Super Bowl 2011: 10 Ways the Green Bay Packers Can Repeat
The Green Bay Packers are the Super Bowl Champs, but in order to repeat their success in 2011, they need to ensure that the circumstances remain favorable.
Only eight teams have won the Super Bowl after winning the year before, but the Packers have all the tools necessary to compete next year and beyond.
The Lombardi Trophy's return to Green Bay and the only publicly-owned team in the league is appreciated by all of the team's many owners, but in order to keep it in Green Bay another year, Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson have a long spring and summer ahead of them.
1: Fortify Wide Receiver Position
Greg Jennings took a huge step forward this season into a small group of the NFL's elite wide receivers, but he needs some support. James Jones and Donald Driver are both scheduled to become free agents.
Driver is increasing in age and his production is starting to decline. Jones, if he returns, might be considered the No. 2 receiver next season.
Regardless of whether the Packers choose to build through the draft, free agency or from within, wide receiver is a position of need for Green Bay to repeat.
2: Re-sign Daryn Colledge
The Packers had one of the top offensive lines in football this year. No matter who was playing at running back, he always managed to find the plus-sized hole the line left for him.
The entire line is under contract for next year, except for LG Daryn Colledge. With most positions, it is acceptable to build through the draft or free agency. On the offensive line, however, so much of the game is playing with the four other guys on the line.
The Packers five had success this year and continuity would allow them to be a dominant force in the 2011 season.
3: Keep Rodgers Healthy
Aaron Rodgers suffered two concussions this season and nearly had a third when Julius Peppers drew blood on an illegal hit in the NFC championship.
Aaron Rodgers has cemented himself as a member of the upper echelon of quarterbacks along with Brady, Manning and Brees. For the Packers, the worst thing that could happen would be Rodgers getting hurt again.
An intense offseason regiment coupled with his new helmet should allow Rodgers to be effective for the entirety of next season.
4: Keep the Rest of the Team Healthy
The NFL is a game where luck often leads to the Super Bowl. Beyond simply getting hot at the right time, the healthiest team come January is often the one that wins.
The Packers had tough luck with injuries throughout the season, but managed to scrape into the playoffs on a tiebreak. Once in, the last seed started getting healthier (although they were more banged up than most Super Bowl winners) and made a run.
In order for the Packers to make the same run next year, they must remain healthy in January. This is the responsibility of the oft-overlooked training staff.
5: Keep the Team Motivated
As obvious as motivation is as a reason teams win, a number of teams come off their championship highs with unfulfilled expectations the following season.
Head Coach Mike McCarthy must ensure that the Packers want it even more next year than they did this year. Next team, everyone will be gunning for the Pack, so it will take increased focus and motivation to continue their success.
6: Draft Best Available Players
NFL teams often get caught up in drafting for need, assuming the player they pick will be able to step in immediately and help.
The Packers, although they have the last pick of the first round and low picks throughout the draft, must draft the best players available, regardless of need.
The dropoff between the best player on the board and the best player at the position you want can be steep, and the NFL is a game of injuries. So (with the possible exception of quarterback) if a team's starter is very good, it shouldn't be afraid to draft a very good backup.
7: Pick a Starting Running Back
Ryan Grant was hurt for most of this season. While it is likely he would be the presumptive starter if he came back, injuries often take a toll on players that lasts longer than they are unable to play.
James Starks had success running for the Pack late in the season, and while the NFL is becoming more and more of a two-running back league, there must always be an alpha dog.
McCarthy will have to be careful when dealing with egos to determine next year's starter.
8: Don't Get Cocky
Going along with staying motivated, not getting cocky means the Packers must be careful about trash talking or taking it easy, especially with the "defending champ" target on their back.
On paper, the Packers have an easier schedule next season (opponents had a .508 winning percentage as opposed to .520 this season).
The Packers chances are high, but champions always have something to prove.
9: Don't Ruin a Good Thing
The Packers were the best team in football this year, but most fans would have said a few weeks ago that they were really waiting until next season.
The number of injuries withstood and tough luck in the regular season made this Super Bowl a surprise for one of the preseason favorites.
Next year, the Packers still figure to be better, as long as there are no dramatic changes in coaching or personnel.
10: Re-sign Cullen Jenkins
The Packers must maintain a strong pass rush in order to contend again in 2011. Jenkins was a solid defensive end this season, and he is poised to take another step forward next year.
When healthy, Jenkins is a pass-batting machine who wreaks havoc in opposing backfields.