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packers fans

Rooting for an NFL Team: Why the Packers are a Good Choice

The Green Bay Packers are a historic NFL team, one of the best actually. Did you know that the Green Bay Packers are actually the only NFL team that is community owned? That’s right, you can actually buy shares in the Green Bay Packers!  So the team gets a lot of its funding and a lot of its revenue and cash flow from its very own fans. That right there just goes to show how strong the fan base is for this team, and how strong of a following they have.

Did you know that the Lambeau Field is one of the oldest stadiums still in use in the NFL?  The stadium is historic and iconic, and it has seen Lombardi, Favre, Rodgers, and all of the greats play there. 

Another reason to like the Packers is that they win enough, but not too much. Does that make sense? Maybe not. Let me explain. So, it’s actually kind of annoying how much the Patriots win.  They win so much. So it doesn’t even seem exciting sometimes when they do win, (this last Super Bowl being an exception) because you’re kind of expecting it. With the Packers though, they win more often than they lose, but they don’t sweep away the competition like the Patriots do.  We can pretty safely say that the Packers put on a great show for their fans, because there is actually a struggle there, and because we really do root for them to win, which they often (but not always) do for us.

The Packers have been historically just great. They have had more great seasons than bad seasons, and a “so-so” season for the Green Bay Packers still has them winning more games than losing games. The Green Bay Packers have the most league championships in the NFL (they have thirteen of them). The Packers have also won four Super Bowls too. This is one of those teams that, like I mentioned above, doesn’t obliterate their competition like the New England Patriots do, but they fight for their wins and they get their wins more often than not.

Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Packers. Everyone knows them. Not everyone loves them. But they should. This team is one of the best, and few will deny that fact, as all one has to do to get a good idea of how great this team is is to look at their statistics. In NFL football, the Green Bay Packers go down in history as constantly and continuously being one of the teams that perform consistently well. They can almost always be relied upon to have a good season and they make it into the playoffs more often than not.   

And this year? Just take a look at the Green Bay Packers Roster. I found a copy of it right here at the Green Bay Packers website. Needless to say, I am very excited for this year! The Green Bay Packers had a great season last year, (I know, I know we were all hoping for a Super Bowl appearance but we just didn’t quite make it), and we are hoping for an even better season this year.

There are lots of reasons to be a Green Bay Packers fan. The fan base for this team is growing too. They are historic, they are fan-owned and community-based, and they are an iconic team for the entire Midwest. They bring power and an intensive attitude of competition to their games, and their morale is always very, very high. All hail the Mighty Pack!

veteran players

Why the Veterans Need to Step up in 2017

The Green Bay Packers have been Super Bowl contenders for the last several years. Aaron Rodgers has kept the team charging through the playoffs, but they haven’t been able to make it over that last hurdle for a variety of reasons. The biggest problem was their defense and lack of a real running game. A little more contribution from both of these weaknesses, considering how good Rodgers and their offense can be, would drastically change the outcome of their season. They attacked these positions in the draft; hopefully filling the holes of the need for the team. It is this pile up of draftees that need to have the right guidance to create an overall great team. Why do veterans need to step up for teams? It is simple, and never changes because the rookie talent brought in to make the team better can only do so with the guidance of veterans.

NFL Football

The parody in the NFL is incredible. Every year is anyone’s year. The changes with the new acquisitions from the draft, trades and free agency can completely change the fortunes of every NFL team. While the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots model of keeping it simple by building through the draft and now where else works, there are always transactions that elicit excitement and opportunity. No matter what the new players offer, the information from veterans to new players to the league and other teams can be pivotal to their success and the overall success of the team. The Green Bay Packers are in desperate need to get young and fast on the defensive side of the ball, as well as gaining wide receiver depth and a real running game. These are the three positions that they addressed in the draft. In a perfect world, these players would all be in the running for Rookie of the Year, but chances are there are much more hiccups in their road as rookies. As such, the guidance from veterans will be essential to the team’s success in the 2017 NFL football season.

