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The Offseason Moves Look Good On Paper

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The Offseason Moves Look Good On Paper

Happy first day of summer! It’s going to be sunny and in the 70s today in Green Bay, and I think that alone is worth celebrating. Now that we’ve entered the dead zone before training camp kicks off on July 25th, I thought I’d spend this first day of summer breaking down some of the roster moves that took place this past spring.

The Packers defense underperformed in 2018, and part of that may have been because the squad couldn’t stay healthy. Key starters Kenny Clark, Mike Daniels, Kevin King, Jaire Alexander, and Nick Perry all missed at least three games due to injury.

The safety position was a revolving door. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was traded midway through the season. Jermaine Whitehead was released. Josh Jones, Raven Greene, and Kentrell Brice all missed a couple of games. At one point in time, the names Ibraheim Campbell, Eddie Pleasant, and Natrell Jamerson filled out the safety depth chart in Green Bay. Veteran cornerback Tramon Williams even spent the back half of the season filling in at safety out of necessity.

One of the very first things general manager Brian Gutekunst did in free agency was get a starting safety for defensive coordinator Mike Pettine to work with in Adrian Amos. Then, with his second first-round pick in the draft, he grabbed another safety in Darnell Savage.

With the pair of Amos and Savage pegged as the immediate starters on the roster, the safety position is already better than it was heading into 2018. Add in bulked-up Raven Greene as the backup, and that’s a solid group.

In 2018, the defense was ranked 22nd in the league in points against with 400, which equals 25 points given up per game. An improved secondary can only improve that number in 2019.

While the team ranked first on offense in interceptions, thanks in particular to Aaron Rodgers’ uncanny ability to protect the football, the team was ranked 29th on defense in that same statistic. On the year, the team only managed seven interceptions, and almost half of them came from Clinton-Dix before he was traded.

Forcing turnovers becomes another point of emphasis in 2019. New outside linebackers coach Mike Smith has said as much repeatedly in his press conferences. If the defense can create pressure for opposing quarterbacks, the turnovers will follow.

Enter Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith in free agency, and the team’s first first-round pick Rashan Gary. If pressure is what Smith is after, he’ll enjoy an already-improved outside linebackers room that hasn’t even touched the field yet.

In 2018, Clay Matthews and Nick Perry combined for only 67 total tackles. The Smiths combined for 98. If we want to compare sack numbers, Matthews and Perry combined for five sacks while the Smiths combined for 12.5. Now I know part of that is due to Perry’s limited availability, but that was always part of his problem as a pass rusher. You can’t get after the quarterback from the sidelines.

All of these improvements look great on paper, right? Well we can hope that translates onto the field, too, now that the defense has a second year to learn under Mike Pettine.

The offense enters training camp at a slight disadvantage given they’re only in year one of a brand new system, but fans should already be optimistic about the new protection surrounding Aaron Rodgers.

David Bakhtiari is the best left tackle in the game. Let’s call it like it is. Corey Linsley is also an ironman on the line. When healthy, Bryan Bulaga has earned his stripes as one of the best tackles in the NFL, but the health is a question mark. Where’s the deficiency then on the offensive line? The guard position.So what does Gutekunst do? He brings in Billy Turner who’s already earned high praises from Rodgers, and he spends his second round pick on Elgton Jenkins, a versatile lineman who can play either guard spot or right tackle in a pinch.

Again, it’s good on paper.

Where to next? How about the tight end room. Nobody was more disappointed by Jimmy Graham’s 2018 season than Graham himself, and he said as much when the season ended. While his numbers were good enough for second on the team in terms of yardage, he still only put up two touchdowns. That’s a far cry from the 10 he had with Seattle in 2017.

Graham’s contract warranted a second season in Green Bay, but Gutekunst was smart to spend his third round pick on his likely tight end of the future, Jace Sternberger of Texas A&M. While he’s not the biggest tight end on the team, his hands and athleticism set him apart from the group. If Sternberger can improve his blocking under the tutelage of Marcedes Lewis, he’ll be a formidable NFL player for years to come.

In addition to Graham, Sternberger, Lewis, and the returning Big Bob Tonyan, the Packers have spent the offseason bringing in more competition at tight end. Evan Baylis and Pharoah McKever round out the room to make six, and it was seven until Michael Roberts failed his physical.

