Reasons For Optimism in 2020

The 2019 season is behind us. Let's look ahead to 2020 and see how this team can improve during the offseason. 

With the 2019 season officially in the rearview mirror, I thought it might be helpful to highlight some of the reasons this team is still built for success going into what should be a productive offseason. 

An Offense Built Around Aaron Jones & Davante Adams

The 2019 season put Aaron Jones on the map and forced the rest of the NFL to officially take notice. In the regular season alone, Jones had 1,084 yards rushing on 236 attempts giving him an average of 4.6 yards per carry and 16 touchdowns. Jones also made a name for himself as a weapon in the passing game, too, with 49 receptions for 474 yards and three additional touchdowns. That’s 19 touchdowns in the regular season, which Jones expanded on in the playoffs to set a new franchise record with 23 total touchdowns in a single season. 

This was LaFleur’s first season in Green Bay installing a brand new offense. It only makes sense that Jones will see even more production in 2020, especially now that the Packers offense is displaying a more even offensive attack between the air and ground games. Jones is a focal point of this offense, and that’s something to be excited about looking ahead to next season. 

Now switching to the other explosive weapon on offense, wide receiver Davante Adams missed four games this season with a lingering toe injury and still managed to put up 997 yards on the season with five touchdowns. 

In the playoffs, Adams kicked it into another gear. Not only did he set a new franchise record with 160 receiving yards against the Seahawks in the Divisional Round, but his 138-yard showing against the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game made him the only player in Packers history with four games tallying over 100 yards receiving in the playoffs. 

Defense Staying Together

According to Pro Football Focus, during the 2019 regular season, the Green Bay defense ranked 4th in pass-rushing, 7th in coverage, and 8th overall. The one glaring red flag still facing this unit is the run defense, a category in which the Packers ranked 25th overall. While that obviously is less than ideal, it does help to illustrate the success the defense had in a variety of other categories. And, given the way General Manager Brian Gutekunst improved the roster during the 2019 offseason, specifically the pass rush, there’s no reason to think fixing his team’s run defense won’t be a top priority this offseason. 

Additionally, almost every key defensive player is still in Green Bay for at least two more seasons. In the secondary, Kevin King and Raven Greene are under contract through 2021, Jaire Alexander and Adrian Amos are locked in until 2023, and Darnell Savage with a fifth-year option as a first-round pick can be in Green Bay until 2024. For the edge rushers, Za’Darius and Preston Smith are both under contract through 2023, and Rashan Gary is in the same boat as Savage with a fifth-year option through 2024. 

Kenny Clark is the biggest mystery at this point with an inevitable contract extension coming soon, but even he’s locked in through 2021. Perhaps the only position left to fill would be inside linebacker with Blake Martinez entering free agency. Even if the Packers do bring Martinez back, the defense will need speed opposite Martinez in the middle of the field. 

Head Coach Matt LaFleur has also opted to bring back Mike Pettine for the 2020 season, so that’ll give him a third year to expand on the progress his unit has already made. 

10 Draft Picks

There are plenty of roster holes to address with wide receiver, inside linebacker, and defensive line being three of the biggest positions of need (if Bryan Bulaga isn’t re-signed, tackle immediately jumps to the front of this list). Even if Gutekunst decides to explore some options in free agency, he still has 10 picks at his disposal in the draft. He could get creative and trade up, trade down to accumulate more picks, or simply stay put with 10. What I’m saying is, the draft world is Gutey’s oyster. 

The Packers hold the 30th overall pick in Round 1, along with one pick in each of the first five rounds. In Round 6, Green Bay has two picks after trading Trevor Davis to the Oakland (now Las Vegas) Raiders. Then finally in Round 7, Gutekunst has three picks after trading Justin McCray to the Cleveland Browns and Reggie Gilbert to the Tennessee Titans for a conditional pick. 

While the 2019 season didn’t end the way Packers fans hoped, it did give the team plenty to build on in 2020. For starters, the team’s first-year head coach got a wealth of experience in year one, and that’ll benefit the team greatly. The offense will also be going into the second year of a new scheme, with rookie players like Jace Sternberger expected to make a significant second-year jump. And, Green Bay has enough cap space to consider adding a few pieces in free agency, whether it’s re-signing its own guys or going after new players. There’s plenty to like about the direction this team is headed, and plenty to be optimistic about going into Green Bay’s 102nd season. 

 

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Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and podcasts for the Pack-A-Day Podcast and Pack's What She Said. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

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Comments (84)

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HankScorpio's picture

January 24, 2020 at 06:57 am

If the Packers can get a big run stuffer for the DL, a speedy LB, a viable #2 WR and a little more nasty attitude from their OL, there is every reason to believe they can take another step, IMO. I'd look to FA for the line help and the draft for the LB & WR.

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albert999's picture

January 24, 2020 at 05:36 am

Couldn’t agree more

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Crazytim87's picture

January 24, 2020 at 07:21 am

AGREED!! GO PACK GO

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MarkinMadison's picture

January 24, 2020 at 07:42 am

DJ Reader - Texans. 26 years old. Nearly 350 lbs, AND he can push the pocket, so he's not strictly a two-down guy. Bring him in, slide Clark out and let it tear.

