Ranking the Packer Improvements for 2024 season

AmishMafia

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I have a very positive feeling about the state of the team and think we will be much better than most or all of the pundits are thinking. I am so optimistic for this season – more so than a very long time. Our hot streak down the stretch was not a fluke. Love is the real deal and the team was rallying behind him to become one of the best teams in the NFL. Beyond that, I think the team has gotten even better over the offseason.



Thinking about it, I came up with a bunch of reasons, but decided that it came down to 8 that would make a noticeable impact.



Below is my ranking of the reasons for the Packers being improved this season:



8. Running Game – I don’t think we have a RB better than Aaron Jones - but we have someone who is pretty darn close in Jacobs. The advantage for Jacobs is in age and reliability. Additionally, we have an energetic rookie in Lloyd who can provide some great reps and keep Jacobs fresh. Furthermore, AJ Dillion looks to be in the best shape of his career. Maybe he will still be what the Packers were hoping for. Late in the 4th, late in the season, when the defense is tired and sore from hitting a fast ball carrier weighing 10 or 30 lbs heavier than you, its going to have an effect.



7. LVN – I’m expecting a significant step up in his play. DE should be more suited to his game than OLB. He may be a year away from being a true every down impact player, but he should get some additional playing time and make some splash plays.



6. Defensive Line Interior - Between Wyatt, Brooks, Wooden, and Slayton one of them should take a step and be a stud next to Clark (I put them in order for likelihood). We went from 3 DL to needing 2 with the change in systems. The depth hasn’t been this good in a long time so Clark should be able to get some rest and maintain his high level play. Of the players listed, Wyatt has me the most excited. Seems he was really pouring it on the last season towards the end. He showed up for OTAs looking like he worked hard during the off season and the new defense should suit him better, I am looking for a breakout season for him.



5. Receiving Corps – So much talent that is still developing. A year of experience should be impactful. If they solved Watson’s hamstring issue, with our TEs both looking very promising, and between Reed and Wicks – one or both will elevate to a “#1 level” of performance.



4. Offensive Guard Upgrade - either Rhyan, Morgan, or ???. OLine – Should show significant improvement this season by improvement at the weakest link. Additionally, Walker now has a year of experience under his belt was playing very good towards the end of last season. Tom continues to get better each season and there is no reason to think that he has plateaued. Myers at C was playing better late in the season, he is in a contract year and now has some significant competition behind him – we should see his best - which might not be saying much. At LG Jenkins should be good once again.



3. Edgerrin Cooper – High energy aggression. Should be a great addition to the defense. Should be impactful early – known to be very instinctive and athletic. With Quay Walker, the Packers will have their most athletically gifted LBs in recent memory. Also have more invested in draft capital than we are used to seeing.



2. Xavier McKinney – Love to hear about his leadership on the field and in the locker room. Packers have lacked a real defensive leader for some time. I know Preston is a good leader, but not the ‘fire up’ leader we need on the field at times. We haven’t had great safety play in some time. We should be able to get a few more big plays from the secondary. Going from the safety position being a liability to making plays will have a huge overall affect on the defenses’ success.



1. Jeff Hafley DC – New system, new attitude, and new energy. The defense let the team down a few times late last season. Some of that was from the safety position, defensive confusion, and from strange play calling on defense. It was no coincidence that when MLF stated he was going to start spending more time working with the defense, that they started playing much better. Playing deep on 4th and short is a headscratcher. Playing prevent when time is running out and you have a small lead - just doesn’t make a lick of sense. Player feedback regarding Hafley has been very positive and you can see and hear the new attitude. Our defense should be much better.





Did I miss anything? Did I get them out of order? Or am I wrong? (LOL j/k). Let me know what you are thinking.
 
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I have a very positive feeling about the state of the team and think we will be much better than most or all of the pundits are thinking. I am so optimistic for this season – more so than a very long time. Our hot streak down the stretch was not a fluke. Love is the real deal and the team was rallying behind him to become one of the best teams in the NFL. Beyond that, I think the team has gotten even better over the offseason.



Thinking about it, I came up with a bunch of reasons, but decided that it came down to 8 that would make a noticeable impact.



