So much has been made of Green Bay’s inability to scheme their own players open. Under a new head coach, might that finally change?
While Matt LaFleur is completely unproven, it is worth mentioning that merely having a new head coach could very well be enough to unlock the Packers offense. For years, the unit under Mike McCarthy was entirely too predictable, stale, and uncreative.
LaFleur’s statistical resume isn’t all that impressive, but the Packers are clearly trying to join in on the trend being set around the league of young, offensive-minded head coaches who can provide a certain twist and flair to their offense.
But the biggest reason that the offense might be better than in recent years is the revamped Packers defense.
I know, I know. We have been saying that the defense could be “revamped” for ages now, but Brian Gutekunst and the whole brain trust in Green Bay splurged on four different free agent signings, three of which came on the defensive side of the ball. Clearly, they are doing whatever it takes to fix that perennially soft defense.
Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith are not household superstars, but they are both diverse, consistent pass rushers who will give the unit a refreshing amount of pocket-collapsing that they haven’t had since their Super Bowl run.
Furthermore, the additions of Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage Jr. are going to at the very least supply the defense with run support and physicality. Those were two traits the defense sorely missed in the years of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett. Having the youth, versatility, and depth might very well make the Packers defense a more beneficial group to the offense.
Aaron Rodgers might begin to see the field more with this group on the field. The more one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time is on the field, the better.
But, Aaron Jones and the running game might finally be utilized more under Matt LaFleur. Mike McCarthy inexplicably resorted to using Jamaal Williams over the far superior Jones each of the last two years, neither of which saw the rushing attack improve at all.
Letting Jones run the show might finally loosen up things for the Green Bay offense and put to rest any doubts that Williams should still be the featured back.
The receiving corps is still a largely blank slate for the Packers. Opposing defenses can simply key in on Davante Adams, and be relatively secure everywhere else. That is why Geronimo Allison, Equanimeous St. Brown, or Marquez Valdes-Scantling will have to have a big year in order to make the receiving corps truly threatening to opposing secondaries.
Pundits have also been way too quick to entirely give up on Jimmy Graham. Let’s be clear. There is not one tight end in the NFL who would have had a good season last year in McCarthy’s doormat of an offense.
LaFleur has never played with a receiving tight end as good as Graham, and another year to mesh with Aaron Rodgers will become extremely useful for the former Saint Seahawk. McCarthy is gone, and the other side of the ball is in much better shape.
The Packers might finally have themselves a more legit chance to be an offensive threat than at any point since 2014.