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greengold's picture

January 24, 2020 at 12:52 pm

I like looking to FA for DL help, but want to draft a DE or NT as well, the best available. Would make ILB and WR our top 2 priorities. I believe they are in that order, as this is a deep draft for WR, and ILB might present a top talent to add in place of Martinez. Goodson seems less impressive, so, might be best to draft two of them, though I do feel Summers would be great. Never understood his not getting a chance on D... We could use a good CB too, but ILB and DL are paramount to completely fixing our inability to stop the run. That must be addressed.

Maybe they pop WR in R1 if the talent there is too good to pass up.

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wildbill's picture

January 24, 2020 at 03:36 pm

Summers looked good with his speed and ability to be in position but if I remember correctly he had trouble tackling. Hopefully that’s something he can improve on

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HankScorpio's picture

January 24, 2020 at 04:54 pm

"Would make ILB and WR our top 2 priorities. I believe they are in that order, as this is a deep draft for WR,"

Agreed. WR is a bigger need in my mind but the law of supply and demand says to draft ILB 1 and WR 2. They'll be able to grab a very good WR at 62. The elite LBs won't make it that far. There might not even be enough of them to last to 30. Simmons is a pipe dream. After that, at this point in the process, only Kenneth Murray and Patrick Queen are in play for 30, based on what I've read.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 24, 2020 at 06:58 pm

I think we should run more and pass less. Do we have a single TE on the roster now that we can count on to get his man blocked? What’s the plan if Jones gets hurt? What are we doing to improve our ability to convert short yardage?

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 24, 2020 at 06:28 am

Reasons for optimism.

Offense going into 2nd year:
- LaFleur eluded to not being able to get to everything he wanted to in his first year. He mentioned that they would like to do more up tempo type of stuff. So it will be interesting to see next year what the next step for the offense will be. Sometimes being able to go faster puts more pressure on the defense.
- Look at the difference the defense made going from year 1 with Pettine to year 2. Sure a lot of it is contributed to adding 4 new starters. The offense already has one of the top ranked OL's. The offense just needs a couple of more weapons added.

Defense going into 2nd/3rd year:
- for Pettine this will be his 3rd year with the team.
- for the players this will be the 2nd year in GB for a lot of our players. Smith Brothers, Amos, Savage, Gary.
That continuity will give this defense the ability to play faster.

Gutekunst:
- While some of the players we are still waiting to see develop and waiting to see them make an impact the amount of talent he has brought in since taking over already has gotten us back to the Playoffs.
Players he has brought in.
Draft - Alexander, Jackson, Burks, Scott, MVS, EQ, Bradley, Gary, Savage, Jenkins, Sternberger, Keke, Hollman, Williams, Summers. Add in Boyle, Greene, Lancaster, Lazard, Sullivan,
Free agents - Williams, Graham, Lewis, Campbell, Vitale, Preston, Za'Darius, Turner, Amos, Veldheer, Ervin.

That is a lot of players combined brought in. Over half of the roster he has brought in the last 2 years.
Not all of the draft picks have developed fully yet. And a few won't make next years 53. But he has brought in a lot of talented players that have contribute and might contribute more next year.

Regardless the point is that the job Gutekunst has done since taking over the GM role, has been to turn the Packers around. He has built this team into a championship contender team in 2 short years.

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murf7777's picture

January 24, 2020 at 06:47 am

RC...I know the season is over but I can’t wait to see this O in year 2. I think we will be pleasantly surprised, especially if Gutey does with the O this year as he did with the D last year.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 24, 2020 at 09:22 am

completely agree.

I am excited to see year 2 in the offense.

For one I think LaFleur will have figured out more of what works and what doesn't. How to fix a few things, and what to do differently in year 2.
Also like LaFleur said in his press conference the other day this will be the first time he be entering his 2nd year with a team since 2015. That makes a difference for him as well.

But then adding more talent to the offense will be huge! I think Gutey will definitely be adding players to the offense this year.

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seantischer@yahoo.com's picture

January 24, 2020 at 06:41 am

I realize he had injuries this year but I do wonder what this team would’ve looked like with Daniels not getting cut.

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murf7777's picture

January 24, 2020 at 06:52 am

That’s a great question.....I was surprised when it happened, and think it would’ve been better with Daniels, he would’ve provided a much more disruptive presence in the middle. Gutey has done a great job, I would say Gutey missed on that one thou.

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cuervo's picture

January 24, 2020 at 07:15 am

Without cutting Daniels there wouldn't be one or two of the Smiths, or Amos, Or Turner. Tough decision, but the right one.

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dobber's picture

January 24, 2020 at 09:13 am

Not entirely. Daniels was cut in July at the start of camp, long after those other 4 guys were signed.

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CAG123's picture

January 24, 2020 at 02:49 pm

Smh folks just downvote anything like what’s the reason this got thumbs down?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 25, 2020 at 05:30 am

Because it is questionable? I think GB knew in March when they signed the free agents that they were likely to part ways with Daniels. IIRC, GB was trying to trade Daniels for some time prior to releasing him.

