The Green Bay Packers must find a way to get not only their team back to winning football but Aaron Rodgers as well. Last season, the Packers finished the year 6-9-1, while missing the playoffs for the second straight season. If this was any other team besides the New England Patriots, then this could be forgiven. However, they have Rodgers leading the charge which means failure like this is not acceptable.
Fast forward to the offseason and the Packers have lost instead of gained. A quick glance at their roster and the glaring holes jump out at you.
For starters, the Packers must decide if they can trust their rushing attack. Last season, the Packers relied on two youngsters, Aaron Jones, and Jamal Williams. Combined, the runners accounted for 1,192 yards and 11 touchdowns on 254 carries which placed them 22nd in the NFL.
While the Packers have relied on the arm strength and accuracy of Rodgers over the years, the Packers have not been able to gain success without a true rushing attack. However, this offseason has also brought another cause of concern. With the departure of wide receiver Randall Cobb, the Packers are now thin at the one position that has made Rodgers as good as he is.
While Tom Brady has been able to succeed with a different core of receivers, he still has the reliable hands of Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski. This is where the Packers have failed Rodgers. But they have a chance to get back on track this offseason. The last two seasons, Rodgers has been average at best. He’s dealt with injuries to himself and his receiving core. Despite the setbacks, he’s still held at a higher standard than most QB’s.
Heading into the 2019 season, the Packers must provide Rodgers with weapons. With Cobb gone, the offense will rely on Davante Adams and Jimmy Graham. Last season, Adams caught 111 passes for 1386 yards and 13 touchdowns. Graham managed to snag 55 passes for 636 yards and two touchdowns. Rodgers will need more help.
The Green Bay Packers are not without other concerns to worry about. They just lost LB Clay Matthews and will have to fill gaping holes in their defense. However, Rodgers and the offense has always been the centerpiece for success. With that said, the Packers must find a suitable replacement for Cobb opposite Adams.
With Antonio Brown off to the Oakland Raiders, Cobb to the Dallas Cowboys, and Odell Beckham to the Browns, the elite receivers are pretty much off the table. With these players gone, the Packers will have to find someone who can just get the job done and for cheap. One name that’s still out there is Michael Crabtree.
No, he’s not as explosive as Julio Jones or any of the names previously mentioned. But what he can bring to the offense is a veteran presence and solid hands. With Adams being the over-the-top threat, Crabtree could become the next Jordy Nelson for Aaron Rodgers.
Last season while with the Baltimore Ravens, Crabtree caught 54 passes for 607 yards and three touchdowns with an average of 11.2 yards per reception. No, not Pro Bowl numbers but this is not what the Packers need. Adding a vet like Crabtree will provide another security blanket in the middle of the field to pair with the sure hands of Graham.
At 31, Crabtree may be a better option than bringing back the 34-year old Nelson.
In 2018, he signed a 3-year deal worth $21 million before being released to clear cap space. Now, the Packers may be able to get him on a cheap 1-2 year deal in the $10 million range. How many receivers will pass up the chance to play with Aaron Rodgers while in their prime?
The time is now for the Green Bay Packers. The NFC North has a new leader in the Chicago Bears, the Minnesota Vikings are looking to bounce back from a poor season, and the Detroit Lions are retooling. If the offense can find some stability, there’s reason to believe they can take back the throne.
It all starts with Michael Crabtree.