At a time when the Green Bay Packers are working on moving forward it’s important to glance, if just momentarily, into the rearview mirror and consider how this year’s offense needs to improve to not duplicate the disappointing 2013 season.
The Packers woes for the offensive unit in 2013 were largely dependent upon a lack of quality depth at key positions, namely quarterback. But the offensive line, wide receiver and tight end spots were also depleted by injuries to key personnel.
With a competitive duel between veteran quarterbacks who both have a familiarity with Mike McCarthy’s offense it already appears the Packers are light years ahead of last year’s Vince Young, Seneca Wallace, Graham Harrell debacle.
It seems Packers GM Ted Thompson learned his lesson and will not push all his chips to the center of the table and gamble that Aaron Rodgers will remain healthy.
The Packers’ offense looks to be as electric as a Wisconsin summertime thunderstorm. But what excites about this potent display of thunder and lightning is the quantity of guys who can play.
The wide receiver position possesses three proven playmakers in Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Jarrett Boykin and Davante Adams, a rookie with a lot of upside. If the Packers keep just five receivers, the fifth one (my guess Jeff Janis) will be unproven.
That could be an area of concern.
The thunder portion of the equation comes from the Packers offensive backfield. We all expect Eddie Lacy to build upon his outstanding rookie campaign. Then you have the equally as punishing James Starks playing behind Lacy.
Add in DuJuan Harris, who, despite his rusty appearance in the preseason, adds another dimension. He’s a shifty and explosive back that in the face of his small stature punishes tacklers.
Tight end was another position that was bitten by the injury bug in 2013. After Jermichael Finley went down with what may be a career threatening injury, his spot was backfilled primarily by Andrew Quarless and Brandon Bostick.
As the Packers head into the 2014 season it appears Quarless and Bostick, provided he can stay healthy, and rookie Richard Rodgers will be utilized to capitalize on each of their respective talents. Quarless is serviceable, Bostick brings a version of the same things Finley provided and the rookie Rodgers is big with decent speed and big, sure hands.
When Bryan Bulaga went down in camp last year during the family night scrimmage Packers Nation had good reason to be concerned.
With Bulaga’s return and Bakhtiari taking ownership of the left tackle spot it appeared the Packers would have a first-rate backup that could play multiple offensive line positions. But that comfort was short-lived as Barclay went down with a knee injury early in camp this season.
Now the Packers are reliant upon former first round pick Derek Sherrod to be the next man up at the tackle position and unproven second-year man Lane Taylor as a swing guard and rookie Cory Linsley at center and possibly guard.
It is inevitable that injuries will strike somewhere on the Packers offense. I do believe they are better prepared to handle said setbacks. Yet I am concerned about the back end of the receiving corps and Barclay will be missed at some point in time. Yet overall I think Ted Thompson has assembled quality depth at most of the positions on the offensive side of the ball.
So a passing glance into the rearview mirror is fine.
But I look forward to the road ahead, to the route leading to Phoenix and Super Bowl XLIX.