Linebacker Erik Walden was one of many mediocre starters for Green Bay
There’s no excuse for how poorly the team performed against the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round of the playoffs, but looking back, it’s hard to be disappointed in the 2012 Green Bay Packers.
If you look objectively at the 24 players (including kickers) who took the majority of snaps at their respective positions, a third of them would be classified as no better than average NFL players. The mediocre eight include: running back Alex Green, left tackle Marshall Newhouse, center Jeff Saturday, defensive end C.J. Wilson, linebackers Erik Walden and Brad Jones, safety M.D. Jennings and kicker Mason Crosby (I was being generous by not including fullback John Kuhn and linebacker A.J. Hawk on this list).
The Packers simply didn’t have the talent to win the Super Bowl this season. People like to compare this year’s team to the one that won it all in 2010, but that team only had five mediocre players (Frank Zombo, Charlie Peprah, Morgan Burnett, Brandon Jackson and Andrew Quarless) taking the majority of snaps at their respective positions. Plus, that group was unique. Aaron Rodgers played the quarterback position about as well as it’s ever been played, and the competition in the NFC was a bit weaker than usual.
OK, so the 2012 Packers weren’t good enough to win another Super Bowl. Can they be good enough next season? The answer is yes, but only if the talent level at numerous positions improves. Green Bay desperately needs left tackle Derek Sherrod and outside linebacker Nick Perry to step up. They also need veterans like Crosby and corner Tramon Williams to be a lot better. And most importantly, they need GM Ted Thompson to add a few new impact pieces to the puzzle. It won’t be easy, but it’s doable.