Packers Need to Rebuild the Run Game for Next Season

The 2016-17 season is officially over, which means it’s time to start looking at how to plan for 2017-18. Despite stumbling out of the gate, the Packers turned things around and went all the way to the NFC Championship, where they were on the wrong end of what seemed to be an unstoppable Atlanta Falcons offense. There’s plenty of room for the Packers to improve next season, and there’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to rule the NFC North once again. The team could very well reach the next Super Bowl if they play their cards right and make a few necessary adjustments. Here are a few things the Packers need to do to become championship contenders.

We already mentioned that, if it wasn’t glaringly apparent after the NFC Championship game, the Packers will  need to retool their defense in the offseason. One major area of the defense needs some work is the cornerbacks. We’ve previously discussed how Green Bay will likely spend a draft pick on a corner and will probably look to bring in a veteran corner to help further bolster the position. But while the defense definitely needs some work, that shouldn’t overshadow issues that need to be addressed with the offense.

Rodgers has long proven that he’s one of those quarterbacks who can make the players around him better. This was on display with Jared Cook’s postseason performance and is why it’s likely that the Packers will re-sign him in the offseason. Jordy Nelson is still one of the most competitive wideouts in the league and with another rookie slot receiver or two, the passing game will be just fine.

The bigger offensive problem is the running game. Eddie Lacy is hitting the free agent market in March and if the Packers let him go, it could free the team up to bring some extra talent to the ground attack. In 2015, Lacy was enjoying good odds in the most touchdowns market after two seasons with more than ten. However, his production plummeted to five TDs in 2015 and a mere four during 2016. Of course, much of that can be chalked up to injury, but it’s tough to imagine keeping him around for one more year. Between the injury problems and issues with his fitness, Lacy hasn’t done much to improve his stock for free agency. Green Bay could likely sign him to an affordable one-year deal, but it’s just as likely that they cut their losses and look for help elsewhere.

The team did an admirable job of converting Ty Montgomery from wide receiver to running back after injuries to Lacy and James Starks, and to no one’s surprise, Starks released today to free up some extra cap space. It’s unlikely that GM Ted Thompson will look to free agency, but the 2017 draft presents a deep crop of runners and there are some solid options that could be perfectly serviceable backups to Montgomery. As Montgomery enters his third season, he’s getting more comfortable within the Packers system and a talented rookie RB could work well behind him.

Green Bay obviously doesn’t need to change that much to make it to another Super Bowl. Keep a close eye on what happens during the draft and free agency, though, because with a few key changes they could easily be competing for a Lombardi Trophy next February.

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  • shavager

    “Don’t need to change that much”? DEFENSE has cost them SIX CONSECUTIVE playoff runs. They’ll likely start season WITHOUT Peppers at LB and Matthews didn’t prove his star’s as shiny now–he played better in ’15 AT ILB! DUMB Capers has NOT put a defense on field anywhere as good as the ’10 SB Champs–despite some 70+ NEW players signed by Thompson–either Capers CAN’T coach “fundamental” tackling and pass coverage or HE needs to fire coaches who didn’t get job done. Falcons were rated WORSE than Packers in several areas of defense–yet they outplayed Packers, outCOACHED Packers, OUTSCORED Packers and OUTGAINED Packers–just as every playoff team in PAST SIX YEARS HAVE DONE. McCarthy’s offense goes on field MUST play like an Arena football team and OUTSCORE everybody ’cause DUMB Capers ain’t put a defense on field in SIX years that can stop ANYBODY!

    • shavager

      P.S.–I say sign Lacy to one-two year contract at CHEAP price with multiple performance incentives to allow improvement, otherwise CUT’im and resign Christine Michael–don’t care what you think about Michael’s short time–he outperformed anything Starks has show in past two season, he’s younger, faster, has more potential. That gives Pack TWO starters now, I wouldn’t waste a pick on RB with as many holes in defense as Packers have–NO secondary to speak of. Rollins and Randall were BETTER in rookie season–either Capers CAN’T coach secondary improvement or they can’t play the position. I REPEAT–a SENIOR citizen in a WHEEL CHAIR could get open down middle of this defense AND CATCH PASSES! Does anybody understand this? They’ve LOST enough games in past SIX years, it ought to be obvious!

      • James Whitt

        You have to have players Thompson should be able to see that Street free agents just won’t cut it Draft and develop is fine if you have the players so don’t blame all on Capers Thompson and Murphy are just as much to blame

      • Jerry Hansen

        Again, well stated…

        • Jerry Hansen

          TT and MM and Capers all think that you can move safeties to corner- ILB to OLB- 4-3 DE’s to OLB- Let’s actually draft player to play their natural position…

        • shavager

          Thanks Jerry. Just CAN’T imagine WHY McCarthy and Thompson willing to stick with Capers–in past SIX years McCarthy’s playoff record is 5 Wins–6 LOSSES. Since Capers has been DC–the Packers have given up the MOST POINTS ever by a Packers playoff team in 96 YEAR history. Worse–they gave up SECOND most in 2012 and NFL RECORD RUN yds to a QB (Kaepernick) and then THIRD most to Falcons in the NFC TITLE game–Pack’s SECOND CONSECUTIVE Title game loss–something NO Packers team has EVER suffered. WHY keep him with results like this?

    • Jerry Hansen

      Well said!!!!

  • Bob Wysocki

    PEOPLE FORGET THAT LACEY HAS ASTHMA AND PLAYING OUTDOORS IN COLD WEATHER MAY NOT BE BEST FIT FOR HIM. ALSO I BLAME TT AS MUCH AS CAPERS – HIS FIRST AND SECOND ROUND PICKS FOR THE MOST PART SUCK. HOW ABOUT DRAFTING A STARTER IN THE FIRST ROUND FOR ONCE

    • Jerry Hansen

      Lacy is a better fit for this team. I also like Michael but, the Packers like Montgomery more. I see Montgomery as a change of pace runner-not a featured runner. Lacy or Michael should stay. I am sure TT has a plan of his own..

  • MR. Z

    Repeat: Read Shavager writingbelow.
    This contributor who wrote this article is smoking something. GB has one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL. This has been over the last 5 to 6 years. Week after week they give up over 300 yards per game lead by OLD Man Capers

    It has already been reported that Capers will be back in 2017. I want to cry. Another year wasted for Rodgers