Green Bay Packers and their Veterans

According to Pro-Football-Reference, the Green Bay Packers defense was ranked 21st in the league. Their defense put a lot of pressure on Aaron Rodgers and their offense, which was only enhanced because the team had to turn a wide receiver into a running back, Ty Montgomery. He did an excellent job filling in and learning a new position, but the potential of BYU running back Jaamal Williams. The hope is that he will turn into a smart fourth round pick and produce like the late running back pick from Chicago, Jordan Howard. There were even comparisons between Williams and Arizona bruiser David Johnson. Williams will need the support and complementary success of Montgomery to successfully read NFL defenses and produce in his rookie year. That also goes for the other running backs that they selected this year: Aaron Jones and Devante Mays. When healthy, the Packers arguably have the best trio of receivers. Davante Adams has grown into a good receiver, especially when paired with Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson. If these receivers step up, their offense has no limits.

The most important veteran presence is going to be on the defensive side of the ball. Clay Matthews and Devon House must step up. First, they must be the best versions of themselves to occupy their positions on the field. Lack of depth in both the OLB and CB spots emphasize the need for them to play their best. Second, draft picks on that side of the ball are expected to be plug and play players. Their guidance as veterans will be necessary to ensure that these rookies get play time and play well.

packers offseason

Grading the Packers Offseason

It has been a wild ride for Green Bay Packers fans since the end of last season. Management let go of a whole slew of key players in free agency but managed to replace them within that period and also bolster certain roster spots using the draft. There really has been a lot of change for the team this offseason. How will this play out for the 2017 NFL season? Also, if we can, what kind of grade would we put on their offseason?

Lang

Losing T.J. Lang was a tough pill to swallow for Cheeseheads across the nation. Lang was a staple player for the Packers who, like many others on the roster, began his career there. He began playing for Green Bay in 2009 and began starting at guard in 2011. The 29-year-old saw his way to a Pro-Bowl wearing green and yellow. But, with a better deal coming from hometown Detroit Lions to the tune of $28.5 million for three years, the Packers were unable to match and saw him walk away. On the bright side, we were able to pick up cornerback Kevin King in the draft. The All-Pac-12 honorable mention has a ton of skills that he will bring to the table. For one, he’s tall, and he has made great use of this during his college career by giving receivers that are used to winning at the high point a hard time. He has good instincts that help keep receivers off the ball, and he allowed just one touchdown over the last 101 targets. Another tough loss to the offensive line was J.C. Tretter. He was another player who had been nothing other than a Packer during his time in the NFL.

Lacy and Cook

The running back position was a focal point this offseason. Eddie Lacy was a staple player for Green Bay, and he too went on the chopping block. In hindsight, this might have been a blessing in disguise. Lacy battled weight problems the last three seasons and there were some question marks about his ankle surgery. The running back spot might be stronger than ever now, though, with Ty Montgomery becoming a full time running back and the drafting of three fresh running backs. Jamaal Williams of BYU, Aaron Jones of UTEP, and Devante Mays of Utah State will all be vying to make an impact and will no doubt be providing the Packers with serious depth at the position. Williams is BYU’s career rushing leader at 3,901 yards. He has an opposing style to that of Montgomery as a hard-hitting, aggressive runner, which will help him provide versatility to the role. Aaron Jones himself has a different style of running than both Montgomery and Williams. He’s more of a quick-twitch guy, which lends further versatility. Mays is a bit of an insurance pick just in case anything happens to any of the three guys above him, but that’s day four of the draft for you. Another noteworthy case of a free agent release was Jared Cook. However, they were able to pick up Marcellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks. They essentially traded Cook for Bennett when viewed through the lens of cap space. And, many think that Bennett is just a better player at the end of the day.

The free agency period was an odd one for the Packers this year. They lost more players than normal and took more players than normal. They came out on top in that regard, though. The draft was also a success. For this reason, we would say that the Packers certainly get a passing grade for this offseason, although it wasn’t all-time. For that reason, we give the Packers an offseason ranking of a “B.”

