Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews (52) reacts after sacking Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

A preview of the 2014 Green Bay Packers


The early expectations of the 2014 Green Bay Packers appear to be sky high.

Many Packers fans across the country view this team as a possible Super Bowl contender, as long as the one word that plagued the team in the 2013 season stays away: INJURIES.

Green Bay has been unable to get past the divisional round of the playoffs since their championship campaign in 2010. In 2011, the 15-1 regular season came to a screeching halt in the divisional round loss to the New York Giants. The last two seasons have ended in the divisional round as well, to the likes of our nemesis from the west – the San Francisco 49ers.

However, during the last three seasons the Packers have managed to bring home the NFC North crown. One should begin to reason that without a doubt at 8-8 last season that was a gift that came freshly wrapped from our three north rivals.

98811118GS002_GREEN_BAY_PACIn the 2013 season the Packers had to endure half of it without the “engine” to the machine when Aaron Rodgers went down with a collarbone injury early in the season. Add to the list Clay Matthews, Casey Hayward, Randall Cobb and many other components and the record will reflect the injury report.

The main concern of the Packers being able to repeat the success of the 2010 postseason squad is to duplicate the play of the defense. In 2013 the Packers team defense ranked 24th in opponents passing yards (247.3 per game) and 25th in opponents rushing yards (125 per game). Clearly not close to championship caliber numbers.

There is plenty of reason for optimism for the 2014 season. Reason number one is simply what a completely healthy Packers team could do over the duration of the season. There have also been some key components added to the mix that could greatly influence elements of the game that were a continuous struggle for the Packers the last few seasons.

The off-season saw Ted Thompson make somewhat of an out of character move and make a splash in free agency to bring in pass rusher Julius Peppers. At 34 years old hopefully Peppers still has 1-3 productive seasons left in the tank.

“He’s got a lot of twitch and relentless play”

During the draft Thompson also added Carl Bradford a college defensive end from Arizona State. Bradford will likely make the transition to inside linebacker in Green Bay. Brian Gutekunst the director of college scouting for the Packers has been quoted as saying things about Bradford such as, “He’s got a lot of twitch and relentless play”. Those are traits that could be paired well with the current core of linebackers.

The sinking boat that was the Packers knack for giving up big plays has hopefully found a plug as well. First round pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix should bring consistent tackling and great cover skills to the safety position. Thompson has done well in the past dipping into Nick Saban’s talent pool he keeps stocked in Tuscaloosa.

Special teams have also been less-than-exceptional for the Packers over the last three seasons. There has not been a return man with a home run threat when the ball is kicked his way. Jared Abbrederis, wide receiver from the University of Wisconsin hopefully brings just that to the return game. A player capable of at any moment taking one to the house and keeping key personnel such as Randall Cobb off of the field on special teams.

Wisconsin Badgers wide receiver Jared Abbrederis (4) rushes with the football after catching a pass. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin Badgers wide receiver Jared Abbrederis (4) rushes with the football after catching a pass. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

As for the offense, it pretty much speaks for itself. With a healthy Aaron Rodgers and a loaded backfield led by Eddie Lacy for his sophomore campaign, it could be one of the premiere offenses in the league for the 2014 season. Not to mention a group of pass catchers such as Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Jarrett Boykin, Davante Adams and Colt Lyerla.

I don’t think any of the Packers’ NFC North foes did anything to get substantially better in the off-season. The Bears should have a good offense but it will be hard to completely turn a dismal defense around in just one offseason. Teddy Bridgewater could possibly be getting broken in early with the Vikings gauntlet to start the season.

This leaves the Detroit “potential.” A team that has been hyped season after season as capable of breaking out. No doubt loaded with talent, yet they have never been able to click on all cylinders. With the addition of two Notre Dame alumni wide receivers in Golden Tate and T.J. Jones they have added credible pieces to go with Calvin Johnson. The Lions also drafted tight end Eric Ebron from the University of North Carolina. Ebron will be under heavy pressure as a top 15 pick to have caught only 112 balls along with 8 touchdowns in his three years on the football field at Chapel Hill.

The 2014 schedule is not an easy one by any stretch. With road games at Seattle and New Orleans while facing New England and Carolina at home. The Packers could very well sweep the North with the two toughest games in the division ultimately being at Chicago and at Detroit.

I have the Packers at no worse than 11-5. This should put them in really good shape to capture their fourth NFC North division crown in a row.