Once again...it’s good on paper.

So what does all of this mean? Well. It means that the Packers spent the offseason doing what every team does - they explored every avenue they could to improve their roster.

We’ll see if the moves paid off as we enter training camp and the preseason, but for now, the arrow in Green Bay is pointing up.

 

Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and a podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieLawler.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (75) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Lphill's picture

One of the best off season moves was retaining Mike Pettine , he did his best last season with little depth and a lot of injuries to starters , I think the offense will come along well because Rodgers seems motivated with all the changes , this is what we have been waiting for the last few seasons no more Groundhog Day in Green Bay.

Rak47's picture

Speaking of the offense I'd like to share this comment by Mike Freeman at B/R. When asked if Aaron Rodgers should be given complete autonomy over the offense Freeman wrote
"Let Rodgers run the offense however the hell he wants." "You don't put Captain Kirk in charge of monitoring ion storms. You put his ass on the bridge." Lol. I thought this was hilarious but true. And of course the comment is out of context as he was talking about however Rodgers wants within the framework and ground rules that LaFluer has set down. He's basically saying let him have the same freedoms at the line as Brady in N.E.

nostradanus's picture

No more I got you babe on the clock radio either

Nick Perry's picture

What I like most about Brian Gutekunst is he's done EXACTLY what he said he'd do. Gutey has explored every avenue possible to improve this team. Trades, FA additions, waiver-wire pickups, and moving UP in the draft in round 1 (in 2019), or down then back up (in 2018) while gaining an extra 1st. He's done it ALL and in just 2 short offseasons has put his stamp on this team.

Big, fast, athletic football players are all part of the "Gutekunst Stamp" and in 2019 we'll start to see those decisions pay off in wins. He's been consistent these last two drafts selecting players who fit. Not only has he been consistent but he's fixed positions the Packers have been troubled by for years, in 2 short offseasons.

Like Maggie has said, On paper, this team looks to have improved. Because Mike Pettine is the DC and MLF offense is something from this century I'll go out on a limb and say it ain't just on paper Maggie. This team will actually be really good! 2 Thumbs Up for Gutey!

nostradanus's picture

I love what Gutey has done! Well said. If you are going to hit home runs you gotta swing for the fences!

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I also like that he's not going down sitting on his hands.

DThomas's picture

What I really liked was Gutekunst didn't wait around in FA for a bargain, or sign someone near the end of their career who we'd have to hope could finish their career on a high note. Za'Darius & Preston Smith along with Amos are all about to enter the peak of their careers.
Gutekunst is indeed using all avenues to improve the team. Of course that doesn't guarantee success, but it gives the team the best chance to succeed.

jannes bjornson's picture

He had to recover three years of bad drafting to get this team back in contention. He made solid moves. The move on Mack was something that got some juice going. The two picks @ one gave us Alexander and Savage,
two cornerstones in the secondary. The Bears have to hope they don't get hit with injuries with their depth being thin.

Nick Perry's picture

nostradanus, jeremyjjbrown, DThomas, jannes, and Archie ....You ALL make excellent points, I agree 100%. BUT...

jannes made 2 points I points I which were especially right on point.

1) "He had to recover three years of bad drafting to get this team back in contention."

The drafts picks from 2015 were terrible. NOT ONE pick remains on the Packers roster. The 2016 draft was actually pretty good though. Clark, Martinez, Lowry, and now Frackrell have all had different degrees of success, Clark on the verge of superstardom. The 2017 draft was a typical Thompson draft though. Moving back for extra picks which don't develop. We did get Aaron Jones and Jammal Williams, but also Josh Jones and Vince Biegel.

2) "The move on Mack was something that got some juice going."

Actually wasn't the move on Fuller who got the juices going? IMO the move on Mack was the move I'm THANKFUL didn't happen though. The Bears OVERPAID for Mack, not just in salary but draft picks too. First round picks are obviously huge. Not just because of the player you have a chance to pick, but the 5th year option that comes with first-round draft choices.

Having a guy like Mack is great but at his salary of $26.6 million starting next season isn't, THAT will be a nightmare. 2022, when Mack is 32 is the first season the Bears can even think about getting rid of that salary, even then there's $12 million in dead money.

