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Green Bay Packers: Will Minor Changes Be Enough to Turn the Team Around?

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COMMENTARY | The Green Bay Packers are a legendary franchise with a long tradition of excellence in the National Football League.

Holding the most titles of any team in the league's history, the Packers are a symbol of championship-level football across the country and the world.

After an unfortunate injury to the team's franchise quarterback in 2013, the Packers are no doubt looking to improve upon their somewhat mediocre season when things get rolling again later this year.

Possessing the 3rd-ranked offense, the 25th-ranked defense, and the 19th-ranked special teams last year, it seems abundantly clear where the Packers need to improve.

The only question that remains is how that improvement will be facilitated.

Generally speaking, teams improve in the NFL by hiring better coaches and acquiring better talent. A team's chemistry can also be improved through a variety of adjustments that can improve a team's chances of winning the league title.

With this season's Super Bowl now in the rear-view mirror, it's a good time to start examining how the leaders of the Packers' organization have started positioning the team for 2014.

Given the efficiency of the team's offense even without Aaron Rodgers behind center, one has to believe that the Packers will continue to excel on that side of the ball in 2014. They face some difficult free agency decisions, but their core group of players will return intact.

Having a former MVP at quarterback, and the latest offensive Rookie of the Year at running back, should provide the high quality leadership and continuity the Packers require on offense.

On defense, where the Packers have struggled for three consecutive seasons, the team has indicated they plan to bring back defensive coordinator Dom Capers for at least another year. Capers' ability to reverse a downward trend will clearly be one of the most prominent themes to watch in 2014.

The team also lost an important contributor when the coach of their linebackers, Kevin Greene, recently announced he was leaving the team. Meaning an already struggling unit suffered an additional setback, and during a time when they desperately need to go in the opposite direction.

On the defensive side of the football, the Packers are also facing a myriad of complex free agency decisions. The team has some key defensive lineman and linebackers set to become free agents and are still without a legitimate starter at the safety position.

Lastly, the team is set to overpay the aging veteran Tramon Williams at a time when one of their emerging corners, Sam Shields, is expecting a big payday. Shifting resources between those two, while keeping both happy, could be a big key to 2014.

The Packers' general manager, Ted Thompson, has already clarified this offseason that the team intends to stick with their strategy of "draft and develop" -- meaning the addition of quality veterans through free agency is unlikely.

In sum, the Packers' defense will in all likelihood have experienced unfortunate losses in coaching talent and player talent by the time training camp begins. While new new faces will most certainly emerge, it's almost certain they will be of the young/inexperienced variety.

Given the challenge in scouting new talent, it's nearly impossible to imagine that the Packers could draft more than one or two players that could have a substantial impact in year one. This means the team's defense will be relying heavily on Thompson and his staff to produce a couple studs come draft day.

The net result of these factors means that in 2014 the Packers will again feature a group of young, inexperienced players and a defense that won't look dramatically different from 2013. Not exactly the recipe for catalyzing a massive shift in expectations.

The team did announce recently that they were letting go of an assistant coach on special teams. Chad Morton was let go after a year in which the Packers were ranked near the last third of all NFL teams in 2013.

Although only an assistant coach, one can hope that the replacement hire will have a positive and immediate impact on that phase of the team's execution. Just as the team's defensive will likely pray for a good replacement to Kevin Greene.

Aside from the aforementioned changes, the Packers have made no other substantial moves to improve their coaching staff at this point in the off-season.

While it's still far too early to begin passing judgement on the entirety of the past and potential efforts for next year, it seems fairly clear that the projected activity will not be enough to change the team's quality by any great degree in 2014.

While Packer fans can hope that these subtle changes and subsequent personnel acquisitions through the draft will be enough to make the team a legitimate contender, the reality is the team probably won't yet be strong enough to challenge the likes of the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks -- the NFC championship contenders in 2013.

The team's best hope in 2014 is that the minor changes will produce hints of something greater to come in the not too distant future.

If not, the offseason after this will probably be filled with far more dramatic moves. Top management of the franchise simply won't continue to stand idle if a fourth consecutive season of mediocrity passes since the team's last championship.

Andrew Prochnow is a derivatives trader by day and a Green Bay Packers fan by night. He is a regular contributor at Yahoo Sports and The Bleacher Report. Tweet him @AndrewProchnow.

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