Here is my NFC North preview of the Green Bay Packers.
Last year we finished first in the NFC North, one game ahead of Detroit at 12-4. We earned a bye the first week in the playoffs, but did not secure home field advantage in the NFC Championship game which was one of the multiple factors effecting our loss in the game.
Here is how 2014 shaped up:
Here is the post-season:
As you can see, the loss to the Saints and Bills were killer, costing us home field advantage in the NFC championship game. Home field advantage was critical to the Packs success last season as we won every game at home. Perhaps a Lambeau crowd could have helped the disastrous slide into a loss during the 4th quarter of that NFC championship game.
Here is the box score from the championship game:
I really don't have much more to say about it. If you want to know more, you can read my recap from last year. I'm still way too upset about it. I thought I had let it go, but as I've been recapping the Packers 2014 season, I'm just getting madder and madder.
Let's move on to this season.
Here was our draft:
I'm happy that we took two corners. Our defense certainly needs to improve, however, I worry about developing them in the douchebag Dom Capers system.
Speaking of coaches ...
Mike McCarthy is no longer in charge of offensive play calling. It seems even his head was on a platter after the NFC Championship game meltdown. The working theory is that if McCarthy didn't have play calling duties in the championship game, perhaps he would have seen the bigger picture. That picture being the need for more aggressive play calling. It seemed McCarthy was in don't lose mode, not finish them mode.
I, for one, am not so sure. Anyone watching the game could see the scoreboard. McCarthy is not a dumb man. He was perhaps dumb for not being more aggressive, but that was the strategy he went with the whole 4th quarter. The last 4 minutes of the game were unheard of. It has literally never happened in the playoffs before to lose that big of a lead in that short of time. Perhaps, we should be looking at the defense as well for not shutting the Hawks down just as much as the non-aggressive play calling. Also, there is some merit behind not turning the ball over when you have that big of a lead. Unfortunately, the real problem arose when those 4 minutes went into overdrive. We did not recover at any point, offense, defense, or special teams to stop the bleeding.
The offensive coordinator is still Tom Clements - he has been since 2012. He just now takes on play calling duties. His new label though is associate head coach.
The defensive coordinator remains Dom Capers. I swear to f'ing God. How is he not demoted? How is he still here!?!?! I think he is blackmailing somebody. How does Mike McCarthy lose title but this ass-clown remains defensive coordinator?
Also, Mike McCarthy having less play calling responsibility is also assigned to provide more focus on special teams. I feel like we made a big leap last year. In 2013 I felt like we were constantly pinned down before the 20- yard line. It's hard to get a drive going when if you just took a knee in the end zone you would be better off.
I feel like, and have been saying this for years, we need to improve our defense, and not just through the draft.
Our special teams coordinator is Ron Zook. Previously he was assistant special teams coordinator. Shawn Slocum was fired.
In case you forgot, he was fired over the fact that during an onside kick, Brandon Bostick, a tight-end with little playing time, decided to go up and retrieve the football despite the fact that directly behind him, Jordy Nelson waited with his hands to collect the ball. Bostick essentially intercepted a perfect opportunity for Jordy to catch the ball. We would have won if that had not happened.
Here is our upcoming schedule:
It's not easy. The bit in the middle is brutal. It has the potential of being catastrophic if there is an injury. Detroit, Minnesota, Chicago, then Detroit. Two of those are Thursday games. To lump that many division games in a row, if there are any injuries ... ugh. It could be lethal to the season.
I'm not super happy about that.
FYI, I guess in 2016 we will be going to London, too. I'm beyond not a fan of London games. It's ridiculous. Greedy f'ing NFL owners.
We also play a brutal division in the round-robin scheduling of the NFL. The NFC North has received the NFC West.
Here are their 2014 standings:
We also pulled the AFC West. Not as bad.
Here are their standings:
We still have to face Peyton, which is never, ever something that a team wants to do. It will be the talk of the town with the two elite QB's going head-to-head.
Lastly, we get the Panthers. This is because each team from the NFC North has to face their equivalent opponent in standings from the previous year's NFC division matchup. GB had the best record in the NFC North, so we get the best in the NFC South.
Here is how that division ended up last year:
Hm. There is nothing good to say about that division.
All-in-all GB faces 4 opponents who were in the playoffs last year.
Here is our roster for the year so far:
Good luck Green Bay Packers. Love you and can't wait for the new season!