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Packers Will Field a Veteran, Talent-laden Offensive Juggernaut in 2021

I think it’s fair to say the Packers’ offensive output shocked us all last season. Sure, the optimists among us expected improvement over 2019, but who would have predicted the Pack would be the top scoring team in the league?

The Packers finished last season with the following rankings: 5th in total offensive yards; 9th in passing yards; 8th in rushing yards; and 11th in receiving yards. In 2019, they respectively ranked 18th, 17th, 15th, and 19th. That’s an across-the-board explosion in just one year’s time.

Remember how everyone was predicting Green Bay would be regressing in 2020? That they’d be fighting to make the playoffs? Just a few weeks ago, the same dire warnings were being sounded as the 2021 season was looming. Though we are still in the midst of assembling the 2021 roster, and regardless of how the draft goes at the end of April, Green Bay appears ready to again field a powerhouse offense in the upcoming campaign.

Jan 24, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (17) runs the ball against Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davis (24) during the fourth quarter in the NFC Championship Game at Lambeau Field. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Just think of it. Aaron Rodgers is at the pinnacle of his wondrous career. So is Davante Adams, who just had his best year ever in terms of touchdowns (18), receptions (115), receiving yards per game (98.1), and first downs (74). The returning Aaron Jones just had his best year in terms of rushing yardage (1,104) and rushing yards per game (78.4). Adams and Jones reached their career-highs despite missing two games apiece.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (83) celebrates a 78-yard touchdown reception with offensive guard Elgton Jenkins (74) against Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback in the second quarter Sunday, November 15, 2020, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.

The offensive line of 2020 featured three guys at the top of their games: tackle David Bakhtiari, guard Elgton Jenkins, and center Corey Linsley. Though Bakhtiari is expected to miss the early portion of the year, he’s coming off two first-team All-Pro seasons in the past three years. Jenkins is rock-solid and versatile – he was named a starting Pro Bowler in his second pro season. Though Linsley will not be returning, both Jenkins and Lucas Patrick have shown they can be capable centers. Many think Billy Turner had his best season last year, and he’s signed up in Green Bay through 2022. The O-line will be fine.

Guard Lane Taylor (65) runs a drill with the offensive line during Green Bay Packers training camp at Ray Nitschke Field Tuesday, July 30, 2019, in Ashwaubenon, Wis.

Additionally, Lane Taylor should be fully recovered from the knee injury he suffered in the first game of 2020 – he had won the starting job at right guard prior to the injury. Also, Jon Runyan impressed the coaching staff in fill-in roles last season – he’ll be competing for a starting job. Finally, second-year man Yosh Nijman will be coming back after an elbow injury ended his 2020 season, and Simon Stepaniak has great promise to develop due to his strength and physique.

Though Rick Wagner proved to be beatable by quick pass rushers, replacing him should not pose a major challenge. The O-line might not match the talent of last year’s group, but they won’t be far behind it.

At backup running back, I assume Jamaal Williams has departed, but bruising A.J. Dillon is cause for excitement as he enters his second year. Coaches LaFleur and Hackett will have two highly different running styles at their command and, depending on a defense’s players and alignments, should provide many favorable matchups. The Pack’s run game should be the most potent we’ve seen in over a decade.

Nov 29, 2020; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard (13) catches a pass in the end zone for a touchdown in the second quarter during the game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

At wide receiver, even though the unit might get some help via new acquisitions, Davante’s supporting cast comes back enriched by another year of experience with the team and the play book. Marquez Valdes-Scantling (age 26), Allen Lazard (25), Malik Taylor (25), and Equanimeous St. Brown (only 24) are all just about to enter their prime years. All but Taylor are about to begin their fourth year with the organization. Throw in veterans Tyler Ervin (who ended the season on injured reserve) and Tavon Austin, and you’ve got a diverse group that includes size, speed, route-running talent, and big play ability. I’m not really expecting that Devin Funchess will make it onto the roster.

If the Packers indeed retain Robert Tonyan, they will be all set at tight end. If not, they are still deep at the position with Marcedes Lewis, Josiah Deguara, Jace Sternberger, and Dominique Dafney. Deguara was showing promise before going down with an ACL injury in Week 5. I’m eager to see more of Dafney, who has impressive size and athleticism. Sternberger has so far failed to live up to expectations. Lewis might hang on with the team for one more year due to his blocking excellence.

