The Green Bay Packers continue to be a model franchise for teams around the NFL to replicate. They made the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season and as long as they have Aaron Rodgers they’ll keep doing that.
There were concerns going into to the season about losing Jordy Nelson for the season with an ACL injury. A last minute acquisition of James Jones proved to be a huge boost for the Packers this season. The Packers actually didn’t win the division this year after losing in Week 17 to the Minnesota Vikings.
That did not matter to much since they went further in the playoffs than the Vikings. They were bounced out of the playoffs in dramatic fashion by the Arizona Cardinals.
Aaron Rodgers managed to complete his second hail mary of the season but the Packers defense could not stand up to one of the best offenses in the NFL. The Packers are in the upper half of the league in terms of talent and they need to add one or two more pieces before coming title contenders again.
STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
The Green Bay Packers juggernaut offense is among the best in football. They did not finish in the top half in total offense or passing offense which comes as a surprise. However, if they had Jordy Nelson, this offense would have been just as prolific as it normally is.
They still managed to score 27 points or more in eight games this season which is impressive considering their run game was not great. Eddie Lacy needs to get back in shape because he was out of shape and he looked slow this season.
James Starks proved to be ready when his name was called and he was great in replacing Lacy. Randall Cobb who is normally dynamic had the worst season of his career. This team now has the offseason to regroup and get back on the same page. The Packers will continue to do damage because Aaron Rodgers is arguably the best quarterback who ever lived.
Clay Matthews was able to reinvent himself after changing positions and playing both inside and outside linebacker at times. It takes players ages to be able to change positions effectively but Matthews has made it looks easy.
He had a phenomenal second half of the season and he was able to pick up the slack for other players on the defense.
The Packers were not very good at stopping the run which is why the defensive line is not getting credit at all. Clay and the linebacking corp are by far the best part of this defense.
The team finished 7th with 47 sacks on the year, Julius Peppers and Matthews combined for a third of those sacks.
The Packers have done what they can to improve their secondary and now it’s time to address the defensive line. BJ Raji is not the player he once was and there simply is not a lot of depth or skill or those positions.
Letroy Guion and Datone Jones are relative unknowns, Mike Neal and Mike Daniels could use some help. These guys in the trenches are the missing piece for the Packers and if they can add a big man in the middle like Haloti Ngata, they’ll be in the Super Bowl conversation.
PLAYERS TO RE-SIGN:
FB John Kuhn
K Mason Crosby
RB James Starks
DT BJ Raji
OLB Mike Neal
CB Casey Hayward
RT Don Barclay
OLB Nick Perry
2016 FREE AGENT TARGETS ($21.8 MILLION PROJECTED CAP SPACE)
DT Haloti Ngata
DE Chris Long
ILB Steven Tulloch
LT Russell Okung
LT Will Beaty
2016 NFL DRAFT FIRST ROUND TARGETS (NO. 27 PICK)
ILB Scooby Wright (Arizona)
OLB Jaylon Smith (Notre Dame)
TE Hunter Henry (Arkansas)
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