Here we go again, Green Bay Packers fans!
Packers Mailbag is back and ready to go at it again! We have a variety of questions this week, but all of them are great. Hopefully we can give some great answers along with them.
NOTE: This post will be the area in which we will accept questions for next week, as well as in a reminder post at midweek. Just scroll down to the comments below and ask away!
Daniel Stuntz asked …
“With the roster changes over the last few years and a more balanced running game with Eddie Lacy, how would you compare this year’s team with the 2010 Super Bowl team and 15-1 team of 2011?”
We are finally at the point where people cannot just take the top away from us and sit back and play it safe. The Packers are now multi-dimensional not only because of Lacy, but because James Starks can be a game-breaker in a backup role, and Dujuan Harris could add another threat if he can stay healthy. The offensive line has an opportunity to gel, and while center is a concern they could have their best offensive line in years. We are deep at wideout, and while tight end may not be settled there is competition and talent there. They also have the best QB in the NFL throwing to them in Aaron Rodgers so he may make a superstar out of one of them.
The defense has a chance to be the best it has been in a while as well. The Julius Peppers addition could be great or he could have nothing left in the tank, we are playing the wait and see game here. Corner is as deep as it has been in a very long time with players getting healthy and Sam Shields getting re-signed. Safety, while a question spot quietly has competition with several talented players so hopefully that will not be a problem spot.
It all really comes down to two things, injuries and schedule. Both sides of the ball are comparable in talent to the 2010 and 2011 teams. However, we never know who might be lost to injury and if we lose the right player (i.e. Clay Matthews or Rodgers) for an extended period we can kiss the Super Bowl goodbye. If health can stay the norm, I can easily see a Super Bowl.
Schedule-wise I think it’s tough. I do not see any games we simply cannot win, but I also do not see many gimmes either. Once the playoffs hit we will know for sure, but we know that the Giants and 49ers give us fits. It is almost like the Super Bowl in 1997, the Packers managed to miss the Cowboys (who gave them fits) and advance. If we can somehow bypass our new nemeses (crossing my fingers for playing Atlanta and Philly), anything is possible.
All in all, we are in good shape and they are fielding one of the most talented rosters they have had in years. I do not envy Mike McCarthy when it is time for cuts.
Alright, next up Mike Brand asks …
“OK, here is my question – just saw on ESPN that Jordy Nelson wants 10 mil a year now after [Atlanta] wr just got a huge deal . is Jordy Nelson 10 mil great a year? I was thinking he was about 7-8 mil a year but 10 mil is like megatron kind of money. What do you guys think is Jordy’s worth or do the Packers start building up his clone, Jeff Janis, and let Jordy walk after the end of the season.”
Well, as I am sure you have seen by now Mike, Jordy Nelson got pretty darn close to that $10 million a year on Saturday. I personally am very happy for him, but I am even happier with what the organization did. Nelson is one of Rodgers’ favorite targets. How do you keep your QB happy? Keep his favorite people around.
Nelson was at that point where it was not “if” he was going to get paid, but “when.” Just take a look at his stats from last year - career highs of 85 receptions for 1,314 yards (15.5 avg.), and adding 8 touchdowns. Add in the fact he did this with Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien for half a season and you see a man doing a lot of things with his own talent. The man simply makes catches elite receivers make.
He deserved every penny the Packers paid out to him.
On the other side of things, Jeff Janis is not even guaranteed a roster spot. We do not even know if he can play on the NFL level, and most new receivers do not immediately produce. Is that worth giving up one of the most underrated and best receivers in the NFL? The Packers did not think so, and I really do not think so. Good on them.
Trinity Taylor Varrett asked …
“Why didn’t we get Jared Allen to beef up the d-line and go back to the 4-3 scheme?”
This team is not built for 4-3. In fact, they said all off-season they were looking to get more athletic along the defensive line. Unfortunately, with schemes there is not a switch that you can flip and suddenly end up with everything working. Look at Aaron Kampman, great player to wear a Packers uniform, but once we changed from a 4-3 to a 3-4 he became a pedestrian. Part of that was due to injuries but the change in scheme hurt him.
You play to your players’ best strengths, and the current personnel the Packers have fit a 3-4. While I would hope Clay Matthews would succeed in any scheme, I do think a change to 4-3 would impact his performance negatively as with several players on that unit. Changing everything overnight would also take years to find new players to fit the scheme.
Simply adding Jared Allen would not be enough. While I like Allen, he is right there with Peppers in the sense he is winding down toward the end and I think it is a toss-up as to who will play better. They both might be done for all we know.
And for our final question, Lukeskywalker88 (love the name by the way) asks …
“What signs that indicate defensive improvement should we be looking for during training camp?”
The first one would be players show up to practice and not siting. We already have the displeasure of seeing two key cogs in Mike Neal and Nick Perry on the PUP list to start camp. Jerel Worthy being out is adding insult to injury (excuse the pun).
Our front seven needs more additions and depth, not subtractions. Perry might be in the most trouble with Adrian Hubbard and Carl Bradford out for roster spots while he has done nothing but sit on the sidelines the past two years. Health is going to be key this year.
The second to me would be the safety spots getting situated. Almost every other position is somewhat set at starter, but the safety spots need to have a playmaker step up. Whether that is HaHa Clinton-Dix, Micah Hyde, Morgan Burnett or Sean Richardson, someone has to make plays in camp and step up and be a leader that has been lacking since Nick Collins went down. If we can have that I think the whole defense can be better.
Thanks again to everyone who has submitted questions, you are doing an awesome job with providing us with them!