It’s time for the fourth annual best and worst case scenarios for every player on the Green Bay Packers roster. This is a feature that goes back to the days Railbird Central had it’s own domain.
I attempt to take a look at what is the very best possible season a player is capable of producing, and on the other hand, what would happen if a player fell flat on his face (without assuming they suffer a season-ending injury). These are intended to be extreme scenarios on both sides of the spectrum. More than likely, each player is going to fall somewhere in the middle, but every now and then, they just so happen to come to fruition. Think Charles Woodson last year.
I also try to take a look at what these scenarios would be from an individual standpoint and not what’s best for the team. For example, parting ways with Justin Harrell may eventually be what’s in the best interest of the Packers. I’m more interested in looking at what’s in Justin Harrell’s best interests (or worst interests for that matter).
We start with the quarterbacks.
- Best case scenario: Most people might think it would be a stretch to improve on a season where you throw for over 4,000 yards, have 30 touchdowns compared to only seven interceptions and have a quarterback rating of over 100. But it’s possible. For starters, experience will really start to pay off for Rodgers. As a result, problems getting off to slow starts on the opening possession of both the first and second halves of games will no longer be a problem. The Packers will score more under those circumstances and Rodgers’ statistics will improve as a result. Furthermore, due to a combination of both improved offensive line play and better decision making by Rodgers, he’ll endure less than 40 sacks this season, an over 20% improvement from last season. He’ll have more time to find open receivers and reap the rewards that come with it. Becoming perhaps the best quarterback in the NFL and earning first team All-Pro is not out of the question as is throwing for nearly 40 touchdowns.
- Worst case scenario: Rodgers becomes his own worst enemy. He has a worse season from a statistical standpoint than a year ago with a drop in yards, completion percentage, touchdowns and QB rating. While trying to do too much and do it all by himself, he gambles more often and his interceptions nearly double from a year ago and he’s still sacked at an alarming rate. His touchdown to interception ratio might not be as good as a year ago, but there’s no reason to think Rodgers still isn’t one of the better up-and-coming quarterbacks in the NFL. A meltdown in any sense of the word just doesn’t seem realistic.
- Best case scenario: Flynn makes the most of every opportunity he’s presented with. He produces in practices, in preseason games, and regular season games when given the chance. Because of this, he earns the trust of his teammates and while he’ll never be Aaron Rodgers, he’s able to adequately fill-in for the starting quarterback when the situation arises. He sees most of his playing time during the exhibition season and doesn’t fail to disappoint. He completes over 60% of his passes, he has double the amount of touchdowns to interceptions, and maybe most important, he leads the Packers to wins. His trade stock rises and a year from now, the Packers have to seriously contemplate getting a third round draft choice or higher in return for Flynn.
- Worst case scenario: Due to an injury to Rodgers, Flynn is forced into action during the regular season and fails miserably. Packers fans’ worst dreams are realized when Flynn just doesn’t have what it takes to be a starting-caliber quarterback in the NFL. His statistics aren’t impressive, but that doesn’t even matter compared to the only statistic that matters, the win and loss column. And the Packers lose more than they win with Flynn at the helm. Calls for a proven veteran quarterback become louder and Flynn will have to work his tail off just to win the No. 3 quarterback job by this time next year.
- Best case scenario: Harrell is a breath of fresh air. All the negativity from scouts saying that he doesn’t have the arm strength to make it in the NFL just seems to dissipate when he more than holds his own in training camp and the little bit of playing time he gets during the preseason. Seemingly, all he needed was a chance. While he can’t do it as well as Aaron Rodgers, Harrell seems to be capable of making most throws required in the professional game. He has yet to put it all together, but there are glimpses of the same quarterback who saw so much success at Texas Tech. Everyone wants to know what would happen if Greg Jennings could just become his own personal Michael Crabtree. It’s not going to happen right away, but there’s reason to think he could unseat Flynn as the backup quarterback. He forces the Packers to keep three quarterbacks on the roster this season.
- Worst case scenario: Utter failure. There’s a reason only the Cleveland Browns were the only NFL team that took a chance on Harrell a year ago, and he ended up in the Canadian Football League (where he couldn’t even see the playing field). Interceptions become an issue in training camp when defensive backs continually jump on his thrown balls. Perceived lack of arm strength is no longer just perception, it’s a reality. He’s cut in the middle of training camp as the Packers scramble to find another player to train as the third-stringer.