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The Packers faced there first losing season since 2008 in 2017 which means two things. One, Aaron Rodgers was injured and because of that injury for the first time in along time the Packers looked like a bad team. Two Ted Thompson replaced by Brian Gutekunst was found to be a bad GM. Nothing was built around Rodgers and so this offseason came with one focus in mind, prepare this team to try and be able to at least compete without Rodgers. This is a big year for the coaching staff in Green Bay as well, the rumblings are real Rodgers doesn’t really like McCarthy and if Mike doesn’t produce a playoff year this season he may be out the door. Rodgers has never once had a great offensive mind and for the end of the prime of his career and into the twilight he might want one.
Aaron Rodgers when healthy last year was the best QB in football. If he had stayed healthy there is no doubt in my mind he would have won, the MVP. Even in his first game back against Carolina he still looked like a grade A caliber QB. With an entire offseason to recover I have no doubt that he will be healthy and back to his form in 2018. However, he needs to avoid taking sacks and stay healthy as he has now broken both of his collar bones.
The running back situation in Green Bay is, as usual, hazy. No one knows who the day one starter will be, Aaron Jones looked to be that until he received a two-game suspension recently. Jones looked like the best back Green Bay had seen since Eddie Lacy in his prime, god that was so long ago it seems, while he was healthy in 2017. An excellent burst, an explosive runner, and a great pass catcher as well. If Jones returns and regains the starting spot the Packers should have nothing to worry about with the running game. Meanwhile Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery will compete for the starting role in training camp for week one. I would give the vote to Montgomery, perhaps one of the weirdest stories in the NFL. A former wide receiver turned running back out of necessity and then just being forever put into that role. He doesn’t do any of the exciting things that Jones does but he’s a power back and good at getting short yardage, which is all you need when you have Rodgers, although I’m sure 12 would like more out of his backfield this year.
The Green Bay receiving core lost a Stallworth in Jordy Nelson this offseason. Though Nelson lost a step and didn’t preform up to expectation in 2017 Rodgers loved him and reportedly hated the move and for a team that relies so heavily on Rodgers that is obviously not something you want happening. So, Rodgers number one target this year will be rising star Devante Adams who dominated with Rodgers when he was healthy last year. Adams has tremendous speed, size, and catching ability look no further than his winning touchdown against the Cowboys last year and you see a new young star emerging at wide out. Randall Cobb will remain a strong slot corner despite getting up there in age in his now eighth season in the leauge. The Packers also added Jimmy Graham, while some speculate he makes a huge difference I really don’t see that. He is a decent red zone target who has lost a lot of his speed and ability to stretch the field in the last few years and will rely on Rodgers to get him open. Geronimo Allison is a name to watch as far as receivers who may have breakout seasons this year. He should be an involved starter in the offense this year it will be up to Rodgers to make him better though.
The age of Dom Capers is finally over thank god. The Packers bought in Mike Pettine this offseason and made some big moves in free agency and the draft to improve a dismal defensive line. Let’s start with the defensive line. Muhhamed Wilkerson joins from the Jets and if he can stay motivated and in shape can be a major game changer for a non-existent Packers pass rush. Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark are emerging defensive stars that focus mainly on shutting down the run but need to take the next step in 2018 for the front seven to succeed. The linebacking core is a major issue though. Face it, Clay Matthews hasn’t been a good player since 2014. He just isn’t the defensive star the leauge makes him out to be that is shown by his career low in forced turnovers this year and the fact that he’s the third best linebacker in a shotty core. Nick Perry is by far the best with 18 sacks in the past two years but also has an inability to stay on the field. Jake Ryan and Blake Martinez are great run stuffers but contribute nothing to the pass rush. If you look at this front seven you see a dominant run stopping team that cannot for the life of them get to the QB which puts tremendous pressure on a secondary whose best player is safety Ha Ha Clinton Dix. So, the Packers went about drafting Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson two top five corners in this year’s draft. Alexander according to Tristan Beckmann, who I trust with my life when it comes to Louisville college football analyisis (Alexander played at Louisville), says he will make an immediate impact as the number one starter this year. That isn’t to say Corner Kevin King who looked great last year when healthy will lose his job off the bat. However, King will need to stay healthy something he hasn’t managed to do thus far in his career.
The fate of the Packers coaching staff lies in this season. If they can’t produce they won’t be there in 2019. However, I trust Rodgers over any other QB in the league to sail them through the roughest patch they have had over the past decade. The Packers will again be a fun team to watch in the NFC.
Record Prediction: 12-4