A few weeks ago, APC’s Paul Noonan wrote a very nice article explaining why the Packers aren’t a one man show at QB.
While I mostly agree with his sentiment, I think the one place the Packers are good at for the time being is the offensive skill positions. However, here is my (probably hot) take on this team right now:
Now hear me out for a second before the pitchforks and broken beer bottles come for my head. I have talked with fellow smart person, Justis Mosqueda (a Twitter must-follow for all Packer fans @Jumosq), and we both feel as though there may not be another team/roster in the league that would benefit from a bad season than the Green and Gold.
This feeling has had time to marinate. Let me take you back to a time not so long ago; the Packers are 4-6, and Aaron Godgers utters the famous, “I think we can run the table” comment that sparked an 8 game winning streak. That stretch eventually ended in a butt-whipping in Atlanta that we all had to endure. Last year when the team sat at 4-6, I had these same thoughts, I just didn’t share them. They weren’t ready, but now they are. The Packers aren’t what we think/thought they are/were.
Sitting at 4-6 last season, the Packers were beat-up and under-manned. Luckily, they have a good head coach in Mike McCarthy and the best quarterback in NFL history. Rodgers went hero-ball and won 8 straight games. Now, that was cool, and I feel awful taking winning for granted, because there are a lot of NFL franchises who would kill for 8 game winning streaks or a trip to their conference championship game. HOWEVER, the team was 4-6 for a reason.
That results in a team that should have been picking somewhere from 14-17 picking 29th instead. Then — in a good move, in my opinion — they traded down to 33, adding the 108th pick. Here’s what could have been:
The Eagles picked Derek Barnett 14th, the Colts picked Malik Hooker 15th, the Ravens picked Marlon Humphrey 16th, and the Redskins picked Jonathan Allen at 17. All four of these players have or did look good this season, Barnett and Allen in particular. The Browns traded up to 29 for David Njoku. The Steelers took T.J. Watt at 30 (I’m still taking this L), and the 49ers took Reuben Foster at 31 with Ryan Ramczyk following him at 32.
I like Kevin King, and he’s flashed this season, but the difference in a mid 1st round pick’s talent to the 33rd can be pretty significant. This isn’t a knock on King, but is intended to show what type of talent went before the Packers picked. This is more of a ”I wish we would have finished 6-10/7-9 last year” discussion than an “anti-Kevin King” rant.
Hypothetically, say the Packers picked 16th. There, perhaps they take edge rusher Charles Harris. Then their 2nd round pick is at 48 instead of 61. Running back Joe Mixon was the 48th pick of the draft.
I’m not here to contest what draft picks are worth, nor to dispute the argument that “there really isn’t much of a difference between the 18th pick and the 29th/33rd because there are busts at both spots.” If that were the case, there would be no benefit picking #1 because there have been busts there too. What I’m saying is that there is generally a higher level of talent available higher in the draft, thus, that’s why they are picked there.
I will probably have another piece closer to the end of the season when the offseason picture is clearer (though we just had a player basically announce his retirement this weekend). Furthermore, the argument here will probably piss a lot of people off because it’s not the narrative that most fans want to hear. But y’all heard it here, first. The Packers aren’t good. They are an average to below-average team with a transcendent quarterback.
It would be wise of them, in this season where winning a Super Bowl isn’t plausible, to scrap the season. Granted, it’s much easier for me to say that without a stake in the team or my livelihood on the line, but be good or be bad and don’t be in the middle. The Packers have a chance to be in a better position to help this team immediately for next season, as getting Rodgers back healthy gains them probably somewhere around 5 wins. They were 4-1 with Rodgers, and they can do it again. But next time, they can have better players.