Welcome to your Morning Buzz, rounding up news and views regarding the Green Bay Packers from around the web and here at PackersNews.com. Grab a strong cup of coffee and get caught up on everything you need to know about the Packers.
We’ll start with Michael Cohen’s latest installment for our opponent preview series. Today, Michael looks at Washington.
The notion that quarterbacks can play quality football well into their 30s — and perhaps beyond — was reinforced in January when Washington executed one of the most stunning trades of the offseason. Washington shipped cornerback Kendall Fuller and a third-round pick to the Kansas City Chiefs, and in return the Chiefs parted ways with starting quarterback Alex Smith, who turned 34 in May.
The move signaled not only a belief that Smith could still play at a high level, but it also informed the rest of the league that Kirk Cousins, who was Washington’s starter the last three years, would be hitting the open market as a free agent. Even though Cousins had thrown for 4,000 or more yards all three seasons — including 4,917 yards in 2016 — Washington decided to alter the course of its franchise by acquiring Smith, who is five years older than the man he will replace.
It should be noted, however, that Smith had arguably the best season of his career in 2017. He threw for 4,042 yards to surpass his previous career high by more than 500 yards and put together a tremendous touchdown-to-interception ratio of 26:5 — his seventh consecutive season with single-digit interceptions. Smith guided the Chiefs to a 10-6 record in the regular season and a first-place finish in the AFC West. However, an embarrassing first-round loss to the Tennessee Titans did nothing to squash the notion that Smith is little more than a regular-season performer.
I chatted with readers via Facebook Live on Tuesday afternoon:
Elsewhere, the Packers come in at No. 11 in the Pro Football Focus roster rankings:
Biggest strength: The most obvious name on this list, Aaron Rodgers had a season-ending injury in October that effectively ended Green Bay's playoff ambitions. Keeping Rodgers upright has proved profitable for the Packers, as he has posted a passer rating over 100.0 when not faced with pressure in every year of his outstanding career.
Biggest weakness: Justin McCray's pass-blocking efficiency while at either tackle position last year was just 92.4, tied for 68th at the position. Hopefully for the Packers, his switch inside to right guard will help him improve upon his 31 total pressures allowed last season.
By the numbers: While much of the offseason focus was on Green Bay's secondary, the front seven could certainly have helped out by being more effective on pass rushes in 2017. Last year marked the first time in the PFF era (since 2006) that no individual Packers defender notched at least 40 total QB pressures.
Packers fans continue to travel well:
KDG looks at running back by committee in Green Bay:
Lombardi Ave previews the backup QB battle:
Cheesehead TV looks at the battle at WR:
Can Brett Favre’s record starting streak ever be broken?
Remembering one of the greatest Packers:
Bill Huber broke down the roster for Ourlads:
Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady are your odds-on MVP favorites: