Welcome to your Morning Buzz, rounding up news and views regarding the Green Bay Packers from around the web and here at PackersNews.com.
Packers coach Matt LaFleur is zeroing in on Vanderbilt special teams coach Shawn Mennenga to replace the fired Ron Zook, and has chosen Colorado State's Alvis Whitted to serve as wide receivers coach. Tom Silverstein broke the news Tuesday night:
Former Packers receiver Jeff Janis opens up in a Davis Mattek podcast about his time in Green Bay and disappointment over what he felt was a lack of opportunity to play even after his Hail Mary catch at Arizona during the 2015 playoffs. Janis also addresses Aaron Rodgers' stern on-field demeanor and what he said players perceived to be an outmoded Packers offense under coach Mike McCarthy.
On Rodgers’ on-field demeanor and body language:
“I think positive reinforcement works a lot better than negative. … It can tear you down and break a player. You take a really good player and just keep doing that stuff to them, he’s going to start being one of those guys you can’t count on because he’s feeling like he’s inconsistent and starting to get down on himself. It’s one of those things you can’t really change because (Rodgers) is the way he is.”
On McCarthy’s conservative play calling:
“It starts to separate the connection you have between the coaches and the players. If you don't trust your coaches on calling the right plays, it's just going to make things that much harder, and I think that's what you saw this year with the Packers and coach McCarthy.
“So another good move by the Packers is getting somebody else in there to spice things up and make a connection with the players and have one of those young, explosive offenses.”
On replacing McCarthy with LaFleur:
“(McCarthy’s) an old-school style coach and there were just a lot of times where we were like, ‘Man, we gotta do something here,’ and it was just like, punting the ball or running it. And we were like, ‘Man, we gotta do something to get some energy into this team.’ And a lot of that comes through the offense and we just weren’t able to do it sometimes. So I think it’s a good move by them (hiring LaFleur).”
On the Packers’ outmoded offense:
“When you watch (NFL) games now it’s like, holy cow, all these guys are getting so wide open. And then, I was finally able to sit back and watch the Packers’ season and it’s just like it’s a night-and-day difference compared to some other teams. It’s like, ‘Man, it’s just the same old stuff.’ And that’s why I think things are looking up for the Packers with the coaching change.”
You can listen to the entire podcast here:
Meanwhile, NFL Network reported that Packers tight end Jimmy Graham is expected to return for the 2019 season:
That would be a mistake in the eyes of Pete Dougherty, who wrote in December that the Packers should move on from Graham for the money they'd save.
Cutting him will save $9 million in cash and $5.33 million in cap room. Gutekunst took a shot that Graham would be a difference maker playing with Rodgers after he caught 10 touchdown passes with Seattle in 2017. But Graham has hit the wall, so Gutekunst should cut his losses.
Graham’s 46 receptions rank No. 2 on the team, but he hasn’t made game-changing plays. He’ll get consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame five years after he retires, but he’s not nearly the athlete he was.
The Packers also should move on from his backups, Lance Kendricks (age 31 next season) and Marcedes Lewis (35 next season), whose contracts run out this year. It’s time to get younger at tight end.
Pete also writes that the Packers no longer have the luxury of neglecting the backup quarterback position, given Rodgers' age and injury history:
You can put the Luke Getsy hire in the "it's official" column:
Rams running back Todd Gurley offers high praise for LaFleur during Super Bowl interviews:
If it seemed like Packers receiver Davante Adams was running a lot of out routes:
The Packers' financial outlook (and the NFL's) looks rosy indeed:
ESPN's Rob Demovsky runs down the outlook for the Packers' free agents:
But will Rodgers ever get back on the big stage again?
Former Packers backup quarterback Graham Harrell is set to become USC's offensive coordinator:
Rodgers and former Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk weigh in on Harrell:
And finally: Another day, another mock draft. This one has the Packers going defensive line with their first pick, offensive line with the second: