Taking a look at the Green Bay Packers needs this draft season surely can lead to disagreements, even among the best of friends.
One guy wants a free safety, and the next wants yet another name defensive lineman or a tight end. They all have merit. Yet, there’s a disturbing trend this year, or so it seems amongst all prognosticators, who came up seemingly blind to the fact that Aaron Rodgers, who often was rushed or running for his life on far too many passing plays.
Packers quarterbacks were the most sacked in the NFL for much of the season last year. It seemed as if Rodgers and Flynn had rushing defenses on them all afternoon, especially the better defenses in the league.
The disturbing trend to avoid acknowledgement that the offensive line was getting beat too often has been dodging not only the sports pages, but is found even among team officials.
There has been little to no consent that the line needs some new blood to balance all the hype the Julius Peppers signing brought to the team. Now, Clay Mathews has the company he needed to raise Cain on opponents’ passing games.
Not only this, but that will also help others such as A.J. Hawk come on up to his full potential, or the less experienced, the rookies, in developing with some force behind them, making things easier and faster to make contributions on plays, rather than coming up on a struggling unit, with no momentum much of the time.
We can assume, or just guess that Ted Thompson will bring in two defensive linemen yet, two safeties, and two linebackers with his draft choices, or about that much help at each position. But the offense must also be addressed.
A back-up/learner quarterback would fill some void for the not-too-distant future. Seeing how Matt Flynn should get the nod at number-two at the spot, a developer rookie makes good sense and insurance for the upcoming season and further down the road.
A couple dual-purpose center/guards would be smart along with a couple guard/tackles for competition and depth on the offensive line. Then there’s the tight end position, and with two more draftees as we approach the limit would now have a chance to help reverse the sack stats, and turn the line into one of the best around the league.
Yes, this seems like a big bite into the talent pool, but it’s protecting a big investment the team has in its quarterback. It also might be a good complement to Eddie Lacy, who ran on his own will much of last year. The offensive line is the most important position on the offense. The little attention the linemen get might have some believing the pass or run was done solely through the skill players mighty might. Not without the blocking in most cases, and that never changes in the game of football.
Bart Starr once said, “It wasn’t my play or my talent that brought this trophy home to Green Bay. It was my linemen who opened the holes to run through, and kept the rushing defensive players away from me.”
There you have it, folks. You do not need more of a reason than that to fix up things and save Aaron Rodgers from bruising his backside so many times, every game.
Injuries can force the team to search for players. And injuries have been a problem the past few years. This has warranted the hiring of a specialist on injuries for Mike McCarthy to work with this summer. Solving this issue means keeping the starters on the field. Can you imagine going into the playoffs with the whole starting team playing? How would that feel? You could bet it feels like the Packers compete with any team around, and don’t get shoved around.
Over and over, we keep on hearing how Thompson drafts for the talent, not the position. This is true to some extent, and we’ve seen the Packers teams loaded up in some areas, while lean in others, yet somehow even the lean units come through. Solving the injury plague might keep the team from depleting positions and losing points with the odds-makers, but togetherness as a team may be a missing component draft days just can’t solve.
The leaders of the team’s well-oiled preparations, will permeate through the team as a sense of one between each and every player, coach, trainer, and even the equipment managers.
Do the Packers have such a thing going on? It was apparent back in the Lombardi days and during Mike Holmgren’s regime, and was even evident with Don Majkowski for a short while, and a few years with Lynn Dickey.
Let us hope these elements are all in place this coming season. If they put all these things along with whatever other things we see the winners roll on with, making the playoffs won’t be the end, the playoffs’ conclusion (Super Bowl) will be the end.