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 Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst sitting down for an extensive Q&A session with Pete Dougherty a few days before the season opener Thursday in Chicago. Among the topics discussed was whether Gutekunst believed it was time to start looking to draft a potential replacement for Aaron Rodgers, who will turn 36 in December.
I don’t think I look at the idea of replacing him as much as finding quarterbacks. We’ve started that since the day I was here (as a scouting intern in 1997). We’re always looking for guys that can play at a high level at that position. That won’t change. It’s not really a focus of, ‘Hey, we’re looking to replace him,’ as much as, we want to add as much talent to that room (as possible). Tim Boyle has done a heck of a job improving since we first got him, we’re excited to see where he goes. But yeah, every day we’re looking at quarterbacks, it’s just such an important part of our league.
Asked about former GM Ron Wolf's practice of regularly drafting late-round quarterback projects, Gutekunst said:
I believe in it wholeheartedly. I’d like to get back to that. It’s really about the player. I was fortunate enough to be around here when you saw guys like Matt Hasselbeck and Aaron Brooks, and when Ted (Thompson) was here we drafted Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn in the same draft. I believe in that a lot. That position to me, you can’t win without one, so you have to take some chances at times, I think you have to do it.
For more on this and a multitude of other topics, be sure to read the in-depth Q&A here:
The Packers' offense is eager for a true test:
Asked yet again about audibles, Packers coach Matt LaFleur found it "comical":
Tom Silverstein and Jim Owczarski preview the season opener in their Packers Podcast:
Dougherty fielded fans' questions about no exhibition games for Rodgers and other issues in his weekly Packers chat:
Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison opens up about his long journey to the NFL:
The NFL schedule makers did LaFleur no favors in making the Packers open at Chicago:
Here's a look at what happened the last time the Packers played each of their 2019 opponents and how they've fared against them historically:
Pete Prisco of CBS Sports presents his annual season-opening power rankings and, as has become a tradition, picks the Packers to win the Super Bowl. But Prisco writes that this time, it's the defense rather than Rodgers that is driving his faith in Green Bay:
Coordinator Mike Pettine has a lot of toys to play with to use in his creative approach to playing defense. It will be a fun, aggressive unit to watch.
If they can be a top-10 unit, you know Rodgers will have a big season. Don't buy all the talk that he can't co-exist with first-year coach Matt LaFleur. They will be fine. Rodgers will throw over 40 touchdown passes to win the league MVP.
The Packers will win the Super Bowl, which is why they are the No. 1 team in my first Power Rankings of 2019. The Patriots, naturally, are second.
You can read Prisco's entire rankings here:
Meanwhile, the Packers also make a strong showing in the MMQB power rankings:
7. GREEN BAY PACKERS
Previous rank: T-12
Points in poll: 237
Highest-place vote: 6 (2)
Lowest-place vote: 17 (1)
2018 Season result: 6-9-1, third place in NFC North
Week 1 matchup: at Bears (on Thursday Night Football)
It’s a fresh start in Green Bay for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers under Matt LaFleur. Can the team reach the playoffs for the first time since the 2016 season?
Here are the complete rankings:
And the sky apparently is the limit for Green Bay in this ESPN game-by-game simulation:
Rodgers ranks near the top of the NFL Network's "win share" statistic (which is similar to baseball's wins above replacement):
2) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: 5.1 wins
New coach? No preseason snaps? No problem. Modeling Rodgers reveals how elite and versatile he has been and projects to be. No player has had a higher realized average win share over the past five seasons (5.5). (Reminder: Rodgers only played in seven games in 2017 due to injury.) One element of Rodgers' game that really stands out as a crucial potential element of coach Matt LaFleur's play-calling tool box is the QB's deep-passing success. Next Gen Stats shows that last season, Rodgers threw 10 TDs and zero INTs on deep passes -- the most for any player without an interception.
You can read the entire story here:
The Packers make the top 10 on this Pro Football Focus ranking of offensive lines, with this comment:
7. GREEN BAY PACKERS
Rookie Elgton Jenkins may not have earned himself a starting role (yet), but his work in pass protection this preseason was superb. On 45 pass-blocking snaps between left guard, center and right guard, Jenkins didn’t allow a single pressure this preseason.
You can see the whole list here:
Aaron Nagler of Cheesehead TV provides perspective to the recent comments of former Packers defensive back Damarious Randall:
Contact Stu Courtney at (920) 431-8377 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @stucourt