Larrivee: Packers season disappointing, but 'not a total loss'
MILWAUKEE - A Green Bay Packers team with the best regular season record in franchise history ended with a major letdown after a painful exit from the NFL playoffs, a 37-20 loss at the hands of the New York Giants.
Still, Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Voice of the Packers Wayne Larrivee said the team's season should not be qualified as a complete failure.
"I think total disappointment's hard to say," said Larrivee on TODAY'S TMJ4's "Live at Daybreak."
"They did some wonderful things here, a 19-game winning streak dating back to last year's Super Bowl championship, all the records, Aaron Rodgers' season that he had, that's not a total loss in any way, shape or form. Is the end result disappointing? Yes, and the players will be the first to tell you that. They expected to go back to the Super Bowl."
Still, he called the three-score defeat to the Giants a "shocker."
"You go 15-1, you get home field advantage during the playoffs, you're a healthy football team. All the things they didn't have last year, ironically, they had this year, and they didn't get to the Super Bowl."
When the Packers won Super Bowl XLV, they came off a 10-6 campaign where they had to win ever NFC playoff game on the road, and do it with - by the time the Super Bowl ended - 18 players who were unable to contribute due to injuries.
Larrivee explained, however, that the loss to the Giants was a near-total breakdown by most facets of the team.
"(The offense) never got on track in that playoff game against the Giants," explained Larrivee.
"The Packers' defense last year was second in the league in sacks, second in the league in points allowed. This year, exactly the opposite. They didn't get pressure on the quarterback on a consistent basis and gave up a lot of yards, and eventually a lot of points."
What's next for Green Bay? Larrivee believes there will be lots of change, particularly when it comes to the front seven of a defense that failed to get to the quarterback all year - just 29 sacks compared to 47 in 2010.
"You're going to have change on your football team anyway, but I think there's changes they have to make up front on that defense. They need to find a pass rusher, probably an outside linebacker who can threaten the quarterback outside of Clay Matthews."
Larrivee says, however, that the offense will remain much the same for 2012.
"Offensively, they're going to be good. Will there be changes? Sure there will be. They're very deep at wide receiver. The running back situation remains to be sorted out a little bit," said Larrivee.
"This team will win with its passing game and its offense. The defense has to carry its load. When they do, you saw what happened last year. But this year is going to be, number one, a passing team."