The Packers meanwhile got Alexander, Savage, Gary, AND Dexter Williams plus 5-year contracts at a fraction of the money on the first-rounders.

HEY... Maybe we can get Mack to come here in 2022 and have the Bears still pay him $12 million that season...JUST LIKE we did with Peppers!

flackcatcher's picture

Nice overview Nick. The only thing to add here is the 2015 draft was historically bad for the league as a whole. Front office personal across the league are still wondering how they got the talent level so wrong. The 2015 pushed front offices into using more analytic tools in eval rather than using them as a background measure of physical talent. Not only did Ted and his front office team strike out, most of NFL did too.

Archie's picture

I couldn't agree more.

No more Ted Thompson - Hooray!
No more Mike McCarthy - double Hooray!

If the Pack get back to the playoffs this year - Gutey should be GM of the year. Ditto if his offense and defense both make top 10. And dare I say, ST too!

nostradanus's picture

The Packers for the first time in recent memory are one of the biggest winners in the off-season!

Of course that doesn’t mean jack squat until the pads go on, but it sure has been fun as a fan.

I can’t help but think with the success the Brewers and Bucks have had with their young GM’s that the Packers young GM has taken notice.

Let’s all hope these moves put the Packers back into the playoffs.

Go Pack!!

Lare's picture

Really, the Packers were only a couple special teams mistakes away from making the playoffs last season so they are a lot better on paper this season.

The defense will definitely be better with the new players and the second year in Pettine's system.

Gone is Zook and the mistake-ridden special teams so anything has to be an improvement there.

I think the biggest question going into the season has to be how long it takes for the offense to learn the new offensive playbook. Once they do they should be fun to watch.

nostradanus's picture

Playoffs? I wouldn’t go that far but nice try.
The Packers were a dead team walking last year with no spark and very little leadership.

murf7777's picture

The playoffs are definitely in reach. Anytime you have a generational talent at the QB position a deep playoff run is a strong possibility. My money is riding on a playoff year for the “green and gold”.

Rossonero's picture

Not necessarily. Aside from the Detroit game at the end, it's not like the team was getting blown away week in, week out.

It doesn't take much to go from worst to first in this league. One good draft and some free agents, and boom -- you're a contender. Look at what the Bears did. Nobody -- even the Bears fans -- would've imagined they'd finish 12-4 and win the Division.

Anything can happen.

jannes bjornson's picture

I'm sticking with my 11-5 prediction for their record and the Norris crown.
It all starts with #12. He is the best in the NFC. Get the O line in synch and
pray they stay healthy.

Handsback's picture

I think the big difference in the Packers this year will be the defense. If MM was still the coach, the offense would be better because of the improvement and health of the playmakers-WR/RBs and the Oline depth-Turner/Jenkins/Madison. The incremental improvement of the offense is minor to the facelift given to the defense. New safeties, new edge rushers, depth on dline and hopefully 2nd year jump in improvements in CBs and ILBs.
Include step improvement in 2nd year punter and you have a very strong case for a team that can showcase some big wins. For the past few years (seems like decades) we all have seen injuries knock Green Bay out of contention...this year the depth may be good enough to have a smaller impact on their performance. That is unless it's to Rodgers.
So the first day of summer brings 105 degree heat index to North Texas, it is still comforting to know that this season will bring the cooling winds of change to the Packer's win totals.

flackcatcher's picture

Can not be said often enough. This team was good enough to make the playoffs over the last two years, if, IF injuries did not hit position groups in waves like we seen. But it also pointed out how thin and flat out hollowed out this team had become. This team has drafted well the past two years, in thanks to Thompson clearing cap space and cutting or not resigning older players for short term deals. But there is a cost to that kind of gamble, and we saw the results starting in 2017. But that gave IAMGUTE the necessary room to maneuver in free agency and make deals for the extra draft choices this team desperately needed. Packers are still very thin at critical positions at OT and G, and it would all but a couple of sprain ankles to put our CB position on life support. And if that happened, you know what's going to happen to ST. In reality the Packers are looking at another draft beyond this one to have enough core players if the injury god strikes again. I am still amazed at how this team got so deep into the playoffs with the injuries they had starting in 2012. The only two years where the Packers were healthy (in football terms) was 2011 and 2014. When you factor injuries in, one can see just how good McCarthy and Capers really were. As everyone on this thread has said, it's all going to depend on how quickly the second and third players grow and make the leap in Pettine's and MLF systems. Looking foward to some answers when the pads come on.

