A trip down memory lane, another season of the unexpected.

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It is football, anything can happen.

 

For some reason, however, things seem to happen differently with the Green Bay Packers. The Green Bay Packers are a different organization. It makes no sense to have a professional football team in a town where the population is 105,000 people, where New York has over 20 million. Even though Green Bay is such a small area compared to other cities across the United States with other professional football teams, they still have one of the best fan bases, if not the best, in the league. The Packers have the most championships out of every other organization in the NFL, with 13 (9 NFL Championships, 4 Super Bowls). The Packers have been blessed with TWO HALL OF FAME quarterbacks, back-to-back, which have led them to three super bowls, winning two. Nonetheless, Lambeau field still sits in a town of just over 100,000 people. Things are different in Green Bay.

The franchise was led by one of if not the best football coaches in Vince Lombardi. Heck, the Super Bowl Trophy is named after the legendary Packers coach. That is why it makes it so special when the Packers win the Super Bowl because it is rightfully their trophy.

This season, just like all other NFL teams, is going to have a lot of things unexpectedly happen. Like when B.J. Raji took a “one-year hiatus” from professional football, and hasn’t been back since. Or when the Packers’ Hall Of Fame Quarterback, Brett Favre, retired, then unretired, then retired again, then went to the Minnesota Vikings, just so he could play his former team twice a year, yeah, weird.

It isn’t even that things so unexpectedly happen, they heartbreakingly do. Do you remember Brett Favre’s last game as a Packer? Because I sure do. How about Favre’s last pass as a Packer? I am not bashing on Brett Favre, but to have an interception as his last pass as a Packer might be a little fitting for him, considering he did the same thing with the New York Jets. In his time with the Minnesota Vikings, however, it was his last pass in his first season with the team that was an interception. (You know Vikings fans remember it)!

How does the phrase “3:02” make you feel when you read it? If it doesn’t make you cringe, you might have to go back and look at what I am talking about. The Packers were leading 19-7 with three minutes and two seconds to go in the 2014 NFC Championship game, and they blew it. Dom Capers blew it, and Mike McCarthy blew it. It may be one of if not the most heartbreaking games, in recent Packer’s history.

How about last season, when Aaron Rodgers took a questionable hit by Vikings Linebacker Anthony Barr and broke his collarbone. I was at that game, and I couldn’t believe it. I then watched a third-year quarterback go out there and throw multiple interceptions, aren’t players supposed to be ready by their third year? Some players shine in their rookie year. 

The point is, that all of those things are in the past now. The Packers have moved on from Dom Capers, Alex Van Pelt, and Ted Thompson (to name a few). They have moved on from actors that were toxic or were not healthy for the team. When Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone in week 6 against the Minnesota Vikings, that moment gave the Green Bay Packers an opportunity. This was an opportunity to take a step back, and realize that they needed to make adjustments, whether they like it or not. To be frank, this is the most amount of change that Packers fans have seen in Green Bay for almost a decade. They signed veteran TE Jimmy Graham, traded for young QB Dishone Kizer, brought back old offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, added depth to the defensive line, and hopefully fixed their defensive issues overall. It was an offseason of change for the Green Bay Packers.

Most recently, as of Wednesday, July 25th, up and coming wide receiver Michael Clark essentially retired from the National Football League. A move that many did not see coming, including myself. The Packers announced that OLB Nick Perry and OT Bryan Bulaga are going to start training camp (at the least) on the physically unable to perform list. I said it back when the Packers signed Nick Perry to a massive contract extension that it was a risky move, and it still seems that way. The Packers have made adjustments on the offensive line, but who knows how long Bryan Bulaga can stay healthy, and when he is, he is most likely the best at what he does.

There are a few things to watch out for this upcoming season, and they aren’t that crazy in theory.

  1. Aaron Rodgers’ accuracy and arm strength may decline. I might get a lot of heat for this idea, but so be it. The man is 34 years old, and just came off of another collarbone injury, but this time it is his throwing arm. Who knows, he might have another MVP-like season, but time will only tell with those fragile bones in his throwing arm.

2. The Packers’ special teams struggles. Last year wasn’t the worst year for the Green Bay Packers’ special teams, it was actually quite good. Most of that is attributed to the people’s champion, Jeff Janis. He didn’t play a lot on offense, but his presence on special teams was known. With him signing with the Cleveland Browns this past off-season, someone else will have to make up that ground.

3. The Packers’ offense might struggle early on. If you just take one second to think about it, there has been not only a lot of change on the defensive side of the ball with the signing of defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, but on the offensive side of the ball. New offensive coordinator, no Jordy Nelson, new veteran tight end, offensive line struggles, and the competition for who will start at running back. There are a ton of unknowns within the Packers offense this upcoming season, luckily, they always (hopefully) will have Aaron Rodgers to rely on.

 

There are mounds of ideas out there about the Packers upcoming season, and I will leave you with this. The Packers have most likely made the largest amount of changes in one offseason in the past decade. Whether those are positive or negative changes, we will have to wait and see (we all thought signing Martellus Bennett was a great move at the time). Veteran quarterback Aaron Rodgers is coming back with a chip on his shoulder and finally has a solid weapon in Jimmy Graham. They brought in a newer, fresher, defensive coordinator that KILLs it (keep it likable and learnable). New defensive additions in Jaire Alexander, Josh Jackson, Muhammed Wilkerson, all give the defense new looks. It may take some adjustments throughout the season, but the Packers do have a solid squad this year, nonetheless.

 

Cream City Central will be visiting Packers training camp this year. Be sure to check out our twitter and facebook feeds for updates. Go Pack Go!

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