For the first time in a long time, I have very little expectations for the Green Bay Packers entering the season.
This may be caused by a multitude of things. A major reason is that Green Bay hasn’t made the playoffs in two consecutive seasons. Another being that Green Bay will be relying heavily on the success of their young players this season.
Take a look at the Packers starters during OTAs:
Just looking on paper, the Packers could easily be a playoff team this season. However, how a team looks on paper doesn’t always translate to how they look on the field.
Here is a breakdown of some things that could prohibit Green Bay from reaching their full potential.
Each NFL team has goals entering the season. The first is to win the division, and if not at least make the playoffs. Winning the division or making the playoffs is the first step to the goal of winning the Super Bowl.
As mentioned earlier, the Packers have done neither in the past two seasons. But with so much potential on the roster, Packers fans are hoping that changes this season. Yet, making the playoffs especially, in the loaded NFC, is no easy task.
There are two factors, that if all goes well, will lead Green Bay to a playoff appearance. Those factors would be the play of their young players and the coaching of new head coach Matt LaFleur. Not just LaFleur’s coaching, but his offensive play-calling.
The youth movement in Green Bay is very apparent on defense. Six of the 11 starters are still on rookie contracts. That does not include this year’s first-round pick Rashan Gary who will play in multiple packages this season.
That youth on defense will need to lead a resurgence on that side of the ball. Green Bay can ill afford to allow 24 points per game like they have the last three seasons.
As far as head coach LaFleur, he is aware of the expectations. Even at his introductory press conference, LaFleur said: “Anytime you’ve got a quarterback the caliber of Aaron Rodgers, certainly we’re going to have high expectations.”
LaFleur’s play-calling will need to utilize all the talented weapons on the Packers offense. Unique packages could unlock the Packers offense and make them one of the league’s most feared offenses once again.
If the young defense can be opportunistic, while LaFleur’s play-calling makes the offense explosive, Green Bay will be playoff bound.
Aaron Rodgers’ health and performance
Typically, quarterback is the determining factor in whether or not a team is successful. Although, with Rodgers’ extraordinary talent, he becomes the ultimate factor in the Packers’ success.
Without Rodgers on the field, Green Bay becomes a below-average team. The last time Rodgers played all 16 games fully healthy was 2016, which not coincidently was the last time Green Bay made the playoffs.
Last season, Rodgers had a down year. Just looking at the stats doesn’t tell the full story. Rodgers still managed to have 25 touchdowns to only two interceptions, in addition to 4,442 passing yards.
On the contrary, Rodgers had the lowest QBR of his career last year. Not to mention, his lowest QB rating as a starter. Green Bay needs Rodgers back in MVP form to be considered true contenders once again.
The Packers are one of many teams who, during the offseason, look great on paper. But to reach that potential, multiple things must fall in line for Green Bay. One being LaFleur’s play-calling, which needs to reignite not only the Packers offense, but also Rodgers.
Meanwhile, Green Bay needs a defense it can trust to get a stop in crucial moments. The young starters on defense will have to prove they can elevate their level of play in order for that to happen.