murf7777's picture

Injuries will happen to every team and since the salary cap demands equality (excluding the Pats) every team has certain areas that lack depth. In the end, like our 2010 SB team it is “the next player up” mantra that normally decides the winner. Those players are mostly unheralded. Teams cannot have strong backups at all critical positions the salary cap prevents that. There is some luck involved in not getting injuries at critical positions. If you studied every team like we do the packers I think our injuries would be close to the average.

flackcatcher's picture

Yes and no. What's unusual about the Packers is injuries have hit a position group, taking starters and core players. Normally, like what happened to the Packers in 2010 and 2011 injuries are spread out, so while a position group gets weak, the players from that group as a rule does not effect the overall level of play of that team. Starting in 2012, the Packers have had position groups hard hit, and in two cases had starters and core players wiped out. 2012 the LB group. 2013 the OL. 2015 the WR (JANIS! sorry, I couldn't help myself -:) 2016 the secondary. 2017 both the DB an OL. I left out the QB position for oblivious reasons. The effect is to hollow out a team with players who can not play at an NFL level, and or forced to retire early from the game, and in 2018 we saw the result. Some of injury reasons, drafting more high risk players with an injury history because of draft position. Older player either resigned or picked up thru free agency have more miles on them and are more likely to end up on PUP or IR. It's a vicious circle which breaks only when a team is forced into rebuild mode as the Packers are now engaging in. I hope with the influx of young players, this injury cycle is now broken.

Packer Dave's picture

This team has undoubtedly improved on paper.

It's also worth noting that a lot of young guys have gotten a lot of playing time the last year due to injuries. If we were to compare our depth with previous years I'd argue it's better now.

One injury that could really bite though is when Bulaga goes down.

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

I realize the article is about off season moves, however the other improvement aspect is the maturing of the young 2nd year players. Someone already mentioned the punter. The Packers have a very talented 2nd year group of WR's and DB's. I believe you are going to see significant growth from the likes of those players. For all those posters who have questioned those young WR's and wanted to pick up an old experienced WR you likely will be surprised at their talent and contributions this year. Gute really did a great job picking up gems late in last years draft.

nostradanus's picture

Yep the second and third year guys are usually the ones that make the most “new” impact while the rookies are still trying to find their way around.

stockholder's picture

Gute changed history. He didn’t wait. The defense will have new leaders. Players that respond as a unit. And Gute must extend Kenny Clarke , before those defensive gains get wrecked. This team No longer has to wait for somebody to get off the trainer’s table. The odds look better because they are better. There’s new opportunity for the drafted players. I can’t wait to see the new Rodgers and LeFleur offense. Packer fans have fallen in Love with their team again. The Gut reaction is Playoffs.

nostradanus's picture

Or is it a “Gute” reaction?

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

Stock,
I have become such a HUGE FAN of Gute!

There is a saying "two people are standing on a city street corner and they are unfamiliar with the bus route and not sure what to do when a bus pulls up. One gets on and willing to take a chance it is going the right direction while the other stays put at the corner."

In my mind, we have left the era of having that guy who stood on the street corner playing it safe when the bus left and we have now entered the era of the GM who is willing to take a risk and get on the bus. I would so much rather have a GM who is aggressive and willing to explore all options aka Wolf.

No matter how much some of us complain about Murphy sitting on the sidelines too long before replacing TT and McCarthy (and I have been vocal about it) Murphy has to likewise be given lots of credit for selecting Gute. I believe we are starting to see the positive results of Gute at the wheel and it won't be long before we start seeing significant success.

A BIG GUTE FAN!!!

4thand1's picture

Hard to light a fire under someone's ass when it's old damp and soft. The Pack has young firm talent to burn, GOPACKGO.

nostradanus's picture

Haha, well said indeed

Jonathan Spader's picture

"Elgton Jenkins, a versatile lineman who can play either guard spot or right tackle in a pinch."

