One of the more notable free agent signings this past offseason for the Green Bay Packers was tight end Marcedes Lewis, but up to this point, he has been non-existent in Mike McCarthy’s offense.
The signing by new GM Brian Gutekunst in his attempt to overhaul this roster was Marcedes Lewis. The Green Bay Packers brought in the veteran tight end on a one-year deal for $2.1 million with a $500,000 signing bonus.
Many thought Lewis would be a great addition to this Packers team, especially in regards to Green Bay’s running game as a blocker.
However through eight games, this is not how it has played out. In fact, Lewis has been often forgotten about and a non-factor.
What does Lewis bring to the Packers?
Throughout his career, Lewis has been held in high-regard for his run blocking ability as a tight end. He’s been known as one of the best in the league and as recently as the end of 2017, Lewis was named Pro Football Focus’ (PFF) number one run blocking tight end in the NFL.
Although run blocking would be considered Lewis’ specialty, he can be dangerous in the passing game as well. Over his career he’s caught nearly 60 percent of his passes, averages almost 12 yards per catch and has 33 touchdowns. All of this with fairly poor quarterback play for much of his career.
If used correctly, Lewis could be another great red zone target for Aaron Rodgers. An area of the field that Green Bay has struggled mightily in.
In addition to all of this, Lewis could provide value to this team as a pass blocker. With Bryan Bulaga battling injuries and issues at right guard, Lewis could give help to the right side of the offensive line on passing plays.
Lewis could truly be used in all facets of this Packers offense.
Unfortunately, we haven’t seen Marcedes get these opportunities, as he’s only been on the field for 17.5 percent of Green Bay’s offensive snaps. Far too few given his skill set.
Head coach Mike McCarthy has actually used Lance Kendricks more this season, and that includes run blocking plays. Since his time in college at the University of Wisconsin, Kendricks has been known as a poor blocking tight end and struggles to sustain his blocks.
Even in passing situations I would rather see Lewis on the field over Kendricks, who has had inconsistent hands for his entire career.
Let’s be honest, if Marcedes Lewis was playing for Andy Reid in Kansas City, Sean McVay in LA or a few other teams, he would be receiving more playing time and be utilized much better in the offense.
A major issue with this Packer offense in 2018 is how McCarthy is using his personnel. At times the players he has on the field do not fit with his play call.
We saw this against the New England Patriots when Green Bay was backed up on the goal line and ran a go-route with Randall Cobb, who struggles to get any separation as it is. Cobb was well covered and the pass was incomplete. Why not have Davante Adams or Marquez Valdes-Scantling running the deep route and Cobb running underneath?
Another example was against the LA Rams when once again, the Packers were backed up on the goal line. The bruising running back Jamaal Williams was on the sidelines while McCarthy sent out Aaron Jones to try to run up the middle, which resulted in a safety.
Similar types of misuse is happening with the tight ends as well. McCarthy seems reluctant to put Lewis into the game but is comfortable using Jimmy Graham and Lance Kendricks as run blockers.
Why isn’t Lewis on the field?
Honestly, I have no clue what the answer is to this question and only McCarthy and his staff actually do know.
As a veteran with good career numbers, I find it hard to believe the problem could be not grasping the playbook or not having the trust of Rodgers and his coaches.
There’s been nothing reported about any off-the-field issues or any problems in the locker room, so I can’t imagine that being a reason why his playing time has been limited.
Either way, whatever is happening doesn’t make much sense. Lewis certainly isn’t being used to his potential and after seeing how he’s being used, why did Green Bay spend the money to sign him?
It has been a frustrating season for most in the Packers organization and I assume Lewis feels the same way. Hopefully, we can see more snaps from him in the second half of the season.