Welcome Total Sports Blog’s NFL Training Camp Previews. For the next two weeks we will continue to preview each team, and predict their records. The chances that we predict any of these records to be right drastically increases when Earl is writing the preview.
Today’s Team: Green Bay Packers (NFC North)
2013 Record: 8-7-1 Won NFC North; Lost Wild Card Game vs 49ersPassing Leader: Aaron Rodgers (missed 7 games) 2536 YDS 17 TD 6 INTRushing Leader: Eddie Lacy 1178 YDS 11 TDReceiving leader(s): Jordy Nelson 85 REC 1314 YDS 8 TDLeading Tackler: AJ Hawk 118 TacklesSacks Leader: Clay Matthews 7.5 SacksInt Leader: Sam Shields 4 INTFA losses/cuts/releases: WR James Jones, C Evan Detrich-Smith, S M.D. Jennings, T Marshall NewhouseFA signings: DE Julius Peppers, NT Letroy Guion
|Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
|Saginaw Valley State
There’s no question that the 2013 campaign for the Green Bay Packers was a huge disappointment. The Packers were 5-2 heading into their week eight matchup with the rival Chicago Bears, when quarterback Aaron Rodgers hurt his shoulder and their season started to spiral down the toilet. With a handful of backup quarterbacks in the lineup, the Packers only managed a 2-5-1 record with their stud on the bench. Rodgers returned for the final game of the season and lead the Pack to victory and into the playoffs, where they ultimately lost the Wild Card game to the San Francisco 49ers. When you look at the odds to win Super Bowl XLIX, the Packers are a pretty good bet to get deep into the playoffs. Lets take a look into what Green Bay did to improve the team for 2014.
This off season Green Bay did more in free-agency by re-signing their own key players, than going out and adding from the open market. CB Sam Shields, DT B.J. Raji, OLB/DE Mile Neal, RB James Starks, and TE Andrew Quarless, were among the key re-signings. To go along with the re-signings, #1 WR Jordy Nelson was given a four-year extension worth $39 million. The one free agent they did manage to pluck away was DE Julius Peppers from the rival Chicago Bears. The Packers haven’t had a problem getting to the quarterback, but what they have had is a problem keeping healthy pass rushers on the field.
With a healthy Rodgers and #2 WR Randall Cobb, this offense will once again be dynamic. In Rodgers absence last year, NFL Offensive Rookie Of The Year, Eddie Lacy, shouldered the load and gave the Packers their first real running threat that they’ve had in years.
There’s no doubt that the Packers are built the outscore the other team, but their defense is nothing to sleep on. With the addition of Peppers, the Packers have three legit NFL pass rushers. We all know Clay Matthews is a beast and he looks like he’s healthy, and Mike Daniels is coming off a 6.5 sack rookie season. Teams have a tough enough time finding one legit pass rusher, and the Packers now have three.
The three-time defending NFC North Champions have all the tools to make it a 4th straight title, and a deep run in the playoffs. The extra balance on offense with a new-found running game, and an added element to the pass rush, will put the Packers back into that elite status.