Jenkins I think was broight in to compete for guard but as a backup to Linsley not Brulaga. You still have Spriggs who was serviceable at RT. Jenkins has experience playing center. Prior to drafting him it was Light an UDFA backing up Linsley.

Packers2019's picture

I agree on Jenkins but Spriggs is not serviceable. He has had two years to show us he can get it done. He has done nothing to show us that.

I would not be surprised if he is cut before the season begins.

CheesyTex's picture

Zone blocking scheme may be just what Spriggs needed to be "serviceable".

Jonathan Spader's picture

People said the same about Kyle Fackrell in 2018 Packers2019. I'm hoping that Spriggs can be this year's Sackrell. There's always the chance that with new coaching, more experience, and another year in the weight room a project becomes a player.

dobber's picture

Until they can find an OT who has a chance at being serviceable on the left side, Spriggs is safe in 2019.

Old School's picture

Agreed. We’re not going to throw away a high pick on a rookie deal unless we’re really loaded. Not only is he safe in 2019, but he’ll be playing for someone in 2020....for a lot more money.

Coldworld's picture

I agree, I would love to be proved wrong but I don’t see Jenkins as an NFL tackle. Turner is more likely than he to see time at right tackle. Hopefully Spriggs suddenly clicks or Nijman exceeds expectations behind that.

murf7777's picture

Considering the money spent on FA we are in a win NOW mode. Many of us have screamed at the top of our lungs for this change. To an extent we have mortgaged our future with 4 year high number contracts. There will be a lack of patience for winning this year and next.

I’m cautiously excited but have some reservations about some of the FA contracts. Gutey is polar opposite of TT so I’m buckling up and ready for a wild ride for the next 3 years. Even thou there was times I felt TT could’ve been more aggressive in FA I always respected his resolve in not putting us into salary cap he**!

In addition, I understand Gutey’s approach to providing weapons for Rodgers last prime years.

Here’s to the new aggressive Packer way, hopefully all the way to the SB over the next 3 years! In Gutey we must trust...

Packers2019's picture

Murf,

We have actually not mortgaged our future at all.

The contracts are friendly in that there were signing bonuses up front and not all was guaranteed. They essentially are two to three year contracts for all the signees. So if they do not perform we can cut them in two to three years and not lose a ton of money. Ball is very good at his job with managing the cap.

We are trying to give AR a 3-4 year window before he retires. If we do not win a SB, then we can cut everyone loose and start over.

dobber's picture

The cap will continue to increase each year, as well. The cap situation isn't ideal for a team that's in the process of a soft rebuild: there won't be many high-profile signings for a year or two--and improvement will hinge on the ability of coaches to develop draft picks--but at least the signings are mostly on the right side of their prime and have a track record of being available.

murf7777's picture

Packer2019.....I don’t disagree that Ball is good at his job, but these contracts are a new dynamic for us. I would agree if we cut these signings in the 4th year but if we want to cut any of these 4 FA in year 2 or 3 there is substantial dead money. Some more then others. We had to pay handsomely to make this happen. Just stating we can cut them and start over isn’t considering the difficulties of starting over with less Cap money. Can it be done quickly? Of course, but a lot more difficult with less Cap.

I’m not an expert at the salary cap and would love to here TGR’s take on this. I’m also excited about the possibilities of this aggressive style pushing us back to the SB over the next 3 years.

Coldworld's picture

We are not in a win now situation. We are in a coming to terms with how messed up the roster was mode. Gute’s building this year is actually geared to be better in 2 to three years after last year’s stop gap free agents.

The packers had no quality depth at key positions, the pipeline was dead. Gute has had to reinvent receiver, OLB, CB, S .... You don’t do that without spending. By doing that you give the team better now and, critically, a chance to start getting better each year moving forward.

albert999's picture

on paper also looks like they are going to be ATTACKING the ball and if that plays out for real that’s gonna be a game/s changer!

Samson's picture

Some great positive comments from many Packer fans that have been paying attention. --- Even if only on paper (at this time), it's obvious the aggressive attacking Gute has added considerable talent to a roster that was a fail in previous years... No longer will AR have to carry the Pack....

I'm sticking with 6-2 at the half way mark & 11 or 12 regular season wins followed by a nice playoff run. -- Booyah!

