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Can The Packers Offense Carry Them Into The Playoffs?

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Can The Packers Offense Carry Them Into The Playoffs?

The 2017 season started off with a bang for the Packers as they looked to be among the leagues best.  They were 4-1 coming off of a thrilling win in Dallas which saw more heroics from Aaron Rodgers in the house that Jerry Jones built.  During this streak, the Packers were playing solid football, their offense was rolling, and they were among the favorites to dethrone the Atlanta Falcons and represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.  

In week six in Minnesota, the Packers championship aspirations came to a sudden end when Anthony Barr drove Aaron Rodgers to the turf and broke his collarbone.  Rodgers would not return until week 15 against Carolina where he was a shell of his former self.  The Packers fell to the Carolina Panthers and finished the season 7-9.  

The disappointing end to the season caused many changes to take place in the offseason which were headlined by the departures of Ted Thompson, Dom Capers, and Jordy Nelson among others.  As the Packers head into training camp, their offense will have many questions to answer for the upcoming season, such as whether they can keep Aaron Rodgers upright for a season, who will replace Jordy Nelson, and will the running game live up to expectations.  

Ultimately, the way in which the Packers offensive unit responds to these questions will determine whether or not their offensive firepower will be enough to carry them into the playoffs this January.     

Can the Offensive Line Keep Rodgers Upright?

As everyone knows well enough by now, keeping Aaron Rodgers protected and upright will always be the key to the Packers success.  If Aaron is given time to operate and move around in the pocket, he will be able to use his extraordinary talent to turn any wide receiver with physical talent and a work ethic into a playmaking threat.  However, keeping Aaron on his feet could be a daunting challenge during the early part of the season due to Brian Bulaga's uncertain injury prognosis.  

Bulaga who suffered his second torn ACL this past November is on the mend, but it is still uncertain whether or not he will make it back for week 1 against Chicago.  In the event that Bulaga starts the season on the PUP list, the Packers would have to counter with a right tackle by committee with the likes of Kyle Murphy, Lucas Patrick, and Jason Spriggs.  

Can the Run Game Live up to Expectations?

The Packers running game has been touted by many for much of this offseason as a positional group that is due for a breakout season in 2018.  Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones have emerged as players who figure to play a much larger role in the Packers offensive attack this season.  Unfortunately, word came down that Aaron Jones has been suspended for the first two games of the season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.  

During his absence, the Packers will rely heavily on Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery to take the bulk of the carries and help keep opposing defenses honest which will help in attempting to control the pace of the game.  The running game could really provide a shot in the arm for the Packers because it could alleviate some of the pressure on the week side of the line as well as provide some quick opportunities in the screen game.  

If the running back trio of Williams, Jones, and Montgomery progresses the way the many think they will, the Packers could be looking at a 1,800-yard rushing triumvirate in 2018 to go along with their prolific passing attack.  

How will the Packers Replace Jordy Nelson?  

The Packers wasted little time waiting to replace Jordy Nelson's on-field production as they acquired two towering tight end targets in Jimmy Graham and Marcedes Lewis.  Lewis will provide help in the blocking game and will serve primarily as a red zone target while Jimmy Graham will serve primarily in the slot and outside positions providing a formidable one-two punch with Davante Adams.  

A player who I look to have a resurgent season is Randall Cobb.  Over the past two seasons, Cobb's production has dropped due to the circumstances around him.  This year, I believe that the circumstances around him will turn around and work in his favor.  

For starters, Cobb will be able to exploit favorable matchups because of the opposing defenses' focus on Davante Adams and Jimmy Graham.  Furthermore, opposing defenses will have their attention compromised even further away from Cobb when the Packers are in the red zone because of the two 6'5 tight end sets that they will be sure to see.  Cobb could find himself as a primary target underneath resulting in some walk-in touchdowns.    

Another player that could make a significant jump in 2018 is Geronimo Allison.  Rodgers has shown his confidence in Allison over the past couple of years in key situations.  Allison will undoubtedly draw some favorable matchups and will have the opportunity to consistently expose the soft spots in the opponents' defense.

Can the Offense Carry the Packers to the Playoffs?

The Packers offense could face early challenges due to the absence of Brian Bulaga coupled with a lack of continuity with new members of their unit.  However, as the season progresses, I believe that the upside of this unit can produce an offensive output that will give opposing defenses nightmares after watching their exploits in the film room.  This Packers offense has the potential to be one of the most well balanced and complete offensive units that the Packers have had in quite some time.  

They have an all-time great quarterback, upstart runningbacks, a solid offensive line (when healthy), and tremendously skilled receivers/tight ends that allow for quite a diverse playbook.  With an improved defense expected in 2018, the Packers offensive unit should not incur any problems when driving the team towards the postseason this upcoming January.                

