It's going to be a hard offseason for Packer fans and the Packers offense heading into 2011.
Because there is absolutely nothing to complain about. Whether it's the 2011 free-agents coming or going, or the NFL draft in April, no matter what transpires, Packer fans can't say a single word.
Myself included. Let's take a look.
The Packers are obviously set at starting quarterback. I don't think we can debate that anymore. It's possible, although I think unlikely, that the Packers move Matt Flynn; but regardless, knowing Ted Thompson, the value will be off the charts. If so, the backers have a developmental guy in Harrell, and there are plenty of 1-2 game veterans available if needed. If a value guy like Flynn falls in Ted's lap in the draft, don't be surprised to a see a third guy in camp.
Move along now, nothing to see here.
Ryan Grant. It sounds nice to say doesn't it. I'll be pretty happy when I see that he is truly healed and ready to go. He's the starter, and even with James "Walter Payton" Starks, that's not going to change if Grant is healthy.
This leaves Brandon Jackson as the odd man out, and coming off a Superbowl, he knows this is his best chance to get a nice payday. I'd like to see Jackson stay, his backfield blocking was invaluable to this year's Superbowl run. However, I can't see a Rosenhaus guy sticking around for what looks like a limited role at best. If I had to guess, I would say Brandon Jackson is not a Packer next year and is replaced by a similar back in the draft with that same kind of pass protection notability.
Not a hole is sight. See what I did there?
John Kuhn will be a Packer and the starting fullback. If you're John Kuhn, you know you're not "John Kuuuhn" anywhere else but in Green Bay. Kuhn is sticking around.
I imagine Korey Hall will be gone, and that Quinn Johnson may just be the odd man in at this point, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Packers only keep one fullback this season either. Quinn Johnson has shown he is not the answer, and with the emergence of James Starks, you could see the Packers start implementing a Starks and Grant combo package much like the Giants do with Brandon Jacobs. Not to mention the success of the tight ends in the backfield last season.
Ultimately, Quinn Johnson's fate may be in the hands of Andrew Quarless, but I think the Packers keep two fullbacks and three tight ends.
Not a bad problem to have.
Oh Jermichael Finley, how nice it will be to have you terrorizing the field instead of terrorizing Twitter. Besides getting himself a copy of "How to Come Up with a Decent Acronym" Finley doesn't have to do a whole lot but stay healthy. It will be nice to have a superstar in the making back on the field.
The Packers next best tight end is hands down Tom Crabtree. The guy is an absolute beast. No, he's not like Finley and that is exactly what the Packers need. The Packers needs a second tight end that can block at the line and in the back field. Tom Crabtree is that dude. On top of that he plays special teams like a man possessed. Number two tight end all-day. End of discussion.
Don't get me wrong, I like Quarless too, and I think he has a spot on the roster. He will need to make great strides in 2011 though.
See you later Donald Lee. No complaints from me.
We all know that Greg Jennings could play all five wide receiver positions simultaneously, but unfortunately the league requires that you have 11 men on the field. Either way, number one is locked down for a long time to come. The big change, if any this season, will be the crowning of the starting number two.
I've said that Donald Driver will start playing a reduced role in the offense, and you saw shades of it last season. Much in the same fashion as you saw Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt fade, I think Driver inevitably goes along the same path. Donald Driver needs to go out the same way he came in... humble. He has a great opportunity to play a huge part in 2011 as a role player both on and off the field. If I know anything about Donald Driver, he'll do just that.
This leaves us with the never ending question of Jordy Nelson or James Jones at number two. I'll answer it for you. James Jones will be a Packer and the number two guy next season. Packer fans are riding James Jones way harder than the Packers are. James Jones is good, period. He had some drops no doubt. So did everyone else. Have you caught a ball from Aaron Rodgers lately? That's what I thought.
Now mind you, I don't want to take anything away from our Superbowl MVP either. He did a great job, doing what he does best at the number three slot. Like I said before the playoffs (and was bemoaned by Aaron Nagler) I thought the Packers would use Jordy much like they used Finley. With Quarless not filling the void left by Jermichael, the Packers turned to Jordy to run over the middle. It's something Nelson has always done well, and I expect that to remain his role through 2011.
Jordy would be a fine number two receiver.
Just not if you also have James Jones and Greg Jennings.
You'll see a receiver in this draft. Mark it down. The question is whether he can fight off Brett Swain.
Wide Receivers: Check.
If you remember, I was really rooting for the Packers to take Pouncey at center last season. Perhaps I was a year premature, and Scott Wells knocked it out of the park this season, but the Packers still have to start thinking about addressing the future of the center position.
You can re-sign Spitz as some insurance, buy I don't think he's the long term answer. I expect the Packers to draft a solid pure center at some point. With one year left on Wells' deal, it's the perfect time to get a guy that has a year to learn.
Again, no one can complain about Wells. I like it.
I don't really care if Daryn Colledge stays or goes, but if he does, I think the Packers have it covered. I think they re-sign Spitz, but don't be surprised to see McDonald come out of nowhere and dominate at guard in training camp. The Packers really like him if he can move along quickly. Of course, the Packers will take a guard somewhere a long the way. However, will he be a factor, or even need to be?
Probably not. Cross that off the list.
Chad Clifton back. Bryan Bulaga back. Two things I really like to hear right now. Another thing I would really like to hear is the Packers picking up another tackle somewhere along the way. T.J. Lang is definitely serviceable, but unless Tauscher comes back as a healthy substitute, the Packers need one more guy at the position.
I think this will be the biggest grumble you hear from Packer fans until after the draft.
Like I said, kind of boring and uneventful to say the least. How will Packer fans deal with not being able to bemoan every single offensive move made in the 2011 off-season? More importantly how will I survive?
I can't think of a time when the Packers looked better on offense going into a season than they do right now. I hope the average Packer fan realizes that.
I'll take a look at the defense next week.
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