The Walking Dead has a lot of characters, with those listed as 'main' for Season 7 extending to 20 individuals. Within that, however, there's a subset of the truly key players, the ones who've been around a long time, had the most development, and viewers really care about.
While Rick is always going to be a focal point, others from this group were pushed to the side for large amounts of Season 7.
Carol didn't appear until the second episode, and then disappeared for a while. Maggie was in the premiere, but then out of the picture again until episode 5. It was much the same for the likes of Daryl, Morgan, and Michonne as well, with all of these guys frequently in-and-out of the picture across the seventh season.
It disrupted their arcs and stalled development, and meant that we were left without seeing the show's best characters for multiple episodes at a time, which definitely weakens it. Spending time with these characters in particular is one of the highlights of the show, and it just wasn't there for most of this year, and also meant that developments such as Maggie becoming a leader, or Carol and Morgan returning to the fight, weren't given the room they should've been.