Green Bay Packers Team Profile 2016 by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles
Is it a coincidence, that in 4 years with WR Jordy Nelson, the Green Bay Packers won 4 straight division titles, but without him, the Minnesota Vikings enjoyed the honors. ( Nelson tore his left ACL in August 2015.) HC Mike McCarthy probably wouldn’t want anyone to think that one missing player could hurt a season, but when have you seen QB Aaron Rodgers play 16 games and rank 12th among NFL quarterbacks?
2016 Team Outlook– The Green Bay Packers have dominated the NFC North Division since 2011, but it was Minnesota who took the title in 2015 with an 11-5 season. Green Bay fell just a game short at 10-6. With a healthy Jordy back, Gfreen Bay will again be the team to beat in 2016. The Lions, Bears and Vikings all have good, competitive teams but they can’t put onto the field the caliber of offensive and defensive personnel that Green Bay can.
2016 Fantasy Football Outlook-
QB– Disregarding 2013, when he only played 9 games due to an injury, QB Aaron Rodgers has either been the #1 or #2 quarterback every year since 2008…..until 2015. Last year ended with Rodgers ranking #12 among NFL quarterbacks. He threw for nearly 500 less yards than he did in 2014, with 7 less touchdown passes (31 vs 38). QB Rodgers and the offense clearly missed WR Jordy Nelson’s deep threat abilities, but they still made the post-season.
RBs– Many articles were written about Lacy’s “weight” in 2015, and Green Bay reportedly wants him 30 pounds lighter. In 2015, RB Eddie Lacy was out-played by RB James Starks. Starks ended the year as the #23 running back in the NFL, and RB Lacy as the #24. In the final year of his 2013 rookie deal…this off-season will be an important one for “Spag-Eddie” Lacy.” James Starks is a free agent, but expected to re-sign with the Packers.
WRs– WR Jordy Nelson and WR Randall Cobb were the #2 and #6 wide receivers in the NFL in 2014. In 2015, no Green Bay wide receiver cracked the top 25. The offense wasn’t the same without WR Jordy Nelson and WR Davante Adams disappointed the entire year. ( rumors are WR Adams’ roster spot is in jeopardy.) It wasn’t until the post-season that Green Bay found out what talent had been sitting on the bench all season. WR Jeff Janis went 7 catches for 145 and 2 TDs in the Divisonal Game loss to Arizona. (The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s wrote- “It’s been 25 years or more since a coach in Green Bay made more errors in allocating playing time than Mike McCarthy did this year.”)
TEs– 2011 was the last time a Green Bay Packer ended a season ranking in the top 5 among NFL tight ends. Jermichael Finley was the #5 tight end that year, with 767 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns. Statistically in 2015, TE Richard Rodgers’ numbers ( 520 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns ) weren’t that much different from Finley’s in 2011, which ranked Rodgers #8 last year. With WR Nelson out, TE Rodgers was relied on more, and will be red zone threat again in 2016.
K– Impending free agent K Mason Crosby has been a Packer for 9 seasons, but he doesn’t want to leave Green Bay, nor does Green Bay want him to leave. Expect a new contract in the near future.
DEF– The Green Bay defense enjoyed a much better season in 2015 ( ranked #9) than they did in 2014 ( ranked #16). Tough vs the pass, their defense stepped up in a year where the offense declined. With important free agents impending from the defense, the Packers will need to fill holes to keep the defense trending upward in the NFL.
2015 Green Bay Fantasy Surprises– Many a fantasy football league was won in 2014 with RB Eddie Lacy on the roster, which is why he was drafted high in 2015. He returned for his 3rd season over-weight and slow, surprising many with only 758 yards rushing yards and 3 rushing TDs at year’s end. WR Jeff Janis was a surprise in the post-season and might have won himself a spot in 2016 in the starting line-up.
2016 Free Agents That Green Bay Needs to Address– RB James Starks, WR James Jones, K Mason Crosby, FB John Kuhn, TE Andrew Quarless, QB Scott Tolzien, T/G Don Barclay, SS Sean Richardson, CB Casey Hayward, OLB Nick Perry, NT B.J. Raji, DE Letroy Guion, OLB Mike Neal,
2016 NFL Draft– Green Bay’s first 2 selections in the 2015 NFL Draft addressed their defense ( FS Damarious Randall- 1st round-30th overall and CB Quinten Rollins- 2nd round-62nd overall) and they will likely address it right away again in 2016. Green Bay’s needs include help on their defensive line and talented new inside/ outside linebackers.
Did You Know– In 1974, in what has become known as one of the worst trades in history, the Green Bay Packers traded two first round draft picks, two second round draft picks, and a third round draft pick to the Los Angeles Rams for 34 year old quarterback John Hadl.
All team reports can be seen at this link- TEAM REPORTS
Team home page: www.packers.com