For more Green Bay Packers news, discussion, and analysis make sure to check back weekly here on our blog.

jordy nelson

2017 Could be Jordy Nelson’s Year

One of the highlight Green Bay Packers dramas over the last year has been the meteoric rise to career-high form for Jordy Nelson after his previous situation of injury. It was a drama that earned Nelson the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award for this past season. But, despite all of the glory in hindsight, Nelson’s ACL tear back in 2015 was a scary moment for everyone in the organization. With such an inspiring comeback effort, we find ourselves more than anything wondering how high the ceiling actually is for the guy.

Defying the Odds

You’ve heard it before and you’re about to hear it again. Most guys take two years to come back to form after ACL reconstruction. But, most guys aren’t Jordy Nelson. Because most guys aren’t catching 60-yard bombs that set up game-winning field goals in their first year back (Week 15 against the Chicago Bears). Most guys aren’t putting up numbers that (just nearly) tie career highs after taking an entire season off. And, maybe above and beyond everything else, most guys aren’t bouncing back in their thirties the way that Nelson (now thirty-two) is. You put it all together and yes, Jordy Nelson defied all odds last season. This fact was so obvious that 36 of the 50 panelists involved in the voting for the Comeback Player of the Year award cast him their votes.

Room to Grow

As we have described, last season Nelson recorded personal near-bests despite not being at full strength whatsoever. A necessary follow-up question is then: where does he go from here? If this past season is to reflect the level of play we should expect from Nelson when he is not at his best and healthiest, what should we be expecting from him with regards to the 2017 NFL season? Should we see his game continue to increase as he rounds the corner of the two-year mark since his injury? If this is the case, then we surely have a lot to look forward to from Jordy Nelson. Adding to this argument is the fact that Nelson has made a name for himself as a diligent worker behind the scenes and off the field when it comes to upping his game. With this kind of focus and momentum, 2017 really could be the year for Jordy Nelson.

Proven on the Gridiron

The wiser among you might be asking yourselves whether or not Nelson merely had a speedy recovery and is going to remain at the same level of play that we saw last season. Realistically speaking, this line of reasoning makes a whole lot of sense. What would make a guy come back as a drastically better player after an injury and a whole year out of the league?

As normal as that logic may seem, NFL Football is a far more complex beast. We’re talking about professional football—guys that have literally dedicated their lives to playing a single game. A game that is woven into the very fabric of our country. And, once you make it to the pros, it can be tough to live without it. So, even though the layman would call the situation a setback, this is the exact thing that can refuel passion for the game. Because you really never know what you have until it’s gone. And when you lose something that you love, you will fight with everything you have to get it back. That’s what Jordy Nelson did. And we can only hope there’s still some fire left to carry him through next season.

For more Green Bay Packers news and discussion, make sure to check back with us weekly here at PerOnThePack.com.                        

packers backfield ranked last

Packers Backfield Ranked Last in NFL: What This Means for the Team

It might come as a surprise to many that anything about the Green Bay Packers could be called “the worst in the league.” How does a team—ranked that way in any category—make it to the NFC Championship in the previous season?

…Well, it’s complicated.

The Packers backfield took a hit in 2016 with running back Eddie Lacy’s season-ending injury. After that, Packers coaching staff opted to essentially convert former Stanford receiver Ty Montgomery to the position. So, at that point, Green Bay didn’t really have an actual starting running back. Since then, they have cut four running backs and added three from the draft. Summing these facts, the resulting picture is a Packers backfield whose depth of actual NFL Football experience boils down to a single season of experience in only one player (Ty Montgomery). Not to oversimplify things, but there are only two scenarios that could be worse. One, all of their running backs going into the 2017-2018 season could be rookies. Or two, literally having zero running backs. If these last two things sound as terrible to you as they do to us, and you realize that what we have now is really only the next best thing, then it starts to make sense why Doug Farrar with BleacherReport ranked the Green Bay Packers backfield as the worst in the NFL.