One thing is for sure – we will have a good measuring stick come week one as the Packers open up against Super Bowl champion Seattle and the 12th man.

 

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Tags: 2014 NFL Season Green Bay Packers

  • Cutler2Marshall312

    You say that you don’t think the Bears did anything substantial in the off-season..How about dumping a aging DE who wasn’t even no where close to being worth 18 mil a year who will get you a few plays here & there, second grabbing J Allen in free agency, Lamar Houston, J Ratliff & up and coming Willie Young, that’s snagging 2 good players from division rival at the same time..for the first 3 games of the year the Bears defense was serviceable before injuries which lead them to starting out 3-0..for some strange reason you think the Bears have 11 new players on defense or something, The only thing different is the front line which got drastically better from last year & M Wright is gone which we’ve replaced him with a more fundementally sound SS..and you can never put a lid on Phil Emery he took the Bears offense from 2nd to last to 2nd in scoring in one year by putting the right pieces in place seems like he did with the defense also.. #BearByBirth

    • Guest

      __________________________________________________________________

    • Guest

      h;iho;i

      • Cutler2Marshall312

        Is this the best you could come up with #StepYaGameUp

        • millerforrest

          Its a good one…

    • Guest

      Yeah, okay, haha.

      • Cutler2Marshall312

        I see why they call y’all the FUDGEPACKERS LOL

        • millerforrest

          Cuz we keep pushing in the fudge in Bears butts!

        • Jimmy Ryan

          OMG!!!! You really posted that as a Bears fans? You do understand how BAD you just made the Bears and yourself look right?

    • Jimmy Ryan

      You’ve also signed M.D. Jennings, Packers fans are hoping he’s back there against Rodgers! Don’t be bitter about Peppers wanting to play with a winner who by the way is still getting paid $8.4 million by Da Bears over the next 2 seasons. No defensive player is worth $18 million so you HAD TO dump him. You come to a Packers site and talk about injuries for the Bears? Are you kidding?? The Packers still won the North without the best player in the NFL for 8 games. Packers fans have had to deal with injuries for 4 of the last 5 years and been to the playoffs 5 years and counting, 3 division titles, and still WON A Superbowl!!! I’m STILL trying to decide what was the best part of the 2010 season. Winning the SB or watching Cutler QUIT on his team. As far as last year what happened on 4 and 1, 4th and 6, and 4th and 8? I’ll give you a hint, 1st down, 1st down, Touchdown! 15 plays 88 yards. Oh, in case you’ve forgot, Cutler is 1-9 against Green Bay, you should have kept the backup. LMAO!!!

      • Cutler2Marshall312

        With all that said & done if Detriot could even resemble something of a team last year your dead in the water the Playboy Jay Cutler missed the same amount of time as Rogers you remember last year GB season was lost even fans & the media knew it the Packer starting to talk about next year it but you can always count on Detriot to to gift wrap the NFC crown to another team…and the truth hurts GB’s time has come to an END! # BearByBirth

        • millerforrest

          Difference is your then backup QB Josh McCown played BETTER than Cutler (Cutler 62% 19TDs 12 INTs 82 QBR….McCown 66% 13 TDs 1 INT 102QBR)….that’s the ONLY reason Bears stayed close. Now whos the Bears back up QB? Jordan Palmer? LOL
          Whos Forte’s backup? Ford? LOL
          Talk about better hope certain starters dont get hurt!

        • Jimmy Ryan

          That’s your comeback? You sound like you quit, just like your QB, and I haven’t seen a Bears team win a SB in almost 30 years! At last Packers fans don’t have to go back to 1985 to talk about a SB win. Hell if you want to go back in history look at the 5 Championships in 7 years and 3 straight NFL Championships. Face it dude, you could sit here for days and argue for the Bears and never win. Stick with the Blackhawks, they’ll win again before the Bears. Oops sorry, they got beat by a Hockey team in LA!! God it must be brutal to be a Chicago sports fan. At least the Packers made it to 15-1 in recent history.

        • millerforrest

          Did you see the Vikings at 15-1 not make the Super Bowl? Or the 18-0 Patriots lose in the Super Bowl to a wild card Giants team?
          What have the Bears done? NOTHING but LOSE to the Packers when it counts!

    • loganmoch

      Up and coming willie young?? If youve played four years in the league I dont think you can be called an “up and coming” still. Bears still suck.