All in all, this unit is blessed with superstars (Rodgers, Adams, Jones, Bakhtiari), emerging stars (Jenkins, Dillon, Tonyan), and a bunch of young guys who now have a number of years under development with the team.

Even without taking into account any additional veteran acquisitions or high draft choices, Green Bay is locked and loaded for another blockbuster offensive campaign. If they happen to acquire an offensive player who is pro-ready in round one or two of the draft, this offensive team should statistically surpass even last season’s surprising production.

Coming soon: the two ways Green Bay can eventually conquer its continuing salary cap demons.

Tags:
Rob Born

Smart drafters don’t select the best available players, they fill a team’s positions of greatest need.

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30 Comments

  1. PF4L March 18, 2021

    The ultimate optimist….
    .
    “Marquez Valdes-Scantling (age 26), Allen Lazard (25), Malik Taylor (25), and Equanimeous St. Brown (only 24) are all just about to enter their prime years.
    .
    I’m hoping prime…isn’t the same as peaked
    .
    So…we’re good here?

    Reply
    1. Mick March 19, 2021

      Don’t know about that; but Miami just put the Will Fuller wish list to bed!

      Reply
  2. Dean March 18, 2021

    I see Chicago released Fuller. Gute wanted Fuller back in 2018 and offered a 4 year deal for him which the bears matched. Fuller and Alexander at CB last 2 years would have been awesome. Maybe Gute (and Amos) will try to get Fuller now?

    Reply
  3. Mick March 19, 2021

    On another note, the Patriots plucked M. Adams from GB. Since Belichick is defensive guru, he likes something about Adams. The good part is GB will have to address DL either in FA or the draft. The bad part is, they might be forced to keep Lowry! One thing is for sure, knowing how Gute operates; expect the unexpected—–again.

    Reply
    1. PF4L March 19, 2021

      He’s going to draft another QB in round 1?
      Oh Snap!!

      Reply
    2. PF4L March 19, 2021

      What is it with 3rd round draft picks of the Packers the last 10 years.

      Can we get lucky and find a quality starter…once?

      Reply
      1. Mick March 19, 2021

        I hear ya, man! Kind of makes you wonder about their talent evaluators. Rounds 1 thru 4 should be the backbone in team building. They seem to love getting those 5,6 and 7th round picks..Nagler, on his sight mentions; “the more picks you acquire, the better chance on hitting on something”. I disagree with that theory. If a lot of the players on your team are 5,6 and 7th rounders, and 3rd tier FA signings; (ahem); and on top of that, sometimes wasting picks in rounds 1 thru 4, you are relying on a whim and a prayer for improvement!

        Reply
        1. PF4L March 19, 2021

          lol…you go on that site?

          You must see me over there winning friends:)

          Reply
          1. PF4L March 19, 2021

            *Making friends*
            ******************
            buddrow53
            .
            March 19, 2021 at 06:49 am
            .
            I agree, the powers to be have faith in their drafting. Look at the negative nellies on all these boards that wanted to shitcan our wrs over the last 10-15 years after 1 or 2 years.
            .
            James Jones Adams, mvs so on. I just shake my head!
            .
            The sky is falling!!!!!!
            *******************************
            PF4L
            .
            March 19, 2021 at 10:20 am
            .
            I never questioned Jones or Adams. I always said about Adams that Rodgers and McCarthy see something in him and that’s why he got so many chances. But even in Adams first two seasons, he had a higher catch rate than MVS has had in his 3 year career.
            .
            MVS won’t be cut because he makes flash plays on the cheap, he won’t let the team cut him.
            .
            BUT….once he’s looking for that huge raise in his 2nd contract it could be a different story.
            Most receivers who have a career target catch rate of 52% don’t make the 53 man roster. So this is a big year for him.
            .
            If this is anyway confusing…i apologize.

            Reply
          2. PF4L March 19, 2021

            PF4L

            March 19, 2021 at 10:43 am
            .
            Lphill……congrats for having some understanding and vision. That is sorely lacking in this sheep herd.
            .
            Like you said, it isn’t just about Jordan Love and whether he will be a starting QB in this league. That is secondary.
            .
            What the sheep don’t get, is the big picture, the true cost of drafting Jordan Love.
            .
            It cost us a 1st round pick, and a 4th round pick, that could have helped the team win…..now.
            .
            For every year that Love sits out, you are missing 2 players, each season under a rookie contract. That could be helping the team….. win now.
            .
            Make no mistake people….Jordan Love costing 2 draft picks, sitting on the bench in no way shape or form, helps the Packers ….win now.
            .
            It was a foolish draft pick while your at the end of Rodgers AND the Packers Super Bowl window.
            .
            Damn foolish

            Reply
          3. Mick March 19, 2021

            Yup, and think about how foolish it will be if they end up trading him, or worse yet, he ends up being a bust. Besides that, the rest of the 2020 draft class have a lot to prove! ?????

