The Green Bay Packers: 2014 Final Report Card
As always, the Packers' offense was nothing short of greatness. It all begins with tenth-year quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who time and time again proves that he is among the league's elite. Rodgers finished the year with 38 touchdowns through the air, two more through the ground, and turned the football over just nine times.
Two Green Bay receivers finished over 1,000 yards this season, with Jordy Nelson recording 1,519 and Randall Cobb recording 1,287. The duo was among the league's most productive, with a combined 25 touchdowns. Second-round pick Davante Adams also managed to contribute to the passing attack, with 446 yards and three touchdowns. They lack a threat at tight end, but the receivers have more than made up for that.
Eddie Lacy struggled early on, totaling just 161 rushing yards and averaging just 3.04 per carry in the first four games, but he quickly picked up the pace to finish with solid numbers. Lacy ended the year with 1566 yards from scrimmage and 13 total touchdowns, proving that he can contribute in the passing game after failing to do so as a rookie.
The Packers finished sixth in yards, eighth in passing and 11th in rushing, which is great, but what is the most impressive is that they finished first in scoring, averaging 30.4 points per game.
With so much talent in the secondary, this defense was supposed to be better. Nobody predicted that they would compete with the likes of Richard Sherman and the Seahawks' defense, but they simply did not play up to expectations this year.
The Packers were not bad against the pass, ranking tenth in the league allowing just 226.4 yards a game, but they could have been a lot better. Tramon Williams and Sam Shields both seemed to regress after solid 2013's, while Casey Hayward did not play as well as he did in his rookie year. First-round pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix got better as a the season moved along, but inconsistencies killed him, most notably in the Conference Championship. This is a unit capable of harassing opposing quarterbacks and creating turnovers, but not one that has proven to be able to do so regularly.
The Packers ranked 23rd in run defense, allowing 119.9 rushing yards per game and 4.3 yards a carry. They have some good players up front, but not in enough places. They were able to contain the long run, allowing just six rushes of 20 yards or more and the longest being 40, opponents were able to consistently get the important yardage against them.
Their run defense was the entire team's biggest weakness, but with that being said, they did well enough in other areas to keep their grade from dropping too low.
Mason Crosby has never been a reliable kicker, with a 77% on field goals prior to his fluky 2013 season. This year Crosby finished with a percentage of 81.8, hitting 27 of his 33, but that has him ranked 23rd, behind the likes of Nick Folk and Graham Gano.
The Packers really struggled with punting, as Tim Masthay finishing 30th in the league with a 37 net yard average. They did not need him too much though, with all full-time punters finishing above him in punts - Masthay had just 49 all year.
DuJuan Harris did a decent job returning kicks with a 20.7 average, but he had a long of 41 and no touchdowns. Micah Hyde and Randall Cobb split punt return duty, with each finishing with 14 returns. Hyde, though, finished with two touchdowns and a 15.8 average while Cobb had no scores and recorded an average of eight.
The Packers made it all the way to the Conference Championship, displaying a prolific passing attack and a talented defense, but their weaknesses became apparent. Their run defense hurt bad while their lack of red zone success was teeth-grinding. They have their weaknesses as all teams do, but what matters is if their strengths came overcome those. They did that for most of the year.