Green Bay Packers: 10 Reasons the Packers Should Be Favorites to Repeat
We all know that the Green Bay Packers have a tendency to be repeat contenders when they perform at an optimal level. We have seen this time and time again when they clinch their division or beyond in streaks.
This began long ago before Titletown was Titletown and before Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers were ever a reality. 1929, 1930 and 1931 the Pack were NFL champions, and they did it again in 1961, 1962, 1965, 1966 and 1967 during the infamous Bart Starr and Vince Lombardi era.
Division championships are tucked away the same way, with the Packers leading the way for extended seasons. Last season though, Green Bay came from the back as the first sixth seed in the NFC to clinch not only their division, but the Super Bowl as well.
Was this a chance occurrence, similar to the 2009 Super Bowl appearance by the Arizona Cardinals, or do we have merit behind a hopeful repeat this season?
Power Ranked QB Aaron Rodgers as Green Bay Advantage
Returning this year as world champions is good enough, but with star QB Aaron Rodgers leading the Pack, they already have one advantage that other teams do not. Let’s not forget that he trained under the legendary Brett Favre. Or that one of the toughest home fields in the league is the one he grew up skinning his knees on.
Currently ranked no. 1 in QB power rankings by The Huddle, Rodgers has nothing but perfect health and a full season ahead of him to continue setting records. With Coach Mike McCarthy continuously refining his skills with new angles such as the no-huddle offense, Rodgers’ talents only have room to improve.
Rodgers’ QB passing rate has been over 100 for the last two years in the regular season, but his postseason numbers are even more impressive, rating at 121.4 in 2009 and 109.8 in 2010, according to Packers.com. When the heat is on, this is one player who only improves under the lime light, so don’t expect him to crack under the pressure to perform this year.
No-Huddle Offense Throwing off Defense for Packers
Green Bay’s offense is going to be moving down the field and throwing off the defense at a much faster speed this year. Success in their newly promoted no-huddle offense was apparent during preseason, pushing in touchdowns led by Aaron Rodgers two games in a row with its execution.
With the accuracy of Rodgers’ passing game, adding in more time for snaps and less opportunity for the opposing team to huddle is an excellent tactic. This approach also prevents players from being swapped out in between plays, an effective move when it’s apparent that a switch would have been beneficial for the defense.
Sports Psychology Advantage: The Packer's Mental Edge
I wrote previously about sports psychology and the huge effect that it has on players and teams (Green Bay Packers Head Game: How Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy Keep Their Edge) as a whole.
This element is one that Green Bay has on their side in the upcoming season and one that cannot be lightly dismissed. The mental inertia that brings out optimal performance in professional athletes is a state of mind that is earned, not granted.
Rising from sixth seed to world champions is a brag-able feat and one that will be carried with them in upcoming games. The mental edge that comes along with winning does nothing but boost performance in athletes, and something that we will see reflected in their upcoming performances as the Packers strive to live up to the high bar that they have set for themselves.
We’ve heard it said before that the one who wants it more gets it, and right now, the Pack want it... again.
Green Bay Fights on Despite Injuries
The fact that Green Bay was able to take it all the way in 2010 with multiple starters on the sidelines for the Super Bowl is proof enough of the talent that runs through their roster.
With a total of 16 players put on injured reserve throughout the season, they still made it as division champs and beyond. Out of their 22 starters, 13 of them missed game time with injuries last season. Eleven of those starters missed a combined 86 games.
There are a lot of what ifs that come into play with this.
Imagine them going at it again this year with their best foot forward, and that’s exactly what we’re going to see. If they were the best while their best sat and watched, everyone one else better just be prepared for even more of a challenge this year.
Postseason Away Game Experience for Green Bay
Experience is defined in the dictionary as “knowledge or practical wisdom gained from what one has observed or encountered.”
The experience that the Packers gained in last year’s postseason is something that will only serve to benefit them in the upcoming months while they are disadvantaged again at away games. They had faced off against first the Eagles, then the Falcons, before finally coming head to head against the Chicago Bears while picking their way through the playoffs. Each game was an away game for them, pitting them up as underdogs on hostile turf. Despite the lack of home field advantage, the Packers triumphed.
