The Green Bay Packers were one win away from making it to the Super Bowl last season, but they were stopped short by the Atlanta Falcons. Looking ahead to the 2017 NFL season, the Packers appear to be one of the top teams in the NFC once again.
Aaron Rodgers is without question the best quarterback in the NFC at this point in time. In fact, he is widely viewed as the best quarterback in the entire league. That alone will keep the Packers in Super Bowl contention.
Green Bay’s offense isn’t what is going to keep them from winning a championship this season. Mike McCarthy and the Packers’ coaching staff shouldn’t be too worried about Rodgers and company. What they need to be worried about is the defensive side of the football, which has been improved a bit this offseason.
There are still some question marks surrounding the Packers’ defense in many different areas. Whether that be the youth in their secondary or the defensive line inconsistency, they will have to figure things out if they want to be the best team in the conference.
All of that being said, what five keys can be given for the Packers to have an improved defense in the 2017 NFL season?
Kevin King Must Step Up as a Rookie
When the Packers selected Kevin King with the first pick of the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft, he immediately had a lot of pressure come down on his shoulders. Green Bay was awful against the pass last season. King will be asked to step up and likely start as a rookie, and the Packers need him to have a strong season.
Damarious Randall Has to Make Improvements
Damarious Randall was expected to be a potential No. 1 cornerback for the Packers when he was drafted. Now, there are serious questions about what to expect from him in 2017. Randall has to make improvements this season and become a cornerstone for the Green Bay defense.
Clay Matthews Needs to Become a Pass-Rushing Threat Again
It has been awhile since Clay Matthews was viewed as a pass-rushing threat for the Packers. He recorded just five sacks last season for the Packers. Green Bay has used him at inside linebacker a bit over the past couple years, but they need him to get back to terrorizing opposing quarterbacks in 2017.
The Defensive Line Must Stuff the Run
One of the biggest issues for the Packers last season was stopping the run. Their defensive line was inconsistent, and they went out and signed Ricky Jean-Francois to help fix that problem. Kenny Clark must improve his run-stopping ability in his second NFL season as well and the entire line must step up.
Nick Perry Must Live Up to His New Contract
After earning a five-year, nearly $60 million contract this past offseason, Nick Perry must live up to the new money he is making. Green Bay saw him register 11.0 sacks last season and they need him to put up that kind of production again. Perry has superstar potential and it is time for him to reach that potential.
Do you think the Green Bay Packers’ defense can play at a championship caliber level this season? Are there any other keys you would add to this list? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Featured Image by Jeff Haynes/AP Images]