Packers Morning Buzz: Green Bay hopes riding on 'boom or bust' offense
Welcome to your Morning Buzz, rounding up news and views regarding the Green Bay Packers from around the web and here at PackersNews.com.
We'll start with Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com projecting the starting lineups for each NFC North team and offering analysis. For the Packers, Rosenthal notes that Aaron Rodgers has "the most unproven group of skill-position players he's had around him since he became the team's starter."
GREEN BAY PACKERS
QB: Aaron Rodgers
RB: Aaron Jones
WR: Davante Adams
WR: Geronimo Allison
WR: Marquez Valdes-Scantling
TE: Jimmy Graham
LT: David Bakhtiari
LG: Elgton Jenkins
C: Corey Linsley
RG: Billy Turner
RT: Bryan Bulaga
DE: Mike Daniels
DT: Kenny Clark
DE: Dean Lowry
OLB: Za'Darius Smith
ILB: Blake Martinez
OLB: Preston Smith
CB: Jaire Alexander
CB: Kevin King
CB: Tramon Williams
S: Adrian Amos
S: Darnell Savage
» Aaron Rodgers can make this work, but this might be the most unproven group of skill-position players he's had around him since he became the team's starter. It's almost like the Packers' brass wants to prove it can win offensively with the same players former head coach Mike McCarthy had.
» The offensive line should be better after drafting Elgton Jenkins in the second round. Giving Billy Turner big money ($9 million guaranteed) in free agency was a big surprise.
» The boom-or-bust nature of the offense extends to the coaching staff. First-year head coach Matt LaFleur is a mystery because of his limited track record as a coordinator and there are some indications he's fighting uphill battles organizationally.
» Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown were productive for rookie receivers selected on Day 3 of the draft (Valdes-Scantling went in Round 5; St. Brown went in Round 6). They need to make a big leap this season to become trusted core offensive players, although Geronimo Allisonappears to be the early favorite for the No. 2 receiver spot.
» The Packers have a terrific starting defensive line and go four deep at the edge rusher position with first-rounder Rashan Gary and Kyler Fackrell coming off the bench. Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith may have big contracts, but they seem unlikely to top 800 snaps with such solid backups. That's a positive for the Packers.
» Anything less than a top-10 defense would be an organizational failure because they've put so many resources into that side of the ball and reportedly pushed LaFleur to retain coordinator Mike Pettine (which was smart).
» The depth on defense extends to the secondary, where Tramon Williams is sharing time at cornerback with three recent high picks: Jaire Alexander, Kevin King and Josh Jackson. Another recent second-round pick, Josh Jones, looks likely to be displaced by rookie first-round safety Darnell Savage.
Biggest change from a year ago: Premium free-agency dollars and draft picks continue to be poured into making what's been a mediocre defense shine.
You can read Rosenthal's take on all the other teams' starting lineups here:
So, if the NFL had a draft lottery like the NBA's, the Jaguars would've had the first pick ... and the Packers would've picked 13th instead of 12th:
Andy Herman breaks down film of tight end Jace Sternberger, the Packers' third-round draft pick:
Does Rodgers no longer have the NFL's strongest arm?
Cheesehead TV makes predictions about which Packers bear watching:
By this measure, Jimmy Graham has been a more productive fantasy football tight end than Rob Gronkowski over the last three years:
And finally: Packers linebacker Blake Martinez wants to go cruisin' with you:
Contact Stu Courtney at (920) 431-8377 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @stucourt