Packers Morning Buzz: Green Bay seen as NFL's most-improved team
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 The MMQB's nominations for most improved NFL teams during this active offseason. Kalyn Kahler declares that the Packers belong at the top of the list because of the potentially far-reaching effects of firing longtime coach Mike McCarthy.
I’m arguing the Packers improved the most this offseason because they’ve undertaken a much-needed culture overhaul. Mike McCarthy’s coaching was stale and he had lost control of the team. Aaron Rodgers was changing many of McCarthy’s play calls at the line of scrimmage, the offense stalled without a consistent veteran threat Rodgers could rely on and the defense lacked the talent to keep the team alive.
By firing McCarthy and hiring Matt LaFleur, the Packers are starting fresh—and anything is better then the mess they became last season when they lost to a 2-9 Arizona Cardinals team, in cold weather, at home. Green Bay has also addressed the weaknesses in its defense with the additions of pass rushers Zadarius Smith and Preston Smith, and safety Adrian Amos. The free agent signings marked a departure from the thrifty free agent budgeting of previous GM Ted Thompson. In the draft, Green Bay focused on defense again in the first round with Michigan defensive end Rashan Gary and Maryland safety Darnell Savage, and later added a pass catching threat in tight end Jace Sternberger. So the team has an improved defense paired with a revamped offense. If Rodgers buys into the system, Green Bay will return to form.
You can check out the list of other most-improved candidates here:
ICYMI over the holiday weekend, Packers Nation and the NFL and sporting worlds paid their respects after the death Sunday of iconic quarterback Bart Starr:
And the online outpouring of affection for Starr rolls on:
Adam Schein of NFL.com ranks the NFL divisions by the quality of their quarterbacks, and Aaron Rodgers' presence earns the NFC North a No. 3 ranking.
3) NFC NORTH
Chicago Bears: Mitchell Trubisky
Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford
Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers
Minnesota Vikings: Kirk Cousins
The Aaron Rodgers "I can be coached" tour is going to be real and spectacular. Count on it. He's healthy, and I expect his union with first-year head coach Matt LaFleur will help him remind everyone that he's still one of the best in the game. Trubisky has made major progress in his first two seasons, and he'll take another step forward in his second season working with offensive whiz Matt Nagy. I feel like Cousins and Stafford fall somewhere in the range of eight to 16 in the QB rankings each year. There will be many moments of genius, and moments that leave you shaking your head, for both.
You can see which division's quarterbacks ranked No. 1 (hint: The Packers will face them in the 2019 season) here:
Left tackle David Bakhtiari won't be chugging beers for the Bucks in the NBA Finals:
Former Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers is enjoying his second stint with the Jaguars:
And finally: Bart Starr is immortalized in classic 1960s Sports Illustrated photography:
Contact Stu Courtney at (920) 431-8377 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @stucourt