ways as you possibly can to motivate and continue to grow as a program.”
There is something to McCarthy’s point. The Packers will always be a young team under Ted Thompson relying on a ton of rookies. Rookies tend to get better as the season goes by and they get more comfortable, which may be a factor to the poor starts. Even with greater emphasis being placed on getting the younger players ready faster that will be tough to change. No matter how much you prepare there is no preparation for seeing regular season football for the first time in your career.
Also, perhaps a bigger factor than the young players is just that Green Bay has had tough early season schedules in recent seasons. In 2012 they lost games against San Francisco and at Seattle in the season’s first month, in 2013 it was road games at San Francisco and Cincinnati and last year it was road games at Seattle and Detroit. So, losing any of those games is really nothing to be ashamed of since they were all against quality teams and almost all on the road.
This season the Packers should start much faster because the schedule is much easier. They have Seattle early again, but it’s at home this time and they should be decent favorites at Chicago, home against Kansas City and at San Francisco. I would expect the Packers to get off to at least a 3-1 start, and they will need to do so with the really tough games coming later in the year this season.——————