Reasons to not give up hope

Preseason NFL team rankings are entirely speculative, downs are played one at a time, games are won on the field, and, if anything, the Packers backfield might be even better this coming season than it was last season when we made it to the NFC Championship game. Green Bay has added three assets to the existing set from last season. More likely than not, this will make things better than they were before. Does directly equate to better than an NFC Championship appearance? Logically speaking, no. But, it’s at least cause for people not to lose their heads over the team being labeled as having the worst backfield in the NFL.

Other things that you probably shouldn’t forget

The Green Bay Packers are a stalwart NFL organization with an incredible coaching staff, die-hard fan base, and one of the best quarterbacks in the game today. We added new gears to the machine with the draft: it will now run smoother, harder, and faster. Let the coaching staff work with the new guys, let them learn to jive with Rodgers. Everyone involved has every intention to become a better player and a better team. This is a team that dug themselves out of a four-game losing streak and a 4-6 record in week 11 to win the next six regular season games in a row, continuing that winning streak into the NFC Championship game.

What this means for the team

Our guess: not too much as a whole. It’s not what you want, but it’s not the end of the world, you know? Green Bay has a lot of new, interesting things going on including building out a deep, hybridized defense. We expect the program to keep moving forward and pushing for success while we still have access to Aaron Rodgers’ cannon of an arm and historically high football IQ. He wants another ring, and so do we. That is our one and only true focus.

For more Green Bay Packers news and discussion, make sure to check back with us weekly here at peronthepack.com. Also, always feel free to drop us a line and give us some feedback by clicking “Leave a reply” under the title of each week’s blog!

2017-NFL-season

Vegas Odds: What They’re Saying About Packers 2017

The start of the official NFL season does not kick off for another three weeks, but thankfully fans do not have to wait to get the scoop on what’s happening in the league. With several months still ahead of the first downplayed, Vegas has released odds for all games of the 2017 season; excluding the 17th week due to the high percentage of variability that comes with the last week before postseason play.

Week 1

The kickoff of the 2017 season will start with a home opener to the Seattle Seahawks. Vegas has them as a three point favorite, which translates to an equal matchup. Packers have home field advantage which is providing them with the field goal difference maker. Most of the problems that Packers have suffered last season was with their defense. They believe to have shown that up with their defense-heavy draft picks. If this is true, the team should have their odds changed in their favor as the season plays on. However, history is not in their favor with first-year cornerback production.

Week 2

Last year’s hot Atlanta team, which went to the Super Bowl only to squander a huge lead at the half, was barely able to squeak by the Pack at home. This year the Falcons will make the journey to Lambeau for a rematch. Even so, Vegas has Green Bay as 2.5 point underdogs at home. If history were to repeat itself, the Falcons are in for a rough season like the Panthers had, but are poised for better results. This tight game could get away from the Packers if they have not solved their defensive problems with this year’s draft.

Weeks 3 & 4

Vegas has the Packers as, at least, one score favorites for the next two weeks. They are 7 point favorites against a Bengals team and 9.5 point favorites against a weak divisional opponent. These games are must wins in a continuously competitive league, where their division is only getting stronger.

Weeks 5, 6, & 7

Packers are a 3 point underdog against a Dallas team that won handedly last year. If their middle defense is boosted by their LB and Cornerback draftees this game should be much closer. This is also true if Dak takes a sophomore slide, which many analysts are predicting. They are favored by 1.5 against the Vikings and 7.5 against the Saints. Divisional games are always tough, but the Vikings Dalvin Cook could prove to be a stud and make these games more difficult. The Saints game is another must win considering a dome team is coming to an outdoor field, especially considering they will be without speedy wideout Brandin Cooks.

Weeks 9, 10, 11, & 12

Favored by 7.5 against a struggling Lions team is no surprise. Bears again, but still favored by 6.5; another divisional victory. Week 11 they are favored by 7 against the Ravens who have struggled since their Super Bowl victory in 2013, the trade of Timmy Jernigan and aging Suggs could show their weakness against the run and lack of a pass rush. Heading to Steeler nation, Vegas has the Packers as a 3 point underdog due to their lack of competent corners.  

