For as good as the Green Bay offense is, they’re about as top heavy a unit as there is in the NFL. Aaron Rodgers is the offense. He is the team. After him, the team at least has quality players at running back, tight end, line, and wide receiver. At most of those positions the depth is at least satisfactory, but the offensive line is another story. As the preseason has shown, after the starting five offensive lineman there is a significant dropoff. Expecting all five starters to start every game is like expecting the sun to rise in the west. For as good as Aaron is, he isn’t indestructible, and without a line to keep him upright and healthy we could be in for a long, or should I say short, season.
There is no hole on the Packers roster more glaring than outside linebacker. The additions of Ahmad Brooks and Chris Odom in the past week emphasize the weakness at the position. Behind Clay Matthews and Nick Perry, both of whom have long injury histories and dealt with injuries as recently as last week, there is little to be excited about. Rookie Vince Biegel is in danger of starting the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list, meaning he’ll miss at least six games. The secondary is much improved this year, but even the best secondaries in the league get burned when quarterbacks are given all the time in the world to get a pass off. A struggling pass rush could cripple the defense as much as the secondary did a year ago.
A struggling special teams is becoming a hallmark of the Packers. They have their third punter in as many years and again tried out a new long snapper before inevitably signing Brett Goode. Trevor Davis has shown promise in the return game, but coverage is ultimately the main area of concern. It’s a familiar sight for Packer fans, seeing a long return from an opposing team at a critical time in the game. Assuming the fresh back of rookies working special teams are an improvement on years past, this shouldn’t be an issue. With the history of struggles, it’s something to keep an eye on.
The Packers coaching is some of the best in the NFL. That being said, former players, such as Greg Jennings, have critiqued Mike McCarthy for a lack of killer instinct. It’s typical for the Packers to get up by two or three scores and then seemingly sit back and try to run out the clock, rather than keeping their foot on the gas and extend the lead. Like clockwork, the Packers, up 17, will run on first and second down for a combined two yards, then force a throw on third that everyone in the stadium can predict. Mike, we’re begging you, just keep doing what got you there. There’s no penalty for winning by too much, hell, there’s probably a bonus in it for you. Let Aaron and the offense do what they do for 60 minutes, not just 45.