Aaron Rodgers will return and play with a chip on his shoulder - literally and figuratively. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

How can the Green Bay Packers make Aaron Rodgers an even better quarterback?


Aaron Rodgers Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Aaron Rodgers
Raymond T. Rivard photograph

 

With the NFL Draft about a month away and free agency still dribbling bits and pieces of news our way, it’s time we concentrate once more on the future exploits of the Green Bay Packers and even more specifically today – Aaron Rodgers.

Sans his broken collarbone last season, Rodgers was probably on his way to another top-notch season. With Rodgers under center, the Packers were just beginning to get their game together when he landed on and snapped his collarbone. Enter mediocrity in the form of Seneca Wallace, Scott Tolzien, and yes, even Matt Flynn. The Packers’ musical chairs at quarterback last season was a major distraction and a major downgrade for the team at the most important position.

But despite the fact that the team lost its best player, they still hung on and eventually came out the back end with a third straight NFC North Division championship. Granted, it was purely a miracle that it occurred and the Packers can surely thank the annual implosion of the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears for

Keeping Aaron Rodgers healthy will be a key to success in 2014. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Keeping Aaron Rodgers healthy will be a key to success in 2014.
Raymond T. Rivard photograph

their late-season good fortune.

However, we all know that the Packers were once again one-and-done in the playoffs, which raised red flags about where this team stood in the power rankings. By season’s end, were they that far away from a Super Bowl bid – even with their star quarterback under center? Yes.

We all know that Aaron Rodgers is one of the best in the NFL, but the ingredients that make for a Super Bowl-winning team simply weren’t in place. Ted Thompson knows this. Mike McCarthy knows this.

Fortunately for the team, the past dollars saved added to the additional salary cap dollars awarded this spring gave the Packers a nice cushion of bills to not only sign the important free agents on their own team, but to bring in a couple of new players from outside Green Bay.

That has been a good start to a productive offseason.

However, to make Aaron Rodgers even better, Thompson must sign at least one or two other free agents of his own (John Kuhn, Johnny Jolly, or Ryan Pickett) and have an effective draft.

Surrounding the league’s best quarterback with quality players on both sides of the ball will make Rodgers’ job much easier when the team hits the field come September. That means drafting at least one solid safety, an inside linebacker, an offensive lineman, and maybe even a wide receiver. And of course all this needs to be done without breaking the bank because Thompson has to come up with enough money to re-sign both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.

Because if the Packers are going to continue to improve enough to be considered elite, they have to continue to evolve … the roster needs continuous fluidity to make it happen.

The Packers demonstrated improvement in the run game last season. That all came about with the additions of Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin and the emergence of James Starks. Without a quarterback who could carry the team last year, the Packers relied more heavily on the run game. There’s no reason to

James Starks came on in relief and put up impressive numbers for the Packers in 2013. He has re-signed with the Packers. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

James Starks came on in relief and put up impressive numbers for the Packers in 2013. He has re-signed with the Packers.
Raymond T. Rivard photograph

believe they won’t continue to do so in 2014.

But continuing to improve the defense will go a long way in improving the team’s offense and allowing Rodgers to go about his business like he has in the past. Stopping teams, forcing punts, utilizing field position and special teams and allowing the Packers to chew up the clock with their run game will make Rodgers more effective and efficient.

So, the Packers make Rodgers a better quarterback by improving its defense, special teams and running game. They control the line of scrimmage and they win.

Sounds like a simple strategy … and it really is. But what’s the key to making it happen? Managing and reducing the number of injuries that have hamstrung (sorry for the descriptor) the Packers in several of the most recent seasons.

Let’s make Rodgers better by improving the players around him.

Stay tuned …

 

 

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Tags: Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers

  • rodgers rules

    Bringing back Jolly would be good. Pick is too old, Kuhn will just be taking up a roster spot. The season will hinge on whether Hyde can excel at safety and who we can add at ILB. Offense will be set if Tretter can play C. Add a late round WR.

    • millerforrest

      Hyde will NOT start at safety….. TT will draft one of 3 safetys….. HaHa Clinton Dix, Calvin Pryor or Jimmy Ward.

      • rodgers rules

        If we hung out at the same bar, I would bet you a six pack Hyde will play at least some safety. He is a playmaker but not fast enough for corner and Hayward will be back to play the slot. MM has already said Hyde needs to be on the field more. Only way is at safety.

        • millerforrest

          I understand all of that, but do you really wanna entrust someone who has NEVER played safety to be the starter at a position he NEVER played? That’s why I believe FIRMLY that Ted Thompson will go HARD after a Safety in either Round 1 or Round 2. They would rather have a college guy who has played safety come in and start right away becuz of experience at playing the position than someone who has ZERO experience. It will be a transition period for Hyde. He will NOT be thrown into the lions den as the starting safety unless TT cannot get a reliable safety thru the draft. that will spell trouble for our defense if that happens.