The linked article notes that attempt to trade Daniels, but does not really state when that attempt began. It implies that the attempt was recent.

"Especially on the defensive line,” Gutekunst said after drafting Gary in April. “You have to affect the quarterback. And you have to do it from multiple areas. The days of just kind of sitting in one spot and rushing the passer are kind of over, especially with the way Mike wants to use our guys on defense.

"Last year, I’m sure you guys were aware, he moved guys around. We brought guys from everywhere. I think now we have a number of guys that can move around and win one-on-one, and I think that’s important.”

With the release, it was clear to the Packers' front office and coaching staff that Daniels could not fit that role. Before he was injured, Daniels played in just 40% of the possible snaps in his first year in Pettine's defense.

Size was an issue, and obviously GB knew Daniels hadn't suddenly gotten taller and bigger. "Not a coincidence, there's no doubt," Gutekunst said, per Packers News' Tom Silverstein. "These are big men with length and power and speed. I felt we needed to get bigger in the front, and we have. Those are the body types we're looking for."

"quite frankly there was some trade conversations going on and those kind of came apart the last couple of weeks here and that was part of it,” Gutekunst said. [This quote suggests that GB shopped Daniels for at least the month of July.] Teams may have wanted to wait until after the draft. GB might have needed to wait until Daniels finished rehabbing from the foot injury that put him on IR in 2018, so he could pass a physical.

I think GB knew that Daniels was likely a goner in March. I didn't downvote dobber since he wrote not entirely rather than something more emphatic.

https://packerswire.usatoday.com/2019/07/24/packers-tried-to-trade-dl-mi...

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CAG123's picture

January 25, 2020 at 11:19 am

You said a lot but that wasn't the original comment he was implying that they wouldn't have been able to sign the Smiths and the others if they hadn't cut Daniels. Dobber just said he was cut long after they were signed that's it.

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CAG123's picture

January 24, 2020 at 10:03 am

He was injured so how did he miss? That was a perfectly timed BB move

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murf7777's picture

January 24, 2020 at 06:53 am

That’s a great question.....I was surprised when it happened, and think it would’ve been better with Daniels, he would’ve provided a much more disruptive presence in the middle. Gutey has done a great job, I would say Gutey missed on that one thou.

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Turophile's picture

January 24, 2020 at 07:15 am

No difference since Daniels was banged up most of the last season. I think the Packers might have moved on from MD at just the right time. There were a lot of good years with him in an otherwise poor defense, very much a plus player while he was with Green Bay.

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Crazytim87's picture

January 24, 2020 at 07:40 am

well said

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 24, 2020 at 12:11 pm

His 2018 season was evidence of a decline. Good CAP move.

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Cubbygold's picture

January 24, 2020 at 10:00 am

Agree with Turo, it was definitely the right move.

I think most people discount the surprise factor of the injury. I believe Gute/Pettine expected a healthy Daniels in camp, and he surprised them by being in far worse condition. They made the right move, and allowed GB to better allocate resources BUT they planned through the offseason on having him healthy. The defense would have been much better if he was, and if the injury wasn't a surprise, I think Gute would have planned differently.

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PeteK's picture

January 24, 2020 at 09:18 am

No, clever because they studied our tendencies and used them to their advantage.

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Cubbygold's picture

January 24, 2020 at 02:53 pm

Who was that, king?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 25, 2020 at 05:40 am

Redmond. Kittle on Redmond is a good matchup for SF.

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albert999's picture

January 24, 2020 at 07:15 am

Here is the list of receivers drafted by Green Bay since Adams:

Jared Abbrederis (2014, fifth round)
Jeff Janis (2014, seventh round)
Ty Montgomery (2015, third round)
Trevor Davis (2016, sixth round)
DeAngelo Yancey (2017, fifth round)
Malachi Dupre (2017, seventh round)
J’Mon Moore (2018, fourth round)
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (2018, fifth round)
Equanimeous St. Brown (2018, sixth round)
That’s an awful lot of swings and misses. Montgomery, the highest pick, had the most success in Green Bay. But the majority of the others are no longer on the team.

Valdes-Scantling failed to make the second-year jump many expected, but it’s unfair to judge St. Brown just yet as he missed the entire season due to injury.

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stockholder's picture

January 24, 2020 at 07:26 am

Yea. And everybody including myself thought Adams was a bust. I wouldn't have drafted any of them but St.Brown. And It's looking like he won't make it back 100%. The packers problem is; if they don't get a Wr early. They don't turn out. Hopefully that changes this draft.

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dobber's picture

January 24, 2020 at 09:19 am

"And It's looking like he won't make it back 100%. "

Based on...?

He had what was called a 4-6 week ankle injury and the Packers stashed him on IR. No surgery has been reported.

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Bure9620's picture

January 24, 2020 at 07:59 am

Davis was 5th round

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HankScorpio's picture

January 24, 2020 at 08:12 am

That's an awfully lot of 5-7 rounders. Historically across the NFL, the odds are low with those.

Still, NFL teams require solid drafting with their share of late round gems. It is simply not possible to be a viable NFL team for long without drafting well. Gute will need to pick it up.

