Packers Morning Buzz: Breaking down improvements, biggest needs
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 Andy Benoit of The MMQB exploring how the Matt LaFleur-Aaron Rodgers marriage will work as part of his NFC North offseason report.
Benoit writes of the Packers:
In what areas did they improve? New edge defenders Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith are upgrades over a declining Clay Matthews and a disappointing Nick Perry, but neither is a pure edge bender. Fortunately, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s scheme won’t ask them to be. Pettine believes in disguising and overloading pressure. Many of Green Bay’s critical edge rushes, in fact, involve blitzing cornerbacks. This means inside rushes for Za’Darius Smith, who has the quick hands and explosive hips to thrive in that role. Preston Smith is less of a fit; don’t be surprised if he plays fewer than 1/3 of the third down snaps. Rashan Gary, in fact, could soon prove to be a much better option.
More important in Green Bay’s scheme are the safeties, who are part of those pressure designs and also critical to Pettine’s staple presnap disguises. Adrian Amos and first-rounder Darnell Savage (whom Green Bay traded up to get) will be used in various ways.
What areas still need help? Davante Adams is a true No. 1 receiver but Geronimo Allison, Marqueze Valdes-Scantling and Equanimious St. Brown still carry question marks. Granted, those question marks might be getting smaller, given how those young receivers all have great size and have flashed in different moments. But it remains to be seen how this receiving corps fits together. Another concern (though small) is the lack of a natural slot weapon. Adams is the best fit for that role, and to influence coverages, the Packers will often want their best receiver aligned outside. Fortunately, though, first time head coach Matt LaFleur’s scheme features condensed formations, which can make a slot receiver’s job similar to an outside receiver’s.
Biggest question heading into the regular season? How will the LaFleur-Aaron Rodgers marriage work? LaFleur’s scheme is predicated on disciplined spacing and timing. Rodgers, a sometimes-unconventional dropback QB, has never had to run that sort of offense in the NFL.
You can read Benoit's entire NFC North assessment here:
Jim Owczarski writes about the Packers' increased emphasis on the running game:
With the offseason program coming to a close, Rob Reischel grades the Packers by position for ForbesSports:
Baker Mayfield, in just his second season, over Aaron Rodgers?
Jason Wilde writes about the bargain that is Davante Adams for the Wisconsin State Journal:
Michael Silver of NFL Network also foresees a big season for Adams:
ESPN's Rob Demovsky looks at how well Marquez Valdes-Scantling is suited for the new offense:
David Bakhtiari likes what he's seeing from top draft pick Rashan Gary, writes Zach Kruse of the Packers Wire:
The twin brother of Packers lineman Justin McCray lands in Chicago:
A recap of the Pro Football Focus Top 50 for 2019 (three Packers made the list):
And finally: The Packers devoted the final day of minicamp to paint ball:
Contact Stu Courtney at (920) 431-8377 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @stucourt