          • NJPackFan

            He split time between cornerback and safety in college. The transition to safety isn’t as hard as you’re making it seem. It’s not like going from safety to corner, or from center to left tackle. The biggest problem with corners making the move to safety is their usual lack of size and unsure tackling. With that being said, Hyde has proven to be a sure tackler, he has the size, he has great instincts, and he accounted for half of the secondary’s forced fumbles even though he only played 39% of defensive snaps. The fact is that with another full NFL offseason this guy can turn into a bonafide playmaker, and do you want him sitting on the bench 60% of the time? Or even more, considering Hayward will be back this season? The answer should be a resounding No. I’m not saying he will absolutely be the starting FS, but he sure as hell deserves a chance to make the transition during the offseason and see if he can be the missing link in our secondary.

          • millerforrest

            And how many Iowa Hawkeye games did you watch? He was a corner!

          • millerforrest

            Shortly after arriving in Iowa City, Hyde moved full-time to the secondary and proved to be a special team’ ace as a true freshman. After starting 13 games at cornerback in 2010, he moved to free safety in 2011 for a few starts before kicking back out to cornerback for the final 11 contests. Hyde stayed at cornerback for his senior season and finished among the league leaders in passes defended with 15.

          • millerforrest

            From the University of Iowa website:
            “2011 – - started first two games at free safety and final 11 games at cornerback . . ”
            How is that splitting time? 2 games his whole college career? And that’s against nonconference teams!

          • rodgers rules

            Excuse me, but Hyde spent significant time at safety at Iowa.

          • millerforrest

            Again, how many Iowa Games did U watch? He was a CORNER!

          • WENDALL

            YOU BOTH ARE IDIOTS FOR ARGUING A MATTER THAT NEITHER WILL DECIDE. LET IT GO AND BE AN ADULT

          • millerforrest

            This coming from a guy named “Wendall” who likes to call people names? How immature.

          • millerforrest

            A few games is significant? No.

            Shortly after arriving in Iowa City, Hyde moved full-time to the secondary and proved to be a special team’ ace as a true freshman. After starting 13 games at cornerback in 2010, he moved to free safety in 2011 for a few starts before kicking back out to cornerback for the final 11 contests. Hyde stayed at cornerback for his senior season and finished among the league leaders in passes defended with 15.

          • millerforrest

            This is copied directly from the University of Iowas website:

            “2011 – - started first two games at free safety and final 11 games at cornerback . .”
            How is 2 games in his 4 year career at Iowa “SIGNIFICANT TIME AT SAFETY AT IOWA?” And those 2 games were NONCONFERENCE games. That was Tennessee Tech & Iowa State and they lost to Iowa State 44-41 in 3 OT.

          • billy

            well, thats what the Pack does all the time…try to fit a round peg in a square hole, moving people around to different positions, like they did with Raji…not what you want but its what Capers does…

          • millerforrest

            That’s why they would prefer to find a TRUE safety in the draft first.

      • Ross

        Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor will both be gone by the time the Packers pick. Jimmy Ward in the first round is a bit of a stretch.

  • kevin

    I know this must sound crazy, but what about Sydney rice….he had a good year with favre in minn……I know he’s been hurt…just wonderin’.

  • millerforrest

    The Packers are that far away from another Super Bowl?
    ” By season’s end, were they that far away from a Super Bowl bid – even with their star quarterback under center? Yes.”
    If Micah Hyde holds onto the pass from Kapernick that hit him in BOTH hands early during the 49ers last drive, the Packers probably WIN that playoff game against the 49ers! And how close did the 49ers come to beating the Seahawks? So how on Gods green earth can you say the Packers were that far away from another Super Bowl???????

  • Mike Brand

    what we really need is 2 wrs with size sure jordy nelson is a freak of nature and cobb is fast out of the gate but we need those 6’5 guys like megatron and brandon marshall type guys to add to nelson and cobb. i may be one of the only few that sees huge potential in cody hoffman out of byu he is a tall fast wr with great hands. i honestly think we need to get taller at wr and give rodgers better one on ones. we also need one big monster to add to the oline.we also need a real free safety like clinton dix or a pryor along with a ss like loston. a hybrid lb like yawin smallwood would help too . over all we have to get really nasty like the other 31 teams for way to long the packers have been the goody two shoes of the nfl. we need to let barrington play olb and let him use that nastiness he has to add with matthews as well. but dom will never play our nasty young players he is all about vets no matter if they suck they get first shot