Last season, an unbiased observer could hardly call the Green Bay Packers’ offense one of the best in the league. Without Aaron Rodgers for much of the season, the Packers scuffled to a 21st-place finish in the NFL in points scored, and they ended the year an even worse 26th in yards of total offense. Green Bay was also among the ten worst teams in the NFL in total turnovers, passing yards (!) and interceptions thrown.
But oh, what a difference the quarterback makes.
With Rodgers returning, at least one analyst ranks the Packers as a top-ten offense in the NFL, even with questions in the receiving corps and on the offensive line. That analyst is NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling, who ranks the Packers as the sixth-best offense in the league.
Wesseling assigned letter grades to each position group of each of his top-ten units, and not surprisingly the Packers earned an A for the quarterback position. Adding DeShone Kizer presumably helps with that, as Brett Hundley can hardly get top marks for his play in relief of Rodgers last year. But of course it all comes down to Rodgers coming back to form. The first time he broke his collarbone, in 2013, he followed it up with an MVP award in the following season. You can bet that he’ll be motivated to have a similar rebound this year.
The receiving corps gets a B-plus grade, presumably due in large part to the emergence of Davante Adams as a bona fide number one wideout. Jimmy Graham’s arrival helps to balance out the loss of Jordy Nelson, while Randall Cobb remains a good complementary piece in the middle of the field. Having an established fourth option in the passing game would likely have kicked this grade up into the A range.
The backfield and offensive lines both received a B, presumably for different reasons. The Packers’ running back stable looks to be both talented and deep, with Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, and Ty Montgomery able to contribute in different ways. However, while each of these players has potential, none of them are superstars, which likely leads to the grade.
The offensive line should earn an A if we’re looking at the left side of the line, as David Bakhtiari is an elite left tackle, Lane Taylor is a very solid left guard, and Corey Linsley is an excellent center. However, the questions abound on the right side, with no starter locked in at right guard and right tackle Bryan Bulaga’s status remaining in question due to his ACL tear in the fall.
This analysis looks primarily at the roster, however, and does not appear to take into account coaching explicitly. The Packers’ offense should be a bit different this season, thanks to the return of offensive coordinator Joe Philbin as well as Mike McCarthy’s plan to tear down the offensive scheme and start from scratch.
All told, these subjective grades put the Packers squarely in the top ten, a ranking that is justified by the team’s performance in 2016 prior to Rodgers’ injury. That year, the Packers scored the fourth-most points in the NFL and gained the eighth-most yards, doing so largely on the strength of the passing game. A similar result in 2018 should have Green Bay back in contention for a first-round bye come December.