Free Agency is in full swing or stagnant, (depending on who your favorite team is) and the NFL Draft is just weeks away. It is a time in the NFL where every team is taking an educated guess on how to improve their team… and where they fit in. Depth charts gives fans a snapshot of who will be lining up and where on game day. It also shows what players are progressing and producing on the field. If you try to look up the depth chart on the Green Bay Packers app, you’ll see it is unavailable during the offseason. Don’t worry, your friendly neighborhood T-squared has your back! I’m going to take my best educated guess and put together a depth chart at some of the more intriguing positions. Think of it as “Squared Logic.” This week we’ll discuss the offense.
QB DEPTH CHART
QB 1: Brett Hundley Aaron Rodgers: Oh come on now, you didn’t really think I’d put the best QB in the world on the bench did you? This is about as no brainer as it gets. #12 will continue to be the best in the world and your QB 1.
QB 2: Brett Hundley (For now): The Packers lost Scott Tolzien when he opted to sign a 2 year deal with the Indianapolis Colts, making Brett Hundley the de facto QB 2… For now. Hundley had an impressive preseason campaign. (630 yards, seven touchdown, and one interception.) The encouraging preseason has the Packers very high on him and for good reason. He showed great poise, good defensive recognition, excellent accuracy (69.2%), and decision making. All of these are tools to build upon. I say he is the QB 2 for now because he is going into just his second season. He needs more time to learn and grow. I believe the Packers will opt to have a veteran in that spot just in case (knock on every piece of wood you can find) Rodgers goes down with injury. Then again, we’re talking about a franchise that only signed a serviceable veteran backup QB out of necessity the last time #12 went down. (I’m talking about Matt Flynn, not that Seneca Wallace disaster.) So that “for now” may be removed from Hundley. Especially if he shows progression throughout the upcoming OTAs, mini-camp, and training camp.
RB DEPTH CHART
RB 1: Eddie Lacy
So much Eddie Lacy hate out there right now. I get it, he had a horrible season which he could have prevented. He
wasn’t motivated enough to keep his body in shape and the team paid the price for it. Lacy posted career lows in every category last season. I get why people are angry with Lacy and rightfully so. Head Coach Mike McCarthy even challenged Lacy; “He cannot play at the weight he was at this year.” Lacy dropped the ball last season. Unfortunately one bad season is all it takes to wipe away the memories of how good he is. How quickly have people forgotten he was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2013? How quickly have people forgotten how he started his career with back-to-back 1,000 yard rushing and double digit touchdown seasons? Apparently quicker than it takes Eddie to eat… never mind. Eddie will be back to his bowling ball of butcher knives ways this upcoming season. His coach has challenged him and he has answered the call. Google up Eddie Lacy P90X and you’ll will see what I mean. He’s taken on his head coach’s challenge and won’t drop the ball this season. Not only that, it’s a contract year for him. The only thing on his plate for this season upcoming, is motivation.
RB 2: James Starks
I am on the record as being disappointed Packers General Manager Ted Thompson didn’t pursue Matt Forte, who ended up signing with a “contender” in the New York Jets. This was at a time when the Packers were in danger of losing James Starks, who visited the New England Patriots. After leaving New England without a deal, I felt there was a good chance Starks would be back and I am thankful that was the case. Starks signed a 2 year deal to remain with the Packers. I have absolutely no problem with this move. Starks is a guy who helped run the Packers to a Super Bowl Title in 2010 and is coming off of career highs in: carries (148), rushing yards (601), receptions (43), receiving yards (392), and touchdowns (5). Starks is a good #2 punch at running back and, if he solves those fumbling issues, a smart re-signing by the Packers.
