As disappointing as the 2008 Packers are, some hope did emerge from the wreckage of a wasted season. The brilliant play of Aaron Rodgers and the continued development of five outstanding receivers was, unfortunately, offset by the lackluster play and dullness of the entire defense.
For the 2009 season, Aaron Rodgers needs his own Reggie White. In order to have any success next year, the Packers need to upgrade several key defensive positions with veteran free agent acquisitions.
Why does Rodgers the rookie need a leader on defense? The same reason Ron Wolf pursued and acquired Reggie White in 1993, to compliment his young and promising QB and provide veteran leadership where none existed.
In 1992, T. Bennett and B. Paup led the team with 13.5 and 6.5 sacks, and as a unit combined for only 34 sacks all season. After White's arrival, White, Paup and Bennett had 13.0, 11.0 and 6.5 sacks and the team recorded 46 sacks. Not only did the unit as a whole improve, but the presence of a more dominating defense created better opportunities for the offense to score and control the game clock.
Luckily for Green Bay, several elite defensive players will become unrestricted free agents after this season. The Green Bay Packers have plenty of money to spend of free agents this off season, roughly $32.08 million.
Hopefully General Manager Ted Thompson recognizes the urgent need for a defensive upgrade at multiple positions. Adding only one or two key free agents would return immediate results. Quite an impressive list, as you can see below:
Julius Peppers, Carolina Panthers
Albert Haynesworth, Tennessee Titans
Terrell Suggs, Baltimore Ravens
Bertrand Berry, Arizona Cardinals
Tommie Harris, Chicago Bears
Ray Lewis, Baltimore Ravens
Packer fans will not wait for this uncomfortable situation to reverse itself. The team, the players, the fans, and the community deserve better than the current product being offered on Lambeau field every other Sunday.
Without the next Reggie White, Aaron Rodgers is destined to become the next Lynn Dickey in Green Bay.