Team Profiles- Green Bay Packers
by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles
HC Mike McCarthy is probably a great coach, but let’s face it, his only two quarterbacks in Green Bay for the most part, have been QB Brett Favre and QB Aaron Rodgers. It’s not like he’s had the same kind of QB adversities to deal with as say HC Rex Ryan has. Perhaps his biggest challenge came in 2013, when QB Rodgers broke his collarbone, and HC McCarthy had to struggle to the playoffs with QB Matt Flynn for 5 games. They made it to the playoffs (It didn’t hurt that Detroit had an epic collapse the same time QB Rodgers was out with his injury.)
The 2013 playoffs began with QB Rodgers back in the line up, but Green Bay lost to the 49ers in round one. In 2014, Green Bay again made it to the playoffs, but this time, it was the Packers who had the epic collapse. The Packers were leading Seattle in the Conference Championship 16-0 at halftime, and 19–7 with under three minutes left in the game. One score later by Seattle, a successful onside kick, another score by Seattle and a two point conversion, and the Packers were stunned to be losing 19-22. A quick field goal by Green Bay tied it, but Seattle won the coin toss in over-time and won the game with a touchdown. Fortunately for HC McCarthy, he does have a Superbowl win (2010), or his legacy in Green Bay would be for having successful regular season records, and crumbling in the playoffs.
2015 Team Outlook– The Green Bay Packers have dominated the NFC North Division since 2011, and they will so again on 2015. The Lions, Bears and Vikings all have good, competitive teams going into the 2015 season, but none of them can put onto the field the caliber of offensive and defensive personnel that Green Bay can. The Packer’s coaching staff, quarterback, running backs and defense either rival or are superior to the the rest of the teams in the NFC North. Even their receiving corps should be considered superior, except the Packers are facing a free agency decision with WR Randall Cobb, who is a key part of that offense. If he leaves, their receiving corps takes a hit. Fullback John Kuhn could also be leaving.
2015 Fantasy Outlook–
QB– It’s hard to believe that it has been nine years, since Aaron Rodgers had to sit and watch as team after team passed him up in the 2005 NFL Draft. QB Rodgers wasn’t selected until the 24th overall pick came in, by the Green Bay Packers. 5 wide receivers were selected before Aaron Rodgers, and none of them are still playing in the NFL. The Cleveland Browns, who have had nothing but quarterback fiascoes for decades, passed up Rodgers and selected WR Braylon Edwards with their 3rd overall pick. Using 1st round picks on college quarterbacks is risky business, that’s a given, but the Browns still have to feel sick looking back on that 2005 draft. Aaron Rodgers is a great, great player. He can do it all, and that’s all there is that needs saying about him.
RBs– Two running backs recently came into the NFL after having played for the Alabama Crimson Tide…RB Trent Richardson and RB Eddie Lacy. RB Richardson is looking like one of the biggest busts to come into the NFL of late. He was the 3rd overall selection in the first round by the Cleveland Browns in 2012, but now sits on the Indianapolis Colts roster. RB Eddie Lacy on the other hand, is looking like a steal from the 2013 draft, having dropped all the way down to the 61st selection of the 2nd round. (Actually, none of the 2012 running backs selected from the first 3 rounds of the 2012 draft have done very well in the NFL, which is a big reason no RB was selected at all in the 1st round of the the 2013 draft.) In 2014, RB Lacy totaled over 1500+ yards from scrimmage and scored 13 TDs (4 were receiving TDs) He’s a strong, durable running back with a trade mark “spin move” that can make defenders miss badly. Powerful at the goal line, and elusive in the passing game. RB Lacy is a top 5 RB going into the 2015 season.
