Green Bay Packers Season Review – By Charlie Harris

Green Bay Packers Season Review – By Charlie Harris
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This article was created by Charlie Harris who is experienced in the field of blog writing and has followed the NFL and the Atlanta Falcons since 2005.

In Short

Largely a season of change and inconsistency meansend of McCarthy era.

Off-Season

After going 7-9 in 2017, the Packers restructured the front office, with longstanding General Manager Ted Thompson moving into an advisory role. Brian Gutkunstwas was appointed GM and with Aaron Rodgers recovering from a shoulder injury the Packers were optimistic of getting back into the playoffs.  Rodgers also signed a 4-year contract extension worth $134 million dollars, the richest in NFL history.

Jordy Nelson was released after nine seasons with the team, Nelson had been Rodgers’ favourite target and his departure left a big void for the team to fill.

The Packers prioritised defence in the draft, selecting Defensive-Backs, Jaire Alexander and Joshua Jackson in the First and Second Rounds along with Linebacker Oren Burks in the Third Round.

Regular Season

The Packers started the season in dramatic fashion with a home win against the Chicago Bears. Rodgers had been knocked out of the game with a knee injury but returned to lead the team to a historic win. Down 20-3 at the start of the Fourth Quarter, the Packers surged back to win the game 24-23, with Rogers throwing three fourth quarter touchdowns. 

Following the opening day win the Packers played out a dramatic tie against the Vikings, before losing on the road to the Redskins in week 3. This would be a reoccurring theme, with the team only winning once away from Lambeau Field all season. 

Green Bay got back on track with a shut out win against the Bills in week 4, whilst their road woes continued in week 5 with a loss to Detroit.  An entertaining week 6 win left the Packers at 3-2-1 at their week 7 bye. 

After the bye the Packers faced a brutal schedule with four road games out of five. It was during this stretch that the season fell apart with the only bright spot being a home win against the Dolphins in week 10. The team also decided to trade veterans Ha-Ha Clinton Dix and Ty Montgomery to the Redskins and Ravens respectively. Both had been key contributors over previous years, signalling the start of the winds of change in Green Bay.

During this stretch, Rodgers and the offence played inconsistently and could only put up 17 points in losses to the Patriots (week 9) and Vikings (Week 12).  Rodgers couldn’t outscore Jarred Goff in a 29-27 loss to the Rams in week 8 and fell short again in week 11 against Russell Wilson, losing 27-24.  

However it was the Week 13 loss against the Cardinals which shaped the destiny of the 2018 Packers. Despite four losses out of five, at 4-6-1 , the Packers still had a slim chance of making the playoffs. With the season on the line, the team delivered an all-round inept performance, losing 20-17 to the league’s worst team.

The Packers have rightly been lauded as one of the NFL’s most stable franchises in recent years, but following the loss to the Cardinals Mike McCarthy was fired as Head Coach.  McCarthy had led the Packers to the playoffs in nine of his thirteen years at the helm and won Super Bowl XLV in 2011. Under his stewardship Rodgers had developed into arguably the best player in the NFL.  However with back to back losing seasons and a team looking very out of sync it was decided a new direction was needed. 

Interim Coach Joe Philbin led the team to two win out of the last four games. With Rodgers worryingly picking up a concussion and knee injury in the season finale against the Lions.

What next?

Throughout the season, rumours circulated about the breakdown of the relationship between Rodgers and McCarthy.  With this in mind, the Packers went with an offensive mind for their next Head Coach hiring Matt LaFleur from the Tennessee Titans. 

Clearly the Green Bay front office are trying to replicate the success of another young, sharp Offensive coach, following Sean McVay’s achievements in his first two seasons with the LA Rams. 

LaFleur only has one season’s experience as a play caller and a lot will depend on his relationship with Rodgers develops.  Having the most dynamic Quarterback in the league will make LaFleur’s job easier but he must improve the pieces around Rodgers, whosemagic the team have become too reliant on the past two seasons.   

LaFleur has been hired to come up with an offensive scheme to make the most of Rodgers’ talent. Having Devante Adams and Jimmy Graham in place already will help, but further talent is needed this off-season.

A return to the playoffs will be the aim for 2019.  With Rodgers the Packers always have a chance and it will be interesting to see how the new regime proceeds this off-season.

Image Credits – ESPN

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