The Green Bay Packers are widely regarded as one of the big favorites to hold up the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the 2015 NFL season and with good reason. They have one of the best offenses in the NFL with everybody returning and the best quarterback in the game leading it in his prime, one of the best head coaches and general managers in the game and a defense that was coming on at the end of the year last year. They went to Seattle in the NFC Championship with a gimpy Aaron Rodgers and should have won, so logically with most of the team the same they’re one of the favorites again. However, they have weak points just like any other team, so here are a few things that they have to watch out for that can leave them coming up short again:
This can be said for any team, but the NFL is a war of attrition and the healthiest teams always have a big edge. The Packers were about as healthy as you can be last season, so they hope it was due to their new training methods and not just insanely good luck . The real truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. Obviously, any injury to Rodgers that holds him out takes the team out of championship contention. Nobody else is at that level, but a combination of injuries to key starters can derail a season quickly as well.
The Packers were 23rd in the NFL allowing about 120 rushing yards per game. They improved greatly once Clay Matthews and Sam Barrington took over on the inside, but they were never great. The Packers just don’t have the big run stuffing types up front and Dom Capers refuses to give them help most of the time playing in the nickel. Most of the time the Packers can get leads to overcome this issue, but they have to be better in this area to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
Rookie Corners Not Developing:
The Packers let Davon House and Tramon Williams walk in the offseason and one of the big pluses of Green Bay’s defense last year was its ability to go four deep in cover corners. Not many teams in the league were able to say that. With half of them gone they will need Quinten Rollins and Damarious Randall to step up quickly to replace them, especially with Casey Hayward being injury prone. They will also need Sam Shields to stop getting burned on double moves like he is prone to and to improve his footwork and consistency. If the rookies don’t develop quickly the Packers will need a top notch pass rush to contain elite quarterbacks.
The Packers are more talented than almost every team they play, so a lot of times when they lose it’s because they’re beating themselves. This is why Rodgers hates mental mistakes so much. Mental mistakes like the ones made by Morgan Burnett, Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, Brandon Bostick and the coaching staff are what cost the Packers a trip to the Super Bowl last year. Mike McCarthy being more involved in the decision making outside of play calling will hope to limit these kinds of errors.