For some of us it feels like football takes far too long to come back once we’re robbed of it in early February each year. Somehow it luckily seems that this offseason has passed us by quite rapidly and we are already a month away from watching the Green Bay Packers take the field. Well, okay, maybe it’s not a real Packers game with all of the stakes and stress of a regular season game. Nonetheless, 2023 Packers football returns in some semblance on August 11th when they take on the Bengals for their first of three preseason games.
Noting how close we are to the start of the season, (less than two months out from September 10th if you were more interested to actually know when the Packers first regular season matchup was) now may be a good time to talk about what we can expect and what’s still up in the air in regards to the 2023 Packers.
Healthy Offensive Line
The Packers entered the season in 2022 without Elgton Jenkins or David Bakhtiari, and they had no idea who was best to start in their places. At the start of 2023 the Packers will look to start the season with their two best lineman on the field, as well as a better idea of who to surround them with. Decisions like starting Zach Tom or not starting Royce Newman have already been put to the test back in 2022, a year also known as “the season when the Packers had no idea what to do with their offensive line.”
So while there’s a bit of a question as to what we’ll see out of Jordan Love this season, there’s no doubt he’ll start with some consistency up front to get him started.
After losing Adrian Amos to free agency the Packers are going to have a very dynamic safety position in 2023. Dynamic may feel like a generous word in this situation, and to be honest that’s because it is, no one knows what the best options at safety are.
The Packers brought in free agent safeties Jonathan Owens and Tarvarius Moore, the former of which has at least had the opportunity to be a starting caliber safety with the Texans and is only 27 years old. The Packers also have returning players Darnell Savage and Rudy Ford, and while these players both have a lot to prove, the starting safety positions are probably theirs to lose. Finally, the Packers drafted Iowa State safety Anthony Johnson Jr. in the seventh round though many believe he is talented and atheltic enough to outshine his perceived draft pedigree.
What you should expect from this group is a season long outing that looks very similar to what we saw of the 2022 Packers’ offensive line. Highs and lows, mixing it up, and hopefully figuring out what actually works best by the midseason point. Look for safety to be the weak spot on an otherwise lights out defensive unit in 2023, headlined by Rashan Gary, Kenny Clark, and Jaire Alexander.
An Outstanding RB Duo
Yeah, I know, we all know what to expect out of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, but I’m not sure we’re getting the same old run game in Green Bay this year. It’s fair to expect that the usage of both running backs could rise this season in the absence of Hall of Fame QB Aaron Rodgers, but that’s not the only reason to expect a change.
Aaron Jones will likely embrace his role as the focal point of the offense. He’s been one of the best running backs of the last few years in terms of yards per carry, and we may just see him have a massive season as a runner and as a pass catcher when taking on this role. AJ Dillon also started to look like his old self again in the second half of last season after a slow start, and it would be no surprise to see him pick up right where he left off.
What Else Can be Expected?
Who knows if the Packers draft picks will work out, although first round edge rusher Lukas Van Ness and second round tight end Luke Musgrave look like they could be the real deal. The Packers safety concerns could spell trouble for what should otherwise be a rock solid defense, but nobody knows what to expect of that unit year in and year out.
Whether or not the young wide receivers take a step in the right direction is also difficult to call, but for now the reports of Christian Watson looking like himself again and Romeo Doubs being a “safety blanket” for Jordan Love sound promising enough.
While any season of football begins with some degree of mystery, this Green Bay Packers team could certainly surprise some people, although many will tell you that they need at least another year or two to find their footing before they can see any real success. The beauty of this conundrum lies in the fact that everything is only about two months away from beginning to unfold.——————
Zack is a college student and cheesehead from California. When he’s not in class or writing, you can find him talking about the Packers on Twitter at @Zack_Upchurch.