Hi everybody, back from vacation, it's time to talk Packers, let's dive right in. I've been getting this question a lot from friends and acquaintances this offseason. Don't have a real good answer. Since I've been covering this team it's made three previous coaching changes, to Rhodes, Sherman and McCarthy. They went 8-8 in the first season with each, and they had a Hall of Fame QB at the time. So I'm thinking 8-8, maybe 9-7. The defense should be better with all the resources they put into it (three FAs, two first-round picks) and a second season in Pettine's defense. But there usually are some things that take time with new coaches and the new offense LaFleur brings, and LaFleur is a first-time head coach, so he's learning that job on the fly. Could be growing pains. But we'll see. McVay turned around the Rams as a rookie head coach.
That's a good question, I forgot he was 67. He was a player when I was in middle school-high school. Rich Ryman, our Packers' business reporter, could probably give you a better answer off the cuff. But yeah, that does seem strange, I'd think you'd want a new board member to be, I don't know, 60 or under, so you don't have to replace him so soon. On its surface it doesn't make much sense. I'll look into it.
If you're the Packers, you're hoping at minimum to see flashes early in camp, maybe in one-on-one pass rushing drills if nothing else. Or maybe in the 9-on-7 padded run drills.
Yeah, they definitely could end up considering guys like you mentioned for punt return. If they keep six receivers, you have to think four will be Adams, Allison, Valdes-Scantling and St. Brown. Then you have Kumerow, Moore, Davis as the headliners going for two spots. Or maybe they keep seven receivers, wouldn't be unusual, and then all of those guys make it, assuming none of the undrafted/first-year guys makes a splash.
The reports said he'll be averaging a little more than $6M a year, and with the way salaries are going up, that's not difference-maker money. I think I saw they had around $7M in cap room after the deal, something like that (I think it was $9M before the deal), and now after cutting Daniels they've picked up about $8M, so they're about $15M under the cap. Have to think Kenny Clark is next up for a contract extension.
That's one for sure, who will be the top three -- Adams, probably Allison and then either Valdes-Scantling or St. Brown. But I'd still think even the No. 4 will get a decent number of snaps, and maybe Kumerow too. Guard will be interesting. They're didn't sign Turner at $7M per year to be a backup, so have to assume he'll start at one guard. But they also used a second-round pick on Jenkins, so maybe he'll push Lane Taylor for the starting job at LG.
The coaching change was made largely to get Rodgers back to playing like an MVP candidate. Rodgers had so much autonomy in his last few years under McCarthy that this will be an adjustment for him. But he also wanted to play in an offense that had evolved more than McCarthy's had the last few seasons, and he's got that now, so Rodgers has to adjust too. I do think their offense was too much built around Rodgers making plays outside the pocket, to the degree that that was most of the offense. Don't get me wrong, that ability is what makes him special, and it has to remain part of his game for him to be at his best, but it can't be what the entire offense is built around, there needs to be structure and rhythm, too. We'll all be watching that starting in camp, but the proof will be in the season.
Nothing new that I've heard. I doubt they could get much in a trade, if anything. Jones did play well on special teams as last season, so that could appeal to some teams, especially those that liked him a lot coming out of college. I'm just making a wild guess here, but maybe they could get a sixth or seventh for him. But not even sure about that. If the Packers started shopping him a lot of teams with some interest might prefer to just wait for them to cut him rather than part with a pick for a guy who might only play special teams. Teams value those picks. So can't say for sure the Packers could get anything.
I don't see them targeting anybody at this point, they made the move to save money and free up cap space in part to sign Kenny Clark to an extension. They must feel good about Lowry-Lancaster-Adams-Kingsley as DTs plus the ability to use Z Smith and Gary inside in their nickel. But they do lose some of that depth that would have allowed them to keep rotating pass rushers like Seattle used to. Daniels was among their top six rushers (Z Smith, P Smith, Clark, Gary, and Fackrell were the others). Maybe they think M Adams can be in that mix, he played better late last season. But cutting Daniels does bite into that depth.
