Aaron Rodgers, the reigning league MVP, should not be too concerned about his team. The Packers are not rebuilding; they are reloading. Following his loss to the Seahawks in the NFC Championship, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy came under fire for his history of poor play calling. After Eddie Lacy failed to pick up a first down three consecutive plays in a row, the Packers were forced to punt, which inevitably lead to them blowing a 19-7 lead with five minutes left in regulation.
Despite this, the organization has made no significant coaching changes, but there has been a major change in how the Packers will be calling plays in 2015. When the coaching roster was announced early this offseason, McCarthy announced he would give up offensive play calling duties to Tom Clements. Clements has served as the team’s offensive coordinator since 2012.
As we turn our attentions towards draft night, we were only but a little surprised that general manager Ted Thompson did not make a significant trade during the course of the draft. In years prior, such as in 2013, Thompson has made several significant trades to bolster his roster and to trade up/down in the draft order. We were only a little surprised as the Packers did have the #30 overall pick in the draft, which is not exactly a lucrative pick to trade for.
The Packers drafted and signed a pair of rookie defensive backs, Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins out of Arizona State and Miami respectively. With an aging secondary spearheaded by Sam Shields and Tramon Williams, it is not difficult to see why the Packers would want to try and skew younger. It remains to be see what type of contribution the rookies will have on fields for the upcoming season.
Third round pick Ty Montgomery, out of Stanford, will be looking to get some catches this year in a wide receivers group that also has fourth year stud Randall Cobb and fan favorite Jordy Nelson. The expectation was there for the Packers to grab a young wide receiver. Montgomery mainly contributed his senior year as a running back, recording 823 yards on 93 carries, for 10 touchdowns. In 2013, Montgomery lead the nation in kickoff return yards.
Graphic via lombardiave
The Packers have also drafted quarterback Brett Hundley, out of UCLA, as the future heir apparent to Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers should know that when your replacement is sitting on the bench, the franchise is already looking towards life after you. It should be worth noting that Hundley will be a project, but will also have the benefit of training and learning from one of the best active quarterbacks to play the game.
The rest of the Packers picks will struggle to find places in their team’s scheme. The Packers also drafted LB Jake Ryan (Michigan), FB Aaron Ripkowski (Oklahoma), DE Christian Ringo (Lousiana-Lafayette), and TE Kennard Backman (Alabama-Birmingham). They fight to make the team or be relegated to the practice squad.
The Packers also value intangibles more than anything else. Every pick made by Green Bay in the 2015 Draft, with the exception of Hundley, was a college senior. The more emotionally mature their roster is, the better off they will be in future seasons.
The Packers made it out of NFL free agency and managed to keep their star players home in Green Bay. Randall Cobb, B.J. Raji, and Bryan Bulaga all returned to the Packers without incident.
Green Bay released former first round pick LB A.J. Hawk, LB Brad Jones, and TE Brandon Bostick. Hawk and Jones’s productivity had declined in recent years, and the Packers had finally decided to cut ties with the aging players. Bostick, of course, was released following the botched Special Teams play which kept the Packers from reaching Superbowl XLIX.
The Packers made only one acquisition this offseason. The team signed S Kyle Sebetic who spent 2014 with the Giants. This move does not make any immediate impact, but does show signs that the Packers are actively trying to work on a secondary isn’t getting any younger.
Graphic via nflspinzone