Saturday, June 27, 2015

Super Bowl 50 Fate Rests in Packer "D"

Compiled and Written By: Todd Stelzel, PackerToddsnEnds

No question---The Green Bay Packers' offense will score a ton of points in 2015. The biggest question as I see it, is "Can the Packer defense keep the other teams from scoring when the game is on the line?"

After resigning Bryan Bulaga and Randall Cobb, the 2015 Packers, barring serious injuries, will return 21 out of 22 starters from the 2014 squad that lost a literal "heartbreaker" in the last five minutes to the Seattle Seahawks during the NFC Championship Game.

CB Tramon Williams is the one exception, after signing with the Cleveland Browns as an unrestricted free agent in March. Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers needs to expediantly fill this vacancy, if the Packers are to have a chance at winning Super Bowl 50.

The Packers' dangerous offense, barring major injuries, will be an even greater threat to opposing defenses in 2015 with, believe it or not, the emergence of #17 WR Davante Adams. Given these brief statements about the Packer offense and an at times suspect 2014 Packer defense, I truly believe that the Green Bay Packers Super Bowl 50 fate is in the hands of the green and gold "D" this year.

The Packer offense can get you to SB 50, but as we all's defense that wins championships. With very little "turnover" in the starting depth chart, Packer veterans, who start on defense, will have to step it up and contribute significantly if Green Bay is to be considered a favorite to win it all.

Here is a list of my top 5 veteran Packer players who must improve significantly,
in order for the Pack to get to and win SB 50. As you can guess...they are all defensive players. So here we go...

#95 Datone Jones - Has 5 career sacks in 2 seasons. 1.5 sacks last year. Datone was drafted in the first round out of UCLA by Green Bay in 2013, and needs to significantly increase his production, if the Packers want to head to SB 50 and win it! Personally speaking, I expect more out of a 1st round pick!

#95 Datone Jones, Image From:
#53 Nick Perry - Another first round draft choice in 2012. He played at USC. Perry was selected by the Packers to give them another "edge rusher" to sack the quarterback. Perry has 9 career sacks in 3 seasons. Need I say more?

#53 Nick Perry, Image From:
#90 BJ Raji - Has not recorded a QB sack since 2011--this, after his finest year in 2010 with 6.5 sacks--(the year the Pack won the Superbowl--are you making the same connection as me?) Raji was drafted in the first round (9th overall) by Green Bay in 2009. He was selected ahead of Clay Matthews, who was also drafted in the first round in 2009 (26th overall pick). This year, Raji faces stiff competition from fellow teammate Letroy Guion for the right to start. Bottom line? BJ needs to start molding himself after Clay--if the Pack are to return to glory!

#90 BJ Raji, Image From:
#29 Casey Hayward - In 35 career games, he has 9 interceptions and a fumble recovery. In my eyes, he is a "defensive playmaker" and I can't wait to see him get more opportunities on the field, now that Tramon has bolted for the Browns. By the way, Hayward and Williams each had three picks last year, even though Tramon played the majority of the snaps at CB. Casey is starting material in my mind and should play opposite Sam Shields in 2015, but don't count out Micah Hyde.

#29 Casey Hayward, Image From:
#33 Micah Hyde - Coach McCarthy had high praise for this young man at the end of June OTA practices. Hyde was drafted in the fifth round in 2012, out of Iowa. He has 2 career interceptions in two seasons. The former Hawkeye DB is a ball hawk. In addition, Hyde has proven that he can return punts and will challenge Casey Hayward for the vacant starting CB position.

#33 Micah Hyde, Image From:
No doubt---it takes a team to win and lose a game. Die-hard Packer fans were painfully reminded of that fact last year at Seattle.

No doubt---veterans will have to do most of the hard work, while the rookies will be expected to help when called upon. We need to count on that good old Wisconsin work ethic--which our veterans certainly have-- to be modeled and instilled in the new guys.

So, make no mistake---given the statistics from last year, the onus is not on the Green Bay Packer offense this year, but rather dead center on the defense. The players mentioned above must increase their production and make a dramatic impact in order for the Packers to defeat any team that stands in their way of a Super Bowl 50 win and a 5th Vince Lombardi Trophy.

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