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NFL Draft

Green Bay Packers’ 2020 Season Will Be Successful If…

  • The Draft Network
  • July 2, 2020
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The installment of a new, young head coach can quickly bring teams success. Sean McVay started the trend in Los Angeles when he led the Rams to two consecutive 10-plus win seasons and playoff berths, including a Super Bowl appearance in 2018, after 10 straight losing seasons. The San Francisco 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan didn’t have instant success, but turned the 2-14 team he inherited after the 2016 season into a 13-3 team with a Super Bowl appearance of its own in 2019.

The Green Bay Packers wanted to replicate this model when they brought on Matt LaFleur last year. The Packers weren’t strangers to success before LaFleur’s hire. They had nine winning seasons out of the last 10, a Super Bowl victory in 2010, and six consecutive playoff appearances to follow, but Green Bay didn’t look like that successful team in 2018. The Packers parted ways with long-time coach Mike McCarthy in-season, ushering in LaFleur ahead of the 2019 season. It worked. Green Bay went 13-3 and made it back to the playoffs after a two-year drought. However, things didn’t necessarily look great. 

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, while nearing the end of a Hall of Fame career, isn’t the aggressive passer he once was; and even if he was, he doesn’t have the playmakers around him to be. The Packers were able to ride a six-game win streak into the postseason, but their woes were exposed once again. Unable to stop the 49ers’ rushing attack, they fell in the NFC Championship Game. The NFC is just as tough, if not tougher, this upcoming season and for Green Bay to have success in 2020 Rodgers needs redemption and a Super Bowl berth.

This far into the series, the Seattle Seahawks and 49ers have also been given the Super Bowl or bust tag; of course, only one of these NFC teams can make that a reality, and the Packers’ window is smaller than the others. 

Rodgers will turn 37 in December and has been less efficient over the years. In 2016, according to Football Outsiders, Rodgers was the fourth-best quarterback with a QBR of 72.4. The seasons after—2017 (62.6), 2018 (58.0), and 2019 (50.4)—he’s dropped to eighth, 18th, and 20th, respectively. All the while, Green Bay hasn’t given him many options. The Packers did a poor job of addressing their lack of wide receiver depth during the offseason.

Part of what will hinder Green Bay’s chance at a Super Bowl will be whether or not it can stay healthy. This can obviously apply across the board, and to the Seahawks, 49ers, or any other team in position to make it to the annual championship. But the Packers absolutely need the key players they do have on the field all season. It starts with Davante Adams in the receiving corps. 

Adams missed four games last season with a turf toe injury; he was on pace to best his 2018 numbers and still came close despite playing in just 12 games. Adams finished 2019 with 997 yards and five touchdowns. He was Rodgers’ top target by a mile. 

Instead of adding players around Adams, the Packers willfully skipped selecting a receiver in the draft. Instead, they opted for quarterback Jordan Love, a running back, A.J. Dillon, and a tight end, Josiah Deguara, in the first three rounds; Green Bay also added three offensive linemen and three defensive players with its remaining picks. Its biggest mistake, and what could potentially hold them back against this stacked conference, was not addressing one of its biggest needs.

While there are a number of things that still work for the Packers—their young defense returns nine of its 11 starters, their rushing attack, which they relied on heavily last season, got some reinforcement, and their top offensive line may look a little different but is still solid up front—it will be hard for the Packers to make it out of the division with some critical holes on their roster. 

They exceeded expectations last year and LaFleur seemed to mesh well with Rodgers while implementing a new offensive season; something that obviously pushed McCarthy out the door. It could be the spark Rodgers and the Packers needed; one that carries them all to Super Bowl glory at least one more time with Rodgers under center.

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