I only saw one offseason practice, so I have next-to-nothing to go on. But it sounds like the rookie who made the biggest splash in the offseason was Savage. He also was the guy that the handful of scouts I talked to after the draft really liked. But a couple veterans on defense were talking up Savage, his study habits and interest in learning the details of the defense.
I'll just add, it's generally smart to be wary of those first impressions in offseason work. I remember Josh Jones jumping off the field in his rookie offseason, in the OTA and minicamp practices that were open to reporters. But then his rookie year, he had one really good game (Cincy) and that was it, just didn't make any impact, and he's struggled to get and stay on the field since.
Not really. It's a real thing, LaFleur's offense doesn't have true audibling (there are two plays called on most plays, and the QB picks one at the line), and Rodgers has done a lot of audibling the last few years. Rodgers wants that ability to change plays, and for good reason, he has a lot of experience and knows NFL defenses as well as a coach. But LaFleur has his offense set up the way it is for good reasons, too. So it will be up to them to make this work, and each probably will have to adjust some for the good of the team. I have to think it will be fluid thing that can change as the season (and seasons) go on, and they get to know each other and figure out what works and what doesn't. It doesn't have to be a problem, but it is a legit issue, and they can't just ignore it, they have to deal with it up front.
Not sure on that. As soon as they would have started calling around offering him, teams would have known they were going to cut him if they didn't trade him. Teams might not have wanted to give up a draft pick knowing he had only one season at $8M left on his contract. They might have been willing to wait for him to get cut and then go after him. I don't know that's what happened, but that's my best guess.
It's going to be different, that's for sure. So much was the same with just one head coach for the previous 13 years. The coaching change definitely changed the mood over there, added some energy and excitement, so many things are new now. But that can wear off fast with some losses. But it definitely makes things more interesting, a new vibe with the new, young coach.
Was talking with Eric Baranczyk (we co-author a day-after-game column based on the game video) about that last night. I'd expect it to be glitchy early in the season as they get the scheme down and the coaches get to know the personnel -- that happens even with returning coaches, but even more with new ones. Probably some moments of brilliance, and some real head-scratching moments as well.
If I had to guess right now, I'd guess Allison will be the No. 2 and Valdes-Scantling the No. 3. But you have to think St. Brown will play a lot, too, and maybe Kumerow too.
The highlight was seeing McCartney at Lambeau. Sat in the 12th row, and it was incredible being down there in the thick of things.
Maybe a little, and I threw his name in there earlier, but really, I'd think it wouldn't be much of a factor. How can they know what they have there? They haven't seen the guy in pads yet. So would be a pretty big risk to be counting on him for anything this season, if he ends up being a decent or even good player down the road. Must have more to do with Adams, Lowry, Lancaster, plus Z Smith's and Gary's versatility. Though Gary has that bad shoulder, too, you never know how much that will affect his play and become a problem as the season goes on.
They need it, that's for sure. Teams have to be faster than ever at ILB with the way the game is played today with spread offenses and matchups in the passing game. He has good length, too, which makes him a little tougher to throw over in zone coverage. They used a high pick (R3) on him last year, could really use him making a big jump in Year 2.
I"d think they'd get a decent feel in the first two weeks of training camp, I'm sure they're going to work on the outside zone runs a lot in those practices. Last spring someone in the know told me that Kyle Shanahan for the first two days of camp runs only outside zone when they call run plays, it's that important for their offense. I'm thinking LaFleur will at least be similar if not the same. But maybe they'll need to Williams in real games to really know how good he is or isn't at it.
A little tough because we haven't seen Turner play, and we don't know if Jenkins might beat out Taylor for a starting job. But Bakhtiari is a top-echelon pass protector at LT, and Linsley is a good center. Bulaga is solid at RT but whether his health will hold up is a big, big question. I'd rate it as above average at this point, but that's assuming full health, and how often does the health hold up for a full season?
Have to think Clark is next, though Martinez could be on the radar too if they think they can get him at a favorable price.