State of the (Packers) Nation

By: Thomas Capo
Posted: March 2, 2020

Packers Nation is…Better than expected, yet crushed with disappointment

Here are your 2019 Packers Final Stats:

Result: NFC North Champs, NFC Runner-up

2019 Regular season record: 13-3

2019 Scoring Offensive Rank: 15th 23.5 PPG

2019 Scoring Defensive Rank: 9th 19.6 PPG

2020 Draft First Pick: 30

Coach: Matt La Fleur

The Offseason Scenario

The Cheeseheads might not have liked how the season ended with a serious thud against the 49ers in the NFC Championship game, but if you had told them that’s how the season would end back in August, you’d have a lot of people crying tears of joy into their deep-fried cheese curds.  It wasn’t a perfect season by any means, but to see Aaron Rodgers make magic with a seriously depleted offense was amazing, as was the emergence of running back Aaron Jones, who had his first 1,000-yard rushing season, in addition to becoming a legitimate pass-catching threat, hauling in just under fifty catches for over 450 yards.  Jones also tied Derrick Henry for the league-lead with sixteen rushing touchdowns on the season.

Both Jones and leading receiver Davante Adams will be back next year, giving the Packers some hope of stability offensively, which is good, because the Packers simply couldn’t keep pace with San Francisco this season, losing the two matchups by a combined score of 74-28.  The defense was a pleasant surprise this season, allowing less than twenty points per game and finishing the season in the top ten in points allowed. They’ll need to shore up the run defense which allowed just over 120 yards per game this year.  

Free Agent Frenzy

The Packers have about a dozen unrestricted free agents to deal with, but a small handful are going to be supremely important to maintaining any sort of continuity heading into next season. First and foremost, Blake Martinez. The fourth-year linebacker was the anchor of a much-improved Packers defense, trailing only Seattle’s Bobby Wagner with 155 combined tackles this year. That was almost twice as many as the next most prolific Packer, Adrian Amos. 

Bryan Bulaga will also become an unrestricted free agent. The OT will be entering his tenth season after starting every game last year. Maintaining consistency along the offensive line will be exceedingly important as Aaron Rodgers isn’t, you know, young anymore, and seeing him escape unscathed this year reminds us that if he can stay upright, Green Bay is always in the mix. 

Geronimo Allison is also up in the air this offseason. The fourth-year receiver had his highest reception total this year, while producing far fewer yards per game than his 2018 campaign. Nonetheless, he’s a trusted pass catcher for Aaron Rodgers, and I can’t see the Packers letting him slip away.

Lastly, there’s kicker Mason Crosby. The veteran completed 40 of 41 extra point attempts and over 90% of his field goal attempts this season, the highest conversion percentage of his career.  With so many teams struggling to find the answer at the kicking position, there seems to be little doubt that Crosby will be back with the Pack for his fourteenth season next year.  

Seriously Premature Draft Hunches

I don’t think I’ve seen a team this good with such clear-cut draft needs in a long time.  For the Packers, there are two things that they need to do to take the next step. Number one, they need to stop the run.  San Francisco only attempted eight passes in the NFC Championship game. Eight. Because Green Bay simply couldn’t stop (backup) running back Raheem Mostert from gashing them right up the middle. 

The Packers will be in the market for a big body for the middle of that defensive line. Alabama’s Raekwon Davis could well be available at 30th overall, and while he has a limited skill set, it’s exactly the skill that Green Bay needs.  Beyond that, Green Bay needs receivers. Several of them. It will be a grab bag of speedy guys that Rodgers will surely make look better than they are in the second round.  

For more thoughts and opinions from Tom, check out his author page.

Image Source: AP Images

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