Opinion corner: Packers face key questionsIt’s another year and another bout of heartbreaking disappointment for fans of the Green Bay Packers. While I held the utmost confidence for Green Bay going into Saturday night’s playoff game against San Francisco, it ended on an obvious downer. Most fans, I hope, realize this could spell the end of an era of dominance for the Green and Gold.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
It’s another year and another bout of heartbreaking disappointment for fans of the Green Bay Packers.
While I held the utmost confidence for Green Bay going into Saturday night’s playoff game against San Francisco, it ended on an obvious downer. Most fans, I hope, realize this could spell the end of an era of dominance for the Green and Gold.
There will be a plethora of new faces on both sides of the ball next year for the Packers. The team’s identity of a prominent pass-first offense will remain, but that’s about it.
Likely moving on will be wide receivers Greg Jennings and Donald Driver, along with Jermichael “Stone Hands” Finley.
Charles Woodson will likely retire and unless he restructures his contract A.J. Hawk will likely leave as well.
That’s a lot of talent that will be difficult to replace through the draft, as GM Ted Thompson has always done.
This all points to a challenging 2013 season. Unless some major changes happen, more disappointment looms on the horizon.
What the Packers need to do is develop a significant run game to take the pressure off Aaron Rodgers.
While Cedric Benson proved to be formidable in the five weeks he played, he got hurt and what followed was an anemic combination of DuJuan Harris and Ryan Grant.
When you have the best quarterback in the league, who is quick on his feet yet gets sacked more than 50 times, you have a major hole that seeks immediate remedy.
The sieve-like play of the offensive line should only get better as injured players return, hopefully. Derrick Sherrod should be healed from a broken leg suffered at the end of last year.
Bryan Bulaga’s so far short NFL career should hopefully start to solidify after being the youngest player to ever start in a Super Bowl two years ago. His latest injury is a hip ailment.
I hate to be a pessimist but Marshal Newhouse and Don Barclay are not going to cut it as offensive tackles in the NFC North.
While Thompson does have a track record of unearthing hidden gems, several of his recent early-round draft picks have been suspect at best.
Sherrod and Bulaga were first-round picks who have been hampered by injuries. Not to mention this year’s first round selection of Nick Perry, who made his way to the injured reserve after six weeks.
The only three meaningful first-round picks Green Bay has made in the last seven years are Rodgers, Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji.
Green Bay could benefit from free agent signings like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Cliff Avril, Jake Long, Dallas Clark or Shonn Greene, but the likelihood of one of those names lan3ding in Wisconsin is slim.
The NFL is constantly changing and new teams seem to come out of nowhere and become instant contenders.
The Packers’ NFC North title proves there is still plenty to work with. However, based on Saturday night’s 45-31 beating at the hands of the 49ers the roster clearly needs upgrades as well.
Here’s hoping Thompson and Co. can make some of those changes happen.
Ben Rodgers is a news writer at the Jamestown Sun