Weeks 13, 14, 15, & 16

Packers are favored by 7 against a warm Florida Buc’s team coming to a December Lambeau, 9.5 point favorite against a Browns team that has a plethora of new first round talent, favored by 2 at the Panthers and 6.5 favorites against the Vikings. Normal divisional matchups yield splits during the season, which is what could happen with a hard to read Vikings team, but they should sweep the Browns (even with their acquisition of first round talent).

Packers-draft-picks

Did Draft Give Packers’ Opponents the Upper Hand?

Football is a game in which the outcome of any given matchup can never be known with total certainty until the game has been played. You can look at lopsided odds and predict the winner the vast majority of times. But, each game comes with at least one—and sometimes many—x-factors (injury being one of the biggest). At every position, you have players that are highly specialized in their respective set of skills. And, each position plays a critical role on the performance of the team as a whole. Because of this, a singular matchup can oftentimes be the focal point of an analysis aimed at determining the outcome of a game.

The 2017 NFL Draft saw a host of talented college players ascend to the ranks of the National Football League. Some of them may go on to earn themselves a Super Bowl, or a spot in the Hall of Fame. Others may live out a long, yet lackluster career as a pro ball player. For the most part, though, most rookies will spend their first year just being rookies. Today, we take a look at a handful of match-ups for the upcoming season to determine whether or not this year’s draft plays to the favor of our beloved Green Bay Packers.

NFC Play

The NFC North is looking like it’s going to be an interesting division this year. After the Bear’s made some interesting moves in the draft, it’s anyone’s guess what their season is going to look like. We’re probably not going to see their first round pick, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky of North Carolina, take to the field in their first match-up in September. However, the likelihood of him seeing the field in November is another question entirely. With Green Bay’s defense looking pretty bulked up at this point, we’ll take that match-up. Also in the NFC North, expect Detroit Lions top pick Jarrad Davis to be a starting linebacker in their games against the Packers this season. After giving up 34 and 31 points against Green Bay last season, we are anticipating that they are going to do everything they can to stop Rodgers and the rest of the Green Bay Packers roster.

Another particularly interesting game for Green Bay will be when they face off against the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers picked up two major offensive threats in running back Christian McCaffrey and hybrid wide receiver/running back Curtis Samuel. Since this game is late in the season, we are anticipating that Cam Newton will be in sync with these new assets and will use them to test Green Bay’s linebackers and safeties.

AFC Play

The Packers’ match-up against the Cincinnati Bengals might be one of the standout games when examined through the lens of rookie impact. Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green is a well-known threat and someone who will require special attention on the part of the Green Bay defense. However, Cincinnati also has rookie wide receiver John Ross of Washington in their arsenal. If his speed is overlooked, the Packers are going to pay for it. If Cincinnati has both players on the field at the same time, the Packers’ secondary will have more than a handful to contend with, being unable to double cover both of these offensive threats.

Looking at things from the other side of the ball, a big game for the Packers’ offense might come when they match up against the Cleveland Browns on December 10th. Last year, the Browns’ defense allowed the second-most yards and third-most points. The draft has helped strengthen their defense, but this is unlikely to be much of a match for an offense headed up by Aaron Rodgers.

For more weekly blogs about the Green Bay Packers, make sure to check back with us at peronthepack.com.

2017-NFL-Draft-Picks

Which Packers Draft Picks Will Have the Biggest Impact on Team

This week, we take a dive into the Packers draft picks on a player by player basis to get a sense for who we think will end up being impact players for the organization.

Jamaal Williams (BYU, RB)

As we said last week, McCarthy has already divulged that Ty Montgomery will remain their starting running back (when asked about the fact that Green Bay drafted a whopping three running backs in the 2017 NFL Draft). However, his size, muscularity, and height help him gain leverage during impact and gives him a profile of strengths that seem to fill in some of Montgomery’s weaknesses. While, as said, Montgomery will remain the starting running back, Williams offsets him in a way that will make him valuable in certain play situations. Williams has a mindset for forward motion on the field and keeps his feet moving through contact. Combine that with a functional spin move and a solid stiff arm, and the 6’0”, 212 pound running back is going to see himself put up some quality rookie stats.