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dobber's picture

January 24, 2020 at 09:57 am

The more serviceable players you find on your own, the fewer you have to buy on the open market.

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Thegravedigger's picture

January 25, 2020 at 01:11 am

If ty Montgomery didnt sacrafice his career to become an rb, he would still be a wr on this team. He beefed up cus we needed an rb and we traded him after one ( huge ) mistake. I understand why we traded him, but i feel he was turning into a good young wide receiver. I kind of feel bad for the guy. He would in my opinion be comparable to a jameson crowder today.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 25, 2020 at 05:44 am

We disagree. I don't see any evidence that suggests Montgomery was competent as a WR. For those who remember, I was a big fan on Monty's as a RB who split out as a WR, with the hopes of drawing a safety or better yet a LB.

Lots of scouts had a 6th round grade on Monty as a WR and a 3rd round grade as a kick returner with quite a few wondering if he shouldn't be a running back.

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stockholder's picture

January 24, 2020 at 07:17 am

Can we believe what we see? 4th, 7th, 8th. 25th against the run. My feeling is their one injury away from disaster. The packers had depth with their other super-bowl teams. Household names, every NFL fan knew. All-pros that didn’t take time to develop. Yet every year since 2010. Doom and Gloom ends the season. Every Offense was built around the QB. Now Adams and Jones.? Every Defense was built around the defensive Line. Now the secondary.? It’s no wonder were 25th against the run. And whose fault is that? Every game is won/lost in the trenches. Why; TT and Gute have kept avoiding it, is a blunder, beyond blunders. Wolf built his defensive line out of veterans. You would think the more an opposing line blows a hole big enough to walk through, they would fix it. I just can’t believe were going to win being so unprepared. (Believing in development more then experience.) If Gute doesn’t fix this def. line, were never going to the super-bowl.

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Houndog's picture

January 24, 2020 at 07:50 am

I'm with you stockholder,
and I'm beginning to wonder about GB's personnel people and scouting staff, They've drafted a lot of JAGs recently, way to often. Are GB's scouts capable of doing their jobs?
One glaring case in point is while we've been looking for a tight end forever, SF finds George Kittle in the 5th round, and that's just one example.
You can go back 6 - 8 years see who's left from each draft, who's playing where, and who never really made it in the NFL.
Worse yet is that guys like Casey Hayward and Micah Hyde were left to walk and become pro-bowlers elsewhere while we draft a guy that plays 3 snaps in the biggest game of the year. The D got destroyed in SF and very few substitutions were made whereas SF benched a starting CB for poor play.
Are our back-ups THAT bad? Something's not right in Titletown.

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JamesLofton's picture

January 24, 2020 at 08:25 am

The 49ers 2017 draft class
1.Reuben Foster (now with Redskins)
1.Soloman Thomas (hit)
3.Ahkello Witherspoon (benched for biggest game & made to look a fool by Kirk Cousins)
3.C J Brethard (average back up)
4.Joe Williams (Free Agent)
5.George Kittle (hit)
5.Trent Taylor (645 yds in 2 seasons and on IR)
6.D J Jones (played 30% of snaps JAG)
6.Pita Taumoepenu (Seahawks practice squad)
7.Adrian Colbert (now with Dolphins)

10 picks, 2 good hits and one first round bust, hardly a ringing endorsement for the 49ers FO either.

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Houndog's picture

January 24, 2020 at 09:32 am

I won't argue that, but they somehow managed to make chicken salad out of Chicken$hit, the Packers haven't.
How about these First Round picks since 2010:
Derek Sherrod
Nick Perry
Datone Jones
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
Damarius Randal
The jury's still out on *King*, Alexander, and Gary.

Furthermore, take a look at Albert's post above on all the receivers the Pack has drafted since Adams and see all the household names.
Gutey was in the house for all of the above.

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CAG123's picture

January 24, 2020 at 10:10 am

Perry, Jones and Randall were drafted then were made to switch positions all three of them could have had better careers in schemes that fit them and in their natural positions else where. Blame TT and his stupid “best player available” nonsense.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 25, 2020 at 06:21 am

Eh, not bad drafting. Thomas has severely underwhelmed. I'd love to have DJ Jones. He immediately would be GB's 2nd best DL. You missed 5th round pick Greenlaw who just started for SF as a rookie in 2019. You missed Fred Warner, 3rd round pick in 2018, who started for SF and played well. Witherspoon was indeed benched when Moseley (UDFA but SF paid him a full NFL salary while he was on the PS in 2018) returned to action.

Witherspoon would send King to the bench. So would and Moseley. Always nice to get a good starting CB through undrafted free agency. SF was drafting early in every round, so that helps. Lynch's drafts aren't significantly better than Gute's. 3 good starters in Bosa (#2 pick tho, ought to do well), Samuel, Greenlaw with OL Skule (6th rd) being quite useful (better than Spriggs, Amichia, Cole Madison, Light. Gute got Jenkins and Savage. 2019 so far goes to Lynch.

