Within the building, the Green Bay Packers’ brass is pushing the “it’s time for Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins to step up” rhetoric.
However, the fact of the matter is, both players were abject failures in their second seasons after promising rookie campaigns. The trouble started when Sam Shields went down in week 1. That thrust Randall into the No. 1 corner spot, a job he wasn’t prepared for or good at. Injuries also forced Rollins out of his customary slot position to the outside, a role he couldn’t handle (although he didn’t handle the slot well either).
Shields isn’t coming back to… ahem… shield Randall and Rollins’ shortcomings in 2017.
The one Packers’ cornerback who did perform well at times in 2016 was LaDarius Gunter. Where Gunter failed was when the Packers decided to leave him one-on-one with some of the NFL’s top receivers. Up-and-down would be the best way to describe Gunter’s season. Just look at the playoffs. He shuts down Odell Beckham Jr. and then gets torched by Dez Bryant and Julio Jones in successive weeks.
We still like Gunter, but he needs to be an outside No. 2, a role where he’d be very solid.
The fact of the matter is, despite their lofty draft status — Randall was a first-round pick and Rollins a second-rounder — no one really has any idea what the Packers have in Randall and Rollins. Including, it seems, the Packers.
We could see one or both of them bounce back from their truly pathetic seasons like receiver Davante Adams did in 2016. They could also end up being busts.
Word on the street is, the Packers aren’t going to leave it up to chance (thank god).
Draft analyst Tony Pauline is reporting that the Packers are going to add more bodies at the position.
I asked a trusted source at the Green Bay Packers which direction they were moving towards free agency and the draft. His response? “Corners, lots of them.”
Pauline’s name isn’t instantly recognizable, but around this time last year, he reported that the Packers were looking to upgrade at left tackle. That turned out to be true. The Packers went and drafted Jason Spriggs in the second round.
In turn, David Bakhtiari started playing his ass off and earned himself a fat new contract. We’re not sure where Spriggs fits anymore, but that’s a discussion for a later date.
That calls into question the motivation of the leak. Did the Bakhtiari rumor get planted because the Packers wanted to motivate Bakhtiari? If it did, we can assume the point of this rumor is to motivate Randall and Rollins.
But why then bring in bodies that may never see the field?
For one, it’s added motivation for the underperforming player. Two, you’re hedging your bets in case that player doesn’t get the message. Three, you can never have enough quality football players. As we all know, the Packers may as well rename themselves the Bellin ICUs with all the injuries they have year after year after year.
To that last point, you shore up your most important positions: quarterback, left tackle, cornerback and, in theory, defensive line.
Perhaps we’re getting too far down the rabbit hole here. I mean, we’re giving the Packers’ front office an awful lot of credit in this scenario. When you take a step back and think about them potentially being so shrewd and calculating, it’s good for a chuckle.
But then, you’re probably picturing the chucklehead at the top, Ted Thompson. If you look slightly lower on the totem pole to a guy named Wolf, it might not be so far-fetched.