Below is my ranking of the reasons for the Packers being improved this season:



8. Running Game – I don’t think we have a RB better than Aaron Jones - but we have someone who is pretty darn close in Jacobs. The advantage for Jacobs is in age and reliability. Additionally, we have an energetic rookie in Lloyd who can provide some great reps and keep Jacobs fresh. Furthermore, AJ Dillion looks to be in the best shape of his career. Maybe he will still be what the Packers were hoping for. Late in the 4th, late in the season, when the defense is tired and sore from hitting a fast ball carrier weighing 10 or 30 lbs heavier than you, its going to have an effect.



7. LVN – I’m expecting a significant step up in his play. DE should be more suited to his game than OLB. He may be a year away from being a true every down impact player, but he should get some additional playing time and make some splash plays.



6. Defensive Line Interior - Between Wyatt, Brooks, Wooden, and Slayton one of them should take a step and be a stud next to Clark (I put them in order for likelihood). We went from 3 DL to needing 2 with the change in systems. The depth hasn’t been this good in a long time so Clark should be able to get some rest and maintain his high level play. Of the players listed, Wyatt has me the most excited. Seems he was really pouring it on the last season towards the end. He showed up for OTAs looking like he worked hard during the off season and the new defense should suit him better, I am looking for a breakout season for him.



5. Receiving Corps – So much talent that is still developing. A year of experience should be impactful. If they solved Watson’s hamstring issue, with our TEs both looking very promising, and between Reed and Wicks – one or both will elevate to a “#1 level” of performance.



4. Offensive Guard Upgrade - either Rhyan, Morgan, or ???. OLine – Should show significant improvement this season by improvement at the weakest link. Additionally, Walker now has a year of experience under his belt was playing very good towards the end of last season. Tom continues to get better each season and there is no reason to think that he has plateaued. Myers at C was playing better late in the season, he is in a contract year and now has some significant competition behind him – we should see his best - which might not be saying much. At RG Jenkins should be good once again.



3. Edgerrin Cooper – High energy aggression. Should be a great addition to the defense. Should be impactful early – known to be very instinctive and athletic. With Quay Walker, the Packers will have their most athletically gifted LBs in recent memory. Also have more invested in draft capital than we are used to seeing.



2. Xavier McKinney – Love to hear about his leadership on the field and in the locker room. Packers have lacked a real defensive leader for some time. I know Preston is a good leader, but not the ‘fire up’ leader we need on the field at times. We haven’t had great safety play in some time. We should be able to get a few more big plays from the secondary. Going from the safety position being a liability to making plays will have a huge overall affect on the defenses’ success.



1. Jeff Hafley DC – New system, new attitude, and new energy. The defense let the team down a few times late last season. Some of that was from the safety position, defensive confusion, and from strange play calling on defense. It was no coincidence that when MLF stated he was going to start spending more time working with the defense, that they started playing much better. Playing deep on 4th and short is a headscratcher. Playing prevent when time is running out and you have a small lead - just doesn’t make a lick of sense. Player feedback regarding Hafley has been very positive and you can see and hear the new attitude. Our defense should be much better.





Did I miss anything? Did I get them out of order? Or am I wrong? (LOL j/k). Let me know what you are thinking.
I liked this. Great stuff @AmishMafia!

Looking across this Roster we see it going recently from “elemental” area of high potential to those elements mixing and more additives that could spark combustion.

I do want to temper my expectations. Each year does bring its set of unexpected difficulties. One example is that in most years we have a laundry list on the weekly injury report. We need just a more average season there.

Some thoughts as to why I am excited

1. Jordan was on an absolute tear for a half season. Felt very much like the Bengals feel a couple seasons ago led by Burrow. Really some unexplainable magic between the players. You could feel it in the locker room after games, we were very close last year and we played SF better than years past and we are on the level of the incumbent “Class of the NFC” SF49ers and still rising.
The ? Will be did they improve more than us? I highly doubt that

2. As evidenced by our GM, we went atypical draft. My belief is our Staff feels like we are poised to take it up a notch. We had an unusual number of draft resources compared to a typical draft. The sheer number of selections has been underestimated even by those “in the know” Its ok, because I’m not selfish (;)) I want them to see and enjoy the unexpected effects of Pumping FIVE Day1-2 selections and going after College team Captains and Experience or players in multiple College systems. This is a cluster of “High floor” players who can contribute now at LB, OG, DB and RB speaks of a balance towards a “Win Now” push. The 2024 draft has flown under the radar some imo. This years draft was VERY calculated and intentional. These weren’t just BPA, these were meant to get a higher volume of earlier contributors than what’s typical in GB. Contribute they will.

