With the draft out of the way, there isn’t much tangible football news to discuss for awhile. The Green Bay Packers training camp begins July 25th. Their first preseason game is August 8th. On September 5th, the long wait ends as the Packers take on the Bears to open the National Football League’s 100th season.
There will be so many important stories to follow once the season begins. How will these draft picks help the Packers? Is Matt LaFleur the coach we hope he is? Is Rodgers’ Revenge Tour going to take the league by storm? But until the Packers gear up and take the field against an opponent, we’re stuck playing the waiting game. But this isn’t such a bad thing.
The offseason is the calm before the storm. Come September, there will plenty of opportunities for critical analysis, questioning decisions, and yelling at the television. But the offseason should be for hype, not gripe. There is a wealth of events for Packers fans to be excited about, and worrying about the next season simply isn’t fun. The Packers have a new head coach and a second-year GM; the slate is clean. This is a call for Packers fans to embrace optimism and enjoy the ride until the team gives reasons not to.
During the draft, Packers’ Twitter tends to erupt. Whoever is picked is scrutinized, weighed against what other players were available, and compared to previous picks. I’m just as guilty of this. But the scouting staff spends a hell of a lot more time scouting these players than I do. Instead of lamenting the selections, enjoy what they can bring to this team.
Rashan Gary is an absolutely monstrous athlete with the power to move you. Give the new coaching staff the benefit of the doubt that they can unlock his potential until proven otherwise. Savage may be a bit small, but he’s scrappy. He’s going to tackle, and he’s going to ruin opposing quarterbacks’ lives. Seventh-round choice Ty Summers has the tools to be a demon on special teams, bolstering one of the Packers’ biggest weaknesses. It’s said that it takes three years to truly evaluate draft picks. Until we see them on the field, it’s a lot more fun to hype them up than bring them down.
The same is true for the coaching staff. Matt LaFleur’s year as a playcaller with the Titans wasn’t especially exciting. But neither was the offensive talent he had. The Packers have Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, and Aaron Jones: true stars. LaFleur’s offense comes from a successful tree and should make their lives much easier. A first-time head coach is going to make mistakes and take his licks, but installing a new offense after years of stagnation should excite.
After spending so many picks on defense over the last few years, the Packers look to be in a good spot. Kenny Clark is a beast. Jaire Alexander is an ascending star. The Smiths and Adrian Amos bolster the defense with valuable experience, talent, and health. And “Stone Cold” Mike Pettine helms it all. The Packers defense should be creative and ruthless.
If nothing else, the presence of a healthy and fired-up Aaron Rodgers should have Packers fans salivating. Rodgers had one of his worst seasons as starting quarterback last year while playing with a broken knee, and he was still better than most quarterbacks in the league. The Bleacher Report article galvanized Rodgers, and he seems eager to get on the field and prove his critics wrong. The new offense is only going to make it even easier for him to do so.
I’m no seer and I can’t know the Packers will be good next season. But Green Bay has one of the most athletic draft classes, a new, innovative offensive playcaller, and the best quarterback in the league. That’s enough to fuel the hype train. This is the time of the offseason when the night is dark and full of hot takes. Let Giants fans be worried. Until the Packers give a reason not to, enjoy the hype and hope the offseason brings.Matt Hendershott is a Packers fan and Miller High Life enthusiast from Northwest Ohio. He has a Master of Arts in Media and Communication from Bowling Green State University. You can follow him on Twitter @MattHendershott.