The Packers have a small window left with Rodgers at the helm. Now’s the time to get serious about helping the MVP get over that hump and making a return trip to the Super Bowl.
Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are almost there
For the last two seasons, Rodgers and the Packers have reached the NFC title game. Both seasons, they’ve come up short. In 2020, the Packers had everything line up perfectly as they secured the No. 1 seed and held home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
The Packers, however, were ousted by Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who went on to win the Super Bowl. Green Bay’s 2019 season ended in similar fashion as the Pack wound up a game short of the Super Bowl. The Packers traveled to San Francisco and were walloped by the 49ers.
Rodgers is 37 years old. He’s also coming off his third MVP season. He threw a league-leading 48 touchdown passes and completed a league-high 70.7% of his passes this season. Green Bay’s window with Rodgers, however, is closing, and it needs a little push at the draft to help get over the edge.
The Packers’ 2020 draft didn’t do them any favors
Maybe if the Packers had not used their top two picks of the 2020 NFL draft to build for the future, they’d be celebrating a Super Bowl. They came ever so close to getting to the Super Bowl, falling at home to the Buccaneers by five points. Could Green Bay’s draft strategy have played a role?
Coming off a trip to the NFC title game in the 2019 season, the Packers knew they’d have a shot at returning to the NFC Championship Game the following campaign. Instead of plugging a hole or two through the 2020 draft, GM Brian Gutekunst decided to build for the future. He used the first two picks of the draft to select players who saw little or no playing time in 2020.
The Packers traded up to take quarterback Jordan Love in the first round, only to watch Rodgers win MVP. Love never saw the field. In Round 2, they grabbed running back AJ Dillion, only to re-sign Pro Bowler Aaron Jones. While the opportunity was there to take that 2019 team to the next level, Gutekunst drafted for the 2024 season.
Will Rodgers finally get some offensive help?
Outside of Davante Adams, the Packers’ wide receivers are shaky at best. Marquez Valdes-Scantling can make the spectacular catch, but he’s also good for his fair share of drops. Allen Lazard hasn’t done anything to establish himself as a No. 2 receiver. It’s Adams and then a bunch of question marks.
Green Bay hasn’t drafted a wide receiver since it grabbed Valdes-Scantling in 2018. It also snagged J’Mon Moore and Equanimeous St. Brown that year. The Packers need to take some pressure off Rodgers and add a top-notch receiver or a quality player who can contribute right away.
At the very least, they need to try. Stop building for three years down the road.
With Rodgers in the fold, the Packers are good for another deep postseason run. Gutekunst needs to play to win now and stop wasting Rodgers’ talent by building for the future.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.