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David Michalski is a staff writer for Cheesehead TV. He can be found on Twitter @kilbas27dave 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (34) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

The offense is going to be fine. How many teams would love for their concern on offense to be "who will the 4th WR be?"

The defense is going to be the variable. Can Petines D be a a top 10 scoring D? I hope so.

Bearmeat's picture

Odds are against it for 2018. Too many moving pieces and new parts. A lot of youth and one scratch to CM3/Perry away from disaster at OLB.

If things drop right? Yes. But not likely for this year. Next year? Hell yeah.

Handsback's picture

JJ you are right....nuff said.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Yes and no.

While the offense has some real bright spots (QB, left side of O-Line, and TE), we have a lower eschalon group of running backs, a weak set of receivers, and a highly questionable right side of the line.

Look at the receivers. There is no Julio Jones here--no game-changing threat. Adams is good, but has a real concussion history. Cobb is inconsistent, dominating weak slot corners and getting owned by good ones--and he could go down any time. The rookies have real talent but have to develop, and Allison would be a serviceable 5th or 6th guy on most teams.

Davis, Clark, Kumerow...some possibilities, but no sure things.

The running backs have some talent--but so does every team. And I just don't know if the right side of our line can sustain a "team-carrying" attack. Maybe.

But Rodgers is awesome and Graham/Lewis are a terrific duo, so it's possible.

This is understandable after using so many high picks on defense the last several years.

We'll see.

Tarynfor12's picture

" Can the Packers offense carry them into the playoffs."

Wait, I thought it was the vast agreement, proved again last season, that having Rodgers makes the 'making the playoffs' automatic

The question should be...

" Will the Packers defense or it's yearly injury report carry the team out of the playoffs even if making them."

Oppy's picture

Twice in the same day?, we're off to a fabulous new season, Taryn.
I agree,

Tarynfor12's picture

You understand agreeing with me tends to attract many dislikes regardless of whether right/wrong. : )

Oppy's picture

Taryn, I rarely agree with you, but as far as your likes/dislikes around here, you have to admit, you sometimes seem to go out of your way to make yourself a pariah. It seems you kind of relish it.

As I've mentioned before, I think a lot of it has to do with your writing style. I know '61 recently applauded it, and I certainly don't mean to imply you should change it, but when your posts are cryptic instead of straight forward you can be assured people will misinterpret your intent or simply be frustrated.

Bearmeat's picture

I believe the correct word is martyr.

The TKstinator's picture

Isn’t a pariah one of those royal dudes from Egypt with the guyliner?

dobber's picture

No, it's the chick The Knack was singing about....

Since '61's picture

Dobber - you have earned another cookie for that one! Thanks, Since '61

Demon's picture

I have my own anti-fan club also.