Kevin King (Washington, CB)

Kevin King’s physical advantages are going to make him an instant contender for playing time at cornerback. Standing at 6’3” and weighing 192 pounds, King has the frame, athleticism, and college record to give the coaching staff ample reason to give him a shot early on. He has a deep history of good coaching that runs all the way back to his high school days at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, California, where he played for former NFL linebacker Hardy Nickerson. This guidance served him well and saw him develop into an honorable mention for All-Pac-12 at cornerback for his last two seasons in college. You might remember his one-handed interception against Arizona State, as it was widely regarded as one of the best plays in college football last fall. We predict that he will continue to use his rare height and length to make similar plays for the Packers in the second cornerback slot with Davon House, Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins, or Ladarius Gunter taking the other.

Josh Jones (NC State, S)

Jones went as the Packers’ second pick overall behind Kevin King. He comes, like many other players that the Green Bay Packers have been working with in recent history, as somewhat of a multi-tool player capable of filling more than one role. Some have been drawing parallels between him and Micah Hyde, alluding to the fact that Jones is essentially his replacement. Morgan Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix are likely to keep their starting spots at safety, but Jones has a shot at finding some time in certain packages due to his hybrid safety/linebacker abilities and coverage skills. He is big, fast, and physical, weighing 220 pounds at 6’1” in height and being known throughout the ACC as one of the more aggressive players in the conference. His aggressiveness/confidence should serve him well while transitioning up to a higher level of play. According to NFL.com, Jones had 109 tackles, three interceptions, and knocked down eight passes in his senior season. 

It should come as little surprise that our top picks for impact players just so happen to take up the first few picks the Packers made in the draft. But, while talking about the recent draft class is helps paint a picture for the upcoming season, there is no way to truly judge these players until they step on the field. Furthermore, their strengths and skills as players are always subject to growth and change, and there is no way to determine what their careers will pan out to be. But, to find out, check back with us weekly here at PerOnThePack.com!

NFL-Draft

Filling the Gaps: Packers Post-Draft Analysis

Excitement in the football world reached a fever pitch over the weekend as the 2017 NFL Draft kicked off in Philadelphia. Fans from all over the country came to cheer as their team made picks. Philadelphia fans came out in droves to remind everyone else exactly where they were. Cowboys fans toed their way up the Benjamin Franklin Parkway like they were walking on eggshells.

Defense

For the sixth year in a row, the Packers used their first pick in this year’s draft on a defensive player. Does this come as a surprise? Well, we could call it consistency. But, since they can’t always do the same thing, I guess at some point they’re going to do something different, right?

In the end, Green Bay made the right call by taking cornerback Kevin King (Round 2, 33rd overall) of Washington with their first pick. The team’s pass defense ranked second to last in the league last season, so this pick was an obvious decision to help fill in that gap. Building from the back continued as they proceeded to take three more defensive players in a row. Their second pick (Round 2, 61st overall), went to safety Josh Jones of North Carolina State. Although, as we have mentioned in previous blog posts, that the Packers are already looking solid at safety, Jones brings an extra set of tools that may help make him an asset in more ways than one. For one, the guy’s got legs: he ran the 40 in 4.41 seconds at the combine (edging out Kevin King’s 4.43 seconds). But, the Packers may be looking to have him hold up in coverage and play near the line of scrimmage in the same way that they experimented with Morgan Burnett (Jones has an inch and eleven pounds on Burnett, food for thought).

The “sixth year in a row idea” sounds like a big deal, but it’s not. In 2012, GM Ted Thompson used the Packers’ first six picks on defensive players. That was the last time that things were slanted this heavily towards defense in the draft. We should be happy that the team recognized glaring issues and made it first priority to fix them.

