Hello Packer Nation!
If you are a Packer fan, it is a time where disappointment is the prevailing thought. Three years of success during the regular season (13-3 in 2019, 13-3 in 2020 and 13-4 in 2021) invigorated the fan base and gave hope in quickly recovering from the McCarthy firing. They reached the 2019 and 2020 NFC Championships and even hosted one at Lambeau. Yet, no Super Bowl appearances and only two wins! Enough talk about the past, lets get into the changes the Packers need to make to raise a Lombardi trophy in the near future.
First off, the overall talent level needs to improve in positions where they continue to falter in big games. Kenny Clark cannot create havoc by himself and needs help. Defensive line needs to be a priority. Dean Lowry stepped up his play in 2021 but preferably should be a rotational piece. Inside linebacker proved to be a vitally important position on their defense this year. They need a ball hawk and ball carrier menace who is in the backfield and harassing receivers at the second level. The ILB needs to be kept clean for this to work, which is why they need some big boys who dominate in the trenches. They need to be able to hold the double team and not be pushed back into the second level. Let's be perfectly honest - an uncomfortable QB is the name of the game on defense. Today's game is predicated off the QB making plays and having time to complete them. When the 49ers and Buccanneers constantly harassed Rodgers, it was difficult for him to succeed. The Packers need to develop a new philosophical approach and devise a "front seven" that dominates on all four downs.
Second, there is a philosophy inside 1265 that needs a complete refresh. They need to get out of the "ride our QB till we die" mode and start procuring difference makers at other positions. With that, they need to draft difference makers - players who have football instincts and acumen. Their current draft profile follow simple guidelines - "all players need to be model citizens and good locker room guys. They need to be athletically gifted (a track star) and their combine results play an important role in their draft worthiness. Their football acumen can be molded." Yes, a man who runs a 4.3 40 yard dash is important, but they have to have football acumen to let those athletic gifts shine. The game needs to come naturally to the player, not a mold they want to sculpt. Draft the best damn football player, period!
Third, the Packers need to move on from Rodgers. The 2021 season proved this is the best the Packers will be with Rodgers leading the offense - a dynamic offense during the regular season and a playoff flop no matter the scenario. The Packers were the best team in the NFC the past two seasons and they only won ONE playoff game. The team has no way of getting over the plateau with Rodgers. While he didn't solely contribute to their playoff demises in 2019/2020/2021, he had a contributing role, especially the loss to the 49ers this past year. If you want to call it "hero ball" that is a good analogy. It is mysterious why he resorts to being a different player in the playoffs, but let's be perfectly honest, this team was void of difference makers on offense outside of Adams and Jones. Rodgers stirred the drink and made his supporting cast much better. The playoffs are all about a little luck, execution, team morale and superstars excelling in the most important times. The Packers haven't resembled any of those characteristics consistently.
Fourth, management needs to value all three facets of the team on the field - offense, defense and SPECIAL TEAMS. One is no more important than the others. Also, no player is more important than the team. You know what I mean by that. :)
Fifth, Matt LaFleur needs to get out of "learning mode" and start providing top notch leadership. He has failed here the past two seasons, especially in the playoffs. He is the leader and the coach - act like it. This team needs to toughen up and receive better direction when things get tough, and it starts with him!
Sixth, the "Quadrilateral Authority" needs something different. If Murphy cannot be confident in his coach or GM to make decisions, hire a coach and GM you can trust to do the job. Murphy cannot be the babysitter. He needs to oversee things, but everything shouldn't have to go through him on the field. He is a business guy, nothing else. Murphy isn't going anywhere so the change cannot start there. His mind set is where the change needs to occur.
Get to work Packers. You hear that football is all about the "mindset" in place. Well, their mindset isn't working. You are not going to be world champions under your current method of operation and mindset.