Changes Packers should consider after playoffs loss
Although the San Francisco 49ers won 45-31, the Green Bay Packers were never a serious threat in the game. Following are five issues that popped out Saturday’s loss and should be addressed if the Green Bay Packers have hopes of making another playoffs run next season.
Reassess defensive coaching staff
The Green Bay Packers ranked 11th in the NFL as a defensive team in both yards (336.8) and points allowed (21.0), which is not bad in itself except the playoffs loss at Candlestick Park, which also feature a franchise high total yards allowed should bring demand some accountability from each defensive coach.
It was obvious that Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers’ coaching staff unknowingly stepped into an offensive blowout by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Any in-game adjustments Dom Capers plotted proved fruitless and the San Francisco 49ers offense amassed 600 total yards and 45 points for a masterful win.
Lately, Dom Capers’ defenses have struggled against more innovative offenses. So, it may be good if the Green Bay Packers consider a change at the top of the department.
Faster, tougher defense
Green Bay Packers linebackers Brad Jones, A.J. Hawk and Erik Walden struggled to keep up with the San Francisco 49ers' speed. On the perimeter, they couldn’t stop Colin Kaepernick from rushing for 181 yards and two touchdowns while finding every pick of receiver open to compete the pass.
Up front, the frail Green Bay Packers offensive line was incapable of absorbing the shock of opposing defensive line, while at the second level A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones couldn’t factor against the San Francisco 49ers running game led on by their sizeable guards.
The defensive line can’t be stripped and repaired in just one offseason, but the Green Bay Packers can make a point of exploring all options to add some toughness and speed (like Desmond Bishop or Nick Perry) to the positions.
Find an anchor at center
Between aging Jeff Saturday and undrafted free agent Evan Dietrich-Smith (in Week 16) the Green bay Packers saw some of their worst play at center.
Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson will certainly have to address the issue as a top priority in the 2013 draft by seeking out a player who can shift in between the run game and making the call in pass protection.
Add depth to offensive line
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ struggles at averaging just 3.9 yard per carry and being sacked a total 55 times this season goes to show the ineffectiveness of the current offensive line.
Although, guard Dietrich-Smith (versatile backup) as well as offensive tackles Don Barclay and Derek Sherrod have ingrained their places for next season, more players need to step up.
Ted Thompson could be utilizing one or two draft picks to address the offense’ plight in April.
Revive passing game
Compared to the past two seasons, the Green Bay Packers passing game slumped. The dots easily connect to offensive line woes and lack of punch in running game. Aaron Rogers averaging passing yards per game numbers desperately need to hit back to what they were over the last two seasons. The receivers have struggled to consistently get open which could be settled by changing the scheme.
Winning 10-12 games without a strong passing game could be overlooked in the regular season, but it is vital towards winning a Super Bowl.