Offense

In the fourth round, the Green Bay Packers selected running back Jamaal Williams of Brigham Young University (134th overall). They went on to select two more running backs: Aaron Jones of the University of Texas El Paso and Devante Mays of Utah State. This was the first time in 43 years that they have taken that many running backs in a draft. Since then, Mike McCarthy has made it clear that Ty Montgomery will remain the starting running back. In a recent interview, McCarthy divulged:

“Absolutely, he’s [Montgomery is] our starting running back. I think it gives us excellent depth, and it will be nice to have a full room.”

We also picked up two wide receivers: Malachi Dupre of LSU and Deangelo Yancey of Purdue. A smart move, we think, as a way to keep the developmental process going at the position so that there can be a steady flow of receivers to work with Aaron Rodgers. This is especially true with Davante Adams and Jeff Janis coming into the final years of their contracts. Not to mention Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb both having limited lifetimes in the league.

As summer starts to rear its sweaty head, we will get a chance to see how well these guys end up jiving with the team. Expect more new to trickle in with rookie development programs starting up mid-May and then later in the summer during the team’s first practices and eventual preseason play. 

packers-offseason

Can Kentrell Brice Fill Role Left by Micah Hyde

The Green Bay Packers have had a lively offseason. We saw a failure to negotiate with Jared Cook, only to have a mountain grow around the cornerback position in the form of Lance Kendricks and Marcellus Bennet. Old names like Davon House are making a return to Green Bay, too. One of the main stories we have yet to cover is the departure of Micah Hyde. With his absence on the Packers roster, we find ourselves asking the question: can Kentrell Brice bridge the gap left behind?

Perspective on Micah Hyde

A lot of Hyde’s hype comes from his level of play last season. After all, he made a number of big plays in the eight-game winning streak that brought the Packers to the NFC Championship Game. He was a versatile player that got used in a wide variety of roles last season. However, his first four years of play weren’t as memorable. As a whole, he has probably given up as many big plays as he has made. And, when it comes to his inherent athleticism, he’s not superstar caliber. As someone without top-end speed who struggles when it comes to man coverage, it makes sense that the Packers let him walk because the price wasn’t right (he went to the Buffalo Bills for a $32 million, 5-year deal). Nonetheless, Hyde was a solid all-around player for the Packers who showed progress in 2016.

Perspective on Kentrell Brice

Kentrell Brice’s value is hidden in the numbers. Does his 26 tackles, 1 pass deflection, and 1 fumble recovery trump Micah Hyde’s 58 tackles, 1 sack, 9 pass deflections, and 3 interceptions? In terms of pure figures, clearly not. But, remember that while Hyde was getting used left and right in a variety of roles, racking up loads of playing time, Brice was played sparingly. If Brice’s sophomore campaign shows an elevated level of play held consistent through increased playing time, he’s gonna be alright. His rookie season highlighted the fact that his coverage skills will need to be improved, but was that not something Hyde was lacking, too? Brice has good size, athleticism, and can hit hard.

The Packers at Safety

One thing to ultimately remember is that Kentrell Brice isn’t going to be asked to pick up all of the slack after Hyde’s departure. Despite moving up in the ranks overall, he is likely still going to be playing behind Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett. Clinton-Dix made the Pro Bowl last year and firmly believes that his level of play will only continue to rise. According to Packers.com, he made the following statement:

“I’m sorry to tell you this, but I’m not even as close to as good as I’m going to get. Going into my fourth year, I’m telling you, it’s going to get a little crazy.”

Although confidence and talk like this is commonplace for NFL players, it helps to remember that he is trending upward and that his head is in the right place. Burnett also thrived last season, picking up a team-high 93 tackles, 3 sacks, and 2 picks. He played a versatile role for head coach Mike McCarthy and defensive coordinator Dom Capers.

Just three years ago, safety was viewed as a weak spot on the Packers’ roster. But now, between Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Morgan Burnett, and Kentrell Brice, we can safely say that the position is no longer a weak point. We expect Brice’s sophomore campaign to improve upon his rookie season and for other players to also help fill in the small gap left behind by Micah Hyde.