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The Packers Offense Needs More Speed

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The Packers Offense Needs More Speed

The wish list a fan has for their team in the offseason is always long. Much of the discussion around the Packers has understandably been about the cornerback, linebacker and tight end positions.

I agree these are all areas Green Bay must address, but I hope Packers fans, and more importantly the Packers' top brass, haven't forgotten the lessons that the 2015 season taught about lacking speed on your offense.

So, I would like to add offensive speed to my Packers wish list.

Perhaps more specifically, I am adding the development and improved implementation of speed to my wish list. I think the Packers have identified this as a need as well and are hoping their late-round draft investments in Jeff Janis and Trevor Davis pay off in the area of pure speed not only on special teams but also on offense.

It seems increasingly possible that Janis is destined to remain primarily a great gunner on punt coverage and a gadget play recipient on offense.

He still has a chance to develop into a serviceable wide receiver. More time in the playbook and working on route running would have to improve his ability to play wideout on some level.

However, like many fans, I think Janis' presence on the field more often could make a difference because speed, and the threat of what can happen, changes things for an offense. Janis simply streaking down the field, either from the outside or the slot, once or twice per half even if the ball doesn't go his direction, will stretch the defense.

The very presence of speed makes a difference.

We are all on our tippy-toes waiting for the phone notification that Jared Cook has been re-signed. Most of us, as noted here on CheeseheadTV, would also like to see a second tight end threat emerge as well. What clears out the underneath space in a defense for a tight end to work  - or for a Davante Adams slant, or Ty Montgomery running a route from the backfield, or Randall Cobb on a short in-route - better than speed at wideout?

Trevor Davis could be another key to the development of a faster offense. We saw him make some plays at receiver, particularly a contested touchdown catch on the sideline against the Atlanta Falcons in the regular season.

This is evidence that Davis could develop into more of a pure receiver, perhaps more so than Janis.

Running a 4.42 40-yard dash in last year's NFL combine workout, Davis has the natural ability to stretch defenses.

Some have commented on Davis' lack of bulk to play wideout, but at 6'1" tall and about 190 pounds, he is a little bigger than Desean Jackson who is 5'10" tall and about 175 pounds. Jackson's impact on the field throughout his career cannot be denied, despite a slight frame. Not to mention, players continue to develop physically after they enter the NFL. It is now their full time job. Davis will bulk up if it's keeping him off the field.

I am aware that football is as much, if not more, a game about quickness in small space than it is long-distance, Olympic-form track speed. I know the Packers have guys who are quick, or at least quick enough. Returning from a torn ACL and probably being a step slower didn't stop Jordy Nelson from leading the NFL in touchdown catches and winning the Comeback Player of the Year Award. Davante Adams' footwork at the line of scrimmage is quick-twitch and he tied for second in the NFL in touchdown catches with 12.

However, pure speed has a ripple effect on an offense and makes the good things that are already happening even better.

Speed scares opponents. Technique is essential, otherwise Janis would play more than Adams, but speed is an element that cannot be coached and the Packers need more of it.

Or rather, the Packers need to see the investments they have already made via the draft become better at offering their speed in useful ways in game time, so we can avoid, at least in part, those frustrating game situations in which the Packers' receivers are covered like white on rice...On a paper plate in a snowstorm covered in sour cream and vanilla ice cream. You get it.

Go Pack Go.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (11) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Savage57's picture

It's not only the fact the Packers are by and large, slow, especially on the defensive side of the ball, but the problem is exacerbated by the lack of quicks or burst.

I was excited by Randall and Rollins ability to react and play the ball during their rookie seasons, but that seems to have evaporated.

It adds up to a lot of chasing, which Packers fans have seen more than enough of over the past several seasons.

JacFrost's picture

You cant coach speed you have to draft it. Lacy and starks had no speed. Janis does and bench sits and davis, did he even play last year. Mike m runs a simplistic offence with very little slants patterns and very lttle action play out the back field. Those are compliczted plays that require speed and practice and mike hates both.

marpag1's picture

Slants and play action are NOT complicated and certainly do not require more speed than any other sort of play.

croatpackfan's picture

Davis had touchdown against Atlanta, do you forget it? Very nice TD catch..

Lphill's picture

The only thing the Packers offense needs is more 3 and outs from the defense so Rodgers gets the ball more. That's all .

MarkinMadison's picture

I agree. Speed is needed. Davis can provide. Janis doesn't need time in the playbook, he needs a hands transplant. Jordy being back is important, but Jordy also used to provide speed, not just height. And Jordy is getting older, if nothing else. I think he has already lost a step, but even if you think he hasn't, he must soon.

fthisJack's picture

Janis is a waste of a roster spot at this point. even his ST play is hit and miss. move on from him and find someone else in the draft.

David Davis's picture

I couldn't agree more. No disrespect to Martinez who played decent and Thomas who played about as good as he can play but I'm tired of seeing slow ass Linebackers. It's time to put some stock in a position that Ted Thompson has otherwise avoided.

dobber's picture

In an age of NFL ball where teams like the Packers only play base defense about 30% of the time, why are you going to put tremendous resources into the position that's the first one off the field when your team goes nickel or dime (you know, the 70% of the time the defense is on the field)? Last I saw, ILB was not the reason this defense went into the tank in 2016.

Turophile's picture

For more speed, how about spending a 7th rounder on Lamar CB Brendan Langley. 6'0", 200lb and (probably) sub 4.4 speed. Now that is a triangle of numbers a coach can work with.

He might simply be awful at CB, I have no idea, really, but he has rare physical gifts. Keep an eye out for him at the combine in a few days.

dobber's picture

Another conversion project (has played only 2 seasons at CB)? I hear the wolves howling...

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