2018: McGlinchey and Warner are two plus starters. CB DJ Reed can't get on the field because Sherman, Moseley and arguably Witherspoon are better, but Reed is another CB who would send King to the bench. Safety Marcel Harris looks good but gets injured and was behind Jimmie Ward and Tartt. Harris still gets 350 snaps per season so far. Harris as a backup safety blows Redmond, Campbell and Greene out of the water. Gute got Jaire and MVS. Lynch gets 2018 as well.

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CAG123's picture

January 24, 2020 at 10:22 am

People keep mentioning Casey Hayward but am I the only one that remembers him having a great camp in 2015 and winning the starting job opposite Sam Shields and then proceeded to get burnt like toast on what was seemingly a weekly basis? Anyone else not remember Randall taking his job and they put him back in the slot once Shields came back from injury? Hayward like Jackson is better with his eyes on the QB he was more of a zone corner reason why he was so dominant in the slot. I remember when the Chargers were ridiculous and cocky enough to line Hayward 1on1 in man with Hill a couple of years ago it was one of the most embarrassing performances I’ve ever seen.

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CAG123's picture

January 24, 2020 at 10:22 am

People keep mentioning Casey Hayward but am I the only one that remembers him having a great camp in 2015 and winning the starting job opposite Sam Shields and then proceeded to get burnt like toast on what was seemingly a weekly basis? Anyone else not remember Randall taking his job and they put him back in the slot once Shields came back from injury? Hayward like Jackson is better with his eyes on the QB he was more of a zone corner reason why he was so dominant in the slot. I remember when the Chargers were ridiculous and cocky enough to line Hayward 1on1 in man with Hill a couple of years ago it was one of the most embarrassing performances I’ve ever seen.

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Timeout's picture

January 24, 2020 at 11:50 am

Going back 6 - 8 years and it appears many picks 1-3 round, went on the defensive side of the ball. 3rnd Montavious Adams may be joining Kyrie Thorton with Owen Burks to follow.. I am not going to list the 1st and second round picks that were used on db's in the same time period because everybody knows them. Its not hard to figure out why the middle linebacker position and wide receiver position are where they are when you look at the draft over the last 6-8 years.

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Cubbygold's picture

January 24, 2020 at 10:03 am

Mike Daniels showed up to camp with a bad injury, one that caused him to have a terrible injury. A healthy Daniels would have changed the quality of the DL.

So is it on Gute that Daniels showed up in bad shape? I genuinely don't know that answer. However, if all signs pointed to a healthy Daniels, its hard to argue that Gute/Pettine didn't do their job in the offseason. Can't fault them for not seeing a last minute unexpected injury.

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Stroh's picture

January 24, 2020 at 09:04 pm

How do you figure? The defense had the best years of Daniels career and he never made thd defense great! He was a loud boisterous mouth whose bark was much worse than his bite. He had 2 yrs that were above average but he never made a difference.

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packergal's picture

January 24, 2020 at 10:57 am

Stockholder,

You have advocated for DL focus/fix and converting to a 4-3 versus 3-4 as long as I have been reading here.

Not that it matters but FYI, I listened to a podcast with "our favorite Gravedigger" Gilbert Brown who was ADAMANT that this 3-4 would never control the LOS because of its combination of scheme, finesse plays and lack of talent.

Brown was respectful but was deliberate in his comments on Lowry and Lancaster.

He repeated what you and others have commented on here that both L and L are primarily JAGS and a BIG run stuffer is needed to unleash and complement Clarke--along with a switch to the 4-3.

Thought you would enjoy hearing this (but you may have already heard it!)

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Thegravedigger's picture

January 25, 2020 at 01:32 am

2010. Howard green. Ryan pickett. Bj raji. Big big bodies. All 3 weighed 340 lbsNot to mention cullen Jenkins breaking out and cj wilson to rotate in. Dean lowry weighs 295. Lancaster 300 or so. They are backups. And they definitely arent built for the 3 4. Ps. Our family dog growing up was a big fat "golden" (yellow) lab named BIG GIL.

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Stroh's picture

January 24, 2020 at 08:45 pm

In the Packers current Defensive scheme the Smith bros are the equivalent of DE of the scheme they played when Wolf was GM. They do need another disruptive DL. Taking all that into account there isn't a blunder in any way shape or form. I guess you just dont understand the differences in the defensive schemes. Not too mention the NFL today is vastly different than the Wolf era.

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Spock's picture

January 24, 2020 at 07:25 am

The Packers exceeded my (and I suspect many others) expectations for this season. I'm hopeful Gute can continue to add impact players for next year. He tried the TT example for RB's (How did A. Jones and J. Williams work out!) by mass drafting WR's in the later rounds. So far the results on that are not looking too great (I'm hoping for EQB to have a breakout year) but at least he gave it a shot with so many other holes to fill. The last game the Packers' played may have left many with a sour taste in their mouths but at least it showed areas the Packers need to (vastly) improve in. This was a good (not great) team this year and I believe it will be much better in year two under MLF and Gute. I like the team chemistry that we had this last season and if MLF can have the players next season instilled with the same attitude this should be another fun season for Packer fans to watch. Now the long :( , LONG, off-season has begun. Sigh. The good news is with all the new changes we here at CHTV will have lots to discuss to fill the time :).

