The Green Bay Packers have one of the strongest squads in the NFL this year. In less than 3 weeks, the Packers will meet the Vikings in Minnesota. It’s primed to be a close matchup, as the Packers are only -1.5 point favorites and still have a couple questions to answer.
With the help of Player Football Focus here is an outlook on how the Packers look ahead of week 1.
While there is still another preseason contest against Kansas City left, the storylines of preseason camp have been clear. The entire receiving unit has been under a microscope since day one. Who will Rodgers throw the ball to? Who will replicate Adams’ production?
The receivers by far had the most questions surrounding them, but big plays by Romeo Doubs have since calmed some critics. The reality of the situation is that Randall Cobb and Sammy Watkins are both well known and their production will improve under Rodgers. Cobb played in a stacked room last year and played in 12 games, only starting three. Watkins had a similar struggle last season, but also struggled to stay effective with a 55.1% catch rate. With full, healthy seasons there’s no reason these receivers won’t beat the combined 769 receiving yards they had last season.
There are 1553 yards and 123 receptions that have been freed up. Not only will Cobb and Watkins have reached that mark, but there’s also Lazard and Tonyan who aim to improve during the 2022 season. Along with the 2022 rookies, Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs.
Packers Strength Heading into 2022
There are multiple different answers when asked “What can the Packers do really well?” but one certainly surpasses the others. A defensive unit that had Jaire Alexander, Kenny Clark, Rashan Gary, De’Vondre Campbell and adds freak athlete Quay Walker. There are not many better defensive namedrops out there, and the statistics are certainly there.
Starting with De’Vondre Campbell, he finished last season with a defensive grade of 85 as well as a run defense grade of 81.5 and coverage grade of 82.2. He’s beyond efficient and played 199 snaps last season in the slot CB which displays his coverage versatility. Rashan Gary was unstoppable in 2021 racking up an 89.8 defensive grade which ranked 5th in the league.
Kenny Clark and Jaire Alexander had down years last year with both of them having defensive grades in the mid 70s. However, with the additions and development that has taken place, Alexander and Clark should benefit from this. There is less pressure on the two of them since they now have two extremely versatile interior linebackers who can attack the run or drop back into coverage.
Packers Weakness Heading into 2022
There is no question that it can be said the receiving room is a serious weakness given the departure of Davante Adams. However, the biggest weakness by far is the offensive line. Having All-Pro LT David Bakhthiari back is a serious boost, but he has missed significant time and pushing a knee injury at his position especially is risky. It is a great sight to see and everyone loves that Bakh is back, but this is only step one.
Along with that, Elgton Jenkins tore his ACL against the Vikings in 2021 and still remains a question as well. Has the knee gotten stronger? Does he feel comfortable enough to push it yet? He has been back from the PUP list for a week now and only has been doing individual drills. There is still work that needs to be done.
The play of Zach Tom throughout the preseason has been felt. The big man has been an anchor and hasn’t allowed anyone past him. Perhaps the preseason has been enough for him to start in place of Jenkins if he isn’t ready yet? But then there is also the question of who will start in place of Bakh if he isn’t ready yet. Yosh Nijman makes the most sense and Royce Newman could switch sides depending on what feels most comfortable.
Zach Tom this preseason:
🧀 36 pass-blocking snaps
🧀 0 pressures allowed pic.twitter.com/xNC1YZVKEb
— PFF (@PFF) August 22, 2022
The issue is that there are too many questions regarding the offensive line to be fully confident. The backups play in the preseason thus far has definitely raised everyone’s confidence, but can the Packers figure it out?
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