TE DEPTH CHART
TE 1: Richard Rodgers
Very quietly, Richard Rodgers progressed in his second season. His 58 receptions, 510 yards, and 8 touchdowns are
all career highs. He also had this catch in a Thursday night game you might have seen or heard about. He’s becoming more comfortable and productive in this offense. Rodgers still has a ways to go though as he registered 10 games of less than 30 yards receiving. Not exactly the stretch TE McCarthy wants. His knowledge of the system, and his progression SHOULD keep Rodgers in the TE 1 spot.
TE 2: Jared Cook
When Ted Thompson does his due diligence, and signs you, he doesn’t intend for you to be buried on the bench. He expects you to come in and be productive. Thompson sees something in Cook otherwise he wouldn’t be in a Packers uniform. His size, speed, hands, and athleticism are very tantalizing. Some compare his talents to that of retired Packers TE Jermichael Finley. Tough to argue that. You know what else they have in common? A case of the drops, horrible blocking, and questionable attitudes. Make no mistake about this; If Cook can put all of his positive attributes on display consistently, he will challenge Richard Rodgers for the TE 1 spot.
WR DEPTH CHART
WR 1: Jordy Nelson
Yes Jordy Nelson is coming off of ACL surgery, and yes there is a chance he won’t be full speed at the beginning of the season. I’ve heard every conceivable negative thought and doomsday theory about Nelson, so I’ll offer some positive. Nelson’s ability to stretch the defense vertically, created room for others to produce. Still don’t understand what I mean? Take a look at Randall Cobb’s last two seasons. In 2014 Cobb had a career year. 91 receptions, 1.287 yards, and 12 TDs. 2015 was a different story for Cobb without Nelson. 79 receptions, 829 yards, and 6 TDs. The Jordy factor is very real.
WR 2: Randall Cobb
I feel Cobb is better suited in the slot, but it’s hard to argue with the numbers he produced as the WR 2 alongside Jordy Nelson. So that is where I will keep him. Cobb was greatly affected by Nelson’s absence. (As well as inconsistent offensive line play that affected Aaron Rodgers. Different story for a different day.) Being thrust into the WR 1 spot, more defensive attention, and an early season shoulder injury, put Cobb’s 2015 season on a roller coaster. I expect his 2016 season to be much smoother.
WR 3&4: Training Camp Competition
With the Packers opting not to re-sign James Jones: Devante Adams, Jeff Janis, Jared Abbrederis, and Ty Montgomery all have legit shots at two available wide receiver spots, instead of one. There will indeed be a training camp competition for these spots.
There would be a competition for only one spot had Adams separated himself by being the consistent playmaker the organization hoped he would be. A high ankle sprain, inconsistent play, and a bevy of dropped passes has brought Adams back to the rest of the pack. (No pun intended)
Before Ty Montgomery missed the rest of the season with a high ankle sprain of his own, he was getting more snaps than Adams. Janis, and Abbrederis combined. He showed flashes of being a consistent playmaker with good size, and an ability to gain separation. For the record, I like Montgomery more than Adams.
Jeff Janis’ postseason was a memorable one. In the OT playoff loss vs. the Cardinals, Janis had 7 receptions, 145 yards, and 2 TD; including a drive saving 60 yard haul and a 41 yard, game-tying TD reception on the last play of regulation. Janis’ problem is: playing time. With more snaps, Janis can be a factor for this squad.
Jared Abbrederis is a guy who just can’t stay healthy long enough to show what he’s got. Wisconsin Badger fans know what he can bring to the table as one of the most beloved Badgers in program history. Fighting back from an ACL tear that put him on the shelf in his first season with the Packers, to show flashes of his ability to run the entire route tree with precision, gives you hope Abbrederis can be a playmaker for this offense. You can only hope the injury bug doesn’t curtail his development.
With the NFL Draft coming up and free agency ongoing (yes folks, free agency is still happening) this depth chart is subject to change. There is a lot to be desired from this offense after a down year last season. Getting players back from injury and putting them in the best positions to succeed, will wash the taste of a bitter offense out of the mouths of Packers faithful everywhere. The depth chart is the roadmap for that. Choose wisely.