Green Bay Packers: 5 Keys to the Packers Success in 2011
The Green Bay Packers are off to their best start in franchise history as they continue their march towards perfection and a second consecutive Lombardi Trophy. With the Packers at 11-0, nobody has been able to take down the beast in Green Bay.
Coming off a huge division win against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day, the Packers have a four-game lead on the NFC North and a two game lead over the San Francisco 49ers for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The success the Packers are having is in large part due to the front office putting the team in a great position to have that success and maintain it. While there are many things that have made the Packers great this season, there are certain keys that helped them remain unbeaten.
5. Familiarity with the System
Building through the draft, the Packers pride themselves on the development of their young players. This approach has allowed the Packers a familiarity that is rare other places in the league. Among the 53 players on the active roster, all spent last with the Packers or are rookies.
While the shortened off-season forced the rookies to learn quickly, the others have benefited from the consistency of the personnel around them and the coaching staff. The Packers players came into the season knowing exactly what to expect and how to operate at a championship level.
The players and coaching staff have built chemistry and trust between them. With players buying into the system and executing, the Packers have formed a disciplined team.
Every team in the NFL has to deal with injuries over the course of the physically demanding season. Some teams crumble, while others survive the onslaught and fight through the adversity. The Packers fall into the latter category because of their depth.
After surviving 15 players going on IR last season on their way to the Lombardi Trophy, the Packers are experienced at plugging players and getting results. Last season, guys like Desmond Bishop, Charlie Peprah and James Starks stepped after injuries and now are regular contributors this season.
Against the Detroit Lions, the Packers suffered injuries to their two starting inside linebackers A.J. Hawk and Desmond Bishop and were forced to turn to backups D.J. Smith and Robert Francois. Both players stepped up and contributed to the Packers Thanksgiving Day victory.
All around their roster, the Packers are incredibly deep. They have survived injuries on the offensive line, in the secondary and on the defensive line. Along with surviving injuries, the depth of the Packers has created mis-matches with their stable of play-makers on the offensive side of the ball.
3. Third Quarter Success
A credit to the adjustments of the Packers coaching staff, the Packers have dominated opponents in the third quarter of games. So far this season, the Packers have outscored their opponents 100-27 in the third quarter.
In many games, the Packers have come out after halftime and extended leads or taken control of games. Throughout their current winning streak, the Packers haven't trailed in the fourth quarter. A lot of credit must go to this success.
As of late, head coach Mike McCarthy has deferred in order to get his offense the ball coming out of halftime. Getting the ball first in the quarter allows the Packers to showcase the adjustments made during the break.
While much as been made about the point and yardage totals the Packers have allowed on defense, one defensive stat has defined the Packers success more than any other. The Packers have dominated the turnover battle as they have bullied quarterbacks into interceptions and forcing fumbles.
With how talented the Packers offense is, the team expects that the offense should be able to put at least 24-30 points on the board. With this, the defense can afford to take more risks and try to get turnovers. While the strategy has it's pros and cons, it has worked wonders for the Packers so far this season.
For the Packers to continue on their path towards repeating as Super Bowl champs, they will need to continue forcing turnovers. With how deadly the offense is, opposing teams will have to stay turnover free just to have a chance to defeat the Packers.
1. Aaron Rodgers
Much has been made of the season that Aaron Rodgers has had to this point. Some are saying his run over the last 17 games is the best a quarterback has ever played. Others still think he is second in the league to Tom Brady.
Regardless of where Rodgers falls in quarterbacks, he has been the leading force of the Packers success. After starting the season on fire, many have watched waiting for Rodgers to come up with a dud. Of his 11 games this season, Rodgers worst performance was still above average according to league standards.
With how well Rodgers is playing and the amount of talent around him, it will be difficult for any defense to slow down the Packers. Rodgers is rolling and doesn't appear to be slowing anytime soon.