Packers Morning Buzz: 9-7 record good enough to win the NFC North? Division in disarray
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 NFC North being in such disarray, in the eyes of CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora, that a 9-7 record could be good enough to win it in 2020 (after the Packers went 13-3 en route to the division title last year).
La Canfora writes:
The Packers have picked a fight with Aaron Rodgers by continuing to neglect their offensive shortcomings, reaching and trading up to draft his replacement, creating a two-year window to win with their current starter and ignoring pass catchers by and large at a time when they were being selected at a record rate. The Lions brass was already informed a year ago – publicly and privately – that they'd best improve on their 2019 results or else. The Vikings coach and GM are entering a lame duck year. The Bears should thank Bill O'Brien for his exploits, lest their decision-makers would be getting more buried then they already are.
Green Bay was quite fortunate in my estimation – and in that of numerous evaluators I have chatted with – to finish where it did a year ago. The Packers lost a stud tackle and haven't upgraded much on offense, are stuck with a defensive coordinator who many would have moved on from, and now have an angry Rodgers on their hands. Godspeed. ...
Someone will win this division and reach the playoffs, because, well, some team has to. But this smells an awful lot to me like the NFC East did a year ago, and I'd suggest that 9-7 wins the division and it might not even be that good.
You can read the entire story here:
Gennaro Filice of NFL.com grades the drafts of the NFC North teams and, surprise, he's down on the Packers' picks:
» Round 1: (No. 26 overall) Jordan Love, QB, Utah State.
» Round 2: (62) AJ Dillon, RB, Boston College.
» Round 3: (94) Josiah Deguara, TE, Cincinnati.
» Round 5: (175) Kamal Martin, LB, Minnesota.
» Round 6: (192) Jon Runyan, OG, Michigan; (208) Jake Hanson, C, Oregon; (209) Simon Stepaniak, OG, Indiana.
» Round 7: (236) Vernon Scott, DB, TCU; (242) Jonathan Garvin, Edge, Miami (Fla.).
Palace intrigue in Titletown!
By now, you've heard all the juicy anecdotes surrounding Green Bay's stunning, STOP-THE-PRESSES selection of Love. But let's quickly review, because the drama here runs thick:
-- On draft day, Aaron Rodgers shared his Round 1 wishes with former punter/current sports talker Pat McAfee: "We haven't picked a skill player in the first round in 15 years, so that would be kind of cool." The Packers responded by ... trading up to draft his eventual replacement.
-- Of Rodgers' 364 career touchdown passes, exactly one has landed in the hands of a first-round pick. ( A 1-yard toss this past December to Marcedes Lewis, a former first-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars.)
-- Supreme Packers scribe Bob McGinn offered his thoughts on the sitch in a piece on The Athletic after the draft: Public niceties aside, my sense is (head coach Matt) LaFleur, fresh from a terrific 13-3 baptismal season, simply had enough of Rodgers' act and wanted to change the narrative. With a first-round talent on the roster, the Packers would gain leverage with their imperial quarterback and his passive-aggressive style.
-- Supreme Packers icon Brett Favre offered his thoughts on the sitch in an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show after a conversation with Rodgers: " Tom Brady, and myself, Joe Montana and Peyton Manning, just to name a few, finished their career elsewhere. ... I think you're going to see that trend more and more, and I think Aaron will finish somewhere else."
Well alright! Now, to Rodgers' credit, Love said the two-time league MVP reached out to him on Friday to offer congratulations. Good on Rodgers. But you have to imagine he's absolutely livid right now -- and it's hard to blame him. The Pack spent their second-round pick on a hulking power back and their third-rounder on an H-back, while failing to snag a single receiver in a draft class that's purportedly historically deep at the position. Is Green Bay becoming ... a run-first operation? When you add everything up, it's impossible not to be utterly obsessed with the ...
Palace intrigue in Titletown!
At least the Bears didn't fare much better ... you can see all the division grades here:
Meet new Packers quarterback Jordan Love through the storytelling skills of Jim Owczarski:
Most scouts agree that Love has all the physical tools:
Former Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen liked what he saw in Love during his one season of coaching him at Utah State:
The Packers' newest defensive lineman already is a hero to Green Bay fans thanks to his role in the Bears' "double-doink" playoff loss:
Meanwhile, the inevitable news from Chicago:
Good insight from Brad Biggs comparing how the Bears and Packers prioritize and develop the quarterback position:
Lost in the idea that this was a power play by management and second-year coach Matt LaFleur is the reality the Packers really liked Love. This wasn’t a flex by Gutekunst and LaFleur as much as it was them viewing this as potentially their best chance to position themselves for a post-Rodgers future.
Odds aren’t great Love will be a franchise quarterback. Nearly all first-round picks face an uphill battle to become that foundational piece. But if Love doesn’t work out, the Packers will move on and be able to do so at considerably less cost than the Bears’ investment in Trubisky. The Packers will have a player they developed when it comes time for Love to get his shot and won’t be left searching for a bridge to the next young quarterback, as so many teams wind up needing.
You can read Biggs' entire piece here:
Kyle Brandt of "Good Morning Football" is adamant that there is no comparison between Rodgers-Love and Favre-Rodgers:
Here's your chance to get an early start on complaining about the Packers' potential pick in the 2021 draft:
The Packers didn't have him for most of 2019 due to injury:
Tight end Ryan Wetnight spent his final NFL season with the Packers in 2000, catching three passes:
And here's a look at the player many thought the Packers were moving up ahead of Baltimore to draft:
And finally: an optimistic outlook for football played in front of fans at Lambeau Field this fall:
Contact Stu Courtney at (920) 431-8377 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @stucourt