Packers’ twitter is full of ways for the Packers to do better. They need to start using man coverage on defense more. They need to lay of the RPOs. They need to bring in new receivers. They need to fire Joe Barry. So, how can the Packers improve? I have several great ideas. Nice.
This section is the most exciting. They could sign Odell Beckham or Will Fuller. They could trade for DJ Moore or Jerry Jeudy. They could sign Star Lotulelei or trade for Jonathan Hankins.
Unfortunately, for the umpteenth year in a row, it is very unlikely that the team will add anyone of significance mid-season. They might pull off a Whitney Mercilus like veteran signing if one pushes for release from a bad team, but it’s unlikely they have the cap space or appetite to lose future draft capital to make an earth-shaking trade.
That means the most likely impact signing may be someone like Jerry Hughes or Mike Purcell who can add some juice to the front 7 or a veteran wide receiver like Corey Davis who forces a late season release.
Plenty of teams have improved their defense by bringing in seasoned veterans to consult. The Titans brought in Jim Schwartz a few years ago and the Eagles brought in Vic Fangio this year and both of those additions have paid dividends.
There are two clear options for the Packers to upgrade their defense mid-season: Wade Phillips and Mike Zimmer. Neither of those guys really majors in the type of scheme that the Packers are running, but they both have a history with members of the Packers’ staff and with the man coverage blitzing scheme that many think the Packers should start to adopt.
That’s not to say I think the team needs to major in man coverage and a heavy blitzing scheme. Even Zimmer ran a lot of Quarters in his last few years with the Vikings. Meshing the theory of the Fangio scheme with the old-fashioned disciplined play of one of those two older coaches could be the kick in the pants the team’s defense needs right now.
The most sensible Packers twitter members are recommending that fans just hold on and wait for the team to figure it out. The offense has many of the same players but, obviously, some huge changes that have affected the way it functions.
They can no longer count on the gravity of Davante Adams to pull the opposing defense away from other players. They have no reliable deep threats or man beating receivers (so far). They’re running more than ever in good games and in bad games Rodgers is trying to go full superman, forcing the ball downfield and missing open rookies.
Of course, those statements are loaded with the potential for optimism. The run game is obviously good – when they stick with it. The rookie receivers are getting open from time to time, even if Rodgers isn’t keying into it quite yet.
Rodgers has been hinting that he thinks a long stretch of wins is coming. The hits will be there eventually, they just need time to coalesce.
On the defensive side, what we need is more creativity. At this point it almost doesn’t matter what it is. There’s plenty of talent on the defensive side of the ball but they get beat by the same stuff every week. Crossing routes. Runs in the second half. Short throws against off coverage. Any changes will surprise upcoming offenses that are used to seeing the same few coverages and looks over and over.
If you read between the lines of a recent Joe Barry press conference, it looks like a few of the changes that we’ve pined for since last season could be coming. More man coverage, Rasul on the outside, and maybe even Darnel Savage in the slot. There are plenty of more options as well. The key right now is to make changes and stop being so predictable.
Mike Price is a lifelong Packers fan currently living in Utah. You can follow him on twitter at @themikeprice.