Now that the NFL has official put a bow on its’ 2017 season, the league will turn their sights to the off-season. The league held it’s annual awards ceremony on Saturday night, the night before the Super Bowl. The NFL Honors is the league’s award ceremony to highlight that seasons best players and plays. In most seasons, we are sure to catch numerous highlights and mentions from the past Packers season. Unfortunately, that was not the case this year. For the first time since 2008, the Green Bay Packers did not make the playoffs under Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers. Something that is rare to today’s Packer fan.
There was still much to celebrate as a Packers fan during Super Bowl weekend. Brett Favre making an appearance to present an award at the NFL Honors ceremony, and Jerry Kramer finally getting the call to Canton. Our future Hall of Fame quarterback, Aaron Rodgers was also in the house and spoke to Packers.com writer Mike Spofford afterwards. Rodgers told Mike Spofford, “Don’t get used to not watching the team in January because it’s not going to be like that after this little aberration”.
As Rodgers normally does when he speaks, he spoke with a measured tone, calculated and seemed optimistic about next season. Why shouldn’t we believe him? I mean, he missed more than half the year and he is sure to use that as motivation next season. Plus, the last time that Aaron missed significant time with a collarbone injury, he came back the following season and won league MVP. He has done it before and he was having one of his finest seasons before he got injured this season.
For the team to get back to playoff football, he knows that he is going to have to be playing at an elite level. He also knows that the team will have to improve on both offense and defense for them to play in the Super Bowl again. In his same conversation with Mike Spofford, Rodgers said, “I think what it’s going to take is get more consistent in all the phases, we obviously got to play championship defense”.
Looking at the last four teams (Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots, Minnesota Vikings, and Philadelphia Eagles) that remained in the NFL playoffs all of them had good defenses. Three out of four of them ranked in the top four defensively. That is the one area that I have been preaching that the Packers desperately need to improve if they want to play deep into January and on Super Sunday.
We saw the offense go off the rails with Rodgers off the field. But with a new found running game and Joe Philbin returning as offensive coordinator, this offense can be lethal once again. The 2017 season was just one of those years, with a healthy Rodgers, refreshed offense and retooled defense, this time will be back in the playoffs in 2018. Rodgers didn’t guarantee he will be the league MVP next season or that they will make the playoffs, but with a healthy Rodgers they will already be an improved team. Plus, when he says something he usually delivers.
Take his word Packers fans, don’t get use to the Green Bay Packers not playing in the playoffs, according to your future Hall of Fame quarterback, they will be back.
Anthony Haag is a writer for PackersTalk.com. He has been a Packers fan since the day he was born and truly bleeds green and gold. He makes annual visits to Lambeau Field and has attended his fair share of games. You can follow Anthony on Twitter at @anthony_haag