(at this point----cue in all the 'Debbie Downers')

Packers2019's picture

I will be the Debbie downer. :)

We play at KC, at SD, at CH, and at Dallas in the first 8. KC is most likely a loss, SD will be very difficult, and CH is always tough at their place. We could lose at least 3 of those 4. Then it is MN, DEN, PHI, DET, and at home. We probably lose 1 of those. More likely that we are 4-4 than 6-2.

But here's hopin…….

Packers2019's picture

Whoops. I screwed up.

We play OAK in the first 8 and SD the 9th game of the year. Still think more like 4-4 since it is our first year in this system with ML.

Coldworld's picture

You are assuming that their performance resembles that of last year. Often, that just isn’t true in today’s NFL. That said, I agree it’s going to be tough and should be, but we are improving as a roster and have the potential to keep doing so. That is the real change.

EddieLeeIvory's picture

there is no more San Diego.
and the LA game will have about 80% fans in Green & Gold. We'll win that game.

we'll lose at Arrowhead. again. we went 15-1 in 2011 & still lost there. to Kyle Orton.
Mahomes will beat us.

we are 4-0 lifetime at the Cowboys new stadium including once with Matty Flyn in for Rodgers.

I see us 11-5 this year.

jannes bjornson's picture

Should have swept the Bears last year; Dallas is not intimidating; Shut down KC like Belichick did; SD is playing in a soccer stadium that will more than likely filled with Calf. Packer Fans. I will attend the queens game and the tribute to Bart. I expect Rodgers to be on fire and Pettine to put the hurt on Cousins. Not worried about anything but keeping the pedal to the metal.

porupack's picture

I respect the intensity of Gutekunst offseason this year, and how it coherently built on last year first steps (CB, WR, TE). Will look forward how he now addresses the final pieces of rebuild (QB in particular), and long term OL, ILB once we see what 2019 candidates do or not do.

It still is puzzling how he makes such a signifiant change in style of management, though he worked under TT for so long. I just have to wonder, did he not have any freedoms or voice before? Did TT have such control, or lid on the staff? Who would have thought a tutelage of TT would emerge so refreshingly different than his tutor? Kudos to the management to recognize emerging talent and propensity for change from a candidate within, even before his potential was reached. (And the standard disclaimer of course; this is all on paper still).

jannes bjornson's picture

He started under Wolf and learned it all then. He's been biding his time working up the scout tree and with McCarthy's help neutralized Low-Ball's plan to ascend the throne. Now Murphy needs to give him full control and get out of his way.

Since '61's picture

The roster does look better on paper. What gives me further hope is knowing that Gute will do whatever he can to continue to improve the team through the preseason and into the regular season if necessary. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ‘61

porupack's picture

>>>All of these improvements look great on paper, right?<<<

I'm so glad you put that disclaimer multiple times, but still some poster will inevitably use one of the lines below. CHTV writers and responders need to include a standard disclaimer to any positive news during the offseason with "at least on paper".

Packer fans are so certain to hold any bit of optimism with the standard admonishments. Pick the favorites:

'hold on, let's tamper the enthusiasm'
'pump the brakes, folks'
'this is a runaway hype train' 'off season hype"
'wait till the pads come on'
'everyone looks good just practicing in shorts'
'all teams are optimistic this time of year, wait till the game starts''
'I'll believe it when I see it'
"coachers are paid to say positive comments"

lol.

Mark Gaedtke's picture

I couldn't agree more. Negativity doesn't make you the smartest guy in the room- just the most negative. It's okay to get fired up. Otherwise, what's the point?

Lare's picture

Some people live on negativity. They're usually not the smartest person in the room, but always the most negative.

jannes bjornson's picture

There's a difference between negativity and critical thought. Nobody wants a pollyanna hanging about, glossing over the reality of the situation. THe Fans have been on the attack since 2014 for a reason; they've seen this crew at 1265 screw up one HOF QB's chance s for more championships and they are not really motivated to see it happen to Rodgers. These guys only come along so often.

Sol's picture

I agree that all the off-season moves have been beneficial to our team. In the NFL all the athletes are young guys in their prime and their difference in speed and athletic ability is measured in fractions of a second and inches. The Packers seem to have done very well in that respect.