      • Cutler2Marshall312

        Whatever your name is Logan(Monk) yeah like I said up and coming that’s when you steadily improve every year with the little amount of time you had on the field especially playing behind Cliff Avril & the rest of the Detriot front..while rotating in & out, like I said up and coming or would you have understood better if I said a player with a high ceiling but I doubt that would have worked also.. You better hope Seattle don’t break Rodgers collar bone again in the first game of the year logan

        • millerforrest

          Yet the Bears are PAYING Peppers $8 million to play for the Packers THIS YEAR! That’s the hit the Bears are taking dumb dumb.

        • loganmoch

          You better hope they do injure rodgers…only way shitcago beats green bay at all.

      • billy

        he’s up and coming like Nick Perry…

    • millerforrest

      Willie Young? The same Willing Young who only managed 3 sacks while playing with Suh and Farley last year? The Bears defense is OLD. Take the blue/orange colored glasses off. Were tired of hearing from Bear fand EVERY season that this is the year the Bears are better than the Packers. You sound like the boy who cried wolf. Youre hoping if you say it every year, it will happen at some point in time and when it does, you can then say “I told you so”.
      Until it happens, shut up.

    • millerforrest

      Yet the Bears are still on the hook for $8 million against the cap for Peppers?
      The Bears are HOPING a bunch of NEW faces turn around their very bad defense.
      Peppers is done? Really? He was their ONLY pass rusher last year on a defense that every opposition RAN against and therefore did not have to PASS against therefore Peppers chances to rush the QB diminished due to the fact teams concentrated on RUNNING the ball against the WORST RUN DEFENSE IN THE NFL.
      The Bears have NO QUALITY DEPTH at QB, RB, WR, OL. They have DECENT DL and aging LBs and CBs with a BIG question at safety.
      All the Packers need to do to get better is stay HEALTHY and 2 new faces in Peppers (who will NOT be the main pass rusher like he was in Chicago, not with Mathews, Daniels, Neal, Perry, Jones) and Dix or even Hyde as new safety.
      You still have Jay “I throw too many INTs” Cutler and we still have Aaron “MVP” Rodgers.
      You have missed the playoffs 3 straight years. cant beat the Packers at the end of the season when it counts nor in the NFC Championship game.
      The Packers made the playoffs 5 straight years (with a Super Bowl win) and 3 straight NFC North titles.
      Now quit being like the boy who cries “Wolf” by saying this is the year the Bears are better than the Packers. Bear fans say that every year, like when they got Cutler. Then Peppers. Then Marshall. Now Allen.
      As Archie Bunker used to say, until it happens, “Stifle it Edith!”

  • Vvait Fang

    Would def like to see the Packers go the distance this year, and agree they added some important pieces to enable that. But, nearly everything written in this piece could have been written last year, just change the names. Injuries have been a major issue since before 2010. Lacy and his prolific running was the only significant change last year. And trying to toss Boykin’s name in there along with Jordy and Cobb just doesn’t cut it. He’s not James Jones. He tried hard as hell, and I really hope he makes the jump, but this is now a weaker receiving corps than we’ve seen for years. A lot of potential, but unproven beyond 1 and 2. Hoping the newer guys really step up to return the 3 and 4 spots to the status of the past- that GB’s #4 would be any other team’s #1. By the way, separate point – huge effort was made to beef up the Dline last year, and offer a chance of rotation – Jolly, Boyd, Daniels along with the regulars. Those guys started off great. Identifying why they crashed midyear (and its not because of A-Rod’s injury), fixing that flaw, and moving forward is the biggest single key now in my mind. C-Dix will be a stud at safety. Linebackers will be waaay better with Peppers opposite Matthews. Running game should have a lot of punch. The real question now is D-line.

  • ActionAl

    “The early expectations of the 2014 Green Bay Packers appear to be high sky.”

    “high sky” you say? OP might have been “high” when he wrote it.

  • Nick Grover

    Theres always gunna be a bears fan trolling even has to get on a packers column to complain I will admitt they did add a few players like jared allen and houston but the over paid culter way to much and allen 30 mill for three years way to much I believe 20 mill grantee.

  • GreenBayGroom

    Cutler2Marshall312 secretly loves the Pack! Why else would he troll our site all day and nite. GoPackGo

  • Cutler2Marshall312

    Why y’all Mad Bro..Lmao (smh)…THE TRUTH HURTS…