Over the course of the next several days Cheesehead TV will have a brief position-by-position offseason preview, taking a look at what's in store for free agency and the NFL Draft for the Green Bay Packers...
In one of the most scathing criticisms of Aaron Rodgers in quite some time, Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this weekend took umbrage with the air of complacency at 1265 Lombardi Ave.
Although the critique went above and beyond the Packers quarterback, McGinn specifically found fault with Rodgers' merely average play in the team's past three postseason losses. At a time of year when leaders are expected to elevate their level of play, Rodgers has been ordinary.
As the Packers enter the offseason, it will be up to Rodgers to stay hungry, internally motivated as well as spark the desire to raise the level of play of those around him.
Regardless, Rodgers is the Packers' starting quarterback now and for the forseeable future. The focus of the Packers organization in the offseason will not to make the same mistake they did last offseason in trying to identify a backup quarterback.
In hindsight, the Packers foolishly placed too much confidence in the development of Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman, and when they didn't pan out, the franchise metaphorically threw a Hail Mary, praying Vince Young could direct Mike McCarthy's version of a West Coast offense.
All other options exhausted, the season started and the Packers signed Seneca Wallace and Scott Tolzien, hoping Rodgers would just stay healthy and they wouldn't have to rely on backups.
As we now know, Rodgers didn't stay healthy and it took a mid-season signing of Matt Flynn to help the Packers stay afloat.
Both Wallace and Flynn were signed to just one-year contracts, and the Packers enter an offseason of uncertainty behind Rodgers.
There's hope that Tolzien could be the answer, under contract for 2014. While lacking experience and refined skills, the former Wisconsin product showed surprising arm strength and touch on his deep passes, perhaps hinting that he could become a capable NFL backup.
McCarthy despises the lack of contact he has with his players in the offseason due to the latest NFL collective bargaining agreement, but he'll make the most of every minute with Tolzien as part of his famed "quarterback school."
Free Agency Outlook
Matt Flynn––Don't expect the Packers to make a decision on Flynn until after the NFL draft at the earliest. If by chance he signs with another team, they won't necessarily be disappointed with a compensatory draft choice in return.
After the draft, the Packers will assess where they are at the position. If they happen to draft a quarterback in the mid rounds, they might just roll with Tolzien and a rookie. But if they don't draft one, or take one late in the draft, Flynn might be brought back to compete for a backup job once again.
Whatever happens, the Packers aren't about to get in a bidding war for Flynn's services.
Seneca Wallace––The Packers might feel comfortable that they could sign Wallace at mid-season if another unfortunate rash of injuries once again ravages the quarterback position, but that might be the only way he comes back to Green Bay.
Signing Flynn would be the priority before even considering Wallace.
NFL Draft Outlook
The Packers would probably like to add a quarterback in the draft. The question is, how high can they afford to draft one?
There's plenty of needs and holes on the team, particularly on the defensive side of the football. And in a perfect world, they won't need a backup quarterback to play a single meaningful snap for not only 2014, but the next several years.
There's no such thing as a perfect world, however. The Packers rudely found out in 2013 that they need a better Plan B.
Obviously there are no guarantees, but it wouldn't be surprising if the Packers drafted a quarterback as high as the third round if there's a player still available they find desirable.
Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email [email protected].
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