Mapping out the Blueprint for a Packers Super Bowl Run in 2013-2014
While the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers get ready to play Super Bowl XLVII, the Packers are left figuring out how to get back to the top next season. The last two seasons haven't gone as planned, and the Packers have some tough questions to answer as they head into the offseason.
The Packers' talent level is high enough to win the Super Bowl, but there are a number of factors keeping them from ultimate success. With some minor adjustments and additions, the Packers will be competing for another ring next season.
Here's how the Packers can get back to the Super Bowl in 2013-2014.
Draft a Wide Receiver
Donald Driver is out of the picture, and Greg Jennings will likely join him soon enough. The Packers still have great wide receivers in Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and James Jones. Up-and-comers Jeremy Ross and Jarrett Boykin should be back on the team, but the Packers could use another talented wide receiver in the draft.
The Packers have benefited from their talented bunch and the ability it gives them to create mismatches. With Ted Thompson's draft record, he should be able to bring in a rookie wide receiver who can contribute and be a factor for this team.
Mature on Defense
The Packers' defense was much improved last season, but it still has plenty of work to do. After an influx of young talent last draft, the Packers showed flashes of potential but also the mistakes of a young defense still learning to play together.
Casey Hayward, Nick Perry, Jerron McMillian, Mike Daniels and Dezman Moses all came up big at times but played inconsistent football throughout the year.
The Packers will benefit from having an offseason with this group and a chance to coach up some of the players. The core of this group is very good and should carry the Packers to successful defenses in the next few years, but they need to grow up as well as show up in big moments.
Get a Running Back
Late in the season, the Packers got a big spark in the running game from DuJuan Harris. He should be a key contributor next season, but the Packers need to bring in another running back to get their running game to an acceptable level.
If the Packers decide to go the free agency route like they did last year, Reggie Bush could be a possibility. It'd be highly unlike Ted Thompson, but after last season and the rumored Darrelle Revis interest (via Mike Freeman of CBS Sports), anything is possible. If not free agency, the Packers could look to draft a running back in the first couple of rounds to ensure they get a solid back.
Improve the Offensive and Defensive Line
The Packers got outplayed in the trenches on a number of occasions during the 2012 season. It's no coincidence that they lost most of these games. When Aaron Rodgers has no time to throw and the opposing quarterback as all day, the Packers have been terrible. They need to improve both lines in order to control games.
They will likely need to do so in the draft. The Packers haven't struck gold drafting defensive linemen, so the approach they take to improve the line will be interesting. It wouldn't be a surprise to see the Packers draft an offensive or defensive lineman early in the draft.
Better Inside Linebacker Play
The Packers should get Desmond Bishop and D.J. Smith back from injuries heading into next season. While A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones were serviceable at the inside linebacker position, the Packers could have gotten much more from the position. They could use a linebacker capable of making big plays on a regular basis.
It wouldn't be a surprise to see the Packers look to improve the depth at this position in the draft. Bishop, if healthy, is definitely one starter, but the other slot should be opened up for competition. The Packers can't accept just getting average play from the position any longer.