New Year’s Resolutions for Wisconsin’s pro teams

Professional sports in Wisconsin experienced success in 2014. The Packers made the playoffs, the Bucks got new owners and Jabari Parker, and the Brewers surprised fans by leading the National League Central for most of the season.

However, the Packers were one and done in the playoffs, the Bucks only had 15 wins, and the Brewers lost the division to the Cardinals.

Entering the new year, it is important for every team to reflect on their success and failures in 2014, and then make a plan to improve in 2015. Here are New Year’s resolutions for every professional Wisconsin team.

Green Bay Packers: Special Teams

The Packers 2014-15 has gone fairly well. Taking the NFC North from the Detroit Lions in Week 17, the Packers earned the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye. Aaron Rodgers has been nearly unstoppable and is a favorite to win MVP. The defense, although suspect at times, has managed to put together a decent season despite analysts’ low expectations.

Dec 28, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers safety Micah Hyde (33) returns a punt 55-yards for a touchdown in the first quarter during the game against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field. At left is Detroit Lions cornerback Cassius Vaughn (29). Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

There is a lot to like about this Green Bay squad, but their special teams unit leaves much to be desired. The Packers have had seven of their kicks blocked this season. That includes three field goals, two extra points, and two punts. While the Packers’ prolific offense has been able to overshadow those errors and win games despite those mistakes, there will come a time when a blocked field goal will be the difference in a game.

Special teams coach Shawn Slocum spoke to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about the importance of special teams entering the playoffs.

“We’re now in playoff football. We’ve got an excellent football team. Scoring points in a placement situation is vitally important in these ball games. We must simply do a better job in protection.”

The Packers have a lot to be proud of, but special teams needs to step it up in 2015.

Milwaukee Bucks: Closing Out Games

The Bucks are already trending upward. After finishing the 2013-14 season with only 15 wins, the Bucks have already exceeded expectations for this season as they currently have a .500 record.

Despite their vast improvements, however, the Bucks have had difficulty putting away their opponents. They play strong through three quarters and then allow the opposing team to get back in the game in the fourth quarter. Their inability to close out games causes the Bucks to give games away that would have otherwise been theirs for the taking.

If the Bucks want to continue their upwards trend, they are going to have to learn how to close out games.

Milwaukee Brewers: Consistent Starting Pitching

In the beginning of the 2014 the Brewers’ starting pitching was strong. So strong in fact that at one point they led the league in ERA. Shocking the baseball world, the Brewers finished April with the best record in all of MLB. Pitching was at the forefront of this success.

Knowing that pitching played a strong role in the Brewers’ early success, it should have come as no surprise that the Brewers collapsed later in the season. The decline of the pitching staff directly correlated to the Brewers’ downward spiral to end the season.

Sep 2, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo (49) delivers a pitch against the Chicago Cubs in the first inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Going into the 2015 season it will be vital for the Brewers to have a rotation that can remain consistent. Luckily for Milwaukee, their rotation has potential to be one of the better ones in the league. Headlined by Yovani Gallardo, Kyle Lohse, and Matt Garza, the Brewers have a lot of talent on the mound. If they can just find some consistency, they could lead this team to the top.

While each of these teams have had a taste of success, they could each make adjustments. If they are able to keep these resolutions, they will be on their way to having a successful year.

 

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