The Green Bay Packers have had some weird offseasons in the past couple years. In back-to-back offseasons, Packers quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, has been very close to leaving the team or retiring. At the beginning of the 2022 offseason, the Packers and Rodgers were finally able to put some issues to bed and come to a long-term extension. Almost immediately following Rodgers inking his new contract, the Packers dealt star wide receiver Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders for a 2022 first round pick and second round pick.
After the Packers traded the best wide receiver in football, many experts have already written the Packers off for the 2022 season. Here’s why these experts are wrong about the Packers:
Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon
The Packers have a formidable duo in the backfield. The two running backs in the Green Bay backfield are Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. These two players are a perfect match together. Aaron Jones is shifty and can fly through a hole when it opens up, while AJ Dillon bruises through opponents. Dillon is someone that can fight for extra yards and is exceptional near the goal line. These two can do more than just run the ball. Both of these running backs are very good receiving backs, in fact, in 2021, Dillon did not have a single drop. During the 2021 season, the Packer offense excelled when Rodgers was able to run screens to either of his running backs. In 2022, the Davante-less Packers will be relying heavily on these two running backs, making it the first time in a very long time that the Packers will be a run first team.
An Elite Defense
In 2021, the Packers defense was never able to stay healthy. Jaire Alexander, the premier cornerback for the Packers, injured his shoulder in week four against the Pittsburgh Steelers and was not able to return until the Packers divisional game against the San Francisco 49ers. With Alexander’s injury, it gave opportunities to other cornerbacks on the team. Rookie cornerback Eric Stokes excelled with Alexander’s absence, and slot cornerback Rasul Douglas tallied career highs in every statistical category. With those two now teaming up with Alexander, the secondary will be transformed into a “s(no)w fly zone.” Paired with safeties Darnell Savage and Adrian Amos, one of the best tandems in the league, the Packers secondary will be a formidable force for opposing offenses.
The Pass Rushers
The secondary is not the sole strength of the Packers defense. Headed into 2022, the Packers front seven is one of the best in the league. Kenny Clark leads the Packers front seven as a dominant run stopper and a league leader in quarterback pressures for his respective positions. When you add two very good outside linebackers in Preston Smith and Rashan Gary, it can make it very difficult for quarterbacks to sit in the pocket and comfortably scan the field. Rashan Gary seems to be improving year after year while Preston Smith drastically improved from his subpar 2020 season. In addition to the pass rush, the Packers linebacking core is the strongest its ever been in recent years. After re-signing all-pro linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, the Packers added linebacker Quay Walker in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft. The Packers continued to bolster their defense, adding Defensive Tackle Devonte Wyatt. If this defense plays how they look on paper, they can be the best unit in the NFL
Potential at the Receiver Core
The biggest question mark the Packers have is at wide receiver. The only two returning wideouts are Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb, who both have a strong connection with Aaron Rogders. In an effort to fill the gaping hole at receiver, the Packers added veteran receiver Sammy Watkins. Watkins is someone with big play potential, and can be a serviceable option for Rodgers and the Packers.
Amari Rodgers, who was taken in the third round in the 2021 draft, has not had a good start to his career. Despite his underwhelming performance in 2021, the Packer coaches have loved what they have seen from him this offseason, and have high hopes for the second year player heading into 2022. In this year’s draft, the Packers selected Christian Watson. Watson is a fast receiver with loads of potential, and looks to be a viable option in the needy Packer receiving corps.
While the Packers do not have any reputable pass-catchers, they have young talent, meaning potential for breakout seasons. If Lefleur can design an offense to play to the strengths of the various unproven players, expect Rodgers to transform these players from zeroes to heroes.
Reining MVP Aaron Rodgers
This reason shouldn’t surprise anyone. The Green Bay Packers have the back-to-back MVP of the NFL and guaranteed Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers continues to amaze each year and doesn’t seem to be anywhere close to slowing down. Although Rodgers will be with a receiving core with limited experience, he consistently elevated those around him. Rodgers will find ways to make these unproven receivers better, and per usual, will perform when the lights are the brightest. With Aaron Rodgers under center, the Packers will always have a chance at a Super Bowl.