The Green Bay Packers struggled in 2015 with a poor passing attack, running backs that were unable to find holes and a punter who could not pin opponents deep. This off-season, the Packers must address several needs through the draft and free agency.
First, the Packers have to find a tight end who can stretch the field and also contribute as a blocker. Richard Rodgers was slow and not a good blocker. After catching passes, he was never able to break a tackle. The Packers have not had a threat at the tight end position since Jermichael Finley sustained a serious injury in 2013.
The Packers draft in the 27th spot in 2016 draft and there would certainly be a talented tight end available in that portion of the draft.
Next, the Packers have a question at running back. Eddie Lacy almost certainly reported to training camp overweight. He struggled with the additional weight all season and did not have the burst that was needed to accelerate for long runs. He also had a curfew violation along with a fellow backup running back. Lacy might not have been motivated this season for whatever reason. Lacy says he wants to get back in shape, but will he?
The Packers alternated Lacy with James Starks who is scheduled to be a free agent to start the 2016 season. Starks seemed to have better cutting ability, found more holes and accelerated into the defensive back field. Will the Packers keep Starks, who will be 30 when the season starts? The Packers could also look into the draft and see if there is a capable back who could challenge Lacy.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers had an off year as a passer. He kept his interceptions down like usual, but he was not putting up big numbers this year. Rodgers lacked a deep threat receiver after Jordy Nelson was injured in the preseason. It is very important that the Packers find another wide receiver who can run long routes and stretch the field. Nelson should be ready for 2016, but it is not guaranteed that he will be back to his old self.
The Packers did catch a glimpse of hope with one of their backup receivers Jeff Janis. Janis hardly saw the field all season on offense because he was still too raw and unfamiliar with the playbook. When he was forced into action in the Packers’ playoff loss to the Arizona Cardinals, he showed that he has the skills to catch the ball and run a few routes. Janis is one option that the Packers could turn to in 2016, but the team still needs to look at receivers in the draft.
Finally, the punt game was not acceptable this year. Tim Masthay was not hitting the ball correctly. His line drive punts gave opponents favorable field position and it is time to find his replacement.