Seeing the Green Bay Packers sliding towards mediocrity with Aaron Rodgers still under center was not a development anyone saw coming just two years ago.
Yet here we are.
The 7-9 campaign of 2017 can be tossed due to Rodgers missing most of the season with a broken collarbone, but somehow they finished even worse in 2018 with a 6-9-1 and Rodgers playing the entire season albeit with a bum knee the first few weeks.
How did they get here? Well, former coach Mike McCarthy was unable to evolve his offense whilst taking advantage of one of the league’s most gifted passers. The team apparently agreed and McCarthy was shown his walking papers in December and replaced him with a young innovator in Matt LaFleur.
Yet the coach can only cook with the ingredients he is given and going back as far as 2014, the cupboard has gotten increasingly bare and the blame lies not only with former general manager Ted Thompson but his successor Brian Gutekunst as well.
There were either missed or botched free agent signings (Martellus Bennett, not re-signing Casey Hayward or just avoiding free agency completely) and misfires in the draft (missing on two cornerbacks in 2015 for Thompson or failing to address the pass rush in 2018 for Gutekunst). These mistakes have left Green Bay suddenly in the middle of the pack when they should still be a contender with Rodgers still at the controls.
To fix these issues, it means Gutekunst is going to have to be aggressive in both free agency and the draft and also hit far more than he misses. Aside from the pass rush failure and overpaying Jimmy Graham, he didn’t do too shabby last spring. He’ll have to improve that if the Packers want to plug all the holes on the roster.
You can read more on how Green Bay got to where it is now plus a post-mortem on the team’s 2018 linebackers in today’s cheese curds.
You never want to pay “stupid money” in free agency, and the Packers never have for the past decade plus. With roster holes getting more numerous however, the team may have no choice but to open its wallet even further.
Kyler Fackrell seems to have the most secure spot on the roster among linebackers and that sentence was unthinkable a year ago.
Here’s a nice breakdown of LaFleur’s new offensive staff and what they bring to the table.
Hopefully the Packers see as little of Scott as possible in 2019 due to them scoring a record amount of points, but when he is needed hopefully he improves from an inconsistent rookie season.