Veteran wide receiver Donald Driver said it starts with attitude. Driver said they must have the same attitude and approach as they
did a year ago.
Several things factor into a teams ability to repeat. First and foremost is their attitude. After winning the Super Bowl last year, is every player as hungry to win it again? Are they as hungry as they were for the first title? With other teams gunning for the champs, are they ready to handle everybody’s best game? All questions that will be answered in time.
Injuries are a factor as well. The Packers proved last season that they could get through a number of injuries and still win. But key injuries are the key. Not to diminish the loss of some of the players the Packers lost, but they didn’t see Aaron Rodgers go down. They didn’t lose Clay Matthews or Charles Woodson or even B.J. Raji on defense. For the most part, their offensive line stayed in tact all season and while TE Jermichael Finley went down for the year, Greg Jennings stepped up at wide receiver and has his best season.
The Packers are also getting younger again, releasing veteran players like Nick Barnett, Brady Poppinga and Brandon Chillar on defense, as well as Mark Tauscher on offense. They also allowed a number of players to leave in free agency like Cullen Jenkins and Daryn Colledge, just to name a couple.
But youth has always served the Packers well. GM Ted Thompson and his scouting staff has been able to identify outstanding young talent and Mike McCarthy and his coaching staff has done an excellent job of coaching them up. When a starter went down, there was no panick in Titletown. The Packers simply plugged in the next man and got ready to play on Sunday.
The last team to repeat as Super Bowl Champs is the New England Patroits who captured the second of two straight titles in 2004.
Mike McCarthy says it all the time. How his team handles success will be a determining factor in their overall success. Donald Driver said that message was laid out by McCarthy for the entire team the first time they met.
Every year is different and every season brings new challenges. The Packers will certainly cross those path’s as the season goes along.
It’ll also be interesting to see how the coaching staff approaches the season. The last time the Packers won a Super Bowl, beating the Patroits in New Orleans, Mike Holmgren came back the following year and things were different. Holmgren was on his team from the start the next season. They did get to the Super Bowl again, but lost the title game to the Bronco’s.
Mike McCarthy said he will not coach his team differently or harder than he has in the past. The Packers head coach said consistency is what’s important to him. McCarthy said he’s not going to start yelling at his players because they won the Super Bowl last year. He said it’s important to let the players know when they’re doing things right and when they’re doing things wrong.
Donald Driver said one would think the Packers are now the hunted, but the mentality they’re approaching the season with is that of the hunter. Driver said the Packers want to get after it and be the aggressor.
What a difference a year makes. Last season, the Packers nearly missed the playoffs on the way to winning the Super Bowl. Now, the Packers are thinking about becoming just the 9th team in history to repeat. In a year where the lockout cost every team an offseason to improve, the Packers’ chances of doing so, appear to be as good as any!