The Green Bay Packers finished the 2019 Regular season at 13-3, Undefeated 6-0 North Division Champs, #2 Seed in the Playoffs, along with a Round 1 Bye. Quite an accomplishment for first year Head Coach Matt LaFleur. Coach LaFleur assembled a staff that had his vision, changed the culture at Lambeau Field both in and out of the locker room and injected a youthful energy into the organization. The payoff was a more solidified team, some inconsistency while they learn the system, a team that doesn’t know quit, and a championship level season.
GM Brian Gutekunst added multiple players before and during the season to bolster the team. Gutekunst quietly restructured HOF QB Aaron Rodgers contract to free up close to $15M. The Packers have several key players with expiring contracts in 2020, RT Brian Bulaga, K Mason Crosby, DB Tramon Williams, LBs Blake Martinez, Kyler Fackrell and BJ Goodson, WRs Geronimo Allison and Allen Lazard, plus a host of one year contract players. If the Packers don’t bring back G Lane Taylor and TE Jimmy Graham, an additional $20M in CAP space would free up. Add in any rollover money and the annual increase the NFL applies, the Packers should have plenty of CAP space to finish filling out their roster. A veteran WR and MLB during Free Agency would fit nicely on this roster.
For those “fans” who constantly criticize QB Aaron Rodgers (who did not have a perfect season by any means, nor did any other NFL QB) this is for you. Aaron finished the season ranked #8 by Pro-Football-Reference, who uses 23 categories to determine their ranking. [Some notable QB’s below him, #13 Russell Wilson and #19 Jimmy Garoppolo] Aaron finished 2019 with 4,002 yards, 26 TDs vs 4 INTs, 62% Comp (3% below his average), Rating of 95.4, and 25% of his games with a Rating of over 100 (1 perfect game 158.3). His career Rating of 102.4 is still ranked number one. Aaron probably has lost a step due to aging and since his lost season of 2017 (played in only 5 1/4 games, 4-1 record, MVP level at that point) when he suffered a broken throwing arm collarbone, he may not have recovered his touch. On the other hand, his receiving corps, aside from Davante Adams is void of talent across the board. Besides executing a proper route, WRs need to understand the defender and adjust their route accordingly, only Adams does this. Some of Aaron’s errant throws are the result of Aaron recognizing the coverage and throwing the pass where he is accustomed to the WR making an adjustment, but that adjustment rarely occurs. Unfortunately this will take more time, possibly 1-2 more years to develop the type of chemistry fans saw with Jennings, Finley, Jones, and Nelson. Those players are GONE.
The Packers have already begun their planning for the first game in the playoffs, which will be January 12th at 5:40 PM. The opponent has yet to be determined and could be one of three teams, New Orleans, Philadelphia or Seattle. The team has reviewed the Lions game, has ongoing treatments for ailing players and will hold practices on Thursday and Friday. Over the weekend their opponent will be determined, with the Packers facing the highest seeded remaining team. As we know Lambeau is still a difficult place to play, with the weather forecast to be in the 20’s with snow flurries. I personally like their chances of advancing. If the Packers could somehow put together a complete game, lookout. The rest of the playoff field is at their ceiling and the Packers haven’t even come close. Let’s enjoy the ride, it was unexpected by many, with my and Ryan Horvat’s (105.7FMTheFan) 12-4 prediction and James Jones 13-3 the exceptions.
As Always, Go Pack Go!!!!
PackerGregPackerGreg Veteran/Go Army @DrGTP on Twitter