Packers: Physicality and offensive weaponry should be offseason focus
By Nile McNair
Adding physicality and offensive weaponry should be the Green Bay Packers’ offseason focus.
Now over a week out from the end of the NFL’s 100th season, it is time to fully focus on the offseason that’s to come. Green Bay will have the 30th pick in the upcoming draft and, at the moment, just under $22 million in cap room to work with.
The question is how will general manager Brian Gutekunst improve this team in order for them to get over the hump next season?
Even as a 13-3 team the Packers had some obvious weaknesses that got exposed in the NFC Championship game.
Green Bay’s inability to stop the run was evident throughout the entire season. Meanwhile, on offense, the Packers became too dependent on their star players.
Here’s a breakdown of what personnel Green Bay can bring in to try to solve the current issues with their roster.
Improving the front seven
Over the past few offseasons, the Packers tried to rebuild their passing defense. From drafting cornerbacks Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson to signing free agents Adrian Amos, Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith.
Thus far, those moves have proven to be successful. The two Smiths were a dominant tandem rushing the quarterback this season, while Alexander is looking like one of the best young cornerbacks the league has to offer.
Not to mention, the Packers were third in interceptions this season, and number six in passing touchdowns allowed.
However, the focus of the defense must shift to improving the front seven and bringing a certain type of physicality to that side of the ball.
All great defenses create a sense of fear in the opposing offense, and if a team can run the ball at will there is nothing to fear.
Green Bay ranked in the bottom 10 for rushing yards allowed, rushing touchdowns allowed and yards per carry allowed.
Gutekunst, either via the draft or free agency, needs to put someone next to Kenny Clark in the interior of the Packers defensive line.
Potentially someone like Ross Blacklock from TCU could do the job. At 6-foot-4 and 305 pounds, Blacklock would be perfect to clog up running lanes.
Also, if the Packers don’t re-sign Blake Martinez, bringing speed to the position would be a great alternative. They could do that by drafting Patrick Queen with their first-round pick.
Supporting Davante Adams and Aaron Jones
One thing the Packers have been known for the past few decades is their offense. Although, in the past two seasons the Packers offense hasn’t been as prominent. It’s not just Aaron Rodgers‘ numbers that have declined, it’s the Packers offensive numbers that have fallen.
Not since 2016, when they were ranked fourth, have the Packers even reached the top 10 in total offense. The biggest reason for this drop-off is the decline in the talent surrounding Rodgers.
Green Bay’s entire offense revolved around two players this season, Aaron Jones and Davante Adams. Yes, I know your stars are supposed to carry you, but there comes a time when you have to support them and not depend on them as much.
The Packers should first acquire either a receiver who is a legitimate deep threat or someone who can work in the slot. Either way, this will relieve Adams of having to play both roles.
Some potential deep threats on the market are Robby Anderson and Breshad Perriman. Or in a draft class littered with great wide receiver talent, Henry Ruggs would be a great option for the Packers.
Obtaining a viable number two receiver will limit defenses from stacking the box against the Packers running game, while also preventing them from successfully double-teaming Adams without getting beat by another receiver.