Avenues For Improvement

Dantés

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Regression comes for all teams.

In 2019, the Packers' defense was fueled largely by an unsustainably high number of takeaways. In 2020, the number regressed significantly, and the defense suffered as a result.

In 2020, the Packers' success was mostly fueled by their offense. They led the league in scoring offense, both per game and per drive. Their per drive figure in particular was historically good. It is unlikely that they will repeat at such a high level. I certainly expect the offense to be very good, but probably not as good.

So where could the team make tangible gains to off-set that regression?

Coaching: I think most fans would agree on at least the suspicion that Mennenga and Pettine can be improved upon by guys who will make more of the talent they're given. Particularly on defense, there's no reason to think that a unit with Kenny Clark, Za'Darius Smith, Rashan Gary, Jaire Alexander, Adrian Amos, and Darnell Savage couldn't be better than 14th in scoring defense (especially when the offense almost never puts them in bad spots). Slayton and whoever they hire at DC are not guaranteed to improve upon their predecessors, but they have at least given themselves a chance.

Personnel:
  • Offense: Apart from Rodgers, the foundation of this defense is the offensive line. As such I think they would do themselves a favor by shoring that up. Secondly, they will need to make sure they have the backfield to maintain a potent rushing attack. Beyond that, it's about adding pieces that enable to them to add more wrinkles to the system.
  • C/LG/Depth: They either need to bring back Linsley and keep that LG/C combo intact, or use Lucas Patrick at center and add depth, or add a starting caliber iOL to pair with Jenkins in whatever configuration works best.
  • RT/RG/Depth: Without knowing their plans exactly, it's hard to be specific. It could be that they plan to use Turner at RT and Runyan at RG, and just need to continue adding depth. Or if could that Runyan isn't the future and they need a guard, or that Turner isn't the future at tackle and they need the latter. But regardless, I think Wagner is a cap casualty and they need to make sure they shore that side up.
  • Backfield Options: Whether it's keeping Jones, keeping Williams and drafting someone, signing from outside and drafting someone, or whatever, they need to keep the backfield stocked. This offense is predicated on rushing and passing out of looks that are indiscernible to a defense. If you don't have the personnel to run the ball, the whole thing starts to crumble.
  • Motion Man: This offense has a big role for a WR/RB with speed and the ability to gain YAC in the jet/orbit motion game, screen game, and generally from the slot. Ervin, Austin, Taylor, and Shepherd combined for nearly 500 snaps. If they could find a legit talent to fill the motion role plus normal 11 personnel responsibilities, that could be a 60+% player and a major facet of the offense.
  • H-Back: Josiah Deguara was probably going to play 400-500 snaps had he played healthy. This offense will take advantage of pass catching ability at H-Back.
  • Y Tight End: Marcedes Lewis played 42% of the snaps in 2020 because he's really, really good a what he does. If he wants to come back, I'd do it in a second, but if he retires, finding a legit in-line blocker will be important. They don't have one on the roster.
  • Defense: This breakdown assumes that Amos is kept but that basically every other FA or likely cap casualty is gone (King, Lowry, P. Smith, Kirksey, Sullivan, Adams, Greene).
  • Corners: This is the biggest need on the entire roster. King and Sullivan are probably gone, and even if they weren't they need to be improved upon. Corner is not a position where you can just work around being bad. You have to have good corners in this league in 2021. This FA class is flush with slot guys. I would hunt for a bargain there, and then also draft a couple, with the first being as high as round 1.
  • Front Depth: With Clark, Keke, Z. Smith, and Gary all back next year, the front line guys seem to be in good shape, but depth will need to be back-filled. One glaring absence are interior linemen who can hold up at the POA.
  • Linebacker: Barnes and Martin flashed enough that one or both may have a role into the future, but neither were good enough to the point that you don't add more talent here. As they're young, a veteran would make sense, but veterans are expensive. Perhaps with the position being devalued, they might find a bargain on a veteran.
  • Special Teams: The team needs a more reliable long snapper. I don't think they will move on from Scott just yet. But they absolutely need to find a player with return skills. The blocking was not always good, but there were so many occasions when Packers returners left yards on the field.
Positive Regression: The metrics that tend to regress, either for the good or bad, in any given year are: record in 1 score games, giveaways, and takeaways. The Packers were 3-3 in games decided by a touchdown or less, so they weren't lucky or unlucky. Their giveaway number was very low, but that is driven mostly by interceptions, and Rodgers just doesn't throw many interceptions. So we can expect that to be stable. Takeaways is where they could make up some ground. Their 18 total takeaways in 2020 was good for 26th (down from 25; 8th) in 2019. If that bounces back the other way, it could make a difference.
 

