The Green Bay Packers finished the 2022 campaign going 8-9 and barely missing out on the playoffs after a heartbreaking loss to the Detroit Lions the last week of the season. The loss capped off a disappointing season for the Packers full of underperforming groups. There were some bright spots in the offense however, rookie wide receiver Christain Watson showed he will be a star for the Packers for the foreseeable future, Jordan Love flashed his potential to be a solid QB in the NFL, and a number of other rookies played great football in the limited snaps they were given. Today we will be revisiting the offensive positional grades from the beginning of the NFL season and adjust them accordingly based off of a combination of stats, PFF grade, and the eye test.
Quarterbacks Before the Season: A. After: B-
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers followed up back-to-back MVP seasons with one of the worst statistical years of his future Hall of Fame career. That being said, Rodgers said it best when he stated “down years for me are career years for most quarterbacks”. Rodgers posted 3,695 yards, 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions on a 64.6% completion rate for an overall passer rating of 91.1. His passer rating this year is the lowest of his career as a full time starter for the Packers, the 3,695 yards are the lowest of his career in seasons where he didn’t miss time, and the 12 interceptions are the second highest of his career. A down year in all aspects for the future hall of fame QB. Rodgers also posted a 39.3 QBR this year, the lowest of his career by a large margin (second lowest being 52.5) and PFF had him ranked as the 14th best QB with a grade of 77.5. Rodgers did suffer a broken thumb at the midway point of the season, and saw a noticeable drop in production; however his performance before the injury was still nothing to write home about by his standards. At the backup spot, Jordan Love saw limited playing time, with most of it coming towards the end of the Packers game against the Philadelphia Eagles, where Love would lead a touchdown drive after hitting Watson in stride for a deep score.
With lots of questions over who will be the QB for the Packers next year, one thing is clear: Rodgers or Love will be gone. Some of Rodgers’ poor play this season can be attributed to Rodgers missing out on practice time with the rookies at the start of training camp, which is crucial to building a connection with the many rookie receivers they had this year. If Rodgers does return he will likely see some improvement as he builds more chemistry with the receivers, and if Love becomes the starter, he has shown plenty by now to prove he will be a solid starter for the Packers. Regardless, the Packers’ QB play is far from what we’ve been blessed with in recent years, and Rodgers simply played well below expectations for the Packers this season.
Running Backs Before the Season: A+ After: A+
Before the season, I claimed the Packers would be a dominant duo and the best running back duo in the league. While they may not be the best duo in the league, they are certainly top 3, and I still stand by the claim that they CAN be the best duo in the league. For some reason; however, Matt LaFleur seemed adamant on NOT using Aaron Jones in the offense nearly as much as he should’ve. In the games where the Packers lost, Aaron Jones was criminally underused. Jones had a mere two rushing touchdowns this year while AJ Dillon had seven. Jones recorded 1,121 rushes averaging 5.3 yards per carry, while Dillon recorded 770 yards and averaged 4.1 YPC. In the receiving game, Jones had 395 yards and five touchdowns while Dillon had 206 yards and no touchdowns. PFF rated Jones as the sixth best RB with a grade of 85.1 and AJ Dillon as the tenth best Rb with a grade of 81.4. The Packers had one of the best running back duos in the league last year, but failed tremendously at utilizing them properly, and in my opinion is a huge reason the offense struggled as much as it did this year.
Wide Receivers Before the Season: C After: C+
The wide receiver group this year was lackluster as we all knew it would be, but there is a lot of promise with the younger receivers. The team’s leading receiver was Allen Lazard with 788 yards and six touchdowns on 60 catches. The team’s leading touchdown scorer was rookie Christain Watson with seven receiving touchdowns to go along with 611 yards on 41 catches. Romeo Doubs and Randall Cobb both posted over 400 yards on the year as well, with Doubs also having three touchdowns to Cobb’s one. The Packers dealt with a lot of injuries this season to the receiving corps, with Watson, Cobb, and Doubs all missing four or more weeks at various points in the season. In the time they did play though, Watson and Doubs were great and will be great weapons in the future for the Packers’ offense. This year though, the receiving corps was fine but definitely suffered without a bonafide wide receiver one after the departure of Davante Adams.
Tight Ends Before the Season: B After: C+
The Packers’ tight ends the past couple seasons have been mediocre. Robert Tonyan’s production as of late is a far cry from his 11 touchdown season in 2019. Whether it’s from a lack of use in the Matt LaFleur system or not, Tonyan didn’t even crack 500 yards and only had two touchdowns on 53 catches. TE2 Marcedes Lewis also had two touchdowns but only 66 yards on 6 catches, but was amazing in the blocking game as usual. Josiah Deguara and Tyler Davis combined for 17 catches and 140 yards and zero touchdowns. The Packers highest graded tight end this year, according to PFF, was Marcedes Lewis with a grade of 65.6, which ranked 25th out of 74 eligible tight ends. Tonyan and Deguara were graded 51st and 52nd with grades of 57.7 and 57.2 respectively. Without a doubt the most valuable tight end for the Packers this season was Lewis solely because of his blocking ability, and even though Tonyan only had 470 yards receiving, that was still good for third best on the team, which says more about the Packers’ offensive success than it does the tight end group. The Packers tight ends this year were essentially a non-factor outside of Lewis, either they need to be more involved in the offense or the Packers need to consider finding a tight end in the draft or free agency.
O-Line Before the Season: A After: B+
The Packers offensive line struggled to stay completely healthy this season, especially at the left tackle position. David Bahktiari took longer than anticipated to return to his full-time starting role as the blindside blocker, and often split snaps with backups Yosh Nijman and rookie Zach Tom. When Bahktiari was on the field though he was stellar, posting a 79.8 rating according to PFF, good for the 12th best tackle in the league. The Packers also experimented with Elgton Jenkins at right tackle this year, but he struggled heavily to start the year until they moved him back to his left guard position beside Bakhtiari. When he was at his original position, he found much more success, posting a 72.3 rating on the year, 13th among guards. The weakness of the offensive line came at the center and right guard position. Center Josh Myers, despite a strong rookie campaign last season, posted a mere 60.4 rating this season, 27th out of 38 eligible centers. Meanwhile at right guard the Packers had a revolving door as they switched between Jon Runyan, Royce Newman, and Jake Hanson. Runyan was the best of the three guards this year, but only posted a 62.6 rating on the year, 37th out of 78 eligible guards. Newman was the second best, posting a 57.5 rating, 53rd in the league, and Jake Hanson posted an abysmal 47.2 rating when he was on the field. Finally at right tackle, rookie Zach Tom had a solid year, posting a 68.3 rating on the year.
The Packers offensive line wasn’t the dominant force we’ve come to expect from the group in years past; however the performance of Tom whenever he filled in for the injured starters is a breath of fresh air. With the poor performance at the right guard position, the Packers may look to add a player in the draft or free agency.