As the dust settled on Super Bowl LV, Green Bay Packers players and fans were forced to reflect on another season of what-ifs and close-run things. Despite their imperious form during the course of the regular season (they went 13-3 in the NFC North), they fell yet again at the penultimate hurdling, losing out to Tampa Bay in an excruciating NFC Championship loss.
That defeat means that star quarterback Aaron Rodgers now has the ignominious record of one win and four losses in NFC Championship games. But while 2021 ultimately ended in disappointment for the Packers, the good news is that they’re not too far away from assembling a team capable of going all the way. Here are three ways in which they could improve their chances next time around.
Tighten up at the back end
Anyone who prides themselves on keeping up with American football latest games will be well aware of the leakiness of the Packers’ secondary, despite their strong record over the course of the season. Their main problem seems to consist of a lack of depth, given that the drop-off in quality after cornerback Jaire Alexander is stark.
Indeed, it was a lack of pace that exposed the Packers in that crucial game against the Buccaneers and they must face up to the fact that they’re likely to play against teams with similarly speedy wide receivers. Neutralizing that threat with speedy off-ball cornerbacks of their own could go some way to shoring things up on the back end.
Find a new second wide receiver
There can be little argument that the Packers had the most efficient offense in the entirety of the NFL last season, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t do with freshening up their options. Davante Adams was deadly in his role as the primary option, but having an out-and-out wide receiver to complement his mazy runs would benefit their game to no end.
Last season, general manager Brian Gutekunst made the disastrous mistake of failing to bring in a single wideout during the draft. That kind of slip-up cannot be allowed to happen again and although they don’t need to break the bank to inject new blood into their offensive options, some shrewd business in the draft would be most welcome at Lambeau Field.
Strengthen their mental resolve
It’s now two years running that the Packers have reached the NFC Championship final with apparent ease, only to fall away at the last. That they’re expected to do so again is reflected in the fact that some spectators are already suggesting them as favorites for Super Bowl LVI – but they need to start acting like they deserve that respect.
That means taking their chances when they come up and not shying away from the big occasions. That applies to no one more than Rodgers, who has often been touted as the heir apparent to Tom Brady’s crown, but has yet to produce the goods consistently when it matters most. Fortunately, another season – and another Super Bowl run – gives him and his team the chance to do exactly that.