Green Bay Packers: Breaking Down the Offense By Position

Andy DodgeContributor IJune 6, 2008

Last season, the Packers had one of the most potent offenses in the NFL. They averaged over 370 yards per game, second only to the New England Patriots. Will this season be different?

The heart and soul of the offense, Brett Favre, has finally hung up the pads after playing quarterback for the Packers for the past 200 years. Will Aaron Rodgers come in and save the day? Or will he be yet another first-round quarterback bust? Only time will tell.

What about all the other positions, you ask? Well, let's take a look.



Aaron Rodgers, Brian Brohm, Matt Flynn

Aaron Rodgers has his share of doubters and bandwagoneers. At this point, no one knows how well he will perform. He gave Packer fans a reason to be excited when he came into the Cowboys game last season when Favre went out with an injury.

The Pack was down 27-10 when he came in, and he rallied them to two touchdowns to make it a three-point game. He has shown he has poise in the pocket, and he can run with the ball, which will bring a whole new aspect to the
Packers offense that they haven't had for a while.

This being his fourth year in the NFL, the game speed has slowed down considerably for him, allowing him to feel more relaxed in the pocket. Rodgers' arm strength and accuracy are very good as well. Aaron Rodgers has all the tools to be a very good NFL quarterback. He just needs to piece them together.

The Packers took Brian Brohm this past April after he plummeted into the late second round in the draft. It could end up being a very wise move by Packers GM Ted Thompson if Rodgers doesn’t pan out or gets hurt.

Brohm is a very smart player and appears to be fitting in well so far at the Packers' OTAs. He has adequate arm strength and good accuracy and timing.

The Packers grabbed LSU’s Matt Flynn in the seventh round in this past draft. He has good athleticism for a quarterback and can make plays with his feet. Flynn is a very smart player and cool under pressure. However, his arm strength and accuracy are just average. With a little bit of work, he could prove to be a solid No. 3.

Overall Grade: C+. Talent wise, the Packers quarterbacks are in the top half of the league, but due to lack of experience, the group only warrants an average grade.


Running Back

Ryan Grant, Brandon Jackson, Vernand Morency, DeShawn Wynn, Noah Herron

The Packers came into last season with a huge question mark at running back. Second-round pick Brandon Jackson was supposed to be their featured back, but he started out slowly and got hurt. However, he did show potential towards the end of the season, racking up 113 yards on only 20 carries against the Lions.

The big surprise of the Packers season last year was the emergence of Ryan Grant. The Packers received him from the Giants at the beginning of the season for a sixth-round pick. In just ten starts, Grant piled up 929 yards and averaged 5.1 yards per carry.

Grant must have the starting position locked down for next season, right? Wrong. Currently, Grant is sitting out of practices while his contract is in the process of being completed.

This means Brandon Jackson is taking all the reps with the No. 1 offense. The coaching staff is very impressed. They believe he has the ability to be a starting running back in this league. What does this mean for Ryan Grant? A possible two-back set-up is in the near future.

As for the Packers' other running backs, Noah Herron should assume the third-down back spot once again. This leaves Vernand Morency and DeShawn Wynn. It is doubtful the Packers will keep both of them.

Morency has been nothing but average in his Green Bay career, and Wynn has shown he can run the ball effectively, but his work ethic leaves something to be desired.

Overall Grade: B+. If Brandon Jackson can play up to his full potential this season, Grant and Jackson could be a deadly duo.



Korey Hall, John Kuhn

Converted linebacker Korey Hall did a decent job as the Packers starting fullback last year. He has shown he can be an effective lead blocker, but he doesn’t have much running or catching ability.

John Kuhn is a solid backup to Hall. If Hall were to get hurt, there would not be that much drop in the talent level. They are both decent at what they are instructed to do.

Overall Grade: B-. Hall is a good lead blocker, but he will never be used in the running or passing game.

