By DJ Siddiqi @DJSiddiqi on July 1, 2014
The Green Bay Packers narrowly won the NFC North division in 2013, despite missing franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers for half of 2013. Entering 2014, the Packers will hope Rodgers is healthy for the entire year as they look to clinch the division title for the fourth straight season. Here are five players with the most to prove in 2014.
Premier DE Julius Peppers was the Packers' marquee acquisition in free agency. Peppers will still be considered a defensive end in Green Bay, but he'll play a lot of linebacker in the Packers' 3-4 scheme. Peppers has not played linebacker since he was with the Carolina Panthers in 2009. If Peppers continues to be one of the league's best pass rushers, Green Bay will be one of the top teams in the NFC.
The Packers had a total of zero interceptions from their safeties in 2013. Against the passing game, the defense ranked 24th in the NFL, while ranking 26th in interceptions forced. Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix was selected with the Packers' first overall pick and he'll be expected to make an immediate impact starting at safety.
B.J. Raji had a down season in 2013 and it showed as the Packers ranked 25th versus the run last season, while allowing 125 rushing yards a game. Raji's 2013 season was so poor last year, that after his contract season, he re-signed for just one year for million. More will be expected out of Raji in 2014 as he returns for another season playing nose tackle.
It may be odd to some to put an elite quarterback like Aaron Rodgers on this list, but considering Rodgers missed seven games last season due to a collarbone injury, and the fact that the Pack were eliminated in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs for the first time in four seasons, Rodgers has to continue to prove that he is in elite form.
It seems unfair to expect a lot out of a rookie wide receiver, but Davante Adams is an exception. The Packers lost James Jones through free agency, which means they are looking for a capable No. 2 receiver to take the load off of Jordy Nelson. Adams, who was taken with a second-round selection, is the favorite to take over the No. 2 spot. Adams will be the beneficiary of many targets from Aaron Rodgers.
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