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NickPerry's picture

January 24, 2020 at 07:43 am

I was looking at the Packers and different NFC teams who I think will be the Packers biggest threats in the conference. For example the team they'll be chasing and IMO the only team in the NFC is the 49ers. Right now the Packers have double the cap space the 49ers do before any other moves are made. The Vikings are in the negative (LMAO) and the Bears are playing Mack $26.6 million for the first time since they signed him (LMOA even HARDER).

My point is of the "Better Teams" who we might think are the Packers biggest obstacles to the SB in the NFC, the Packers are in much better shape with their cap and have more money to spend. Obviously teams make moves to free up space just as I'm sure the Packers will do. IMO Graham is gone and so is Taylor. That gives the Packers a significant amount of cap space to do out and address a weakness or two.

Like Maggie said...There is plenty of reasons to be optimistic about 2020 for the Packers and their fans!

Go to OTC and check out some of the pieces the Packers could add in FA...Especially RUN STUFFERS on the D-Line like just for example Michael Pierce of the Ravens who might not be that expensive but could be exactly what the Packers need. I could list dozens of players, my point is the Packers have both money\ and draft capitol...The two things you must have to get better.

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Houndog's picture

January 24, 2020 at 08:02 am

Nick,
As in my reply to Stockholder above, it's the draft capital that worries me.
We need GOOD young guys to balance the cap and we haven't hit many walk-off home runs lately, maybe since Kenny Clark. I doubt you'd argue that the jury's still out on King, Alexander, Savage, and for sure Gary as top picks. We've seen flashes, but not enough fire.
We need home runs in the early rounds and some veteran F/A help. Let's hope they can find it.

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stockholder's picture

January 24, 2020 at 10:37 am

Truthfully this was my draft last year. Wilkins not Gary. Risner Ot/G not Savage. And Thornhill S not Wilkins G. Gute isn't wrong yet. But I feel Wilkins would have solved more problems the Gary.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 24, 2020 at 12:54 pm

I liked Thornhill, but he is an older guy and had the knee issue in college? Went out with the ACL at the end of the season and was well-paired with the veteran presence of the Honey Badger. Gary will out-perform Wilkens down the road if Pettine is moved out and an aggressive guy brought on board to toughen up this D. Jenkins is better than Risner. The Savage deal will have to play out. He has the speed and range, but will he become a guy like Thomas?? Will and Instincts. We don't know if he has the IT.

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MarkinMadison's picture

January 24, 2020 at 07:51 am

I'll throw out a more negative reason for optimism: the 49ers are probably going to look different next year. Their FA list is loaded, and includes Clowney, Sanders and Armstead. And they have about $16M in cap space. Everything is always in motion in the league.

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Houndog's picture

January 24, 2020 at 08:03 am

Mark,
Clowney plays for Seattle.

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MarkinMadison's picture

January 24, 2020 at 09:48 pm

Can I give myself a thumbs down? Yes, I believe I can.

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HankScorpio's picture

January 24, 2020 at 08:27 am

In addition to Sanders and Armstead, Jimmie Ward is a FA, too. Matt Brieda is not a huge loss but it downgrades their 3-headed RB attack to 2 heads. And while we just saw Moestert run wild on the Packers, he's not a star player. 140 ish yards before contact means pretty much anyone could have had that kind of game.

Kittle is playing on his rookie deal. He's finally eligible to be extended. The 49ers can make him play one more year for $735k if they choose. But they would be wise to give him what he's worth.

They have a relatively easy pat to clearing another $9 mil in cap space. They'll need to get creative to clear enough space to retain what they have and extend Kittle. It's an old tale that success brings FA losses and cap difficulties.

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dobber's picture

January 24, 2020 at 09:55 am

I'm particularly interested in seeing what Gute's plan is for roster management going forward. I don't think we know exactly what he and LaF want this roster (especially on the offensive side) to look like, yet. Year 2 for LaF and year 3 for Gute should tell us more.

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Turophile's picture

January 24, 2020 at 01:33 pm

I think you are on the money with the team needs (DE, WR, ILB). Obviously (as you said) RT jumps high up the list of needs if Bulaga is not retained. TE is also a need.

You could even argue that we need two WRs, one outside guy and one in the slot, but equally you could just get one or the other and let Lazard, ESB and possibly Kumerow and MVS fill in the gaps. I don't see Allison on the team going forward, and MVS will have to work to stay in Green Bay as he did very little in his second year. The trouble with getting a WR in the draft is that they usually take a while to be effective in the NFL, often until their third year.

I'm still looking at DE in round 1 or 2 (we have to get better than Lancaster/Lowry/M.Adams). Keke might progress to take one of those spots and the Packers need another who is better than Lowry, hence the early pick.

With the other first (or second) round pick, I'd get a true no.2 receiver, even while acknowledging they might take time to develop. It is time they addressed that position group with a high pick. I don't really care if they are a slot guy or an outside guy, as long as they are good. There are big, quick, strong, crafty, elusive guys out there - whatever kind of receiver you want, there is someone who can fit the bill in this stellar year for WRs.

