The Green Bay Packers wasted little time shaking up their coaching staff following their disappointing loss to the Arizona Cardinals in the divisional round of the playoffs last week. And with 18 free agents to be and a need for a new offensive weapon for Aaron Rodgers to compete for a Super Bowl, there looks to be more changes still to come.
As reported by UPI, Aaron Rodgers told the media that there could be coaching shakeups in the wake of their defeat at the Cardinals hands. The team then announced both running backs coach Sam Gash and tight ends coach Jerry Fontenot are gone from the team.
“I think you have to look at everything,” head coach Mike McCarthy said. “That’s why I believe in the filter of change, adjust and emphasize. And, we will change. There will be changes… There definitely will be a lot of adjustments — you do that every year.”
One of those changes to come will undoubtedly focus on the natural turnover in pro football that every team faces in the salary cap era. As reported by 247 Sports, the Green Bay Packers have 18 unrestricted free agents to make decisions about in the offseason. The top names are running back James Starks, who emerged as a tandem weapon alongside bruising back Eddie Lacy.
“Starks was called on a lot in 2015 to be the primary back for the Packers. In the replacing of Eddie Lacy, he rushed 148 times for 601 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also had 43 receptions for 392 yards and 3 touchdowns.”
Offensive lineman BJ Ravi and kicker Mason Crosby are two other notable names that could be gone in the offseason. The offense overall will be the major topic for Packers GM Ted Thompson to address. As pointed out by an opposing scout, and as reported by ESPN, Green Bay had their worst year offensively in the Aaron Rodgers-Mike McCarthy era, and will need to add a new offensive weapon to bolster their squad. Still, it didn’t stop the Packers from making it far in the playoffs.
“They had their worst year offensively, and they were still playing for the division [title] on the last week of the year,” the scout said. “I bet they add a weapon or two in the offseason.”
That weapon could be a “stretch-the-field tight end” as pointed out in the article. But the Packers’ biggest offseason acquisition could simply be the return of Rodgers’ favorite target in Jordy Nelson. Nelson tore his ACL during the preseason and was sorely missed by Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
Nelson, who spent part of his offseason rehab substitute teaching in his son’s elementary school, as reported by Business Insider, is far along on his progress. Mike McCarthy told ESPN’s Rob Demovsky that he expects Nelson to return even better than he was before he got hurt.
McCarthy on Jordy Nelson’s recovery: “He will come back better than ever. He’s so far ahead of the rehab.”
— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) January 18, 2016
The last offseason move the Green Bay Packers will make could also be an in-house change. As reported by Deadspin, head coach Mike McCarthy took starting running back Eddie Lacy to task for not being in better shape this season.
“Well, I mean Eddie Lacy, he’s got a lot of work to do. I think I’m stating the obvious. His offseason last year was not good enough and he never recovered from it. I had a chance to talk to Eddie today and that was pretty much the majority of our whole conversation. So he has to get it done because he cannot play at the weight that he played at this year.”
What do you think the Green Bay Packers should do this offseason to get better in 2016?
[Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]