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Blog – Per on the Pack

What the Packers’ Lacked in Their Off Season Strategy

The Green Bay Packers are sort of notorious for two things during their average NFL offseason; pleasing themselves and aggravating their fan base. By most accounts, this has been a successful offseason for Packers football, and as a result, they are currently one of the favorites to make their way to the Super Bowl. A pressing question does remain as they look forward to the start of the regular NFL season: are they a strong enough team to take down powerhouses like the Atlanta Falcons or the Seattle Seahawks? There were a number of things that the Packers could have done to really bring their offseason to the next level.

The problems at Center

The majority of the Packers problems seemed to have stemmed from their draft process. They did not re-sign T.J. Lang and J.C. Tretter as free agents and let them walk leaving a big problem on the offensive line. This problem could have been solved by drafting Tim Barnes. Barnes has been an above average center throughout his entire career and could have been a nice insurance policy to ensure the success of the offensive line. Coach Mike McCarthy has been blessed with starting caliber centers for the majority of his tenure as head coach at green bay and now he seems to be lacking in that area. Barnes could have provided the flexibility at the center position that the Packers have already enjoyed for years and solidified the Green Bay offensive line.

The advent of Adrian Peterson

Another player that would have made a big difference for the Packers offense is Adrian Peterson. Peterson may no longer be in his prime, but he would have made a huge difference for the Packers. Being a seven-time-Pro-Bowler, Peterson would have brought the experience needed to whip the Packers offense into fighting shape. He also could have provided the mentorship to groom Ty Montgomery into being Green Bay’s eventual starter sometime down the line. Peterson would have had a far reduced workload as it would have been split between himself and Ty Montgomery nearly fifty-fifty, taking the strain off him and potentially extending his own career.

Re-draft

The Packers draft was not nearly as successful as it could have been and a redraft would be the best way to fix this. The Packers had the right idea moving back on draft night, with the myriad of players of interest they needed the extra pick later in the draft. The second round pick of Kevin King was also smart to aid in the Packers lacking defensive backfield. The draft after that point was where the changes could have been made. The entirety of the draft should have gone as follows:

  1. Kevin King
  2. Alvin Kamara
  3. Jourdan Lewis
  4. Joshua Dobbs
  5. David Godchaux
  6. Jordan Evans
  7. Devante Mays
  8. Malachi Dupre

This combination of players along with Adrian Peterson would have been one of the strongest rosters in the NFL coming into the regular season. This combination of offensive and defensive players would have resolved many of the Packers weakness as well as paved the way for future starters under the mentorship of Adrian Peterson.

Final thoughts

The Packers certainly have had a better offseason than they usually do, but it could have been much better. With the addition of a few key players and a redraft process, Green Bay could have been in a much better spot to start the season. Though they have some issue to work through the Packers are strong and determined to make playoffs and try to take home a Super Bowl victory. Only time will tell if their offseason planning was enough.

Josh Hawkins: Could he be the Packers’ next undrafted success

Josh Hawkins may be exactly what the Green Bay Packers need to push their game to the next level.  The free agent cornerback out of East Carolina has based his entire playstyle off of another rookie success, Sam Shields.  Hawkins was inspired by the Sam Shields story and wants to be just like him.  In a quote from Hawkins, he states “I wore the armbands, the tape, the white gloves just like him. Some of the guys, they called me ‘Little Sam Shields.’ I’m just trying to play like him.  I try to mold my game after him.”  Sam Shields would make a great role model for any aspiring cornerback. Having a recorded 245 tackles, 66 passes defended, and 18 interceptions in 80 regular season games, the man is a force to be reckoned with.  It may very well be this admiration of Sam Shields that has pushed Josh Hawkins to be vigilant about improving his game in any way he can.

Accolades and History

Josh Hawkins played for the East Carolina Pirates, he stands 5-foot-10 and weighs in at 189 lbs.  His defining feature is his long arms which he puts to good use when defending passes.  His recorded time for his college pro day 40-yard dash was 4.39 and during his time with the Pirates, he was named the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week multiple times.  Hawkins is currently one of five undrafted players on the Green Bay Packers’ opening lineup and really showed he has something to prove in Last Saturday vs Washington. During the 37 defensive snaps he played, he stunned coaches with seven tackles (two on special teams) and three passes defended.  This was Hawkins first NFL start due to the injuries of both Davon House and Damarious Randall.  Two of those three defended passes prevented a Washington touchdown and paved the way for the Packers’ 21-17 victory.  This performance garnered Hawkins the highest grade of all Packers’ cornerbacks that game.

NFL preseason Hurdles

Though Hawkins may be a strong athlete one thing he struggles with is consistency, a problem that resulted in him being benched during his 2016 rookie season.  To combat this, he trained rigorously with former Falcons cornerback David Irons in Atlanta during the NFL preseason.  Hawkins and Irons trained relentlessly with two-a-day practices to really hone Hawkins’ skills and Iron out the inconsistencies in his game.  Hawkins emerged a much stronger player as a result of this training and though under the shadow of players like Damarious Randall, Quintin Rollins, and second round pick Kevin King, Hawkins is starting to make a name for himself.  Head Coach Mike McCarthy had as much to say about Hawkins, “I think the fact that Josh was on our 53-man roster last year tells you how we felt about him.  If you look at last year, he played very well on special teams.  Maybe not as far as his game opportunities, but throughout the second half of the season our special teams coaches were very high on him, and fighting to get him up on a weekly basis.”

Hawkins has worked hard to overcome his consistency issues and now looks to be a driving force for Packers football.  Just like his Idol, Sam Shields, before him Hawkins is breathing new life into the Packer’s defense.  He may not be starting when his injured counterparts return but that does not dampen his determination to improve.  With his speed, reach, and new found precision, this undrafted player from East Carolina could be the Green Bay Packers’ next success story.