As for ILB, when (on another forum) I suggested paying big money for Rams LB Cory Littleton, several posters wondered what I was doing - at that time there was little talk about him as he was originally an undrafted FA. However he has greatly outplayed his 1 yr contract with the Rams and they would find it very difficult to keep him due to their tight cap situation.

Littleton's forte is speed and coverage, just what the Packers need. I've seen others mention him recently, even seen him mentioned here on Cheesehead TV, so the idea of paying a guy (whose last contract was $3m for one year) something like $12-$14m pa, no longer seems crazy.

I'm expecting Martinez to go elsewhere (for a big payday), so my thinking is that the Packers big bucks go to Littleton, plus a third round pick like Cal ILB Evan Weaver or (at the latest) one of the many 4th round options, to take over Martinez's role.

That covers DE, WR and 2x ILBs.

There are few TEs that i like this year, it is just a poor year for them. The Packers might find a veteran to plug in after Graham retires or is released. I'd keep Marcedes Lewis for his experience and blocking - maybe he can help a late round draft pick become a decent blocker in what I imagine is his final year.

So where should later draft picks go ? As always it depends on the best-buys available when the draft pick comes around, but a backup CB would certainly help. Tramon Williams will be 37 next year (ancient for a CB), while Josh Jackson has done nothing all season and is trending towards being a bust. The Packers do have
Chandon Sullivan as a backup, who looks like a keeper, while Ka'dar Hollman is an unknown, since he was a pure special teams guy this season.

After that, a developmental OT, a guard, RB, a second receiver or DE, and that's it.

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Guam's picture

January 24, 2020 at 08:36 am

Well thought out description of the Pack's needs Turophile. I might quibble just a little bit on the TE though. If we keep Lewis as a blocking TE, I think we will be okay with Sternberger as a starter. I agree we could use a late round replacement for Tonyan.

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stockholder's picture

January 24, 2020 at 10:21 am

You got the Needs Right. The problem is your DE will not fit Pettine's 3-4-4. Your De must be a Fast DT. Not to many would fit. Wilkerson should have been replaced, and not with Lowrey. This year's De don't get off blocks. Weaver is a Martinez. Still cheaper then Martinez. Most have him late 3rd. Not bad But- Wr is your best bet. And it must be fixed before Rodgers leaves. So- I would get Billings and Jarron Reed. Reed was awesome against SF. Joe Schobert is a better option then Weaver.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 24, 2020 at 12:28 pm

Reed plays low and fast. Also in a 4-3. The 3-4 of Rex/Pettine is toast without two shut-down corners and all of your top picks going to the front seven. Gary can play 4-3 as well as Za. They have Clark at DT. It is obvious that this 3-4 cannot hit fast enough to be effective. Needs @ two ILBs, DE and Strong safety.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 24, 2020 at 08:41 am

Let’s pass more and run less.

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PeteK's picture

January 24, 2020 at 09:11 am

Balance is the key to the universe my fine weathered friend. LOL Actually offenses are trending more towards the run because defenses are so geared up for the pass. SB should be interesting, old style vs modern.

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PeteK's picture

January 24, 2020 at 08:56 am

I predict that Rogers will not complete his whole contract and will play 2 maybe three more seasons. His contract has a potential out after the 2021 season. So as a result, Gute will go all in this off seasoning and use our satisfactory cap space to sign players to fill our weaknesses ( pass catcher and run stopper). The draft could be a bonus. It's difficult to make a fair prediction until we see what happens with Bulaga and Martinez. However, I believe Bulaga will not garner a huge contract because of his injury history and age, Martinez might be a different story. I agree Maggie, we should all be wearing sunglasses as the future is very bright.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 24, 2020 at 09:41 am

Pete, I posted about the potential 2021 out,

Run more, pass less. Get a TE in the lineup who can get his man blocked. That is our BEST hope of keeping our QB healthy all season

It also keeps our defense off the field. The most successful teams are good at running

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 24, 2020 at 09:15 am

I'm also looking forward to year two in the offense where coaches and players can focus more on fundamentals that learning a new playbook and terminology. I think the lack of time to work on that stuff this season really impacted some players. Rodgers for sure since the QB has the largest mental load. But also some young players like MVS who had 416 yards in the first 7 games before he slumped horribly. That projects to 953 yards for a whole season.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 24, 2020 at 09:36 am

Maggie, I would add that after we release Graham we’ll have well over $30 million in cap space. We could sign a FA on offense, one on defense, and still be well under.

Between the draft and FA we could add six pretty good players to the team.

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dobber's picture

January 24, 2020 at 09:42 am

I agree in that I'd like to see this team add a long, physical, 3-down 5-tech to play next to Clark. I don't want them to bring in a NT-only "Big Grease" type player that pushes Clark outside. Clark can dominate centers and guards, but it might be a completely different story if he's asked to more often go against quicker, long-armed OTs. He needs to stay inside where he'll be at his best. I know Raji was a head-case, but bumping him outside was a bad move from the start. I don't want to see that happen with Clark.