Knowing you can come out successful over another division champion on their own field goes a long way. Don’t believe me? Just ask Brett Favre how it worked for him every time he visited Dallas…
Veterans Jennings, Grant, Driver, Hawk, Woodson, Clifton and Pickett
No Navy Seals corp would want to go into a vital mission with a fresh bunch of newbies that they can’t trust to have their back. In football it’s no different. When your season, your reputation and sometimes your future health as a professional athlete is on the line, you want men next to you that you know you can trust.
With experienced players like Greg Jennings, Ryan Grant, Donald Driver, A.J. Hawk, Charles Woodson, Chad Clifton and Ryan Pickett teamed up on the same squad year after year, you know they have a trustworthy working relationship. The camaraderie that they have between themselves is not something that can be signed into with a trade or extended with a contract; it's priceless.
These players can read each other like the back of the football, and in games where seconds count, this gives the Green Bay Packers a huge edge.
Green Bay Homegrows New Talent in the Heartland
Not to be forgotten though is the fresh, unpredictable talent that is waiting to continue to prove itself within the Pack.
These boys may be relatively new, but that means that they haven’t been corrupted by the training tactics of different coaches. Coach Mike McCarthy doesn’t need to weed out bad habits of individuals who have only bled green and gold during their progressing NFL careers.
Rookie right tackle Brian Bulaga proved himself last year after moving into a starting position, molding himself exactly into what the team needed and wanted. Safety Morgan Burnett came to the Pack the same way, void of quirks and traits ingrained from other inferior teams.
Coming out in his third professional year is B.J. Raji as well, who’s been with Green Bay since they picked him up ninth overall in the 2009 draft. After leading the entire NFL in nose tackles in 2010, we can see how being with the very best from the beginning produces exceptional talent.
Coaches McCarthy, Moss, Philbin and Capers Leading the Pack
The Green Bay Packers don’t have a problem in this area, not with a coaching team behind them like Mike McCarthy, Winston Moss, Joe Philbin and Dom Capers. With 64 years of NFL experience between just the four of them alone (not including the 14 other assistant coaches that are staffed by Green Bay), it’s easy to see how this team is able to coordinate together so effectively.
Capers is the “newbie” of the aforementioned bunch, coming in at just his third year with the Packers. Don’t let that throw you off though, his contributions were so effective that in 2009 he was named Coordinator of the Year after helping the Pack to the no. 2 ranked defense after his debut year with the team.
We can be sure that in the offseason a lot of brain storming was taking place within the coaching staff on how to improve the best even more.
3-4 Defense Still in Play
The Green Bay Packers have had considerable success with the implementation of the 3-4 defense by Dom Capers in 2009. As mentioned earlier, the Pack became the No. 2-ranked defense while using it.
With Ted Thompson leaving his newly named 53-man roster a little shallow in the offensive line and heavy on the linebackers, we can safely assume how the defense will be lining up against New Orleans for the season opener.
The Green Bay coaching staff aren't trying to fix something that isn’t broken, and their choice of defense is no different. It took them all the way last year, and there is no reason to show why it would suddenly fail them now.
Green Bay Packers Lacking Any Strong Adversity in Upcoming Season
In my final review of the Green Bay Packers as potential repeat champions this season, I kept running into one question while talking to the fans.
“Why won’t they?”
As simple as that sounds, I put a little more into it. What do the Packers have fighting against them that would put them at a disadvantage? I looked at a lot of statistics, including QB ranking for divisional competition. I see no equals.
Possible threatening rookie debuters who may be a surprising wrench to the Green Bay fans? Not really.
Serious injuries which may prevent starters from performing? Nope.
Well what about backups if it happens? We got 'em.
I will point out that we only have three offensive backups, but like I touched on earlier, it's logical in light of the defensive strategy and strong starting offense.
I encourage those who have noticed legitimate holes in the Green Bay game, holes which have no net underneath, to please comment. I would really like to delve deeper if able…