By Marcela Vargas // @ethne88
Reflecting on the past, these are my views and hopes toward the 2017 season for the Green Bay Packer
Last season was a slippery slope for the Packers’ fans. It started out with the high note of having WR Jordy Nelson back from a year-long absence due to a torn ACL, but then went south when the team hit a 4-6 mark that looked like the season was already lost.
Then came Aaron Rodgers’ famous “run the table” press conference, where he almost got too cocky about the team’s chances to come back from that. But the Packers delivered. They ran the table, clinched NFC North for the 5th time in 6 years, and went on to face the Atlanta Falcons for the NFC Championship. That 44-21 score felt like the worst of times.
The 2016 playoffs showcased both the strengths and the weaknesses of the team. Looking back on them, one thing is crystal clear: while having Aaron Rodgers as a quarterback and as a leader is a huge strength for the Packers, depending on him has become a liability over the years.
Rodgers is the main pillar of this team, but they can’t rely on a single man to pull through every time things don’t go as planned. The offense has been strong in recent seasons. The team possesses a tough set of WR –Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Jeff Janis, even rookie Geronimo Allison!–, and even though Green Bay lost most of their running backs to free agency, there’s hope on that respect.
Defense, however, is still not as tough as it ought to be. Our defense, no matter how smart Dom Capers can be, lacks consistency. No wonder the first draft pick this year was, again, a defensive player. Last season, Green Bay’s defense got a few good turnovers, and in some games actually made all the difference. But they also allowed Atlanta to beat the hell out of the Packers during the NFC Championship. There’s a lack of discipline that needs to be dealt with: too many yards have been lost to unnecessary penalties. Let us hope this coming season doesn’t see that happening again.
In regards to new additions to the Packers, while the final roster hasn’t yet been defined, there’s interesting members playing preseason. I write this as Green Bay’s final preseason game is played, so I might be proven wrong, but my standouts from the draft are Kevin King (CB) and North Carolina State’s Josh Jones, who comes as a strong safety to stand where Micah Hyde used to. He’s said to be a versatile player, and as long as he adapts to the team, he’ll be learning from great players: Morgan Burnett and Ha-Ha Clinton Dix.
Free agency did us wrong, but we also got a great player from those negotiations. Martellus Bennett coming in from the New England Patriots sounds promising, not only is he a top class player but he’s the kind of person who’s involved with the community and who gives back, and that’s very important for the Packers.
As for suitable backup quarterbacks… Brett Hundley’s been in the pack for a couple of years now, and he’s getting better, so he’s still alright. I don’t know what’s gonna happen with Joe Callahan this year, but just last year he was a part of three different teams and came back to Green Bay in December. So, between Callahan and rookie Taysom Hill, it’s hard to know which will make the final roster.
From where I’m standing, the scales are pretty balanced for the season. The Packers were so close to the Super Bowl last year that we can dream big and hope they’ll make it in 2017-2018. They might clinch the NFC Championship and then go defeat another amazing team for the Super Bowl.
Featured image courtesy: @packers
Follow and chat Packers with me: @ethne88
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