Welcome to your Morning Buzz, rounding up news and views regarding the Green Bay Packers and the NFL 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 start with Bob McGinn’s column wrapping up the 2016 season. There’s tons of info and analysis here, you absolutely should read it all.
Ted Thompson’s aversion to signing players that have been with other teams is holding hostage McCarthy and his coaches, Rodgers and his teammates and members of his own personnel department. None of them like it but they can’t do one thing about it.
Packers President Mark Murphy, the one man who can do something, goes about praising Thompson whenever the opportunity presents itself for the wonderful job he has done and the wonderful job he is doing.
Thompson is a good general manager with a long list of admirable qualities. If he were a great general manager, the Packers would have been in the Super Bowl more than once in his 12-year tenure, especially considering his quarterbacks have been Favre and Rodgers.
McGinn also gives out his year-end team grades. While the grades may not be that surprising, there’s lots of statistical trends that Bob highlights that may surprise you.
You can also find Bob’s player grades for the offense here.
The main criticism from McGinn (and many others) when it comes to Thompson’s approach to team building centers on his strict adherence to drafting and developing players, at the expense of most other methods. Ryan Wood, however, writes that there is a chance that Thompson will “show rare aggressiveness” when it comes to the free-agent market.
Thompson could deviate from script this spring. A source told PackersNews.com on Friday that Thompson, aware his Super Bowl contender continues to underachieve, could show rare aggressiveness in the free-agent market this spring.
Elsewhere, ACME Packing Company correctly surmises that the Colts’ hiring of Kansas City Chiefs director of football operations Chris Ballard ensures that Eliot Wolf will be staying in Green Bay for the time being:
A couple of Packers participated in their first Pro Bowl last night:
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is also hearing the Packers could be more aggressive in free agency:
The Packers signed a long snapper on Friday. (See? The free-agent spending spree already has begun!)
Julius Peppers gets a mention in this Football Outsiders piece on ESPN’s website:
Pro Football Focus tackles the biggest question for each NFL team heading into the offseason. Their question for the Packers is no surprise.
The front-seven is an interesting case, as edge defenders Nick Perry, Julius Peppers, and Datone Jones all are set to hit free agency; Clay Matthews’ contract situation is also interesting. GM Ted Thompson is very stingy when it comes to paying his players, but with Perry coming off a breakout season, and Peppers—while still playing well—getting close to retirement, Thompson would be wise to pay a pretty penny for Perry’s services. He’s the team’s only young player that can consistently create pressure on the quarterback. Clay Matthews is the big name, but his production as an edge rusher has diminished the past two seasons. Matthews will be 31 in 2017, and is set to make $15.2 million; with a dead cap hit of just $4.1 million, though, the Packers should look to restructure his contract or cut ties. Restructuring or cutting Matthews would allow Thompson to extend Perry to a long-term deal and potentially make a splash free-agency signing. While not Thompson’s m.o., he’s not immune to making free-agent signings (think Charles Woodson and Julius Peppers). Expect the Packers’ defense to look a bit different in 2017.
The league’s YouTube has the highlights from the NFC championship game:
Brent Musberger, interviewed by Peter King for the MMQB, has a fantastic Vince Lombardi story:
Vince Lombardi, I was around him more than any of those three. Talk about how times changed: On Saturdays before Green Bay home games in the sixties, Red Smith and some of the New York columnists, and some of the rest of us coming in for the game from out of town, we would all go to Lombardi’s house for cocktails and hors d’ouevres. And he’d be there with a drink, as jovial and engaging and as wonderful a personality as you could imagine. Vince Lombardi! Entertaining the media the day before the game! Somebody would ask him about his preparation, and he’d say, ‘Hay’s in the barn, young man. Nothing I can do.’
Wondering why the NFL has gone back to Roman numerals for this year’s Super Bowl? Here’s an explainer for you:
Elliot Harrison looks at 10 Facts to know heading into Super Bowl LI:
Speaking of the Super Bowl, if you’re lucky enough to be going to the big game, let Steph Stradley be your guide in Houston:
The Super Bowl predictions have started:
Ever wonder what the players who win the Super Bowl get paid?
While qualified candidates like Brian Gutekunst and Eliot Wolf pulled their names from consideration for the 49ers general manager position, Jed York ended up hiring an ex-player with zero front office experience. Good Morning Football asks: Does it matter?