3 believe we brought in the best FA Safety on the market. He's better than our Amos signing and he was pretty solid. Then we fortified our DB room with 3 more Safeties. Safety went from a relative weakness to a relative strength. McKinney is light years better than Savage. Anthony Johnson played like an earlier Day3 pick last year imo on near level to Valentine (but at CB) Plus we fortified that with 3 more DB’s. At least 1 can play CB or Safety (Bullard). Were stocked deep at Safety, our biggest need after sending several of our ‘23 group packing.

4. Fixed the Run Defense by switching schemes and bringing aboard 2 Downhill ILB’s. Both Hopper and Cooper played Run Defense at a high level in College. The Run Defense issue is about to take a serious turn with Walker now paired with the best Off ball LB from the SEC in 2023. We are going to be much more pronounced against the Run

5. Energetic feel by sheer number of very young, talented players. The Old Guard is out and the Fresh New Guard is here. But not too new. We have a plethora of 2nd and 3rd year starters across our Offense. That is precisely where players most often get their biggest productivity increase.
 
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tynimiller

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Reason I'm excited is a multitude of things but honestly boils down to this:

There isn't a single position or position group where the packers got worse compared to 2023 season. NOT a single one IMO.
 

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Reason I'm excited is a multitude of things but honestly boils down to this:

There isn't a single position or position group where the packers got worse compared to 2023 season. NOT a single one IMO.

I agree, although I do hope the kicking game changes for the better.

I am excited by the prospect of a more aggressive defense, and a more consistent offense in year two. Gutekunst has done a good job in putting this roster together, now it's time to win a championship with it.
 
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AmishMafia

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I agree, although I do hope the kicking game changes for the better.

I am excited by the prospect of a more aggressive defense, and a more consistent offense in year two. Gutekunst has done a good job in putting this roster together, now it's time to win a championship with it.
One has to think with a year under his belt, Carlson will be better. I thought he had a decent rookie season for FGs. Not so good on extra points. But the kicking talent is there.
 
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El Guapo

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It's a very good list. I won't argue any of the rankings. However, I think that we should rank the opposite as well. What are the potential pitfalls of the 2024 season? I'd love to believe that we are going to be better but reality is that it's just as likely that we will slide backward. Things sure looked good after the 2011 and 2014 seasons. I hope that the comparison is more like the mid-90s when we got better each season, but who knows.

Things that could go wrong:
- the new defensive scheme is a failure
- the safety position continues to be a struggle
- we don't have the horses and LB to run 4-3
- OL doesn't gel as well, especially at LT
- Jordan Love gets the big contract and then coasts

I could go on but I'm already making myself depressed....

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Thirteen Below

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Great piece, thank you. Hard to think of anything to add or quibble with. A lot of people are expecting van Ness to show why he was picked #13, and Valentine to have a breakout season. And I've seen quite a few who think Wyatt is going to have an an explosiion in Year 3.

Hafley seems like the kind of guy whwo identitifies individual strengths and liabilities, and puts his people into the best possible position to succeed and meet their full potential. I sure hope so, because the next two years in our Super Bowl window will depend largely on him.
 

Thirteen Below

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It's a very good list. I won't argue any of the rankings. However, I think that we should rank the opposite as well. What are the potential pitfalls of the 2024 season? I'd love to believe that we are going to be better but reality is that it's just as likely that we will slide backward. Things sure looked good after the 2011 and 2014 seasons. I hope that the comparison is more like the mid-90s when we got better each season, but who knows.

Things that could go wrong:
- the new defensive scheme is a failure
- the safety position continues to be a struggle
- we don't have the horses and LB to run 4-3
- OL doesn't gel as well, especially at LT
- Jordan Love gets the big contract and then coasts

I could go on but I'm already making myself depressed....

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Shoukldn't this argument have been left for Half Empty to put forward?
 

Half Empty

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First, thanks to authors of the previous two posts for their brevity. See, you CAN do it. :)

Second, I usually wait until well into the season to try and rein in excessive optimism, and then it's often in generalities rather than about specific players or units. I was asked by the owner of another board during the 2011 season to stop raining on their parade with my "yes, but" tirades. Of course, at the end of that season, he pretty much was slitting his wrists online, so I guess I was right.
 
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First, thanks to authors of the previous two posts for their brevity. See, you CAN do it. :)

Second, I usually wait until well into the season to try and rein in excessive optimism, and then it's often in generalities rather than about specific players or units. I was asked by the owner of another board during the 2011 season to stop raining on their parade with my "yes, but" tirades. Of course, at the end of that season, he pretty much was slitting his wrists online, so I guess I was right.
You’re
 
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First, thanks to authors of the previous two posts for their brevity. See, you CAN do it. :)

Second, I usually wait until well into the season to try and rein in excessive optimism, and then it's often in generalities rather than about specific players or units. I was asked by the owner of another board during the 2011 season to stop raining on their parade with my "yes, but" tirades. Of course, at the end of that season, he pretty much was slitting his wrists online, so I guess I was right.
Most
 
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First, thanks to authors of the previous two posts for their brevity. See, you CAN do it. :)

Second, I usually wait until well into the season to try and rein in excessive optimism, and then it's often in generalities rather than about specific players or units. I was asked by the owner of another board during the 2011 season to stop raining on their parade with my "yes, but" tirades. Of course, at the end of that season, he pretty much was slitting his wrists online, so I guess I was right.
Welcome!
 

El Guapo

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Well I do, in fact, have a lot of optimism for this season. However, there are times when it I see us all behaving like Bears and Vikings fans, thinking that we won the offseason on paper and therefore will win the NFC North. We all know that rarely follows and that injuries and other curveballs lie ahead.
 
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AmishMafia

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Well I do, in fact, have a lot of optimism for this season. However, there are times when it I see us all behaving like Bears and Vikings fans, thinking that we won the offseason on paper and therefore will win the NFC North. We all know that rarely follows and that injuries and other curveballs lie ahead.
The difference being the Bears, vikings, and bears think that every year, even after sucking for the previous decade. Lion fans were finally correctly optimistic, but I think that's just the law of averages catching up with them. The Packers, OTOH are usually very good and we are looking for that little extra to get us over the hump.
 
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We always had much reason to be optimistic with #12, he was a really good QB and that’s a big component of ongoing success. Although we can see evidenced by Lamar and Josh that it takes more than a great QB.

Provided our injury list is around league average or better, I don’t see a world where our 2023 and earlier group don’t get better as a collective force. Our biggest losses were Aaron Jones, DeVondre and Darnell and maybe Jon Runyon.
That group were replaced with mostly groupings of
Josh Jacobs + Marshawn Lloyd
Edgerrin Cooper + Tyron Hopper
Xavier McKinney + Javon Bullard
Jordan Morgan

No offense to any of those guys who departed, I thank them as a Fan. Now let’s be realistic, this Roster took all 4 departure weaknesses into positional strengths. If not directly, at least from a depth perspective. That goes for OL also. Bakhtiari barely even contributed and Nij kinda plateaued into a serviceable backup.
 
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Jordan may or may not surpass last season, but I think he’ll be close even if he regresses at all.

That WR group was so young, there’s a 90% chance we get collective improvement there

That goes for TE also. We get growth across the room along with a good veteran TE for ST. Tyler Davis was just impressing when he went down early last season.

Ok, Kicker is a ? but we also have brought in competition, so I doubt it regressed much if any. Again the newness there should wear off.

We got a starting CB back in the mix with Stokes, plus a depth piece in Rd7 with King. Not to mention a universal chess piece in Bullard. That guy can play multiple positions ant an high level.

The bigger ? Isn’t will we regress or remain stagnant. The 2024 team is better as a whole and I don’t see a valid argument to the contrary.

The real ? is.. “how much/quickly will other teams including Chicago or Minnesota rise?” Also how will an above average strength of schedule factor?
 
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If we get growth and improvement across 3-4 position groups? Plus a little injury help. We could be scary good by end of regular season.
 

Thirteen Below

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If we get growth and improvement across 3-4 position groups? Plus a little injury help. We could be scary good by end of regular season.
On top of which, I'd be hard-pressed to think of a single area where we may have regressed. I don't expect a single position group to underperfom their 2023 benchmarks.

Even if a couple of the young WRs have a sophomore slump, the position group as a whole is likely to improve because the other 3 or 4 will probably have significantly better 2nd and 3rd seasons.

Every other position group has been strengthened, some of them substantially, and it's quite reasonable to assume they'll have an even better season. The only real question mark is kicker, I think.

I think we're all all old enough and realistic enough not to count the Lombardis before they hatch, but it's hard not to have very high expectations for the team. I honestly don't think I've been as excited about going into a new season since 1996. I can hardly imagine a single thing I wish they'd done differently, a single move I wish they'd made but didn't. I don't recall ever trusting a GM and a coach this much since Wolf/Holmgren.
 

Thirteen Below

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The real ? is.. “how much/quickly will other teams including Chicago or Minnesota rise?” Also how will an above average strength of schedule factor?

I strongly believe we will have improved more than either of those two teams. They may push us harder than last year, but we should be able to pull away from them further and faster.

But yeah, the NFL Norris Division is no guaranteed 4-2 piece of cake anymore. We'll have to fight harder tna we've had in decades, but we should still be clearly the best team for the foreseeable future.

But the development of those other teams will likely mean a lot of seasons that would have been 13-4 or 12-5 some years will now end up 11-6 or even 10-7 some years. At least until the Bears do their usual implosion-thing and the Vikings find a way to regress to the Minnesota Mean.
 
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I strongly believe we will have improved more than either of those two teams. They may push us harder than last year, but we should be able to pull away from them further and faster.

But yeah, the NFL Norris Division is no guaranteed 4-2 piece of cake anymore. We'll have to fight harder tna we've had in decades, but we should still be clearly the best team for the foreseeable future.

But the development of those other teams will likely mean a lot of seasons that would have been 13-4 or 12-5 some years will now end up 11-6 or even 10-7 some years. At least until the Bears do their usual implosion-thing and the Vikings find a way to regress to the Minnesota Mean.
I agree I think it’ll take another season or two before the Bears get cranked up. Just my hunch.

A 11-6 season this year would be like a 12-5 or 13-4 season last year. If we Win 11 games it’s likely we go deep into the playoffs again. Having better competition in our Division will only make us stronger.
 

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I agree I think it’ll take another season or two before the Bears get cranked up. Just my hunch.

A 11-6 season this year would be like a 12-5 or 13-4 season last year. If we Win 11 games it’s likely we go deep into the playoffs again. Having better competition in our Division will only make us stronger.
Can someone help me decide which is which? https://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/2023/#NFC::8
Scroll down the NFC standings. Sorted by SoS, is a higher positive value a stronger or easier schedule?
 

Half Empty

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"By this measure, the Steelers have the hardest schedule in the NFL at +0.76 points per game better than average. Meanwhile, the 49ers average opponent is 0.76 points per game worse than average, giving San Francisco the easiest schedule in the league."

So, Arizona was the hardest, New Orleans was the easiest.
 
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"By this measure, the Steelers have the hardest schedule in the NFL at +0.76 points per game better than average. Meanwhile, the 49ers average opponent is 0.76 points per game worse than average, giving San Francisco the easiest schedule in the league."

So, Arizona was the hardest, New Orleans was the easiest.
I like seeing that I follow those and they absolutely factor in tie breaker type rankings. In the 2024 year Arizona will get some help as their combined opponent record is now (from 2023)
141-168 Win/Loss
Thats a natural tendency of the NFL trying to balance their schedule to give them a minimal level of help (call it a small handicap)

In comparison, Our opponents records from 2023 will be 152-137 W/L as an example. So our scheduling is intended to balance our strong finish

Although after around mid year on SOS “within season” and especially going into those last couple of weeks is a more accurate depiction of the true strength of a team in relation to its record imo
 
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