There isn’t much that can be said by critics right now for the Green Bay Packers—there is a reason why they are the envy of the NFL in talent depth. However, every good coach knows that pride comes before a fall, and there is always room for improvement.
Looking at the Packers from a critical standpoint, where can they improve?
What is up with the Green Bay running backs? Yes, we are all aware that Grant and Starks are exceptional players, and the numbers that they put up completely supports their contribution to the team.
On the other hand, look at the time they have both missed due to injuries. In the unfortunate event that one, or even worse, both, succumb to a 2010-like injury plague, coach Mike McCarthy is left with the unproven rookie Alex Green as his backup.
We just may see Green getting additional play time in anticipation of this possibility.
Aaron Rodgers: talented, healthy, quick in the heat. There is a scarce chance that any NFL coach wouldn’t greedily snatch him up, if ever presented the chance of course.
But… what if…? Where would that leave the defending Super Bowl champions in the upcoming season?
First off, I will not discredit the Green Bay backup QB, Matthew Flynn. In Week 15, 2010, Flynn had a passer rating of 100.2. That’s nothing to scoff at. However, there have been very few opportunities for him to show these apparent abilities. He needs to be seasoned, and only time on the turf with a play clock ticking can provide that.
If the Green Bay coaching staff are interested in covering their bases, we may be watching for Flynn to get more game time in knockdown wins before the playoffs.
When I wrote “10 Reasons the Packers Should be Favorites to Repeat," I highlighted the continuing focus on the 3-4 defense that was implemented by Dom Capers in 2009. Though this has been very successful for the Packers in the past, the continuance of it motivated the choices for the recently confirmed 53-man roster.
While the opposing defense will be waiting and wondering if the Pack will be implementing a running or passing play due to the confusing array of three talented tight ends on the field, they will also be wondering who McCarthy will put in once the other areas of the shallow offensive line run into problems.
In the meantime, this heavy on the linebacker mentality is not presenting any problems as of yet, but if backups are needed in a few key areas, there aren’t that many to choose from.
Aaron Rodgers has an amazing QB ranking. Aaron Rodgers has impeccable aim. Aaron Rodgers’ performance typically improves when the heat is on. And unfortunately, Aaron Rodgers is one of the most frequently sacked quarterbacks in the NFL.
What is going on guys?
After preseason, the Packers were marked down as having allowed a total of 123 sacks to Rodgers since his debut as starter in 2008, sixth highest in the league. After the season opener Saints game, you can add another one to that.
I bet you’re just a little bit more worried about Flynn than you were earlier, huh? After all, there is a reason for Jim McMahon having a '96 Super Bowl ring.
If McCarthy doesn’t figure out a way to patch this problem soon, he may be figuring out how to work with an injured starter. He already sat out games last year for a concussion, they don’t need to see more of that this year.
Throughout all of this, the Packers have consistently been missing one thing game after game, year after year. It is an area they almost blatantly ignore, despite the amount of attention it ensues:
When on earth are they going to get some professional cheerleaders? True college and high school cheer squads make guest appearances. This is another high mark in making them America's team, adding that hometown spirit to the only publicly owned team in the NFL.
Okay okay, maybe professional cheerleaders isn't important to too many people. In fact, the fans pride themselves in being those cheerleaders. Add in the new Tundra Line, and we can easily see the crowds being rallied without any green and gold skirts.
Despite this, not all of the fans will be able to agree on the fact that one of the NFL's most viewed teams is lacking their own personal cheer squad. It's brought up again and again year after year, and likely will continue to.
I highly doubt though that will make any difference. Green Bay just doesn't need them.