However, with the new offence in place designed to help confuse modern NFL defenses it should help magnify the difference and create even more space and time. But in my humble opinion the greatest difference maker is the opportunity to confuse teams, is that past few years our QB changed quite a few plays. What if he just appeared to change the play it would be a great tool to help create space and time and keep the other guys guessing.

All the news in social media about a discord between Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur is a wonderful distraction designed to help create space and time. Let’s face it they are both very competitive, want to win, in the same season of life and I for one look forward to us keeping the other guys off balance instead of them always seeming to know our plays and our QB running for his life.

Gute has done a good job of increasing athletic ability and team speed. Now is the time to put it all together with creative play calling, deception on offence and defense to create the perfect storm and take the whole league by surprise.

Packman60's picture

Gutsy has done a hell of a job in remaking the Packers and improving the depth in 2 short years. Porupack should not be surprised at Gutey's approach. Look at everyone one of the GM's from TT's personnel tree. All have shown a similar aggressiveness. It was TT's draft and develop philosophy that he was strictly adherent to that limited the Packers previously. While this worked when he was hitting a high percentage on his picks there is no doubt that his lieutenants were pitching him frequently on potential trades / FA signings that he nixed as they didn't mesh with his philosophy and likely prevented the Packers from making additional Super Bowl appearances.

Packers2019's picture

Packman,

Let me also add, he still had to add FA's for us to get to the SB and win it. Woodson was essential to us winning the SB with his leadership and his playmaking ability.

Why TT did not use it more, I have no idea.

Coldworld's picture

Howard Green and Ryan Pickett we’re fairly crucial too.

jannes bjornson's picture

He was an accountant in a finance guy's world of deal making. Just too cheap.

dobber's picture

"While the team ranked first on offense in interceptions, thanks in particular to Aaron Rodgers’ uncanny ability to protect the football, the team was ranked 29th on defense in that same statistic. On the year, the team only managed seven interceptions, and almost half of them came from Clinton-Dix before he was traded."

This paragraph says so much about 2018: a team that took such incredible care of the ball still only ended up even on +/-. HOW do you throw 4 INTs all season--give the ball away a grand total of 15 times (second best and less than 1 TO per game)--and still end up break-even? How different does 2018 look if the defense forced a league-average 22 TOs? It's mind-boggling.

We can talk about raw aggregate stats: yes, the Packers were top-10 in sacks and sack pct, but the stats show that when QBs got the ball out, they made plays and the Packer defense didn't as evidenced by poor completion pct/QBR/etc. allowed. While we talk about adding playmakers, the Packers also added players who have a history of being healthy. I think those two things will go a long way toward making this a top-third defense in 2019.

Old School's picture

It’s not just Rodgers protecting the ball. Jones and Williams had a combined 1 fumble. Our ability to protect the ball is a major strength of the offense.

Coldworld's picture

We also went 3 and out and had a clear minority of snaps on several game days.

Old School's picture

And what caused that, Coldworld? Why so many 3 and outs?

A ProBowler at one WR, a future HOFer at TE, one of the best yards/attempt rushing attacks, an offensive line that featured some very good players on a unit that graded out pretty well by both PFF and football outsiders.

All of this orchestrated by an HOF QB who was apparently calling his own plays quite a bit of the time.

So what’s your theory? I see elsewhere in this thread you’ve said our roster is bad, but we’re only replacing one starter.

Coldworld's picture

I said our roster when Gute took over was bad, overall i’d say in a total mess. Getting from there to success was never going to be easy. But if you want a few reasons off the top of my head for last year:

Don’t use the run game as an integral part of the offense, have a QB who is hobbled and a schematic reboot that was clearly a disaster yet insisting that individuals beat their man/men without assistance from play design, becoming even more predictable than previously on offense, having gaping holes at OLB and Safety, a dysfunctional special teams philosophy, forced to rely on rookies at key skill positions ....

wildbill's picture

Great point. Win the trenches and the turnover battle and you win a large percentage of your games. Add in that a turnover can be such a swing in momentum, you just can’t put enough emphasis on it. By the way I also count stopping a team on a fourth down conversion attempt as a “turnover”. It’s not counted as one but has the same results, change of possession and momentum.

