CSC Interview: Grant Butterfield from Acme Packing Company

Continuing on with our NFC North series of interviews, we have a guest from SB Nation's Acme Packing Company, home of the 2010 Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers. Grant Butterfield was nice enough to answer some questions I pitched to him, so continue reading for his answers to those questions. 

I would like to thank Grant Butterfield for his time. For more from Grant or Packers related information check out Acme Packing Company.

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Jon: After the 2009 playoff loss, what were your expectations heading into the 2010 season?

Grant: I wasn't sure what to expect, to be honest. There was that great defense in the regular season, yes, but it got shredded for 45 points, which was inexcusable on so many levels. Great defenses don't give up 45 points in a game. They just don't. But the Cardinals had our number in that game and we suffered. Badly. They sleepwalked through the Week 17 game and then COMPLETELY keyed on us in the Wild Card.

Jon: The Packers were one of the teams hit worst by the injury bug last year. Just how bad was it?

Grant: It was really bad, Jon. I don't know if I can emphasize it enough; we lost our leading rusher from the previous season in Week 1 (Ryan Grant, who went on IR far too quickly for my liking). We lost Jermichael Finley, our great young TE, in Week 4. Nick Barnett, one of our better, if more controversial, linebackers in week 4. Brad Jones, one of our younger OLBs, in Week 7. And Jones was the 10th player on IR. The 10th. The injury bug was ridiculous, and it definitely hampered the team. By the end of the year, Green Bay had 16 players on injured reserve. It didn't matter if they were a starter (Mark Tauscher) or a career backup (Anthony Smith, Justin Harrell), either.

 

Jon: Name an MVP and LVP of the 2010 Packers. One of each for offense and defense.

Grant: LVP on offense: Daryn Colledge. He was by far the weakest link on our offensive line, and committed the most penalties.

MVP on offense: Aaron Rodgers. Need I say what he did?

LVP on defense: It's hard to come up with one...probably Atari Bigby. Only 6 tackles, no starts, and just 4 games played. With Morgan Burnett and Josh Peprah playing as well as they are, it's unlikely that Bigby is able to find playing time.

MVP on defense: B.J. Raji. Raji was always involved on defense, no matter who he lined up against. His interception and touchdown in the NFC Championship game was a thing of beauty.

 

Jon: The Packers offensive line was one of the worst in 2009. How did that unit improve in 2010? Or did Aaron Rodgers do a better job adjusting to a poor O-line?

Grant: Allen Barbre wasn't starting in 2010. Period. Brian Bulaga did an excellent job at RT after Mark Tauscher was lost for the season, and Chad Clifton held down his spot at LT very well. As for Aaron Rodgers, well, he still took some sacks he should NOT have (the 5 in the Miami loss and the 4 in the Washington loss), but he was far better at getting rid of the ball.

 

Jon: What is the biggest need for the Packers heading into the off-season?

Grant: It's hard to say. Probably OT, it's looking more and more like Tauscher won't return, and Clifton is getting up there in age. I'm sick of seeing mock drafts sending running backs like Ryan Williams to the Packers (I don't think Williams is worth a 5th round selection); they HAVE Ryan Grant coming off injury and James Starks was very good in the playoffs. I think they will upgrade their CB position this offseason, because they're only one injury in the secondary away from having Jarret Bush as a nickelback. That's a scary thought, Super Bowl INT or not.

 

Jon: Can the Packers realistically repeat?

Grant: I definitely think the Packers can repeat. But consider:

This year's Packers team was pretty astonishing in its own right; despite every injury, they did not trail by more than a touchdown in any of their regular season or postseason games. Green Bay managed to play up to the level of their competition in every single game: they played down to the levels of Miami, Washington, and Detroit, and they lost all 3 games. But they played up to the level of New England with Matt Flynn starting at QB, and were 4 points from upending the Patriots at home. The Packers also had an epic drive to tie the Week 12 game in Atlanta 17-17 before their special teams (which were an issue all year long) stabbed them in the back. Again.

So can they repeat? Probably, assuming there IS an NFL season next year. But there's 16 games from September to January that the Packers must prove themselves in. They're not going to be taken lightly by anyone, not after this year. The Packers were their own worst enemy last year; when they made mistakes, they took ugly losses (Miami, Chicago Week 3, @ Detroit). Will they improve their record? Probably, I'm counting on them having a running game (I only have distant memories of what that feels like) and an improved, healthier defense. But we'll have to see. Anything's possible, it IS the offseason.


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