While many pro football teams have storied histories and great players in their pasts, few can compete with the Green Bay Packers long line of championships and Hall of Famers. That's a big reason why this week's GMC question for us at Acme Packing Company is so difficult.
Without any stalling, let's get right to the video from Marshall Faulk:
Marshall Faulk (@marshallfaulk) October 22, 2014
This is a great question (though we would have loved to have seen Faulk in Green and Gold), and it required a great deal of thought on our part. There are candidates to choose from at literally every position on the field here, and
We can eliminate quarterback right off the bat, since Aaron Rodgers is playing better than just about anyone in the NFL right now. The Starr/Favre/Rodgers debate is one for another day, but let's just say no matter what your stance is on that discussion, there are bigger holes to fill.
Would you add another receiving weapon for Rodgers? Sterling Sharpe's career certainly had a Hall of Fame trajectory before it was cut short due to injury, and Don Hutson was the league's first great wideout. Those are both tempting options, but not where we're going.
The Packers' offensive line is starting to look very solid, so even Hall of Famers like Forrest Gregg and Jerry Kramer he's a Hall of Famer in our minds, dammit) aren't the pick.
Running back, perhaps? Any number of great backs could make a big difference on this squad, from Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor to more modern options like Ahman Green. Still, the Eddie Lacy-James Starks combo has worked relatively well so far, and there are other, bigger issues to address.
That leaves us with the defensive side of the ball. With the depth in the secondary, we like where we're at and what we've seen as far as the development of young players in 2014. We would much rather improve the front seven. The question then becomes do we improve the line or the linebackers?
My first thought went back to the dominant Packers linebackers of the 1960s -- specifically, Ray Nitschke and Dave Robinson. Both of those players were menacing defenders, but ones who would be just as likely to drop back in coverage and intercept a pass as they were to plug a hole up front or lay a crushing tackle on a running back. That game-changing ability in all phases of the game is something that the Packers could certainly use to upgrade the inside linebacker position at this time.
However, there's one other former Packer who would make an even bigger difference for this team: Reggie White.
To our knowledge, White played almost exclusively in a 4-3 defense during his time in the NFL (save for his first season with the Packers in 1993), but he possessed the ideal frame to excel in a 3-4 just as easily. Standing 6'5" and nearly 300 pounds, the Minister of Defense would be a menace in any defensive scheme and would give the Packers easily the most fearsome pass rush in the NFL with him, Clay Matthews, and Julius Peppers all attacking the quarterback together. That makes the Packers' current "NASCAR" pass-rushing package look pretty ordinary in comparison.
With Reggie manning the left defensive end position on base downs and rushing from the interior on passing downs, the Packers' defense would have an entirely new dimension - a truly dominant pass-rushing and anchoring force on the interior. We feel that having that would make up for any potential advantage Green Bay would lose out on by improving the inside linebacker position.
As you know, White helped the Packers win one Super Bowl and get to another, and played some of his biggest games on the biggest stages. For many Packers fans (myself included), Super Bowl XXXI will be our fondest memory of him, as he sacked Drew Bledsoe three times.
Really, there wasn't much of a debate - Reggie White is the best choice of any player to add to this year's team. His transcendent ability to get to the quarterback would make this Packers defense nearly unstoppable. With his presence, this Packers team would go from being a top Super Bowl contender to being the favorite to win it all in 2014.