Many Packers fans have been in this mode since the heartbreaking loss to San Francisco during the wildcard round of the playoffs. Fans can only bear to replay Micah Hyde’s near interception so many times, wondering what could have been.
At some point, fans have to move on.
The offseason is always a great time of optimism around the league. Each team believes that they will acquire the necessary missing pieces to field a better roster in the coming season. The Green Bay Packers are no exception to this offseason optimism. There are, however, additional reasons why I believe the Green Bay Packers’ outlook should be increasingly optimistic as we jump into this offseason.
It is absolutely true that free agency and the 2014 NFL draft could provide the talent that is needed in a few key areas. However, I believe there is one other thing that should make Packers fans more optimistic than ever. There is one word that I believe describes why the Green Bay Packers will find success in 2014 and in the years to come.
That word is “continuity.”
Continuity is a simple word that expresses value in what does not change. Many things need to change, but there is certainly some truth in the phrase, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it!”
I believe it is the things that WILL NOT change for the Packers in 2014 that will make them a successful team. For instance, Green Bay will go to great lengths to re-sign both Sam Shields and B.J. Raji. These impact players are incredibly talented defensive players. Raji’s pursuit will be based on his potential at nose tackle rather than being based on his past success at defensive end.
Even still, re-signing both players is incredibly important because it allows for continuity and chemistry on the defensive side of the ball.
The Packers will also want to re-sign starting center Evan Dietrich Smith.
The Packers have potential in J.C. Tretter, who will be a promising second year player. However, Aaron Rodgers has encouraged the Packers to bring Dietrich-Smith back. Rodgers has experienced discontinuity at the center position.
Since Scott Wells’ departure in 2011, Green Bay tried Jeff Saturday at the position, but soon opted to give EDS the job. Re-signing him will provide continuity and stability at the point of the quarterback-center exchange. This continuity will also maintain the chemistry in an offensive line that paved the way for rookie running back Eddie Lacy to have the outstanding year that he did.
In addition to potentially bringing back these key players, the best evidence of the value of continuity is seen in the Chicago Bears’ choice to extend Jay Cutler to a long-term deal. Most Chicago Bears fans would admit that they don’t view Cutler as a great NFL quarterback. He is merely adequate with some playmaking ability.
So why did Chicago dedicate the next six years to him and his right arm?
It was better for the Bears to have continuity with just an above average player than roll the dice and hope for a phenomenal player. Even the Chicago Bears knew that continuity breeds chemistry, and chemistry allows for optimal team play.
Maybe the biggest reason for optimism in this conversation should be a quick look at the discontinuity that is prevalent elsewhere in the NFC North. Detroit and Minnesota have new head coaches, Minnesota’s quarterback situation might as well be the definition of discontinuity, and Chicago’s defense is experiencing an identity crisis.
With all these things considered, I believe that Packers fans should be incredibly optimistic about the continuity that is about to be secured in the offseason. Big free agent signings are exciting, but retaining players allows for chemistry to grow.
Success hinges on key additions to a nucleus that already exists. It does not mean tearing down and starting over.
Please don’t misunderstand. The Packers have plenty that they need to do to upgrade their roster.
Continuity is not complacency.
However, expect Ted Thompson to continue to retain his own players, draft well, and supplement with free agency.
The Green Bay Packers are three-times defending NFC North Division champions. When you are successful you tend to tweak more than you change and Packers fans can anticipate an offseason that gives the highest priority to maintaining team continuity.
Tags: Green Bay Packers