Posted: 5:01 p.m. Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Veteran Additions: TE Matthew Mulligan.
Veteran Subtractions: TE Tom Crabtree, RB Ryan Grant, WR Donald Driver, ILB Desmond Bishop, RB Cedric Benson, C Jeff Saturday, WR Greg Jennings, DE/OLB Erik Walden, DE/OLB Frank Zombo, S Charles Woodson.
Rookie Additions: DE/DT Datone Jones, RB Eddie Lacy, OT/G David Bakhtiari, G/OT J.C. Tretter, RB Johnathan Franklin, CB/S Micah Hyde, DE/DT Josh Boyd, DE/OLB Nate Palmer, WR Charles Johnson, WR Kevin Dorsey, LB Sam Barrington.
Strengths: The passing game.
I mean, let's be honest, this team is built on one of the most effective and dynamic passing games in the league. I don't need to sing the praises of Aaron Rodgers or Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb or, heck, even Jermichael Finley, who is a bit inconsistent, but works well in their system. That's a great passing team.
What that offense always lacked, however, was a solid running game. Well, in the last draft, Green Bay went out and got Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin - both of whom, I think, could be starters. I am going to put a unit that is essentially made up of rookies in the strengths category because those were both good picks.
On the flip side, the Packers do well at defending the pass. Football Outsiders has the Packers at -8.1 vs. the pass (remember, in defensive DVOA, negative is better), which puts them at 7th in the league. This has to do with their really strong CBs (Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, and Casey Hayward) and their good pass rush. The obvious guy on the pass rush side is Clay Matthews. But, the Packers might be hopeful to see what Datone Jones can do, both from a pass rush standpoint and from a clogging-up-defenders-to-allow-other-rushers-to-get-in standpoint.
The Packers do have some weaknesses, however, in the secondary. Even though Charles Woodson is getting old and has had some recent injury concerns, he still was productive for the Packers. Filing that spot is not going to be easy, especially since the Packers did little this offseason to address the position. Look for M.D. Jennings to man the post.
(Also, the read-option)
The Packers always seem to catch some crap over their offensive line every season - and this season really isn't different. With Bryan Bulaga returning from his injury, the line should be better than last season's showing. But, I still don't trust Marshall Newhouse (and neither does PFF, who rates his run blocking at a meager -12.3, though they are a bit more optimistic about his pass blocking than I thought they would be). He, along with Evan Dietrich-Smith, is the weak link on this line. If some of the new rookies could force their way onto the line, however, things may be a little different - especially considering the talent the Packers have at both guard positions.
(In addition, they can't play against the read-option).