By the end of the 2014 NFL Season we had a 12-4 winning record, we were headed into the playoffs and the future looked bright. As we know now it was not meant to be, but let’s take a look at the season that was and look forward to the season that will be (2015).
As September rolled around and the pre season games rolled by, I steadily got more and more excited about the prospect of an epic 2014 season. We had made it to the playoffs in the previous season (2013) and although we had been knocked out, it was a good sign that we had made it that far.
The first game of the season was against the Seahawks in Seattle, they were the defending champions so they were expected to win big, whilst Packers had something to prove. The game became a bit of a disaster with the Seahawks proving why they were the reigning champions, the Packers just seemed rusty with no traction. Passes went incomplete, Eddie Lacy’s Run game was a tiny 34 yards (he did go out with a concussion), Rodgers was nearly throwing exclusively to Nelson due to Richard Sherman being on the other side of the field, something was not jelling.
This happening in the first game of the season was disheartening, it did not bode well for the Packers but we, the fans, would never give up on the Packers that easily and we knew that they would come back from this.
We were not wrong, come week two we beat the Jets, but that came with it’s own drama, coming from behind for the eventual win. The Packers then looked to our first divisional game versus the Lions. Our Defense had been iffy at best so far with lots of points allowed and our Run Defense was virtually non-existent. We had had Julius Peppers added to the team for the 2014 season after he was released by the Chicago Bears, and so far we were still waiting to see him shine in the famous Green Bay Packers Defense.
The loss against the Lions really hurt, mainly because my friend Ben is a Lions fan and he was very smug about it, now we had a losing record of 1-2 causing mass panic throughout the Green Bay nation, what had happened to the Packers? How had we gone from playoffs one year to a losing record at the start of the next?
It was after this game in his weekly radio show that the (now) immortal words were spoken; ‘R-E-L-A-X, just relax. Everything will be OK.’ You can hear the words being uttered here and skip to 26:37. Who knew that Aaron Rodgers had the ability to hypnotize.
After these words were spoken the Packers went on a winning spree, winning 11 out of the next 13 games. Rodgers obviously knew something we didn’t and sometimes I think fans jump to conclusions because of their sheer amount of passion we have it is do-or-die with every play. He says during the interview that they were ‘almost there’, and looking at the rest of the season he was right, but as a fan sometimes I think it is like we are having mood swings that would make playground equipment jealous!
We had some blowout games, we had some close to the wire, but what we did have was; Game. The Packers were back and after the early season blip we were on a roll. It was an amazing season to watch, with 7 games where the Packers scored over 35 points and in one game Rodgers had the chance to go for the record in most touchdowns in a single game, but alas he was taken off the field before this could happen.
The two losses were to the Bills and the Saints, the Bills had a great defense, something we struggled to overcome throughout the season, whilst the Saints had a Drew Brees offense, enough said. Brees is one of the those QB’s who everyone knows and fears, a mixture of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady he will always try and get the job done.
Let’s look at some players who could go and who should stay, the free agents are the best to start with as if we do not resign then they could go to another team and make us regret the decision. Coming into free agency this year we have quite a few hitting the market, I will only be covering a few but you can see the full list here.
Randall Cobb – This year he has been one of the game changers for the Green Bay Packers, his speed and agility have helped him get some of the most crucial touchdowns this season. Drafted by the Packers in 2011 he has been with the team ever since, he started his Packers career with receiving touchdowns and this year has not failed to continue that trend. This season has seen him leaping and bounding for all types of throws like an excitable puppy and he is a firm fan favourite, as well as a favourite of Rodgers who has been able to rely on him as well as Nelson.
Here are his stats for this year:
With stats like that we would be mad not to keep him, of course it will all depend on what cost they put on him and whether the Packers want to cough up that money or take their chances with the draft.
Tramon Williams – Possibly now more infamous for allowing the Kearse touchdown in the game-that-shall-not-be-named last week, Williams has been a great addition to the Packers roster, as a cornerback he has helped the Packers this season in some of their great wins over others. Each year he has been getting better and better with the Packers and has managed to accumulate some great stats, the most impressive (to me) being that he has only missed one game in the last five seasons due to injury.
Here are his stats for the year:
However, Williams will be fighting with Davon House for the spot and with that play burned in everyone’s minds will it come back to bite him? It will also be an age question, House is only 25 whereas Williams is 31, but when our beloved QB is the same age and going strong should we be worried?
John Kuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhn – Sorry, couldn’t resist. A firm fan favourite, the only player to have his own Fan call (they shout out Kuhn not Boo if you were ever confused) and a great Fullback on our roster. Again, he is the wrong side of 30 and I guess the question would be, are the Packers going to risk a draft pick or go with experience before youth? Although he played 16 games this season he only started 2 of them, but he still managed to get some good stats up on the board.
Here are his stats for the year:
Bryan Bulaga – The Offensive line this season has been amazing, giving Rodgers sometimes up to 8 seconds to find a receiver and throw the ball, whilst others in the NFL have 2 or 3 seconds at most. A lot of fans put their faith in the O line with Bulaga being an essential part of that, but the question I think the Packers will be asking themselves is; ‘is he too injury prone?’ Having missed all of the 2013 season and injuring himself this season (even if he was only out for one game) would they be better to draft someone new who may be a bit more durable?
Letroy Guion – He was new to our Defense this year but I think definitely made an impact on it. He seems to have get on well with all in the locker room and slid comfortably into his new home, albeit he didn’t have to come far coming from the Vikings. If you compare his stats at the Vikings with his from this year at the Packers they have greatly improved, whether it is the team or he is pushing himself he has left a great impression. At 27 he would make for a good investment for the Packers Defense, something that has needed some work this year and it needs to continue for next season as well.
Matt Flynn vs Scott Tolzein – The fight of the back up QB’s has begun, either the Packers will chose Flynn who has done great things for the Packers when Rodgers was hurt in 2013, or they could go with the youth of Tolzein and grow him into a great QB similar to how Rodgers learnt his craft spending the first 3 years on the bench behind Favre, or they could go completely different and draft a new QB. Personally I don’t think they should waste a draft pick on another QB quite yet, they need to train up the ones they have and see what they have got.
So what do you think? Who would you pick and who would you cut? Comment below with your thoughts!