2015 NFL Season Preview- Green Bay Packers
Green Bay players, coaches, and fans will spend a long time thinking what might have been.
The Packers tied with four other teams for a league best record at 12-4, while also adding a fourth consecutive NFC North division title. They were 8-0 at home and led the league in scoring with 486 points, the second most in franchise history. It marked the first time since the 2009 season where the team had a 4,000 yard passer, two 1,000 yard receivers, and a 1,000 yard rusher. They won the divisional round playoff game against the Cowboys, but then lost the NFC championship game against the Seahawks in the second biggest collapse in NFL playoff history.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers proved himself to be the best quarterback in football as he had a touchdown to interception ratio of 38-5 and was named the NFL MVP. Running back Eddie Lacy was preserved early in the season before setting a team record with 10 straight games with at least 100 yards from scrimmage. Jordy Nelson delivered from the start as he recorded 98 catches for a team record 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns. Randall Cobb was a monster in the slot and the return game as he had 91 receptions for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns. The offensive line dealt with injuries throughout the year but still only gave up 28 sacks.
Defensive tackle B.J. Raji was lost for the year with a torn biceps which really hurt the run defense. Linebacker Clay Matthews played all over the field and moved inside in a situational role in the second half of the year. Julius Peppers was arguably Green Bay's best defender as he had 9.5 sacks, six forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and two interceptions returned for touchdowns. The secondary wasn't flashy, but they were solid for much of the year.
The rookie class produced some good gems. Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix had a productive first season and had two interceptions in the NFC Championship game. Wide receiver Davante Adams had his inconsistencies but has the ability to be a big time playmaker. Tight end Richard Rodgers came on late and showed sure hands and great blocking ability. Center Corey Linsley flourished as the team's starter from week one after being trusted into the lineup.
Packers 2014 Rankings
Opponent Passing Yards
Opponent Rushing Yards
NFL Rank- 8th
NFL Rank- 11th
NFL Rank- 10th
NFL Rank- 23rd
NFL Rank- 6th
NFL Rank- 15th
After finishing the year on a disappointing note, head coach Mike McCarthy had some difficult decisions to make involving player personnel. Green Bay had $25 million in cap space to resign key players.
Notable Additions- None
Notable Departures- QB Matt Flynn, WR Jarrett Boykin, ILB A.J. Hawk, ILB Brad Jones, CB Tramon Williams
Aaron Rodgers Highlights
2015 NFL Draft
Going into the draft, Green Bay held the 30th overall pick with many holes to fill. Most notably at running back, defensive linemen, and inside linebacker.
Eddie Lacy is a premier running back, but durability is a concern with his punishing running style. James Starks is a capable back up but the team needs an explosive runner.
Without B.J. Raji, the run defense struggled with no big man in the middle. He'll be back healthy, but depth at the defensive line can't hurt.
A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones are no longer with the team. Clay Matthews playing inside provided a boost late in the season, but a full time fixture at the position is a must.
Green Bay ended up selecting Arizona State safety Damarious Randall with the 30th overall pick. Randall was known for being highly aggressive and playing every snap at full speed but his size and lack of strength may force him to play cornerback.
The Packers also notably drafted Miami of Ohio cornerback Quinten Rollins in the second round, Stanford wide receiver Ty Montgomery in the third, Michigan linebacker Jake Ryan in the fourth, and UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley in the fifth. Rollins had the best closing and recovery speed of any cornerback in the draft but has only played one year of football since high school. Montgomery is an athletic receiver with long arms but doesn't possess the ideal agility or flexibility. Ryan has good size and plays fast with a lot of effort but doesn't have the skills as a cover man. Hundley looks the part of an NFL quarterback but didn't play in a pro style offense at UCLA.
Damarious Randall Highlights
What to Expect
As long as #12 is at quarterback, Green Bay is going to be a contender.
Aaron Rodgers is the highest rated passer in league history and he is going to do everything positive to put his team in a position to win. Eddie Lacy's touches have to be monitored to keep him fresh and injury free. With the emergence of Davante Adams, the receiving corps now has more talented weapons for Rodgers to target.
The run defense should be solid as long as Roji can stay healthy. Jake Ryan is capable of playing middle linebacker so Clay Matthews can go back to rushing the passer on the outside. The secondary reloaded by adding Randall and Rollins who have the ability to play either cornerback or safety.
Green Bay are still the favorites to win the NFC North, and they have to be in real contention for a Super Bowl title.
Best record they can hope for: 12-4