Despite the game shining a spotlight on a woeful, banged-up Packers defensive backfield and running game struggles, Aaron Rodgers said after the loss that the Green Bay offseason plan just requires finessing, not wholesale rebuilding.
"We need to reload. I don't think we need to rebuild; we need to reload. We got a lot of players who are young. ... We just need to reload a little bit this offseason," Rodgers said.
Rodgers even got into stomping for some teammates to be retained next season.
"I think we had a lot of great contributions this season from guys we didn't expect starting the season out," Rodgers said. "You got Geronimo Allison, who had a very big year for us. Aaron Ripkowski was fantastic. Jared Cook, I think, needs to be near the top of the priority list, the way that he played this year. The offensive line, keeping those guys together was a big part of our success. I'm really proud of these guys. We battled. We had our backs against the wall for eight weeks in a row and won some big games. We just came up a little short."
Rodgers specifically mentioning Cook is interesting -- and the tight end's agents will likely use that nugget during contract discussions. Ted Thompson scooped the talented but enigmatic Cook off the free-agent scrap heap and when healthy the tight end played a crucial role, becoming a field-stretching demon that Rodgers trusted. While Cook's injury history and up-and-down production prior to playing with Rodgers could push his free-agent price tag down, the quarterback campaigning on his behalf can't hurt.
It's on the defense that most fans will clamor for playmakers to be added and re-signed. Nick Perry, Datone Jones and Micah Hyde are key defensive players heading towards the open market. The defensive secondary badly needs depth upgrades.
Despite Rodgers' comments, don't get your hopes up Packers fans. The normally tight-fisted Thompson isn't likely to change his outlook when it comes to free agency, despite the frustrations emanating out of Green Bay -- both inside and outside the locker room.
Rodgers' comment that the team needs to "reload" is a nod to a roster that is good, but too often lived on the quarterback playing out of his mind to win. When he came back to early on Sunday, Green Bay got blown out.