Packers With the Most to Prove in 2017

Injuries tormented the Packers entire 2016 season, especially in the secondary. That did not mean expectations lowered for the team of Titletown. Rookie Blake Martinez became a contributor on defense, while Lane Taylor was a solid gamble to replace Josh Sitton. Ty Montgomery is the new starting running back and HaHa Clinton Dix is about to get paid big money after making his first Pro Bowl. Plenty of Packers stepped up in 2016 and the same narrative is hopeful for 2017. Some players in particular need to step us as they play for new contracts. Otherwise, they may not be a Packer much longer.

Packers with the most to prove next season are:

CB Damarious Randall:

Entering his third NFL season, Randall hopes to make 2017 a rebound year after a sophomore slump. He gave up career days to both Marvin Jones of the Lions and Stefon Diggs of the Vikings. The two caught 15 passes for 387 yards and Randall was mostly responsible. His Pro Football Focus grade ranked 108th in the league. His coverage grade was last on the team at 39.2. A lot of faith was placed in Randall when Sam Shields was lost with no timetable for a return. And yet, he failed to take a step forward after an impressive rookie year when he became an immediate contributor. Randall was drafted to be a playmaker with a baseball background. It is important that he stays healthy and proves he can cover the opposing team’s number one receiver week in and week out.

TE Richard Rodgers

Rodgers is currently melting on the hot seat with the signings of Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks. Rodgers has had zero glory since his Hail Mary catch to beat the Lions in 2015. He lost weight heading into 2016, however it never translated to the field.  Rodgers played only 603 snaps compared to 799 in 2015. Yes, less snaps even though Jared Cook played ten games and started in five. Adding two more tight ends may have shut the window on Rodgers career in Green Bay completely if he does not make any noise next season.

LB Clay Matthews III

Whether it is at inside or outside linebacker, Matthews has to regain his status as an impact player on this defense. Lingering hamstring issues and other injuries try to become a scapegoat for him, but a guy making $66 million does not get a free pass. Matthews should be getting 10 sacks year yet he has not done that since 2014. The most alarming stat is that he played 46 percent of the snaps on defense last season. That number better be above 80 percent in 2017.

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Brandon Carwile was a cheese head at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. Brandon graduated from Longwood University in 2016 with a degree in mass media. He has covered the Packers for over a year and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @BShmee.

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  • Tj Coon

    I’ll say Clay is a big one yes, but TyMO, is gonna be lookin over his shoulder when GB drafts 2 RBs within the first 2 days. Think about it. Especially after the trade for Sherman goes through.

    • Nick Perry

      The Packers aren’t going to trade for a 30 year old CB who is best in zone when the Packers play mostly in man to man. They also aren’t drafting 2 RB in the first 2 days of the draft. Considering they only draft the 1st round on day one, and the 2nd and 3rd rounds on day two, I think it’s about a 99.99999999% chance it doesn’t happen.

      No offense but there’s really nothing to think about.

      • Tj Coon

        How old was Charles Woodson? And you coach to your teams best ability. The Sherman trade talk is real and if it isn’t to the Pack but to someone else and that team played man to man before he joined, do you think they would stay man? Logic tells me no. Besides, man to man or whatever that was last year could use a tweak.
        In regards to thinking: try it.
        I read an article on here that showed me the WR unit was 19th in the league and I was confused at first. Davante had a solid year, Jordy too. Cobb not bad. Ahhhhh, I see. The RB situation. Can You Imagine? Think. The TEs we now have will not show our hand. They make the WRs better, the OL better, the QB better, and the RBs better.
        Can you imagine Ed’s kid Christian lining up back there with his speed, change of direction, and his versatility. Than I like D’onta Foreman. Dude is 6 foot 1 and 250 who runs a 4.4 40. From what I’ve read dudes got some wiggle too. Either way its been awhile since Ive seen this many talented RBs and I am not one bit sold on whether TYMO is the man who can stay healthy. IMO, theres maybe 7-8 legit backs who could be all pro when its said and done.
        Either way, that side of the ball would have opposing coaches sh!tt!ng!

        • Nick Perry

          Interesting… See I look at it the other way. The Packers or any other team aren’t going to change their entire defensive philosophy to accommodate one player, not when the other 10 starters have played Capers Defense for example since he’s been here. Now if you hired Gus Bradley or some disciple of Seattle’s Defense to coach the Packers I can understand that. But as long as Capers is there a change like that won’t happen.

          Yes the Offense would be something, I completely agree with that. But look at Teds draft history, it’s not going to happen, not with the needs on defense.

          Look at the Packers current players at the OLB position. They have Perry, Frackrell, Elliot, and Matthews who’s going to be back to moving around this year, that’s 4 players. The Packers currently have zero depth at a position which is probably the most vital to a 3-4 defense working. What happens when Matthews pulls a hammy because history tells me he will. Yes those RB would be an exciting addition, just not with the needs on defense. Unless the Packers defensive plan is to outscore everyone 50 to 48.

      • Tj Coon

        u sure bout Sherman?

  • James C. Drumheller III

    I’d like to see TT spend the money for a shutdown corner and fix our secondary before it’s to late. This would be Charles Woodson BIG as far as a blockbuster deal.

  • James C. Drumheller III

    I believe a healthy Mathews will quiet the critics and by returning to pro bowl form. When he was made to play ILB there was no dropoff in play initially and then he was plagued with injuries. I’d like to see the Claymaker back this year with the addition of T.J.Watt who is being compared to him and is built almost identically like him. The upside in drafting Watt could make for an outstanding line backing duo This draft is all about fixing our problems on defense and the players are available to choose from with this being talent at every position of need!!