The Green Bay Packers made it to the NFC Championship Game this year, but here are five offseason moves they must make to have the best chance to reach that level again next year.
The 2019-20 campaign will be deemed a success for the Green Bay Packers, as they went 13-3 in Matt LaFleur’s first season as head coach. That record reflected a dominance they didn’t often show. But as the cliché goes “you are what your record says you are,” and the Packers were the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs and came within a whisker of being the top seed in the conference.
The Packers’ defense was pretty good this year, as free agent additions Za’Darius Smith (13.5 sacks), Preston Smith (12 sacks) and Adrian Amos (81 total tackles) made an impact. But they struggled against the run, finishing 24th in the league during the regular season (120.1 yards per game), and they were simply dominated on the ground by the San Francisco 49ers in the conference title game.
Aaron Rodgers is still a quarterback a lot of teams would take over who they have, but at age 36, he is on the decline with deeper numbers that show it. His avoidance of interceptions is noteworthy, with just six over the last two regular seasons now (1,166 pass attempts), but he’s also overly cautious in a way that is regularly obvious.
The Packers were easily seen as one of the most flimsy No. 2 seeds we’ve ever seen, but with some targeted need areas to address, there should be plenty in place to make another deep playoff run next year.
Here are five moves the Green Bay Packers have to make this offseason.
5. Add competition/pieces to the offensive line
Rodgers’ ability to get rid of the ball and move around a bit still helps the Packers’ offensive line look better than it is at times. But long-time right tackle Brian Bulaga is set to become a free agent, and despite Green Bay’s offensive line coming as Pro Football Focus’ sixth-best unit this year, only left tackle David Bakhtiari (and Bulaga if he’s back) should feel particularly secure in their starting job looking ahead to next year.
Protecting Rodgers well enough has been an ongoing issue for the Packers, and now he’s not the elite player he once was to bail out the unit’s shortcomings over and over again. Making additions to at least foster competition on the interior spots, and perhaps to replace Bulaga if he is not re-signed, are on the agenda for general manager Brian Gutekunst.