            Reply
          4. PF4L March 19, 2021

            The 2020 draft class has everything to prove. But to be fair, they are only 1 year in. You can’t fully judge a freshman class after only one season, even though they are all bench players.

            Reply
  4. stiggy March 19, 2021

    Everyone keeps talking about all these potential new players and im a tad annoyed that we arent hearing anything about Cordarelle Patterson coming to GB.
    *
    He could fill that ervin role with a faster and more durable player

    *

    He would give us our best returner since Desmond Howard.

    *

    He wont break the bank.

    *

    These are the kind of signings that put your team over the top. They have the star players….what the packers dont have…are the role players…and make no mistake..it was the Scottie Miller type players that made the difference in the NFCCG

    Reply
    1. PF4L March 19, 2021

      It was also the Kevin King type of player that made a difference in the NFCCG.

      Reply
      1. Mick March 19, 2021

        How true; King needs to be gone. The defense has been a sore spot for a decade now. Let’s hope for 2 things on the D. #1; let’s hope Barry has a capable plan, and #2; hope Gute acquires the personnel needed for Barry to succeed. Stig does have a point here. Patterson does have the attention of every team he lines up against, and he would also be a help at WR. Still, filling in the defensive holes is of most importance.

        Reply
        1. PF4L March 19, 2021

          Patterson was paid 5 million/year over the last 2 season, for really not much more than returning kickoffs.

          Maybe at vet minumum, otherwise pass.

          Reply
          1. stiggy March 19, 2021

            Patterson had a shitty quarterback and a coaching staff who used him as a RB half the time. He becomes a lot more effective playing the Ervin role.

            But for 5 mill a year…yeah id pass too.

            Reply
  5. PF4L March 19, 2021

    I think we could agree 2020 was pretty much a shitty year for almost everyone.

    In 2021 for Deshaun Watson, it might be worse.

    Reply
  6. PF4L March 19, 2021

    Interesting Fact: Dak Prescott will receive a combined total of $106.4 million dollars in his 2020 and 2021 seasons, two seasons. Only in America.

    In 16 seasons…the Green Bay Packers paid Brett Favre a total of 98.2 million.
    .
    I can remember some players back in the 90’s….pissing and moaning that they can’t retire for the rest of their life after playing 4 or 5 years.
    .
    During all that time, Rodger Goodell is in charge of the health and business financials of the league and grew the league and income to record growth.
    What did the players do……..they blasted and talked down about Goodell every chance they got.
    Why?…because when they got in trouble or broke NFL rules, they didn’t like being disciplined.
    .
    Goodell is booed by fans to this day because of it.

    Reply
    1. Mick March 19, 2021

      It sure is sickening when I hear some of these rich, pampered athletes whine about how they think they deserve special treatment. 32 organizations are giddy about what Goodell has brought to the league. The players are the biggest beneficiaries of what he has done, yet; he gets blasted for discipline. The problem is todays society believing that those players are the victims.

      Reply
      1. PF4L March 19, 2021

        Todays society…..

        If you aren’t a victim, you ain’t trying.

        Reply
        1. Mick March 21, 2021

          LOL; another thing I’ve heard back in the 90s’, some players whining about not being able to feed their families with the money they signed for; all while wearing a quarter million dollars worth of jewelry on their selves and driving vehicles you and I can only dream of!!!!!

          Reply
          1. PF4L March 21, 2021

            Whoa whoa whoa…..don’t pretend you know my financial status or my buying power.
            .
            I’ll have you know i’ve been getting .25 raises from Fleet Farm…annually for 18 years. That alone is $4.50/hr…just in raises since 2003.
            .
            That’s not even counting the time i slept with my supervisor before my review 9 years ago. That was good for an additional .10 an hr. Sure, it doesn’t seem like much, but when you multiply it out over 9 years, that’s a good chunk of change my friend.
            .
            Now add in the fact i won $50 in SuperCash a few years ago.
            Plus the fact i put 1.5% of my pay into a 401K, and you can see
            i’m going to be knee deep in cash after retirement.
            .
            If i keep getting the overtime i’ve been getting so far, i see hitting the $27,000 mark this year my good man.
            .
            Nothing to scoff at.
            ******************************
            Lets try to keep this about football. Like most people well off financially, i’m uncomfortable talking about my wealth.

