— The Sports Xchange —
From a Super Bowl favorite to a playoff observer. That’s what happened to the Green Bay Packers in 2017.
Green Bay entered the season with the best odds of representing the NFC in the Super Bowl. Instead, the Packers’ hopes for greatness were derailed by Aaron Rodgers’ broken collarbone that cost the standout quarterback more than half of the season.
The Packers began the year 4-1 with Rodgers. But under primarily the direction of No. 2 quarterback Brett Hundley, Green Bay lost seven of its final 10 games and finished 7-9 overall, third in the NFC North.
The Packers had their eight-year playoff streak snapped. And Green Bay will now select 14th in April’s draft, their highest draft position since picking ninth in 2009.
Even with Rodgers, though, Super Bowl chatter seemed like delusions of grandeur as the season unfolded.
Green Bay’s defense bordered on awful again. And at the end of the year, the Packers fired long-time coordinator Dom Capers.
The offense lacked the explosion of many recent Packers teams and needs some new blood. And head coach Mike McCarthy had arguably the poorest of his 12 seasons coaching the Packers.
In all, it was one of the Packers’ most disappointing years in some time.
“Our ultimate goal was to win a championship,” safety Morgan Burnett said. “That’s what we’re about here in Green Bay, is winning a championship. And we fell short of that by not making the playoffs. But I’m pretty sure every guy is going to respond very well come next season.”
WHAT WENT RIGHT: Truthfully, very little.
Perhaps the No. 1 thing the Packers could hang their hat on was they went 4-1 before Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone in Week 6. Green Bay looked like a viable Super Bowl candidate before the injury to Rodgers.
When the Packers’ two-time MVP quarterback went down, though, the roster was exposed for its dearth of playmakers and young talent. The offense could no longer carry a suspect defense and Green Bay’s free-fall began.
WHAT WENT WRONG: You name it.
The defense was sieve-like again, finishing 22nd in total defense (348.9) and 26th in scoring defense (24.0). Opposing quarterbacks had a 102.0 passer rating against Green Bay this year, the highest figure in franchise history. And opposing quarterbacks completed 67.8 percent of their passes, which is also the worst in franchise history.
When the year ended, defensive coordinator Dom Capers, defensive line coach Mike Trgovac and inside linebackers coach Scott McCurley were all fired.
In the 10 games Green Bay played without Rodgers, it averaged just 15.9 points per game. No. 2 quarterback Brett Hundley never figured it out and finished the year with nine touchdown passes, 12 interceptions and a 70.6 passer rating.