2014 NFL Season Preview- Green Bay Packers
2013 marked the Green Bay Packers fifth straight playoff birth and third straight division title. However this season was plagued by many challenges and was a miracle they were able to win the NFC North.
During their eighth game of the season, quarterback Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone. The team would go 0-4-1 in their next five games and found themselves at the bottom half of the division. Backups Seneca Wallace and Scott Tolzien did nothing to bring life to the offense. But thanks to rookie running back Eddie Lacy, the team finally had a balanced offense they've lacked for the last three years.
The team then traded for Matt Flynn and he was able to bring life back into the passing game and led two comeback victories to keep the Packers in playoff contention. Aaron Rodgers was finally cleared to play during the regular season finale at Chicago. He led a comeback in the final minute throwing 48-yard touchdown on fourth and eight.
Eddie Lacy was the star of the rookie class and set team rookie records for yards and touchdowns. Lacy was also named the offensive and NFL Rookie of the year in 2013. Defensive end Datone Jones was injured early in the year and never contributed to the defense. Running back Jonathan Franklin retired after suffering a severe neck injury during the season.
Packers 2013 Rankings
Opponent Passing yds
Opponent Rushing yds
NFL Rank- 6th
NFL Rank- 7th
NFL Rank- 24th
NFL Rank- 25th
NFL Rank- 3rd
NFL Rank- 25th
After a year of large injury casualties and barely missing the playoffs, head coach Miki McCarthy called 2013 his most challenging year in his eight season as coach. With the rest of the NFC north restocking talent, McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson know they have to keep this team healthy in order to remain dominant.
The team also went through a few coaching changes in the offseason. Alex Van Pelt became the teams new quarterback coach and linebackers coach Kevin Greene decided to leave coaching to spend time with his family.
Notable additions- DE Julius Peppers
Notable departures- WR James Jones, C Evan Dietrich-Smith, RB James Franklin
Eddie Lacy Highlights
2014 NFL Draft
With the 21st pick on the draft, Green Bay planned to address the voids of their team left by free agency. Primarily at safety and tight end.
Charles Woodson left the team during the 2013 offseason and the defense suffered because of it. The ranked towards the bottom in almost every statistic and the safeties failed to cause a single turnover during the year. The secondary needs a safety to play alongside Morgan Burnett and is able to be a play maker in the secondary.
Tight end Jermichael Finely suffered a severe neck and spinal injury during the season and his future is in serious doubt. The team needs a vertical threat tight end who can take away coverage down the middle and away from receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.
Green Bay decided to select Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix with the 21st pick. Clinton-Dix was considered the best free safety prospect and was praised for his great ball skills. He was mainly criticized for being fooled on misdirection plays and needs to do a better job of reading offenses.
The team also drafted notable wide receivers like Fresno State's Davante Adams in the second round and Wisconsin's Jared Abbrederis in the fifth round. Adams led the nation with 131 catches and was very productive in his two years of college football. His biggest weakness was his less than average speed and not being physical enough when fighting for yards. Abberderis was a great route runner at Wisconsin and was able to deceive defensive backs with his speed. He was critiqued for his lack of muscle definition and will have to bulk up if he wants to stand a chance against physical defenses.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Highlights
What to Expect
The additions of Davante Adams and Jared Abberderis will restock the talented receiving corps and give Aaron Rodgers more targets. Eddie Lacy will continue to provide physicality and balance to an offense not known for running the ball.
The defense will be rejuvenated with drafting of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and other players returning from injuries. The team will expect Datone Jones to step up after losing Ryan Pickett to free agency. A.J. Hawk and Clay Matthews will lead the defense by providing pass rush and run support.
The big issue that kept this team from a better record in 2013 was injuries. With Aaron Rodgers out, his backups failed to carry the team and it put a lot of pressure on the injured defense. So as long as this team can stay healthy, they'll be able to rack up wins and remain at the top of the NFC North.
Best record they can hope for- 11-5