            Reply
  7. Howard March 20, 2021

    I feel that LaFleur and his coaching staff will have the team ready. I’m not sure I would look at the roster at this time and think offensive juggernaut 2021.
    .
    Looking at the WRs it would be good to add a true fast slot receiver and a #2 big receiver. The team is not very deep at WR. However, LaFleur showed last year that may not matter. If Tonyan is retained I feel good about the TEs. Not very many teams (2) have averaged over 2.9 passing TDs a game in the last ten years. How many more can you throw? It feels good having Jones teamed with Dillion. Again some depth other than Dexter Williams would be good, unless Williams has his head into the game.
    .
    QB no worry.
    .
    I always relate the offensive line to the tires on a high performance race car or off road truck. If one or two of your tires go flat and you don’t have very good spares you are screwed. I don’t think we can ignore the fact that two of the top offensive linemen at their positions in the NFL will be missing for all or the majority of next year. Add in a couple of other offensive linemen potentially playing at different positions than 2020 and you could see some blown out tires without adequate spares available.
    .
    No doubt Stenavich had the offensive linemen prepared for almost anything last year. It gives you a good feeling what Stenavich and the offensive line did last year with all the injuries. However, this is a new year and the offensive will have some new and rotated tires. If anything can disrupt, and slow down a high performance race car, it has having some tires fail without adequate spares.
    .
    Except for injury at a certain position, the offensive line is the one thing I would be concerned with at slowing down the “offensive Juggernaut”.

    Reply
    1. PF4L March 21, 2021

      Well said as usual Howard…..
      .
      I’m worried about the O line every season, mainly because games are won and lost up front in most games.
      That’s my belief anyway.
      .
      When i watch what the Bucs front 7 did to us and what they did to the Chiefs, it just strengthens my theory.
      ***************************
      As far as the need for a slot receiver, solid #2, i couldn’t agree more.
      Rodgers and LaFleur made do without it, but more from necessity.
      In 2019 it was Jones who helped pick up the slack with 19 TD’s
      In 2020 it was Jones and Tonyan who picked up the slack with 11 TD’s each.
      .
      Hopefully…..when the Packers are threatening to score and have first and goal at the 2 yard line, maybe LaFleur will use Dillon this season and pound it in.
      .
      The one other thing that could go against them is that other teams pay attention when you lead the league in scoring. They’ll look at tape on what you did well, and what you didn’t do well, and game plan accordingly. That’s the theory anyway.
      .
      It’s like…..when a hot shot overhyped “running” QB comes into the league, they usually have very good 1st seasons, but, the year after, teams adjust and it’s usually a different story.
      See Cam Newton, RG III, Lamar Jackson, etc
      .
      Note: Teams are still trying to deal with Jackson as a rusher, because that’s what he does best, no doubt about it, he’s quick and he’s a smart runner.
      The downside is, despite the protection rules, he’s bound to get injured with all those rushing attempts.
      Not to mention he’s fumbled the ball 30 times in his short career.
      .
      But yea, if a teams not ready for him, that dude is a handful.
      .
      * A running QB has a huge advantage over a rb in that….the play has already developed and the running QB can pick his running lane accordingly. Run to daylight so to speak.

      Reply
      1. Mick March 21, 2021

        With Jones signed, and Dillons’ power, La Fleur needs to emphasize running the ball more in enemy territory. I can guess that when GB is in the red zone, they’ll more often than not; keep passing the ball. Rodgers is great, I get it! He has the coaches blessing on changing the play as he sees fit. Sometimes, to a detriment. Opposing defenses understand GB likes to throw in the red zone, and game plan to stop it. The combination of the D game planning, and the field being shorter; your taller receivers are your surest bet to succeed, unless the receiver fakes out the DBs; which is harder in the shorter field. I’d like to see a 50/50 run-pass plan down in the red zone, especially with our 2 RBs. Many times I’ve heard our O-Lineman state they love the idea of run blocking. Running the ball is an attitude O-linemen thrive on. Also running the ball with a brute like Dillon inside the 5 yard line demoralizes a defense, and wears them down. Rodgers is getting older, and has to realize he doesn’t need to do it all and be the hero on every red zone opportunity. I’d like to see the 2 RBs’ more involved inside the 50 yard line and the red zone.

        Reply
        1. PF4L March 21, 2021

          Good post Mick.
          .
          It’s just my opinion…but if a guy can throw for over 4,200 yards, toss 48 TD’s and only 5 picks. Have a passer rating of 121.5 and a QBR of 84.4. Complete of 70% of his passes.
          .
          I say, i’ll live with his detriment, don’t change a thing.
          ****************************************
          But…how about….a new cornerback? THAT….was an actual detriment. A detriment of getting to the Super Bowl
          **************************************
          Aaron Rodgers is just fine.
          .
          Is it possible….can this team……will this team ever……when will the team….can the team get serious finally and……
          ………address the problems on the team?
          .
          Stop fucking around!!

          Reply
          1. PF4L March 21, 2021

            The last i checked….The goal is always…..always…winning a Super Bowl.

            Since when the fuck is drafting Love and other bench players the path to that goal?
            .
            Stop fucking around.
            .
            I don’t know what pisses me off more, Gute drafting for the future, or some Packer fans who defend it.
            .
            Can anyone, anyone…..tell me how drafting Love and bench players, are helping this team get to a SB now, while ignoring team needs?
            (intelligent answers only please)
            .
            If anyone tells me we needed….to use the 12th pick to draft a 3rd edge rusher to sit on the bench after spending over 100 million on two free agents, i’ll just tell you to F O now.
            .
            If anyone even mentions the name Jordan Love, i’ll just tell you to F O now.
            .
            If anyone tells me they needed to draft a rb in the 2nd round, i’ll just tell you to F O now.
            None of those 3 picks helped this team get to a SB, and NONE of them addressed problem area’s on the team, but it cost us 4 draft picks.
            .
            If you want to bring up Josh Jackson, that’s ok, i could use a good laugh.
            .
            Sorry….sometimes shit just needs to be said
            .
            Step into the ring Rebel….what smart ass one line non football comment do you want to spew.

            Reply
          2. Mick March 21, 2021

            I hear ya PF4L. I’ve been pissed off since day 1 of last years draft. It was too early to worry about finding #12s’ replacement considering he still has 4 years left on his deal. The year before, the Niners; twice; exposed the real weaknesses on the team, and Gute didn’t do a damn thing the rest of that draft to bolster up those weaknesses. Sure, they drafted Martin, but solidifying a weakness with a 5th round pick; isn’t my idea of finding a good, reliable ILB to start, and to be a solid contributor for future years. On top of that, they wasted a 4th rounder to boot! You’re right about the CB situation. I’ve mentioned before, the offense isn’t the real problem that keeps this team from reaching the top. Hell, they were the #1 offense in the league with Adams as the only reliable WR threat. When, and only when; they realize the needs on defense: (DL, ILB and CB) are addressed with quality picks in the draft; and stop plugging in less talented warm bodies; will they see improvement. Both TB and SF dissected our defense—– twice! After the NFCCG against the Niners, Gute was asked if his main concern was finding help on the defense after the Niners ran roughshod over the Pack. His statement was;;;;;;;;; We don’t make decisions based off of one game in a 16 game season. Well, this was the post season, not the 16 game season. You were vying for a super bowl birth, and to say that, at that time——- is blind, and moronic!

            Reply
          3. PF4L March 21, 2021

            I hear ya…it’s just that the start of the problems go back further.
            .
            Deplete two starters from your receiving core, then letting it rot basically.
            .
            Leave Graham alone, bring back Cook for less money, better production.
            Thank God for Tonyan.
            .
            Don’t over pay Lowry and think you’re all set at the D line.
            .
            You know about the Gary pick after signing the Smith brothers.
            .
            Understand that Kevin King is a liability before he inevitably cost you a big game. Don’t keep him as a starter just because he’s cheap.
            .
            He did some things well, Z Smith, Alexander, Jenkins, and Savage came round, Amos improved sans the Bucs game.
            .
            Turner turned out ok after year 1 overpayment, Wagner was a good band-aid.
            .
            But getting 3 starters from 3 drafts isn’t moving the needle much.
            Especially when you draft high…knowing they would not be starters. unacceptable with a HOF QB and being so close to the SB.

            Reply

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