tynimiller

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  • Motion Man: This offense has a big role for a WR/RB with speed and the ability to gain YAC in the jet/orbit motion game, screen game, and generally from the slot. Ervin, Austin, Taylor, and Shepherd combined for nearly 500 snaps. If they could find a legit talent to fill the motion role plus normal 11 personnel responsibilities, that could be a 60+% player and a major facet of the offense.
  • H-Back: Josiah Deguara was probably going to play 400-500 snaps had he played healthy. This offense will take advantage of pass catching ability at H-Back.
  • Y Tight End: Marcedes Lewis played 42% of the snaps in 2020 because he's really, really good a what he does. If he wants to come back, I'd do it in a second, but if he retires, finding a legit in-line blocker will be important. They don't have one on the roster.
These three bullet points cannot be stressed enough. The search we had to have when Ervin became injured for the motion man I think caused a greater issue than many realize in this system. There are quite a few guys that could easily do this role in this draft or by resigning Ervin (my choice over Austin)...but making sure we have a plan for this entering the season is big.

H-Back and Y Tight End....only fools that don't understand the system will argue there is no value to what Deguara or end of season finally Dafney started providing - MLF's system uses an HBack HEAVILY! Along with that, Lewis I'd argue perhaps more than any single player on the roster knows his exact role and performs it precisely as it is planned.
 

Dantés

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These three bullet points cannot be stressed enough. The search we had to have when Ervin became injured for the motion man I think caused a greater issue than many realize in this system. There are quite a few guys that could easily do this role in this draft or by resigning Ervin (my choice over Austin)...but making sure we have a plan for this entering the season is big.

H-Back and Y Tight End....only fools that don't understand the system will argue there is no value to what Deguara or end of season finally Dafney started providing - MLF's system uses an HBack HEAVILY! Along with that, Lewis I'd argue perhaps more than any single player on the roster knows his exact role and performs it precisely as it is planned.

Isn't it ironic that a traditional outside WR is so far down the list of things this offense needs?
 

tynimiller

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Isn't it ironic that a traditional outside WR is so far down the list of things this offense needs?

Shut up I still want Rashad Bateman or Nico Collins......but I know....ugh.....hard for me to even accept.
 

Dantés

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Shut up I still want Rashad Bateman or Nico Collins......but I know....ugh.....hard for me to even accept.

Don't get me wrong-- there's no reason for them to pass on a traditional WR with their highest picks if that's where the talent is. But after all the hand wringing and belly aching of the past 9 months, an honest assessment of the roster highlights other areas as being the bigger needs.
 

tynimiller

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Don't get me wrong-- there's no reason for them to pass on a traditional WR with their highest picks if that's where the talent is. But after all the hand wringing and belly aching of the past 9 months, an honest assessment of the roster highlights other areas as being the bigger needs.

I know. Sadly even though I'm a huge Bateman fan, I'd be pissed if they pulled a Love like trade up with draft capital for him and Nico is not good enough for what will be there at 29, but will be gone by the time we pick in the 2nd. I fully expect personally unless a topflight LB falls to us, if we don't move around you're gonna see a CB, a OL and a iDL with our first three picks.
 

