UA-59049186-1 NFL Team Preview: Green Bay Packers - Good if it Goes

NFL Team Preview: Green Bay Packers

GBS

Last Year: 

Record: 10-6

Offense: 334.6 YPG (23rd), 23.0 PPG (15th)

Defense: 346.7 YPG (15th), 20.2 (12th)

It wasn’t the year many expected in Green Bay. Their season got off to a bad start before a game was even played with Jordy Nelson, the Packers’ best receiver, going down for the year with an injury. That whole ordeal seemed to have set the tone for the year to come. Sure the Packers won 10 games and made the playoffs, but many thought they were a Super Bowl contender yet they were far from it. The offense was actually worse than the defense. The run game was a disaster, with the main problem being an overweight Eddie Lacy. The passing game wasn’t impressive either. I didn’t even recognize Aaron Rodgers last season. The defense wasn’t spectacular, but that unit was definitely the least of the Packer problems. The secondary played well as the Packers finished with the 6th-ranked pass defense in the NFL and strong performances by Mike Daniels and Clay Matthews helped keep the Packers front 7 from being a complete disaster.

Offseason: 

Key Acquisitions: TE. Jared Cook

Key Loses: DT. B.J. Raji, CB. Casey Heyward

2016 Draft Picks

RD(PK) PLAYER POS SCHOOL
1(27) Kenny Clark DT UCLA
2(17) Jason Spriggs OT Indiana
3(25) Kyler Fackrell OLB Utah State
4(33) Blake Martinez ILB Stanford
4(39) Dean Lowry DE Northwestern
5(24) Trevor Davis WR California
6(25) Kyle Murphy OT Stanford

2016 Outlook

Coaching Staff

HC: Mike McCarthy

OC: Edgar Bennett

DC: Dom Capers

ST: Ron Zook

 

Projected Depth Chart

Offense

QB. Aaron Rodgers, Brett Hundley

RB. Eddie Lacy, James Stark

WR. Jordy Nelson, Jared Abbrederis

WR. Randall Cobb, Jeff Janis

WR. Davante Adams

TE. Richard Rodgers, Jared Cook

LT. David Bakhtiari, Jason Spriggs

LG. Josh Sitton, Taylor Lane

C. Corey Linsley, JC Tretter

RG. TJ Lang, Josh Walker

RT. Bryan Bulaga, Kyle Murphy

Defense

DE. Datone Jones, Dean Lowry

NT. Kenny Clark, Letroy Cuion

DE. Mike Daniels, Mike Pennel

OLB. Clay Matthews, Jay Elliott

MLB. Jake Ryan, Blake Martinez

MLB. Sam Barrington, Carl Bradford

OLB. Julius Peppers, Nick Perry

CB. Sam Shields, Demetri Goodson

SS. Morgan Burnett, Chris Banjo

FS. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Micah Hyde

CB. Damarious Randall, Daniel Robertson

NB. Quinten Rollins

Special Teams

K. Mason Crosby

P. Tim Masthay

Breakdown

Offense: 

The Packers offense in terms of personnel will look pretty much the same as it did last year. However, the Packers are simply hoping for better health and more production. Despite having a down season in 2015, nobody doubts that Aaron Rodgers is still one of the most talented QBs to ever live. He’s mobile, he has a cannon, and when he’s on, he’s shown he can be one of the most accurate passers ever. If he returns to form in 2016, there is no doubt the Packers will be in the Super Bowl hunt. But Rodgers needs help and the skill players must perform a lot better than they did a year ago. The return of Jordy Nelson is key for this offense. When healthy he’s proven to be 1 of the best receivers in the NFL. Randall Cobb should have a better season with Nelson back because he can return to a role he’s more comfortable with as the number 2 option that the Packers can move all around in various formations. Davante Adams is the favorite to be the number 3 receivers, but could be pushed for the job by Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis. The one position where there might be some change is the tight end position. With Jared Cook starting training camp on the PUP list, Richard Rodgers has a better shot to retain the starting job. However, Jared Cook has more raw talent than Rodgers and if he can get healthy and get on the same page with Rodgers, the Packers could finally have a tight end they can truly rely on, something they haven’t had since Jermichael Finley was there. The Packers offensive line was quietly better than people gave them credit for last season and, with better health at the tackle positions, should be a top 5 offensive line again like they were in 2014. The interior line of the Packers might be the best in the NFL. Josh Sitton, their starting LG, has been 1 of the best guards in the NFL for years and TJ Lang, the RG, might be the most underrated guard in the NFL. And at center is 3rd-year man Corey Linsley who is one of the strongest centers in the game. The tackle positions are where the Packers had issues last year. Bryan Bulaga, the RT, is the best tackle on the roster and when healthy, David Bakhtiari, the LT, is a one-dimensional tackle that pass blocks well, but isn’t as effective in the run game. Last season, they both missed time due to injury forcing backup swing tackle Don Barclay into action, and he definitely struggled and was by far the Packers biggest problem on the offensive line. But the Packers are prepared this season as the team drafted two new tackles in the draft in Jason Spriggs, in the 2nd round, and Kyle Murphy, in the 6th. Overall, I expect the Packers offense to look like it has in all those previous years under Aaron Rodgers before 2015.

Defense: 

If the Packers defense can just play as a middle of the pack defense like they did a year ago, this team should be fine. Up front, the Packers 3-4 defense is led by defensive end Mike Daniels, who is 1 of the elite players at his position in this league. Datone Jones will start at the other end spot and looks to have the best season of his career in the last season of his rookie deal. He’s a solid player, but has still yet to live up on being picked in the 1st round. At nose, veteran Letroy Guion looks to replace BJ Raji early, but I believe ultimately, whether in camp or during the season, Kenny Clark, the teams 1st-round pick this year, will take over that spot. The Packers figure to be a lot stronger this season with the return of Clay Matthews to his natural edge linebacker position. He will be joined by an aging Julius Peppers at the other OLB spot and look for Nick Perry to be rotating in. The lack of a true impact MLB is the reason the Packers felt the need to play Matthews inside last season and honestly it doesn’t appear the Packers have really addressed the position. The team is hopeful that Jake Ryan can emerge as their best MLB and become a true impact player in his 2nd season. He didn’t look bad as a rookie, but it’s a lot to expect of a 4th-round pick to come in and start. At the other LB spot will be Sam Barrington, who is a decent player. The Packers secondary was quietly 1 of the best in the league last season. The loss of Casey Heyward hurts, but the Packers are equipped to replace him. Last year’s 1st-round pick Damarious Randall ended up starting 9 games and now enters this year’s camp as the guy everyone thinks will be the top corner on the team. He had a really good rookie season and looks to build on that in year 2. On the other side will be Sam Shields, and tried and tested veteran who has been playing corner for the Packers for years now. Quinten Rollins, the team’s 2nd-round pick a year ago, was another rookie that was forced into action last year and responded well. He looks to take over for Heyward in the slot. Green Bay is 3 deep at safety. Morgan Burnett has become a very reliable strong safety for them and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix could be on the verge of becoming a Pro Bowl-caliber player in his 3rd season. Micah Hyde has the talent to be a starter and is capable of playing either safety spot. The Packers need to be better than 21st against the run this year. but if the secondary continues to play well, this defense will be fine in 2016.

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