Aaron's Answers: Does Rodgers deserve better?
Throughout the offseason, I’ll be answering reader questions in a weekly mailbag here at PackersNews.com. If you’d like to submit a question in the future, just email me email@example.com
As expected, things died down pretty quickly on the free-agency front, at least as far as the Packers are concerned. Of course, that doesn’t mean you guys don’t have questions about what’s going on at 1265 Lombardi, so let’s get to it.
From Matt Fisher:
I'm writing to ask your thoughts on the Davon House signing does he have a chance to start in Green Bay and does his signing push Damarious Randall into the Hyde role as slot corner/No. 3 safety?
There’s a lot left to play out, both with free agency and the draft, but yes, I would expect House to end up as a starter on the outside. There undoubtedly will be a bunch of mixing and matching throughout OTAs, minicamp and training camp, but I would expect House and LaDarius Gunter to end up starting outside. Two big guys who can get physical with wide receivers at the line of scrimmage wouldn’t be the worst thing.
Last summer, the Packers rotated both Randall and Quinten Rollins in the slot. I’m not exactly sold on the idea that’s where Randall ends up, but I think they certainly will take another look there. He does seem much better suited to some kind of role where he can roam and use his athleticism a little more. But eventually, no matter where he plays, he’s going to have to man up on guys and he simply has to improve that area of his game next season.
From Chris Hollenback:
Any chance Ted Thompson signs Giants free-agent defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins and releases Letroy Guion, given the minimal "dead money" involved? It removes him from a conference rival and Guion's got the suspension. He's younger, too. I know they have Mike Daniels, Dean Lowry and Clark but given injuries and goal line ...
Hankins would be an interesting addition, Chris, but he’s reportedly looking to get P-A-I-D, and I don’t see that happening in Green Bay. The Packers certainly have the cap space, but they also have plenty of future considerations when it comes to extending their own guys, like Davante Adams and Corey Linsley.
With that in mind, I don’t see them shelling out $10 million per year for a rotational lineman.
From Grant Soe:
I REALLY would love to know your reaction/opinion regardingthe stuff from Colin Cowherd on Aaron Rodgers and the front office.
I agree with a lot of it, and disagree with some of it, but it's an important topic.
This might not be appropriate for Aaron's Answers, so if you can't get back to me it's fine; it caught my attention, though, because "we're wasting Rodgers' prime" is a common thing you hear from Packers fans these days, and I wonder how true it is or isn't.
No Packers subject is off limits here at Aaron’s Answers!
The answer is complicated, but I got a lot of questions about Cowherd’s bit, so I thought I’d try to tackle it here.
First of all, Cowherd begins his bit by naming Lawrence Guy, a former Packers seventh-round pick who is on his third NFL team, as a high-end starter that the Patriots picked up. Guy is a rotational player at best. So let’s not pretend Colin really has any idea what he’s talking about when it comes to personnel.
When Cowherd says Rodgers and McCarthy are “carrying an average roster” I tend to think he’s referencing the defense. The Packers have had one of the best offensive lines in the league for the last few years and a bevy of options in the passing game. But the defense is indeed riddled with fair to slightly above-average talent. Mike Daniels and Clay Matthews, when fully healthy, are probably the only players that scare offensive coordinators in any way.
The frustration Packers fans undoubtedly identify with in that clip stems from their favorite team continually knocking on the door of the Super Bowl, but never being able to seal the deal. I get that. However, I also understand how fortunate Packers fans have been to root for a consistent contender for most of Thompson’s tenure.
I’ve maintained the same stance over the course of the last several offseasons, a stance I know is shared by more than a few people in and around the team, that Thompson seems to continually ensure his team will be “good” three years from now.
However, that often seems to leave his current team short-changed in some way. Whether it was moving on from Charles Woodson with no real option to replace him or allowing T.J. Lang to leave last week with no apparent replacement on the roster, Thompson seems to always be drawing unnecessary lines in the sand.
Would increasing his offer to Lang really have upset his team’s salary structure to the point that it would have jeopardized upcoming deals? Of course not. There are so many ways to structure NFL contracts to ensure you keep the players you want to keep. For whatever reason, Thompson seems to think it’s more important to ensure he maintains positional structure than bring back a Pro Bowl guard. That kind of thinking makes no sense to me.
Now, all of that said, Thompson’s teams have won a ton of games and been contenders pretty much the entire time he has been in charge. Yes, having Rodgers undoubtedly helps. But let’s not act like the quarterback is doing it all by himself. That’s an insult to the work, dedication and contributions of so many other players, it’s almost insulting to entertain.
As for the idea the Packers are “wasting Rodgers' prime” I always ask people to read this excellent piece by Paul Noonan. Simply put, the whole idea is a canard. The funny thing is, in 2015 the Packers had a pretty good defense and Rodgers played well below his capabilities, but no one would say Rodgers “wasted” a season of his own prime.
Thompson has a way of doing things. You and I (and Colin Cowherd) can disagree with how he goes about it, but he has his beliefs and he’s going to stick to them. His teams keep knocking on the door. He’s betting that eventually they’ll get some luck on the health front and a bounce or two will go their way (the two real keys to any Super Bowl run in the modern era, outside of having a quarterback) and they’ll be playing for the Lombardi Trophy.
Does Aaron Rodgers “deserve” better than that? To quote Clint Eastwood in "Unforgiven": "Deserve's got nothin' to do with it.”