If there is one thing we know about the two teams in the Super Bowl, it’s that they are not soft teams. The Green Bay Packers, on the other hand, have been under some scrutiny the past few days about whether or not they are soft. Reporter Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first came out with the idea with an article he had written.
On his weekly radio show, Aaron Rodgers became the first player on the team to address what McGinn had published. Rodgers made some interesting points about the column and what constitutes a team being called soft.
“I don’t know exactly how to answer that,” Rodgers said. “I can just say that obviously we didn’t win as many games as we wanted to this year; we came up short in the playoffs, but I like the makeup of our team.
“You know, we’re not an offensive line that goes 330 (pounds) across the board, so we’re not going to be a power running game. We’re going to be a team that’s going to get after you with tempo and with our skilled players who are as skilled as any group of guys in the league.”
Rodgers is exactly right here. The Packers have one of the smaller groups of offensive lineman and even the running backs are more agile and quick than powerful. Green Bay did sign running back Cedric Benson last off-season to help try and create a better power running game, which did not work. The offense is built around Rodgers and getting the ball quickly into the hands of their best playmakers like Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson. This approach seems to be the game plan for most teams today, as Rodgers noted on his radio show.
“If that makes us soft in some people’s opinions, we’re not going to change that opinion, but we’re going to win a lot of games around here with the guys that we have, and as you’ve seen throughout the league, the league is going to a more pass-oriented scheme, and even Baltimore is not the Baltimore of a couple years ago. Joe Flacco is getting an opportunity to do some no-huddle stuff, to call stuff on the line of scrimmage.”
Rodgers is right again with this topic. The Packers rely on the passing game to have success, and there is nothing that says power with their offense. However, just because they lack in size doesn’t make them soft. Green Bay has some of the best set of skill players in the entire league and they take advantage of it. Trying to be a power running team or a more physical team doesn’t fit their style and would only hurt the team’s success.
However, there is one thing that has not been mentioned is the Packers defense. While they are a team that relies on takeaways to have success, they are a defense that has trouble stopping the run and making tackles. When the Packers faced a team with a powerful running back this season, they had tremendous trouble stopping them. Adrian Peterson ran for over 500 yards in three games against the Packers this year, and just by watching the highlights, it is noticeable how many missed tackles there were and how the defense, especially the secondary, looked scared at approaching the physical Peterson.
The Packers are not a soft team on offense like McGinn was first suggesting in his article. There is a misconception that if a team throws the ball more that they are a soft team. That is not true – the Packers are just doing what is best for their team, which is having the ball in the hands of Rodgers as much as possible. However, the Packers could be more physical on defense – the tackling needs to improve, especially in the secondary.
Overall, the Packers are not a soft team. What hurt them in the playoffs the most was the lack of execution. However, do expect Green Bay to try and become a bigger team on defense next season.
Follow me on Twitter @KVP_10