4. Blake Martinez
While Blake Martinez will finish short of his goal of 200 tackles this season, he still has a chance to finish with back-to-back years of 140-plus in tackles.
Martinez has been a tackling machine since being drafted by the Packers in 2016. He has taken control of the middle of the defense and has become a leader on the team.
Martinez is currently second (132 tackles) in the NFL and it would take a monster game and Darius Leonard (155 tackles) not to play in order to catch up. Finishing in the top-two for the second year in a row would not be a bad consolation prize.
What the Packers will need to do next is find Martinez a running buddy. We do not yet know who the defensive coordinator will be next season, but I think a safe bet would be someone with a 3-4 background. The Packers have loaded up on those body types since 2009, and it would be a tough sell and take even more personnel work to switch back.
In my opinion, it would be a mistake to switch back to a 4-3 now and create more holes to fill for the Packers.
Oren Burks may be the answer next to him, but he has yet to transition his testing numbers into results.
5. Kyler Fackrell
Kyler Fackrell needs just a half a sack to have 10 for the season. Should Fackrell get that sack, he would be the first Packers player since Nick Perry two seasons ago to finish the season with double-digit sacks.
Despite leading the team in sacks, Fackrell has been far from a consistent player on the edge. Games against the Bills and Seahawks have padded Fackrell’s stats as he had three sacks in each of those games. In all other games, Fackrell only has 3.5 sacks, barely edging the numbers from the Bills or Seahawks games.
The Packers will likely have to completely retool their outside pass rush in the offseason. Clay Matthews is in the last year of his deal and Nick Perry has not been able to stay healthy to be a major contributor.
Even with Fackrell’s sack numbers this season, no team fears the Packers edge rush. Signing a key free agent here, while probably expensive, would be a big boon for the Packers. Having a credible threat next to a draft pick or Fackrell will help the Packers rebound in 2019.
I don’t think the next coach would feel all that comfortable going into next year with Fackrell and a draft pick as the top two rushers.
This is it for the 2018 season. After Sunday, the coaching search can reach it’s crescendo and become the number one focus. There will be a lot of questions heading into the offseason and the answers will probably come slow. Patience will have to be practiced.