WRs– To go with one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks, the Green Bay Packers just so happen to have the #2 and #6 wide receivers in the league from 2014, catching his passes. WR Jordy Nelson, drafted in the 2nd round of the 2008 NFL draft, was second only to Pittsburgh’s WR Antonio Brown in the receiving yards last season and tied for 2nd in the league with 13 TD receptions. He has great hands, fantastic speed and should easily rank in the top 5 of wide receivers next season. WR Randall Cobb is Green Bay’s other star receiver and he ranked 6th in the NFL with 1324 total yards and 12 TDs, Cobb is a free agent this year, and there are a lot of teams that want him. He may elect to take less, and stay with Green Bay. (Last year WR Eric Decker chased the money to New York, leaving Denver and QB Peyton Manning, and he ended the 2014 season as the 28th ranked WR. He was #8 in 2013.) If WR Cobb does leave, GB has a young wide receiver in WR Davante Adams, one of the talented rookie WRs that came into the league in 2014. WR Adams is a sleeper for the 2015 season, whether Cobb leaves or not. UPDATE: WR Randall Cobb re-signed with GB.
TEs– Although tight ends aren’t used in the GB offense like they used to be (in the days of Sterling Sharpe, Mark Chmura or Bubba Franks) the Packers still have a couple good ones, who find the end zone now and then. TE Andrew Quarless was the 26th ranked TE in 2014, with 323 yards and 3 TDs. The Packers also have rookie TE Richard Rodgers, no relation to the QB, who ranked #41 in 2014 with 225 yards and 2 TDs. Their only limitations are targets from QB Aaron Rodgers. UPDATE: Waived TE Brandon Bostick. 7/4/2015 interestingly, the Packers have no plans to release TE Andrew Quarless following his July 4 arrest for firing a gun twice in the air during an altercation.
K– Mason Crosby has been with the Packers for the past 8 seasons. He was selected by Green Bay in the sixth round of the 2007 NFL Draft. K Crosby had a rough 2013 season, but HC McCarthy believed him and stuck with him, which paid off in 2014. Crosby ended the season as the 3rd ranked kicker in the NFL, knocking in 34 of his 40 attempts for field goals. With such a potent offense, Crosby is a strong candidate to finish in the top 5 again in 2015.
DEF– The Green Bay staff does a great job selecting players in the NFL drafts, for both their offense and their defense. Although not yet a Pro-bowler, Haha Clinton-Dix played like one at times for the Packers. He was the 1st overall selection in 2014. With names like Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers and Nick Perry leading the way, the Packers have one of the top defenses in the league. The Packers have a lot of players either coming back from injuries or are currently free agents, so they have issues keeping this defense together.
2014 Green Bay Fantasy Surprises– The Packers offense is a well oiled machine, so there aren’t a lot of surprises. RB Lacy had some durability issues when playing for Alabama, but he’s only missed one game in the NFL since being drafted, perhaps that’s a surprise.
2015 Free Agents That Green Bay Needs to Address– QB Matt Flynn- FB John Kuhn- WR Randall Cobb (re-signed)- OT Byran Bulaga (re-signed)- DE B J Raji (re-signed)- DT Letroy Guilon (re-signed)- LB Jamari Lattimore- CB Jarrett Bush- CB Davon House- LCB Tramon Williams
2015 NFL Draft– The immediate needs of Green Bay are on defensive, depth at right tackle, and at the corner back position. The Packer’s have a lot of defensive players possibly heading for free agency, so they need depth on defense everywhere (DT and DE), Byran Bulaga’s contract is up so the Packers need help pass-blocking (OT) and they could easily lose Tramon Williams and House (CB). UPDATE: Green Bay’s entire 2015 NFL Draft can be seen at this link- GREEN BAY’S DRAFT
Did You Know– The waiting list for Packer season tickets is over 86,000 names long, making the average wait to be 30+ years. With only 90 tickets turned over annually, it would be 955 years before the newest name on the list got a ticket. Typically, new fans to Lambeau Field are the beneficiary of season tickets that have been willed to them by next of kin.
All team reports can be seen at this link- TEAM REPORTS
Team home page: www.packers.com