The TKstinator's picture

Can I join?
~~~~~

dobber's picture

" I thought it was the vast agreement, proved again last season, that having Rodgers makes the 'making the playoffs' automatic"

Up 'til last year when the Saints defense finally stepped up, Drew Brees might have had a beef with that argument.

Hawg Hanner's picture

The defense has to at the least be much better than last year. Couldn't get any worse. There is fresh talent and thankfully new coaching with a new scheme. Have to be optimistic about the season. As bad as the defense was the Pack was still competitive. Should be a fun year to be a fan

Since '61's picture

Yes, the Packers offense can carry them into the playoffs. It's really can Aaron Rodgers carry the team into the playoffs? We know the answer to that question is yes.

As Taryn correctly points out how far will the defense enable the Packers to go? Rodgers and the offense can get to the playoffs but can the defense keep the high powered playoff offensive teams in check? Probably too much to ask for this season. Unless they gel and get hot in time for the playoff run.

Remaining healthy will also be a key for the defense to succeed since there is not very much proven depth at OLB, ILB or in the secondary. Let's first make it through the preseason healthy and go from there. Thanks, Since '61

porupack's picture

I no longer believe this offense rides on ARodgers shoulders. For the first time, I have no reservations that this offense is good all around, with or without Rodgers.

Hundley was a flop as a #2 (but not giving up on him yet). And if Kizer can be coached up, a decent #2 quarterback can win at least 50 -60% of the 2018 schedule. Even Case Keenum could get this offense to the playoffs.

This is a unit of 9-strong, above average talent out of 11 offensive players.
I don't share the angst at all about rookie WRs. At least 5 young WRs have the tools, and its coaching and scheme for them to be big contributor to the offense; ....at the very least Gute has played the odds; of 1 out of 6 (below defacto #3 Allison) will break out.
This offense is really good.

Since '61's picture

Porupack - I love your optimism but I'm not as confident as you are that this offense can win without Rodgers. At least not yet. There is plenty of versatility on this offense, especially if Monty and Aaron Jones are healthy but Rodgers is the one who holds it all together and makes it go. Rodgers can overcome the questions marks on the right side of the OL and the lack of a game break WR. I need to see more of what DeKizer can do before I have confidence that he is a playoff QB.

Maybe I will be proven wrong, although I hope it is not necessary (because that would mean Rodgers is injured) but we have seen Rodgers put this team on his back and carry them into the playoffs before. I don't think DeKizer and the younger players are quite ready to take that on yet. But who knows, anything can happen. Thanks, Since '61

porupack's picture

I respect that opinion, and history to date is on your side that without Rodgers things fall apart. The QB variable is the biggest part of the falloff (yes, Rodgers). But now I see that MM could insert a run heavy offense, and for first time the TE group could save a decent backup, and WRs should get separation. Friendly bet that I'm right and this year the offense rolls (even with a backup( who comes in during 4th quarter leads)).

porupack's picture

I respect that opinion, and history to date is on your side that without Rodgers things fall apart. The QB variable is the biggest part of the falloff (yes, Rodgers). But now I see that MM could insert a run heavy offense, and for first time the TE group could save a decent backup, and WRs should get separation. Friendly bet that I'm right and this year the offense rolls (even with a backup( who comes in during 4th quarter leads)).

Demon's picture

I have to correct youu on this one 61. There is zero proven depth at OLB or ILB. The closest thing we have is Gilbert. A former UDFA with 2 years on the practice squad and 2 games on the active roster.

Since '61's picture

White_tornado - I yield to your correction. You are right, there is zero proven depth in the LB corps. Who knows even how Gilbert will perform if he needs to take on a full time role. Excellent point on your part. Thanks, Since '61

PAPackerbacker's picture

Remaining healthy is the path to a successful run in the playoffs. If the defense can finish the season as strong as the offense and stop teams on third down then the Packers will be go far in the playoffs. Maybe even to the Super Bowl.

CJ Bauckham's picture

Can The Packers Offense Carry Them Into The Playoffs?

'This article addresses the question of whether the Packers offense can carry them into the playoffs this upcoming season.'

This headline/blurb combo on the home page had me cracking up. Nailed it.

LayingTheLawe's picture

A lot of players are being counted on for things they have either never done or haven't done for years. Adams needs to be that number one receiver with 1300 yards and 90 catches, Cobb needs to be 1000 yards as well, Graham needs to be on the field a lot and have 700 plus yards, one of the backs has to step forward and be a 1000 yard rusher or a combination of two need to have 600 yards each. Someone in the pool of receivers has to be a good number three guy with over 600 yards and be a touchdown threat.

The offensive line appears decent and Rodgers is there, and he makes everyone else look better. But a lot of players are either being asked to do something they never have or to go back to performance from 4 or 5 years ago. I think there are more questions than most people seem to think exist.

dobber's picture

"A lot of players are being counted on for things they have either never done or haven't done for years."

Add something about health here and you have the modern NFL in brief.

PAPackerbacker's picture

As long as there are no major injuries to key players, HELL YES!!! The Packers offense can and will carry the team into the playoffs. With Rodgers healthy and the depth the Packers now have at WR and TE and RB. You bet they can!! The defense is where the issues may arise, especially at LB and the secondary. But with Tramon Williams back and the talented CB's the Packers got in the draft and Pettine in charge, the defense should improve immensely over last year, hopefully in the top 10. And with a top 10 defense the Packers bring the Lombardi trophy back to Titletown!! It has to be a balanced team, both offense and defense. The offense will do their part, no question about it, as long as they stay healthy.

Samson's picture

Can the "O" carry this team? ---No.
AR can no longer be counted on to carry the Pack into the playoffs. --- Who's the second best player on the offense?

I have no idea.

Oppy's picture

David Bakhtiari followed closely by Davante Adams, without hesitation

Samson's picture

An offensive lineman and a WR who has never had a 1000 yard season.

See the problem---????

Oppy's picture

The second most important position on offense and the only WR in the NFL with 70+ catches and 10 + TD's over the last two years.

You are seeing problems that don't exist.

Bure9620's picture

Yes it can and it will. If this defense can be top 15 then they have a chance. The defense needs to get off on 3rd down and long. They dont have to be the Jags, just solid.

PAPackerbacker's picture

I agree with you 100%. If the defense can finish in the top 15 they have a chance. If the defense can finish in the top 10 they will bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Titletown!! Go ! Pack! Go!

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