I know the draft is over and OTAs are in full swing, but I need to revisit last season for a minute. If we judged the 2011 Packers the same way professors judge college students, what would be the Packers final grade point average?
Let’s go to the report card.
Aaron Rodgers was the MVP and the Packers scored whenever they needed to. This would have been an A+ if not for the sputtering performance in the playoff loss to the Giants.
Special Teams: B+
Mason Crosby had a career season and Randall Cobb took a couple kicks back for touchdowns. There were also very few moments where special teams coverage made me want to put my wife up in a hotel for the evening so I could destroy the house and go on a drunken rampage.
No pass rush. Poor tackling. Giving up a ton of big plays. The only thing that prevented an F were forcing turnovers and doing a somewhat decent job of keeping teams out of the end zone at the end of drives (at least early in the season).
Grade Point Average: 2.67
An ‘A,’ a ‘B-plus,’ and a ‘D-minus.’ That doesn’t look so bad. Yes, the poor grade on defense stands out, but it’s not hard to envision a team with an ‘A’ offense and a ‘B-plus’ special teams going 15-1. The D-minus on defense really drags down the GPA, though. If I had told you that the 2011 Packers would have a GPA of 2.67, would you have guessed that they would finish 15-1?
Maybe if I have some time later this summer, I’ll run similar studies for the most dominant regular-season teams of the past 10 years and see where their GPAs end up. For now, I did a quick study of the last team to finish 15-1 in the NFC North: The 1998 Minnesota Vikings with a young Randy Moss, rejuvenated Randall Cunningham and an active defense led by the chicken-chasing John Randle.
I gave the ’98 Vikes an ‘A’ on offense, a ‘B-minus’ on defense and an ‘A-minus’ on special teams. That’s a 3.47 GPA.
Now, back to last season’s Packers. Let’s break down the team in specific position groups and see how the overall GPA changes.