Packers Morning Buzz: Super Bowl 'window' open for Matt LaFleur, Mike McCarthy
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 NFL.com's Adam Schein ranking the nine NFL teams that have the biggest "window" for winning the Super Bowl, and listing both the Packers and the team now being led by a former Packers coach:
5) Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott is a lock to be on the Cowboys' roster next season, whether via the franchise tag or a new contract. Given the kind of play Dak has provided on the rookie contract of a fourth-round pick, he certainly deserves a major pay hike. And I think these two sides will indeed put pen to paper on a long-term deal at some point, especially with the new coach in place.
Mike McCarthy changes everything for Dallas. That was a coup of a hire. He's a Super Bowl champ and an offensive guru. This is a major upgrade over Jason Garrett. McCarthy and Prescott comprise the kind of coach-quarterback tandem that can carry a franchise to years of contention. It's in everyone's best interest to make this marriage official.
6) Green Bay Packers
The only reason Green Bay didn't crack the top five is Aaron Rodgers' age (36). And chances are, at the outset of next season, I will pick the Packers to play on Championship Sunday once again, if not go further.
While Rodgers' is on the back nine of his career, he's still quite capable of dissecting a defense. (Do you want to bet against him in a big spot?) Meanwhile, Green Bay's own D is more talented than it has been in a long time. Matt LaFleur proved he could coach by going 13-3 in Year 1, while Aaron Jones became a star at the running back position. And GM Brian Gutekunst will get more talent for Rodgers in the passing attack this offseason.
You can read the entire story here:
A deep dive on Matt LaFleur's determination to change the Packers' culture, and how his players took it to another level:
Our 10-part Packers positional analysis rolls on with Ryan Wood on the tight ends:
Packers edge rusher Za'Darius Smith makes the Pro Football Focus list of the most valuable offseason additions at each position:
EDGE: ZA’DARIUS SMITH, GREEN BAY PACKERS, 0.27 WAR
The league leader with 93 pressures, Smith made an immediate impact on the Packers' defense after coming over from the Ravens. It was by far the best season of Smith’s career, as he posted career-highs in overall, pass-rushing and run-defense grades all while wreaking havoc from all over the defensive front.
You can see the entire team here:
Could the Packers have made better use of receiver Emmanuel Sanders?
Former Packers executive Andrew Brandt relates a story from Andy Reid's days as the Packers' quarterbacks coach:
I was Matt Hasselbeck’s agent when he was coming out of Boston College in 1998. Matt was not invited to the combine, so we arranged a one-day tryout at BC and invited every team in the league. One team responded: the Packers, who sent a quarterbacks coach named Andy Reid. With Reid our only guest, I offered to pick him up at Logan airport and drive him to the workout. Well, that presented a problem, as 1) I had never met or seen Reid; and 2) I drove a tiny sports car.
When Reid reached my car, we both laughed. I hastily pushed the passenger seat all the way back, threw everything in the trunk and squeezed him in the passenger seat like a jack-in-the-box. Notwithstanding the drive, he loved Matt and convinced the Packers to draft him in the sixth round. And that was how Matt’s 18-year career began.
You can read Brandt's entire column here:
Another day, another mock draft: This one from The MMQB has the Packers taking (surprise) a wide receiver:
30. Green Bay Packers: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
Outside of Davante Adams, Green Bay has struggled to find consistent production from its wide receiver corps. Coming off a breakout campaign (65/1,192/8), Aiyuk has the speed and open-field ability to turn any short pass into a big play.
Check out the entire mock draft here:
A gripping, tragic story about a star Colorado wide receiver that many are projecting could go to the Packers at No. 30:
Some important offseason dates, particularly for a former Packers head coach now in Dallas and his quarterback:
And finally: A-Rod getting it done on the golf course:
Contact Stu Courtney at (920) 431-8377 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @stucourt