They are a franchise that have reached the playoffs each of the past eight seasons. That’s tied with the New England Patriots for the longest-active streak in the NFL. But while Tom Brady and company have been to three Super Bowls and won two titles over that stretch, the Green Bay Packers won a championship in 2010 (XLV) and haven’t been back to the Big Game since. In two of the last three years, Mike McCarthy’s club has gotten within one victory of returning to the Super Bowl. This mainly because of some big seasons by quarterback Aaron Rodgers. But something always seems to go wrong.

Poor health led to poor play

This past season, McCarthy’s team opened 4-6 before getting hot and running the table. Injuries at the cornerback position were a big part of the Green Bay Packers’ defensive woes in 2016. Performers such as Sam Shields (since released by the teams), Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins (all in the Week 1 starting lineup at Jacksonville) all missed their share of time. And although things got somewhat better as players got healthier, this was a secondary that couldn’t stay healthy and had its issues throughout the year and into the playoffs. Only the New Orleans Saints gave up more passing yards during the regular season. Packers’ defenders allowed 32 scores through the air in 16 games and eight more touchdown passes in three playoff contests.

Anything but free

Traditionally, the Green Bay Packers are an organization that doesn’t delve much into Free Agency. But perhaps it’s time to spend a little of that cheddar. If the team doesn’t want to wait until March 9, they could kick the tires on veteran Darrelle Revis (who does have some off-the-field issues to deal with), one-time Packer and 33-year-old Tramon Williams and talented Alterraun Verner, recently cut loose by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The hot name out there is A.J. Bouye of the Houston Texans, who comes off a big year. He and players like Stephon Gilmore (Buffalo Bills) and Dre Kirkpatrick (Cincinnati Bengals) could command big money.

But don’t be surprised if the Packers brings in a couple of potential bargains. Keep an eye on potential free agents in Nolan Carroll (Philadelphia Eagles), Darius Butler (Indianapolis Colts) and/or Prince Amukamara (Jacksonville Jaguars).

It would be a departure of philosophy for general manager Ted Thompson and the team. But it would also give the Green Bay Packers a nice combination of youth and experience at the vital cornerback position.

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