Old School's picture

All the free agency moves and draft picks look good now. If we still feel the same way in December, that’ll be great.

Coldworld's picture

They will not all work out. No GM bats that type of percentage. Hopefully, as a group the results will be better than last year. Allied to better coaching, health and continuing development, this is the basis for optimism fueled by an influx of potential over the last couple of years. It’s an upward Trend not an immediate leap to all world.

Tundraboy's picture

No but I like it.

RCPackerFan's picture

I really like this team on paper. We should be much improved once the games start.

Just looking at the facts. We have a QB who had one of his worst years. He played with injuries all year long. Watching the games you could see something wasn't right and missed a lot of throws we are accustomed to seeing him make. Then you go and look at his stats and let the numbers sink in. He threw for 4442 yards, 25 TD's and 2 Int's. He had a rating of 97.6. That was one of his worst years. He has spent an entire offseason thus far hearing all the negativity. As a motivational driven player, don't be surprised if he comes out on fire and shows all the doubters wrong.

Now, we have a new offense in which should create more confusion for defenses. It will no longer be predictable. That might be the biggest change.

We have a pro bowl WR, LT. We have an OC who could be a in the Pro Bowl, and a RT who if healthy can be on that level too. They improved the depth on the OL.

We have a trio of 2nd year WR's that are looking to take a step. We have a couple of TE"s looking to get more involved as are the RB's.

Defense they are entering year 2 with Pettine. The returning players should really be looking to take a step in the system. We are getting a healthy Daniels and Clark back. We brought in the Smiths and Gary to help create a lot of confusion for offenses. Martinez was said to have gained a lot of muscle. In the secondary we have a veteran who is said to be one of the most consistent Safety's in the league. Also a leader. He should be a big upgrade over what we had last year.

With the two 2nd year guys, King and Savage, we have a young but very talented secondary.

This is going to be a fun, exciting season to watch!

porupack's picture

>>>>>So what does all of this mean? Well. It means that the Packers spent the offseason doing what every team does - they explored every avenue they could to improve their roster.<<<<<

The key question isnt't whether we got better, but did we get better than rivals got better. Vegas set GB about even with Chigo and Minnepo at 9-6. So, yeah, the consensus is GB got better this offseason than the 2018 team (includes roster plus coaching staff and philosophies as RCPacker mentions above). While Chigo and Minnepo also fixed some areas, and should likewise make improvements; I think they should fear the changes in GB, more than GB fear the changes in either them.

As for other key rivals; well; LA Rams, Saints, Eagles and Seahawks all present strong offseasons as well. Did we gain on them? Maggie, any thoughts when comparing to NFC and the other major rivals likely to stand in the way of reclaiming that bowl?

*My best guess with all injuries and other underachievements in 2018, the GB offseason has GB making up the most advancement both by the new roster additions, as by fresh season and change. Those presumed frontrunners have more to fear looking over their shoulders.

*(on paper analysis, subject to change once 'pads are on', and games are played. Tampered enthusiasm and brakes applied notwithstanding.)

nostradanus's picture

It is all going to boil down to LaFleur , can he lead this team? Good coaches can win with great players. Great coaches can win with good players.

MarkinMadison's picture

Not trying to be a Debbie Downer, but Khalil Mack is scary. He's going to make Ha-Ha look good. I hope the Packers made the right moves. I want them to beat the Bears and take back the division. There are just a ton of unknowns right now.

Tundraboy's picture

Looks good on paper,but better than in a long time. Far less of a stretch in imagination, certainly than in prior years. I'm happy to be genuinely optimistic. And I am not worrying about self inflicted events. Bad coaching, bonehead plays some persistent from bad coaching, excessive reliance on 2d year jumps, or return to full health of chronically injured players. But most of all there is a plan,a new plan. Not this year's tweek of one that wasn't working anymore. Don't think we'll be seeing the Turtle O this year. Or horrendous ST gaffes.

Adorabelle's picture

No truer headline than this one. A lot to see with two new linebacker and safety projected starters and Oren Burks inside. Thats a lot of new. I hope at least to see an aggressive approach that is exciting to watch.

And I hope Oren Burks is good - then I can name a fantasy team "Look on my Burks Ye Mighty and Despair"

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