Packers Morning Buzz: Oren Burks running out of time
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 Pete Dougherty fielding a question Wednesday in his weekly live chat about whether linebacker Oren Burks (a third-round pick in 2018 out of Vanderbilt) could be like former Packers linebacker Brian Williams, a third-round pick in 1995 who did little his first two seasons before blossoming into a starter in his third season.
Yeah, interesting guy to bring up. Did nothing his rookie year ('95) and nothing most of camp his second year, then all of a sudden came on at the end of camp in '96, won a starting job and had a really good season. Burks is heading into his third year now, and you would think that if it were going to happen for him at LB it would have been this year. It most certainly didn't happen. He is a good special teamer, so there's a role for him, but at this point it will be a mild surprise if he emerges as a starter at ILB. You never know, some guys take longer than others, and he did miss a lot of camp both seasons, that's valuable work. Still, the fact that he got multiple chances and never was able to stay on the field both as a rookie and this year doesn't bode well.
You can read the rest of Pete's chat (which lasted for 2 hours and covered a multitude of Packers topics, including Tim Boyle's potential) here:
In Part 3 of our 10-part Packers position analysis, Jim Owczarski looks at the changes needed at wide receiver:
Nate Davis of USA Today puts the Packers fifth in his final power rankings, with this observation:
5. Packers (5): Strong debut for rookie HC Matt LaFleur. One more playmaker – receiver? linebacker? – on either side of ball might put Green Bay over top in 2020.
You can see the entire rankings here:
Pro Football Focus is counts down the top 101 players for 2019, with five Packers making the list:
19. EDGE ZA'DARIUS SMITH, GREEN BAY PACKERS
New free-agent acquisition Za'Darius Smith hit the ground running for the Green Bay Packers, rejuvenating the team's pass-rush alongside Preston Smith and Kenny Clark. Za'Darius led the NFL in total pressures with 93 over the regular season, and he added another 11 over the course of the two playoff performances. Few players rushed the passer with as much versatility as Smith did, as he lined up all across the defensive front to find favorable matchups.
33. WR DAVANTE ADAMS, GREEN BAY PACKERS
Few receivers are more important to their team's passing success than Green Bay's Davante Adams, who remains the only receiver that Aaron Rodgers truly trusts on a regular basis. The trust isn't misplaced, as Adams is one of the best route runners in the game and arguably possesses the best release off the line of anybody. In the team's two playoff appearances, Adams averaged 8.5 catches for 149 yards and a touchdown, and over the entire season, he caught 68.5% of the targets that were sent his way.
56. RB AARON JONES, GREEN BAY PACKERS
While the Packers' offense generally failed to find consistency, running back Aaron Jones was always keeping pace with the best players in the league in terms of PFF grades despite never getting the kind of workload other backs did. Jones ranked just 15th in terms of carries but had the fifth-best PFF grade of any back. He averaged over three yards per carry after contact, racking up 750 of his 1,078 yards after being hit by defenders. He broke 43 tackles along the way and added another eight through the air on 50 receptions.
83. QB AARON RODGERS, GREEN BAY PACKERS
The enigma that is Aaron Rodgers continues to confound. Just when all hope of seeing the very best of Rodgers again had almost vanished for good, he pulled out one of the best games he has had in years in the playoffs against the Seahawks but wasn't able to back it up in the NFC Championship game against the 49ers. Overall, Rodgers is still capable of those sensational games, but his baseline has slipped from where it once was, and he ended the year ranked seventh in overall PFF grade at the position. At his best, Rodgers has been the No. 1 player on this list in multiple seasons, and while he has slipped from that level, he is still good enough to be one of the best 101 players in the league.
97. DL KENNY CLARK, GREEN BAY PACKERS
There are so many devastating interior defenders in the NFL today that fitting them all on this list is a challenge. Green Bay's Kenny Clark has developed into one of the league's better pass-rushing forces inside, despite entering the league as a nose tackle and still plying much of his trade there. Including the playoffs, only Aaron Donald and Chris Jones had a higher PFF pass-rushing grade than Clark among interior defenders, and he tallied 69 total pressures. Only a relative step back in his run defense kept him from being much higher on the list.
Check out the complete list here:
This goes against the "Super Bowl hangover" trend:
Time to pump the brakes on the OBJ-to-Green Bay speculation:
Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com looks at the first order of offseason business for each NFL team. His advice for the Packers:
Green Bay Packers
Take a step back and understand the way you won 13 games in 2019 is not replicable. The defense regressed, big time, as the season went on, and the scope of that passing attack, despite a generational talent at QB, was troubling at best. The Honeymoon is over. Best get your collective heads around that now inside that building.
You can read the entire story here:
Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari with a shout-out to Chiefs offensive coordinator (and fellow Colorado product) Eric Bieniemy:
And finally: a different kind of coaching gig for Ahman Green:
Contact Stu Courtney at (920) 431-8377 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @stucourt