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5 Burning Questions For The Green Bay Packers

Monday 18 June, 2018 | RSS Feed

5 Burning Questions For The Green Bay Packers

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In every way imaginable, the Green Bay Packers went backwards in 2017.

Green Bay failed to reach the postseason for the first time since 2008. The Packers’ 7-9 record was the second worst of Mike McCarthy’s 12 seasons.

And after reaching the NFC Championship game in both 2014 and 2016, the Packers were eliminated from the playoffs by mid-December.

Green Bay could be poised for a bounce back season, though.

The Packers return nine starters on each side of the ball and addressed several positions of weakness in free agency. Most importantly, though, quarterback Aaron Rodgers returns after missing more than half of last season with a broken collarbone.


Green Bay finished its offseason program this week, one McCarthy called “one of our best offseasons, just as far as the amount of work we were able to get done, the quality of work.”

If the Packers are indeed to rebound in 2018, here are five questions they still must answer in training camp.

1. Has the market been cornered?

Green Bay set franchise marks for futility in 2017 in opponent’s passer rating (102.0) and completion percentage (67.8%).

So the Packers drafted cornerbacks Jaire Alexander of Louisville in Round 1 and Josh Jackson of Iowa in Round 2. Veteran corners Tramon Williams and Davon House were signed in free agency, and second-year man Kevin King could be poised for a breakout year.

The Packers need some combination of this group to step up and help fix a pass defense that’s been dreadful the last two years.

“We haven’t played very well the past two years, and it hasn’t necessarily been because of lack of talent,” said defensive passing game coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. “People have gotten hurt, or this or that or the third (thing), but that’s in the past. What we’re focused on right now are these men trying to play championship-style football.”

2. Who’s the No. 3 receiver?

Davante Adams, who signed a four-year, $58 million contract extension last December, and veteran Randall Cobb are the top two wideouts. But after that, this positional group is wide open.

The Packers drafted rookies J’Mon Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown to potentially fill the void.

“All three of them have really flashed some nice skill sets, you know what I mean?” Packers’ offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said this week. “They’ve got some size, some range, good athletic ability, they can move.”

The rookies will battle holdovers Geronimo Allison, Trevor Davis and DeAngelo Yancey for roster spots.

3. Where’s the rush?

Clay Matthews and Nick Perry are solid starters at outside linebacker. Matthews is the Packers’ all-time sack leader with 80.0 and Perry has 18.0 sacks in the last two years. But Perry has never played a full 16-game season, and Matthews has played 16 games just twice in a nine-year career.

If one of the two goes down — which has happened virtually every year — there’s little proven depth on the roster. Green Bay largely ignored the outside linebacker position in the draft, while holdovers Kyler Fackrell, Vince Biegel and Reggie Gilbert have proven little.

“Obviously, you look at the depth at the outside linebacker position, and it’s not that great,” Matthews said in May. “At some time I’m sure it will be addressed, but for the time being the guys we have here are the guys who have to hold up their end of the bargain.”

4. Will the safeties step up?

Green Bay’s safeties remain the most unsettled unit on the team. Veteran Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who’s in the final year of his rookie contract, should be the leader of the group now that Morgan Burnett left in free agency. But Clinton-Dix skipped the non-mandatory OTAs due to a family situation and his unresolved contract, which could prove detrimental down the road.

Second-year man Josh Jones is the frontrunner at the other safety spot. But Jones struggled mightily in 2017 and will be pushed by Kentrell Brice in training camp. In all, there are far more questions than answers.

“I'm just looking forward to training camp, when we can get all of our guys out there, in pads, and evaluate them playing real football,” defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said.

5. Does Aaron Rodgers have another MVP in him?

Two-time MVP Aaron Rodgers remains one of the best quarterbacks in football. But the Packers desperately need him to stay healthy to have any chance at making noise in the NFC.

Rodgers broke his left collarbone in 2013 and his right collarbone in 2017. Counting the games Rodgers was injured, Green Bay is 5-12-1 without its Pro Bowl quarterback.

Rodgers followed his injury-plagued 2013 season with an MVP season in 2014. If Rodgers can have a similar bounce back season, the Packers might contend for NFC supremacy once again.

“Obviously, I wasn’t there last year, so it was disappointing,” Rodgers said. “But there’s things you can control and things you can’t control. We’ll try to control the things to get myself ready to go and ready to play 16 games.”





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