The 2019 NFC North champions lost only four games all season but were humbled twice by the San Francisco 49ers. What’s ahead for the Green Bay Packers?
The Green Bay Packers made eight straight playoff appearances from 2009-16. There was a Super Bowl title in 2010 and trips to the NFC title game in 2014 and 2016. Then things began to go a little awry.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers missed nearly half of 2017 with a broken collarbone and was hobbled by a knee injury in 2018. Add in a shaky defense and no ground game and the club was a combined 13-18-1 over that two-year span.
Enter new head coach Matt LaFleur and a different offensive approach. The team spent some money on defense and the results were a 13-3 record and a division title. It was back to the NFC title game for the Pack but they were pushed around by the 49ers. What’s next for this franchise?
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So What’s Next?
But tackling machine Blake Martinez, who led the club in stops three consecutive years and has totaled 140-plus tackles in each of those campaigns, could be available if the front office doesn’t get him under contract or slap him with the franchise tag.
Biggest Offseason Concern?
Last offseason, general manager Brian Gutekunst invested heavily in free agency and hit the jackpot with pass rusher Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith and safety Adrian Amos. It paid off handsomely in the fact that the Green Bay pass rush came up with its share of big moments and LaFleur’s team forced 10 more turnovers (25) than did the Packers the previous season (15).
What became painfully evident, however, was the fact that Mike Pettine’s unit was highly susceptible to the run and it culminated in the team allowed 49ers’ running back Raheem Mostert (220) to rush for the second-most yards in a postseason game in NFL annals.
In both matchups with the San Francisco 49ers in 2019, the Green Bay Packers were pushed around in the trenches on both sides of the ball. And that means there’s some work to be done this offseason if the team is going to stay in the Super Bowl hunt.
LaFleur’s club has to become much more physical when it comes to not only running the ball but stopping the other teams from doing the same. The Pack was pushed around too often this past year.