As I get a more impatient waiting for the upcoming season, I thought it might be useful to channel some of that energy into contemplating what the 2012 season will bring, and hopefully what might have been corrected from the previous season.
One of the more newsworthy issues has been changes on the defense. Personally, I’m not overly-enthusiastic. There has been a lot of hype over Nick Perry, like he alone will salvage the defense. Hopefully, there will be progress, but a stronger defense will not emerge overnight (or over the offseason). Cultivation and patience is the key, and this season may become the framework for having a more balanced team.
Where’s the running game? I think a lot of the over-reliance on Rodgers stems from the lack of a reliable running game. If your QB has approximately the same amount of yards per carry as the RB, there’s a big problem. At this point, no team is seriously expecting much from the running game, so those fake handoffs won’t work. Utilizing the running game more often? Now, that would keep everyone on their toes!
I suppose this is a continuation of my “one cannot live by the QB alone” argument. Those “hot potato” moments might mean the death of my television. I love giving kudos to the Packers, but I have to be honest about the luck element. There were quite a few games where the receivers dropped balls constantly, and winning those games was very lucky.
The last issue that comes to mind is that more than a week between games seems problematic. Frankly, it makes for a sloppy game, win or lose. This could be the result of loss of focus or blatant arrogance. I think a season with an impressive Super Bowl run, combined with some 2011 regular season games that were simply awful, but still resulted in wins, may have created an invincibility complex.
I envision a much more grounded team in 2012, so the road game against the Lions will be interesting. The combination of being on the road and coming off a bye week may determine if old patterns have been broken. In addition to the Lions, I anticipate intense matchups with the 49ers, Texans, Saints and Giants. I’m secretly reliving the “what-if” scenarios.