Think back to 2011, when Green Bay missed having a perfect season after it dropped an ugly game to the Kyle Orton-led Kansas City Chiefs. Interim head coach Romeo Crennel led KC at home against the red-hot Packers, who decided that day they were not going to earn a coveted perfect season.
Without considering that specific game, the 2011 squad was ridiculous in terms of how it was built. Offensively, the team set record after record on its way to going 15-1.
An attack fixated on spreading it five wide and airing it out from the shotgun spread the defense thin and led to mismatches all across the board. Sending out Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Randall Cobb to man the receiver spots is hard to match up with.
But then there was Jermichael Finley that was lined up from the slot to outside to the backfield, wreaking havoc all across the field on his way to 767 yards and 8 TD’s on the season.
Flash forward to the upcoming 2018 season, and there are similarities between that squad and this one that leads to making us believe that this team could again be something special.
Obviously, Rodgers is still as good as ever, sans a few injury concerns over the past few years. In 2011, he threw for a whopping 45 TDs, over 4,500 yards and only six interceptions.
In 502 attempts.
He threw a pick every 1.2 percent of his throws.
And he was selected 24th in 2005.
While the stable of weapons Rodgers has now is not exactly up to the standard he had in 2011, the depth of what was once a point of emphasis coming into the offseason now is one of the stronger roster areas.
Gone are the pillars of Driver, Jennings and Nelson, and Cobb is the only remaining piece from 2011. Davante Adams, fresh off a career year and a new contract, slides into the no. 1 receiver role, with a few flexible pieces behind him.
The plethora of Cobb, Geronimo Allison, Michael Clark, Trevor Davis, J’Mon Moore, Equanimeous St. Brown and Marquez Valdez-Scantling, among others, look to go into training camp to try and make something of the muddled depth chart.
In the tight end position, this has become a point of emphasis for upgrades in the last few seasons, and this year is no different.
Going out and getting Jimmy Graham is a very good first step in giving Rodgers more weapons to help spread the field. I think one of the more under-the-radar signings of the offseason was Marcedes Lewis coming to Green Bay.
Adding a solid blocking and reliable receiving tight end that has the verticality to get split out wide only helps the team, and the third-string option of Lance Kendricks, who could become a training camp cut/trade candidate to help save money, is a second-string candidate on most teams.
At running back, the team has a stable of backs that are all capable of helping balance the offensive output this year. Ty Montgomery, Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams all have the skill sets to produce for Green Bay this year, and all will get the chance to make a name for themselves.
The offensive line is stronger than in 2011, where Brian Bulaga was just entering his rookie season. Across the board, this team is stronger on the line than the positional group in 2011, as seen below:
2011: LT Marshall Newhouse, LG T.J. Lang, C Scott Wells, RG Josh Sitton, RT Bryan Bulaga
2018: LT David Bakhtiari, LG Lane Taylor, C Corey Linsley, RG Justin McCray RT Bryan Bulaga
While Bulaga could very well be cut after being the subject of a failed contact restructure during the offseason, the depth is there to just slot either Jason Spriggs or Kyle Murphy in at right tackle with little drop-off.
Also, offensive guru Joe Philbin is back with the team after a few failed stops as the head coach for four years in Miami and as the offensive line coach in Indianapolis. He was the orchestrator, along with Mike McCarthy, in the successful offensive juggernaut in 2011.
This upcoming season has the potential to be great for the Packers, it just takes everything coming together for that to happen. The pieces are there, they just need to fall into place.
Have thoughts about the 2011-2018 offense comparisons? Leave a comment below!뿓뿓뿓
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23