You know a TV show is good when I’d rather watch fictitious doctors treat fictitious patients at a fictitious New York hospital than watch March Madness. If you’re looking for something to binge, I highly recommend The Knick on HBO Max. Anyway, here are three of the numerous Packers-related thoughts that ran through my head in the past few days:
1) Jaire Alexander is coming off arguably the best season by a Packers’ cornerback since Tramon Williams a decade ago. The downside of having such an outstanding player at that position is the focus it puts on the other starting corner and the nickel back. Unlike Charles Woodson and Sam Shields, who rose to the challenge in 2010, Kevin King and Chandon Sullivan struggled in 2020 when targeted by quality quarterbacks. Alexander will be able to take naps on his side of the field net season because he’s going to be avoided like the plague. And if King and Sullivan don’t step up, Arizona’s Kyler Murray, the Rams’ Matthew Stafford, Seattle’s Russell Wilson, Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield, Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger, Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, and Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes – if there’s a 17th game – are going to play pitch and catch with their talented receivers.
How many Packers’ cornerbacks does it take to cover a Colts’ wide receiver? On this play, the answer is more than two. Watch as King (#20) and Sullivan (#39) somehow allow T.Y. Hilton (#13) to pick up 13 yards on 3rd & 12. Plays just like this one happened way too many times last season.
2) Signing any running back to a second contract is dangerous, but the Packers minimized the risk with Aaron Jones. The two sides agreed to what’s essentially a two-year deal worth $20 million right before the start of free agency. And while it’s hard to criticize general manager Brian Gutekunst’s decision to retain the offense’s most dynamic player, it’s nevertheless fair to wonder if that money could’ve been better spent. With 2020 second-round pick A.J. Dillon already on the roster and next month’s draft loaded at running back, would a solid corner (Troy Hill) already familiar with new coordinator Joe Barry’s scheme and an ascending defensive end (Morgan Fox) help more next season? Their combined cap numbers will be approximately the same as Jones’ in 2021 and 2022.
3) Gutekunst has drafted 10 players on days 1 and 2 of the draft. The way it looks now, only three of those players will be full-time starters in 2021 (Alexander, safety Darnell Savage, and offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins). Three will be heavily-used backups (Dillon, outside linebacker Rashan Gary, and fullback/tight end Josiah Deguara), one will only play in case of injury (quarterback Jordan Love), and three will have to fight just to make the final 53-man roster (corner Josh Jackson, inside linebacker Oren Burks, and tight end Jace Sternberger). That’s not close to good enough. Right now, this is a football team being carried by a creative young head coach, one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the league, and the rest of the superb offensive talent left behind by the late Ted Thompson.
–photo courtesy of packers.com