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Don't get me wrong-- there's no reason for them to pass on a traditional WR with their highest picks if that's where the talent is. But after all the hand wringing and belly aching of the past 9 months, an honest assessment of the roster highlights other areas as being the bigger needs.
Lancaster and Lowry need to go they need two good DEs moving forward that’s a big weakness and obviously MLB
 

Dantés

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Lancaster and Lowry need to go they need two good DEs moving forward that’s a big weakness and obviously MLB

Lowry probably needs to go because of the cap implications. Lancaster is an RFA so there will need to make a cap decision there. Both players would be valuable on the roster at the right price.
 

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Lowry probably needs to go because of the cap implications. Lancaster is an RFA so there will need to make a cap decision there. Both players would be valuable on the roster at the right price.
I would be okay with them as a backup but they need two studs there along Clark I do like Keke tho. Kirksey I would be okay with being cut Barnes played well for a UDFA I do like Martin but they still need a sideline to sideline MLB. I hear a lot of talk about maybe cutting Preston but imo I think they shouldn’t at all. I think they would gain 8 mil if they cut him who would that 8 mil better used elsewhere? Gary is promising but one injury away to no Depth. Preston was in coverage a lot.. I think they need to send him in with z like last and find away to get Gary on the field too.
 

tynimiller

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I would be okay with them as a backup but they need two studs there along Clark I do like Keke tho. Kirksey I would be okay with being cut Barnes played well for a UDFA I do like Martin but they still need a sideline to sideline MLB. I hear a lot of talk about maybe cutting Preston but imo I think they shouldn’t at all. I think they would gain 8 mil if they cut him who would that 8 mil better used elsewhere? Gary is promising but one injury away to no Depth. Preston was in coverage a lot.. I think they need to send him in with z like last and find away to get Gary on the field too.

Well most likely Preston is cut in order to have a roster that qualifies to play under the cap....it isn't to spend elsewhere.
 
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I do agree with those who say that we have more important needs than another wider receiver. However, I do feel like having another playmaker on offense, especially a wide receiver, would have given our offense more balance, depth, and made the offense unstoppable. I wish that we had drafted a receiver last year in the draft. It might have made a difference in the NFC championship when Adams didn't have as good a game as normal due to the Bucs defense.
 

Dantés

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I do agree with those who say that we have more important needs than another wider receiver. However, I do feel like having another playmaker on offense, especially a wide receiver, would have given our offense more balance, depth, and made the offense unstoppable. I wish that we had drafted a receiver last year in the draft. It might have made a difference in the NFC championship when Adams didn't have as good a game as normal due to the Bucs defense.

The 2nd and 3rd WR’s in that game combined for 7/177/1.
 

tynimiller

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We had the team capable of winning, execution is the #1 thing - we failed miserably in that category.

Some crucial sub categories below it though is cornerbacks not named Jaire, ST coach, DC and depth behind Clark. Yes offensively beneath all that I would say is WR depth and in that game specifically OL became an issue after being a strength all season.
 

Dantés

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What do you


What do you think was the main thing that cost us in the NFCCG and is holding this team back from winning a super bowl? I think the defense needs to be improved.

If I were to narrow that game down to three primary issues, I would say:

1) Massive mistakes (end of 1st half call on defense; Jones' fumble to open the 2nd)

2) Kevin King

3) Officiating

I made a thread called Avenues for Improvement that's all about where I think the team can improve.
 

captainWIMM

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Isn't it ironic that a traditional outside WR is so far down the list of things this offense needs?

Just because you repeat it over and over doesn't make it true.

Don't get me wrong-- there's no reason for them to pass on a traditional WR with their highest picks if that's where the talent is. But after all the hand wringing and belly aching of the past 9 months, an honest assessment of the roster highlights other areas as being the bigger needs.

I definitely agree the Packers have more pressing needs entering this offseason, especially after the way the offense performed for most of the season, but Gutekunst should figure out a way to address wide receiver as well.