I think the trajectory of the team is good. They've filled key spots with young players, they have some cap space, and many players on the roster should continue to get better--even as they add draft picks and a couple FAs. But let's be fair: 13 wins will be extremely hard to replicate. They had one of the softest divisional slates in football (NFC East, AFC West) and played a 3rd place schedule. Next year they draw the NFC South and AFC South, which should increase the level of competition. This team stayed remarkably healthy in its starters (which will be hard to reproduce), and rode the edge on a lot of close games. There's likely to be a significant regression in wins.

This team could be much improved in 2020 and better-equipped to compete in the post-season, but will likely not show it in W-L.

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stockholder's picture

January 24, 2020 at 10:48 am

"ll take the Nt. Because I don't believe Pettine will be here next year. The sooner this club moves on from the 3-4-4 the better. And who says they'll push him outside?

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 24, 2020 at 12:35 pm

You thought Pettine was going to go all amoeba defense with some 43 o 44 to 42 looks. Then we hear the boys up front don't even know gap adjustments to plug the leaks. Some thing doesn't smell right.

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Swisch's picture

January 24, 2020 at 11:32 am

So much depends on the attitude and leadership of Aaron Rodgers....

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Everaj36's picture

January 24, 2020 at 11:46 am

Your part on the Defense staying together is a bit misleading, as you've listed the offseason in which they will become free agents. For instance Raven Green, Kevin King & Kenny Clark are all entering the final year of their contracts. They essentially have 3 years left with the majority of this defense. While older (37) Tramon Williams is also a free agent this offseason, so CB is bit murky after King & Alexander.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 24, 2020 at 12:41 pm

A CB by round three and another in free agency. Tramon has mentored for two years. I don't see his speed returning anytime soon. Sullivan can control the dime. Bring in a veteran for the nickel. You have to hedge against King having another injury-free year.

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ricky's picture

January 24, 2020 at 11:58 am

I'm tired of "next year." This year the team was extremely healthy, there were many timely interceptions, and they caught several teams with their best players injured when they played. Will the team be as healthy next year? Very doubtful, given the Packers recent injury history. Will there be turnovers that help seal victories? We can hope. And will the Packers be playing teams at the right time, with key personnel on the bench? Maybe. What is known is that the Packers had a chance to make the SB, and lost in a humiliating fashion. The only certainty for next year is that the Bears will suck. Which is something to hang onto during the dark times.

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arthurl's picture

January 24, 2020 at 03:32 pm

I still feel Gary can play inside at DE. He's around 280 and if he were to add 5-10 lbs that is best position to showcase what he brings. He's probably never played OLB, so team needs to return him to his natural position. We have Fackrell to sub the Smith bros. Definitely need to resign Bulaga; draft WR, ILB, DL early based on whose available. I hope they get a FA ILB and WR. Overall, I felt team exceeded expectations and moving in right direction.

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Lphill's picture

January 24, 2020 at 04:05 pm

Packers cap space right now at 32 mil, Vikings in the red and Bears right behind them, the Packers signed receiver 2 already , Reggie Begelman, they need a run stuffer D lineman, an all around inside linebacker and the Packers are fine, Sternberger is the tight end of the future, Packers will own the north and more the upcoming season or two.

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Stroh's picture

January 24, 2020 at 07:45 pm

No doubt Jones will continue to be integral on offense but the fact remains he's a 1a RB. He needs a running mate just as good as him so LaFleur has another weapon and can keep Jones fresh and healthy. At barely 200 lbs he can't handle a bigger workload than he had this season. And Lafleur's offense needs a threat at RB every down, not 50% of the downs.

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DePack's picture

January 24, 2020 at 09:47 pm

Why is everyone so enamored with Kevin King? He was a liability! 99.6 passer rating against. Guy makes a play here and there but gives up explosives regularly. We need CB help too but the packers track record for drafting 1st/2nd round DBs is not good. I'm probably still just sore with the King over Watt pick! I don't care what position they pick, if they hit it will help the whole team, ILB would be nice, I feel we say that every year!?

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MarkinMadison's picture

January 24, 2020 at 09:59 pm

The Browns are pretty much a dumpster fire of an organization. Scary that there are so many Packer people there and yet they are still floundering. Schobert would probably take a discount to get out of Ohio and back to Wisconsin.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 25, 2020 at 06:31 am

King, Clark and Raven Greene are not signed or under control through 2021. All three would be free agents after this season.

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Brandip's picture

January 25, 2020 at 12:29 pm

I agree. I understand balancing the draft and signing players. With that being said, there are deficiencies in the roster that needs to be addressed. Wide receiver is on the top of my list. I understand that this years draft is loaded with them. Do the Packers have enough overall talent in this position to rely on while the players on the roster develop? What about the time it takes developing this years drafted players? I think a medium needs to be struck in this area. I am of the opinion that a well rounded veteran route runner should be looked at this year. I watch games on TV only, so I must admit that I do not see the plays where receivers are open, and just not thrown to. With that being said, it appears that a younger Cobb type player might be in order. Watching a slow TE run a slant has grown stale. Balancing future need at this position has been at a premium over the last few years, but I would like to point out the need for here and now players. Go Pack GO

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