Well, another season has ended in bitter heartbroken sadness. I'd love to blame it all on the Fail Mary but that would be a mistake. As good as the Packers are, they still have several issues. And while I think we saw a lot of good come out of this year (Casey Hayward and DuJuan Harris, come on down!), if the team can't figure out how to get back the toughness they showed in their 2010 run to the Super Bowl they will be doomed to repeat the failures of the past two seasons. To be honest, I don't believe that keeping Dom Capers is the answer to a stronger defense in 2013. But I don't see a change coming in the coaching staff, so lets take a look at the three main places the team needs to add toughness most.
1) Offensive Line - This is a line that has been decimated by injuries. I think if the starters can stay healthy they can regain their from of 3 years ago. Brian Bulaga and Derek Sherrod are the future at tackle for the Packers if they can stay healthy and the guards are both very capable players. Center is the main position of need on the line. Jeff Saturday has already announced his retirement and while Evan Deitrich-Smith is a great swing player I don't think he is the answer in the starting lineup. This is a position that must be filled either in free agency or early in the draft.
2) Defensive Line - It was nice to see B J Raji finally start to show the explosiveness that he had as a rookie. It had been missing for a long time. But Ryan Pickett is aging and I think the D Line has missed that tough presence ever since Cullen Jenkins left following the Super Bowl. Jerel Worthy flashed a bit as a specialist in passing situations but the team still needs more of a rock at defensive end Well, that or a more prototypical 3-4 Nose tackle that would allow for Raji to move outside and be his aggressive pass rushing self.
3) Safety - It's been plain to see that the defensive backfield just has not been close to the same since Nick Collins was injured and forced to retire. Charles Woodson did a fair job of trying to replace him but I just don't think he has the size to be a true aggressive run stuffing, hard hitting safety and I don't think Morgan Burnett fits the bill either. And you just can't have a tough D that scares opponents without a guy in the back that's not afraid to announce his presence with authority.
I also think that OLB is a key need for the team. With Nick Perry coming back and entering his second year with the playbook though I don't think this is as urgent. I think this team is still well inside its championship window. I just hope the coaches are open enough to changing their mindsets on how to go about winning it.