I do agree with those who say that we have more important needs than another wider receiver. However, I do feel like having another playmaker on offense, especially a wide receiver, would have given our offense more balance, depth, and made the offense unstoppable. I wish that we had drafted a receiver last year in the draft. It might have made a difference in the NFC championship when Adams didn't have as good a game as normal due to the Bucs defense.

No, no, no, you don't understand. There was no way to improve this year's offense by adding another piece. I'm quite sure Dantes and tyni will explain it to at length though.
 

Curly Calhoun

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Regression comes for all teams.

In 2019, the Packers' defense was fueled largely by an unsustainably high number of takeaways. In 2020, the number regressed significantly, and the defense suffered as a result.

In 2020, the Packers' success was mostly fueled by their offense. They led the league in scoring offense, both per game and per drive. Their per drive figure in particular was historically good. It is unlikely that they will repeat at such a high level. I certainly expect the offense to be very good, but probably not as good.

So where could the team make tangible gains to off-set that regression?

Coaching: I think most fans would agree on at least the suspicion that Mennenga and Pettine can be improved upon by guys who will make more of the talent they're given. Particularly on defense, there's no reason to think that a unit with Kenny Clark, Za'Darius Smith, Rashan Gary, Jaire Alexander, Adrian Amos, and Darnell Savage couldn't be better than 14th in scoring defense (especially when the offense almost never puts them in bad spots). Slayton and whoever they hire at DC are not guaranteed to improve upon their predecessors, but they have at least given themselves a chance.

Personnel:
  • Offense: Apart from Rodgers, the foundation of this defense is the offensive line. As such I think they would do themselves a favor by shoring that up. Secondly, they will need to make sure they have the backfield to maintain a potent rushing attack. Beyond that, it's about adding pieces that enable to them to add more wrinkles to the system.
  • C/LG/Depth: They either need to bring back Linsley and keep that LG/C combo intact, or use Lucas Patrick at center and add depth, or add a starting caliber iOL to pair with Jenkins in whatever configuration works best.
  • RT/RG/Depth: Without knowing their plans exactly, it's hard to be specific. It could be that they plan to use Turner at RT and Runyan at RG, and just need to continue adding depth. Or if could that Runyan isn't the future and they need a guard, or that Turner isn't the future at tackle and they need the latter. But regardless, I think Wagner is a cap casualty and they need to make sure they shore that side up.
  • Backfield Options: Whether it's keeping Jones, keeping Williams and drafting someone, signing from outside and drafting someone, or whatever, they need to keep the backfield stocked. This offense is predicated on rushing and passing out of looks that are indiscernible to a defense. If you don't have the personnel to run the ball, the whole thing starts to crumble.
  • Motion Man: This offense has a big role for a WR/RB with speed and the ability to gain YAC in the jet/orbit motion game, screen game, and generally from the slot. Ervin, Austin, Taylor, and Shepherd combined for nearly 500 snaps. If they could find a legit talent to fill the motion role plus normal 11 personnel responsibilities, that could be a 60+% player and a major facet of the offense.
  • H-Back: Josiah Deguara was probably going to play 400-500 snaps had he played healthy. This offense will take advantage of pass catching ability at H-Back.
  • Y Tight End: Marcedes Lewis played 42% of the snaps in 2020 because he's really, really good a what he does. If he wants to come back, I'd do it in a second, but if he retires, finding a legit in-line blocker will be important. They don't have one on the roster.
  • Defense: This breakdown assumes that Amos is kept but that basically every other FA or likely cap casualty is gone (King, Lowry, P. Smith, Kirksey, Sullivan, Adams, Greene).
  • Corners: This is the biggest need on the entire roster. King and Sullivan are probably gone, and even if they weren't they need to be improved upon. Corner is not a position where you can just work around being bad. You have to have good corners in this league in 2021. This FA class is flush with slot guys. I would hunt for a bargain there, and then also draft a couple, with the first being as high as round 1.
  • Front Depth: With Clark, Keke, Z. Smith, and Gary all back next year, the front line guys seem to be in good shape, but depth will need to be back-filled. One glaring absence are interior linemen who can hold up at the POA.
  • Linebacker: Barnes and Martin flashed enough that one or both may have a role into the future, but neither were good enough to the point that you don't add more talent here. As they're young, a veteran would make sense, but veterans are expensive. Perhaps with the position being devalued, they might find a bargain on a veteran.
  • Special Teams: The team needs a more reliable long snapper. I don't think they will move on from Scott just yet. But they absolutely need to find a player with return skills. The blocking was not always good, but there were so many occasions when Packers returners left yards on the field.
Positive Regression: The metrics that tend to regress, either for the good or bad, in any given year are: record in 1 score games, giveaways, and takeaways. The Packers were 3-3 in games decided by a touchdown or less, so they weren't lucky or unlucky. Their giveaway number was very low, but that is driven mostly by interceptions, and Rodgers just doesn't throw many interceptions. So we can expect that to be stable. Takeaways is where they could make up some ground. Their 18 total takeaways in 2020 was good for 26th (down from 25; 8th) in 2019. If that bounces back the other way, it could make a difference.