Wide Receiver

Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Ruvell Martin

The Packers have one of the deepest group of receivers in the NFL. The starting tandem of Donald Driver and Greg Jennings is feared league-wide. Although Driver is getting up there in age, he has said he still feels as young as when he started playing.

It shows on the field, too. Driver is the master of the run after the catch. He is never afraid to go down the middle to make a catch and risk taking a big hit.

Greg Jennings is one of the upcoming stars in the NFL. Jennings was clearly one of Favre’s favorite targets. He had twice the receiving touchdowns (12) as the player in second place. He is also the Packers' primary deep threat with seven catches of 40 or more yards.

James Jones is also an up-and-coming player in the NFL. He had a very strong rookie year with 47 receptions for 676 yards. Jones is not as fast as Jennings or Driver, but he is just as tough and has some of the best hands on the team. Expect a breakout year from Jones in the near future.

Just as everyone was thinking the Packers receivers couldn’t get any more dangerous, they go ahead and draft Jordy Nelson with their first pick in this year's draft. Jordy has a very good combination of size and speed.

He is a very high-character player with an outstanding work ethic. Jordy should compete with James Jones for the No. 3 spot on the depth chart.

Last but not least, we have Ruvell Martin. Standing at 6-foot-4, Martin is one of the Packers' biggest redzone threats. He only caught 16 passes last year, but one of every four catches went for a touchdown. He is definitely not the fastest player, but he has the size to compete for jump balls and has above average blocking ability for a receiver.

Overall Grade: A. The Packers' receivers have everything you look for: size, toughness, speed, great work ethic, and a honest love for the game. You can’t beat that.

Tight End

Donald Lee, JerMichael Finley, Tory Humphrey

The emergence of Donald Lee this past season made Bubba Franks expendable. He wanted too much money for his production. Naturally, the Packers cut him. However, this left a hole in the Packer’s depth chart at tight end.

They solved this by drafting JerMichael Finley from Texas. Packers GM Ted Thompson was very high on him going into the draft. He loved Finley's athletic ability. During one practice in the OTAs, quarterback Aaron Rodgers mistook him for a wide receiver. Finley should grab the No. 2 spot on the depth chart behind Lee.

Tory Humphrey is also a very interesting prospect. Although he has never caught a pass in an NFL game, Humphrey has a good blend of size and speed that the Packer coaches like a lot. They think with the right amount of work, Humphrey could be a special player.

Overall Grade: B-. Donald Lee is in the top half of the starting tight ends in the NFL, but the inexperience behind him leaves a lot of questions.


Offensive Line

Chad Clifton, Mark Tauscher, Scott Wells, Darren College, Allen Barbre, Jason Spitz, Junius Coston, Josh Sitton, Breno Giacomini

    Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher have had the Packers tackle spots anchored for years, but age is creeping up on them. Tauscher is still going fine, but Clifton has been bugged by injuries the past few years. Scott Wells is a very solid center, and should be here for a while. The Packers have recently given him a long-term deal.

    Both guard positions on the other hand, are up in the air. The starting spots are sitting wide open for any player to take. Darren College played guard for most of the year last season. He had his ups and downs, but his future is at tackle.

Allen Barbre is making a splash so far in the Packers OTAs. He has been splitting time with the No. 1 unit with Junius Coston and Jason Spitz. Barbre is extremely athletic for an offensive lineman, running a 4.84 forty at the combine a year ago.

He is a perfect fit for the zone-blocking scheme and should fit in nicely. The Packers drafted Josh Sitton and Breno Giacomini in this year's draft to add depth and to create competition for the starting spot. Giacomini could be groomed to take the place of Clifton or Tauscher when they retire.

Overall Grade: B. The Packers have two of the best tackles in the league, a solid starter at center in Wells, but the guard position is still a big question mark.

Overall Offensive Grade: B+. The Packers have one of the best receiving corps in the NFL, potentially a very dangerous running back duo, but the lack of experience at QB and an average offensive line keep them from earning an A.


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