Good analysis.


I believe cornerback will be the number one priority for this team in the offseason. I have, however, been oh-so-wrong before.
 

Half Empty

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We had the team capable of winning, execution is the #1 thing - we failed miserably in that category.

Some crucial sub categories below it though is cornerbacks not named Jaire, ST coach, DC and depth behind Clark. Yes offensively beneath all that I would say is WR depth and in that game specifically OL became an issue after being a strength all season.

Don't try telling that to CaptWIMM. :)
 

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If I were to narrow that game down to three primary issues, I would say:

1) Massive mistakes (end of 1st half call on defense; Jones' fumble to open the 2nd)

2) Kevin King

3) Officiating

I made a thread called Avenues for Improvement that's all about where I think the team can improve.

There were 2 other things that I would add that contributed to our demise. #1 - MLF's decision to go for 2 in the 3rd quarter had us chasing those points the rest of the game. IMO you don't go for 2 unless you absolutely have to. #2 was our inability to run the ball effectively. (We should have used Dillon more than just 3 times.) MLF's offense is more effective when we can use play-action with quick passes. If you find yourself needing to throw too much it plays right into Tampa's hand.
 

PikeBadger

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Shut up I still want Rashad Bateman or Nico Collins......but I know....ugh.....hard for me to even accept.
With Adam’s, Scantling and St. Brown coming up to contract expiration after 21 season, I’d be very surprised if another wide receiver plus a motion slot receiver isn’t drafted this year. This is the year to do it IMO, even if it means trading back a couple of times to get 12 picks in the hopper. The other side of the coin is that there are going to be a lot of unsigned mid and late career guys looking for work and they will be had for cheap after June 1.
 

tynimiller

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With Adam’s, Scantling and St. Brown coming up to contract expiration after 21 season, I’d be very surprised if another wide receiver plus a motion slot receiver isn’t drafted this year. This is the year to do it IMO, even if it means trading back a couple of times to get 12 picks in the hopper. The other side of the coin is that there are going to be a lot of unsigned mid and late career guys looking for work and they will be had for cheap after June 1.

Funchess as well.
 

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I keep forgetting about him. Not sure if he’ll make final cut this August.
 

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I keep forgetting about him. Not sure if he’ll make final cut this August.

Very experienced and honestly very cheap contract IMO.

As for the three you listed, I suspect we see Adams for sure extended and unless MVS just absolutely explodes I sense a reasonable 3 year deal will get done with him as well. What I'm curious of is what we do with Lazard...he is a ERFA this year,
 

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What I'm curious of is what we do with Lazard...he is a ERFA this year,

That's easy.

You get an ERFA, you sign him to the minimum and see what happens. Next year, you tender him as much as you value him, presumably at the 2nd round level (assuming he has a good year.)

If he sticks to the year after that, then you can wring your hands about how much to offer him as a URFA.
 
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